• Charles Rolls at the wheel of his Panhard with the Duke of York, 1900

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The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary) stayed with Lord and Lady Llangattock at the Hendre in late October - early November 1900.

This royal visit was a private occasion, but the Rolls collection in the Nelson Museum & Local History Centre includes several photographs of the event. Although the royal visitors were in official mourning for the death of Prince Christian Victor, and their social activities were subdued, the Duke and Duchess were taken on motor car excursions by Charles Rolls, probably the first time that the royal couple had been in a car.

In this photograph, the Duke sits next to Charles, who is at the wheel. Behind are Lord Llangattock and Sir Charles Cust. Lady Llangattock is in the centre of the doorway, with the Marquis of Abergavenny to her left, on the step.

The royal visit was an important event for the Llangattock's: it confirmed their elevation to the top level of society locally. John Allan Rolls had been created 1st Baron Llangattock in 1895 and and was elected local MP and Mayor of Monmouth. The Rolls family had become more and more successful during the nineteenth century, and their wealth was based on land and property in south London and the Hendre Estate in Monmouthshire.

Charles Rolls was intent on developing a dependable British car and went on to form a partnership with Henry Royce in order to fulfil his dream. The two met for the first time four years after this photograph was taken. The car seen in this photograph is the 'Panhard 12hp'.

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