The Queen and Prince Philip will move to Sandringham to end their summer vacation, after several weeks at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The Queen has enjoyed visits from her family despite the looming coronavirus threat, with her granddaughter, Princess Eugenie and her son, Prince Edward, both making visits with partners and families in tow.
But the farm has a long history and is in fact a big part of a fascinating – and very elusive – piece of royal history.
Prince John, the youngest son of George V, the Queen’s grandfather, resided at Wood Farm from 1917 until his death at the age of 13 in 1919.
Prince John suffered from epilepsy and was cared for by his nanny Charlotte ‘Lala’ Bill from a young age.
The young prince for the most part led a normal royal life and frequently appeared in public alongside his siblings and parents.
But John’s condition worsened when he turned 11 and he was sent to Sandringham with his nanny out of sight.
In the last years of his life, when his condition deteriorated, his grandmother, Queen Alexandra, tended a garden in Sandringham especially for him.
According to a 2008 Channel 4 documentary, much of the existing information about Prince John is “based on hearsay and rumor, precisely because so few details about his life and issues have been released. ”
The British Epileptic Association said: “There was nothing unusual about this [the King and Queen] fact.
“At that time, people with epilepsy were separated from the rest of the community.
“They were often placed in epilepsy colonies or psychiatric establishments. It was thought to be a form of mental illness.
Epilepsy was not treated as a normal neurological disorder until about 20 years after the prince’s death.
Others have pointed out that due to his condition, he was likely taken away from the royal spotlight to make his life easier and more enjoyable.
Biographer Denis Judd believes that “Prince John’s” isolation and “anomaly” must have bothered his brothers and sister “because he had been” a friendly and outgoing little boy, much loved by his siblings, a kind of mascot for the family ”.
Diary excerpts from his mother, Queen Mary, lament his death until his last entries, although his brother, who later became King Edward VIII, was less sympathetic to his condition.