The Prince's Thorn
When writing of King Edward VII and his Norfolk retreat, authors sooner or later find themselves obliged to mention Mrs Cresswell, who played a controversial part in the early years of Royal Sandringham. Her autobiographical book, Eighteen Years on Sandringham Estate, published in 1887, was barbed with criticism of the then Prince of Wales and the men who did his royal bidding – the men who, she maintained, conspired to ruin a defenceless widow and drive her out of her beloved Appleton Farm and into penury and exile in America's Wild West.Her book leaves many questions unanswered, however. Who exactly was Louisa Mary Cresswell, this fractious royal tenant who rejoiced in her sobriquet of 'The Lady Farmer'? From where did she come and how could she claim 'blue blood'? Most of all, what really motivated her bitter hatred of Queen Victoria's oldest son? The answers emerged during a four-year-long detective journey culminating at the Royal Archive at Windsor, where startling revelations awaited.The Prince's Thorn at last exposes the extraordinary truth about the woman who, over three decades of the nineteenth century, made the Prince's peaceful country home a setting for bitter conflict.