Why Prince Leopold and who was he?
As far as we know this pub is the only Prince Leopold in the country. That is both nice and special, but there are probably two reasons for this - one rather sad. Firstly Prince Leopold became the Duke of Albany at the age of 28 - and thereafter became a rather more fitting role model for a pub, in age as well as title. Secondly he suffered both from haemophilia (uncontrollable bleeding) and associated epilepsy, and succumbed to this combination at the tragically early age of 31.

Our prince was born in 1853, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, and in many ways was something of a favourite - which led to lifelong tensions between him and his mother, as she tried both to protect him and make him her secretary and support. By contrast, he wanted to break away from her apron strings and live his own life.

He first really succeeded in doing this when he went up to Oxford University in 1872, and much enjoyed the independence it gave him over the next three years. With the end of his undergraduate studies in 1875, he and his tutor hatched a plot to rent a country house that he could use as a retreat, away from his overbearing mother. This was nearby Boyton Manor, of which he took the lease.

Leopold loved the place, spending Christmas 1876 there, and seems to have regarded it as a much loved sanctuary, to which he escaped whenever he could. (One anecdote indicates his affection for the place: when travelling incognito in the South of France, he referred to himself as Lord Boyton…). Following his marriage to Princess Helen of Waldeck in 1882 he lost little time in taking her down there, and there is a relaxed photo of the Prince, Princess and friends, taken on the porch in July 1882.

This attachment to the area meant that when in 1878 the Upton Lovell public house and store was built, to service the substantial cloth mill that was the commercial centre of the valley, it was only natural for the community to exhibit a mutual appreciation, and it became the Prince Leopold.

Sadly he died in 1884, with one daughter and a posthumously born son. By all accounts he was both a nice and talented man. And at a time when the royal family were not universally approved of, a contemporary newspaper referred to him as “one of our most popular Princes…”

Prince Leopold Inn, Upton Lovell, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 0JP   01985 850460   info@princeleopold.co.uk