Queen of Romania's hotel
Queen Elisabeth of Romania spent five weeks in 1890 at the Adelphi Hotel, Llandudno, now the Marine Hotel. The daughter of European royalty, she married King Carol of Romania. She asked Prince Gyhka, a Romanian diplomat in London, to find for her a remote spot for convalescence and contemplation. Prince Gyhka consulted the Prince of Wales, who had visited Llandudno in 1867 and 1880 and provided his personal railway saloon, upholstered in silk, to bring Queen Elisabeth to Llandudno.
She was annoyed at finding herself at a busy holiday resort, but the following morning Lord and Lady Mostyn visited her at the hotel and she went to their home for tea that afternoon. Within a few days she visited the National Eisteddfod at Bangor and was admitted to the Gorsedd of Bards as Carmen Sylva, the pen name she used for the novels, poems and essays she wrote in four languages. She toured North Wales and was entertained by the nobility at Penrhyn Castle (Bangor), Baron Hill (Beaumaris), and Mostyn Hall (Mostyn, Flintshire). She attended concerts in Llandudno’s Pier Pavilion and worshipped at Llanrhos church.
Mr Codman received the royal command to give a Punch & Judy performance opposite her hotel. She took frequent boat trips in the bay. Boatman William Lloyd Jones would carry her over the shingle. With royal consent, he renamed his boat Carmen Sylva and for the rest of his life was known as “the royal boatman”!
Her patronage of Llandudno traders was still recorded more that 75 years later in the form of royal coats of arms. Carmen Sylva Road, and Roumania Crescent and Drive, were named in her honour.
Before she left, the town’s children paraded past her hotel. There was a farewell concert in the Pier Pavilion and next day the Town Commissioners gave her an official send-off. As she left at 8pm for the night train to London, 21 lifeboat maroons were fired off the Great Orme. She died in 1916.
In her last words to the Commissioners, she described Wales as “a beautiful haven of peace”. This was later translated into Welsh as “Hardd, Hafan, Hedd” which became the official motto of Llandudno.
On display in the foyer of the Marine Hotel are her letter of thanks to the Adelphi Hotel and a photo of her.
With thanks to John Lawson-Reay, of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society
Postcode: LL30 1AN