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Christmas at Haunted Sandringham
The Norfolk retreat of the Royal family, considered one of the most haunted Royal homes, has been the private home of British monarchs since 1862. Several days before Christmas this year, the Queen will leave Buckingham Palace and spend six weeks at Sandringham House for the holiday season.
This will be Kate Middleton’s first Christmas away from her own family, and with the Royal family—scary enough in itself—but will she also be meeting some of the past members—dare I say “passed members” of the Royal family as well?
Each Christmas Eve, the spirits stir at Sandringham House. Christmas cards are thrown all over the floor of the servants’ quarters, blankets are pulled off of beds, and something breathes down the maids’ necks. The activity usually lasts for a period of six to eight weeks, which is about the same length of time that the Queen stays at Sandringham House.
According to an estate courtier, “Everyone believes there are ghosts because so many have -experienced them, ¬including Prince Charles. There are old parts of the house where nobody wants to go or be alone, and Kate will be told all about them. If she goes wandering around the house alone she could be in for a nasty ¬surprise.”
Prince Charles and his valet Ken Stronach once had an uncanny experience when they were looking for some old prints in the mid-1980s. They “both suddenly felt very cold.” and “were convinced someone was behind them…but no one was there.”
The library of the House is considered to be one of the most haunted rooms. A napping servant once awakened to books flying off the shelves. The hands on an old clock in the room often move by themselves as well.
The housemaids believe that the most frightening spot in the house is the sergeant footman’s corridor on the second floor. They only clean that area of Sandringham in pairs or groups. Light switches are turned on and off, footsteps are heard walking down the corridor, and doors are heard opening and closing. The most terrifying noise “is a wheezing sound that resembles a huge, grotesque lung breathing in and out.”
One of the most famous occurrences, believed to be true by the Queen herself, was reported in 1996 by footman Shaun Croasdale. He saw the ghost of Tony Jarred, the Queen’s favorite steward who had died a year previously, in the cellar. Croasdale was very frightened to see the image of Tony “dressed in his familiar blue apron.” He dropped several bottles of wine and ran screaming from the cellar.
Jarred had died at the age of 60 after dedicated service to the Royal family for 38 years. The Queen had known him his entire life, and according to a royal insider, was very fond of him and takes comfort from knowing that he is still around.
The Queen has had a few paranormal experiences herself. She has also seen Tony’s ghost; and, as a child, she and her sister Princess Margaret saw the ghost of Queen Elizabeth I at Windsor.
The uncle of Prince Philip, Prince Christopher of Greece, is reported to have once seen the head and shoulders of a woman reflected in a mirror while staying there. Evidently, later on during his stay he saw a portrait of the woman. Her name was Dorothy Walpole, and she had died in 1726. King George IV also saw her ghost once in Raynham Hall in Norfolk.
Advice for Kate from Phil Dampier, the author who wrote “What’s in the Queen’s Handbag: And Other Royal Secrets” would include not making any jokes about the ghosts in front of the Queen.
Steiger, Brad. Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places. Detroit: Visible Ink, 2003.
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