The Mauve Master Room
Stay: The Castle
The Mauve Room and its adjoining dressing room came to be known as The Royal Suite, having provided sweet slumber and other delights to numerous royalty, such as Queen Margaret of Sweden, The Duke and Duchess of Connaught (Queen Victoria’s favourite son, and also Desmond Leslie’s godfather), Prince Pierre of Monaco (the father of Prince Rainier III) and Prince Kessee, a delightful black prince of a pre-war African kingdom which is no longer in existence.
We fear his subjects may have eaten him at the banquet celebrating his return because he was never heard from him again! Before leaving he gave Lady Leonie Leslie a beautiful little Sealyham pup called ‘Boozoo’ (derived from the Swahili word for kiss), which excitedly decorated the carpet whenever anyone called its name. The Duke of Connaught gave Lady Leonie the fine triptych silver mirror on the dressing table, bearing her initials entwined in a double L, the same device used by the `Sun King’ Louis XIV.
The loo beyond the bathroom is called “The Throne Room”, in honour of all the royalty who reigned there.
In 1910 while he was Commander in Chief at Kilmainham Hospital, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, graciously honoured Castle Leslie Estate with a visit. Triumphal arches of flowers were erected, the carpenter fell off his ladder, and the bell ringer’s rope broke from over use while practising. An extra footman was summoned to wait table. For this, the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast loyally sent us their “best waiter”; a purple faced drunk who was thrilled at the prospect of actually serving royalty. He was squeezed into the dark blue Leslie livery and given a huge soufflé to carry into the dining room. He carried it proudly up to the Duke, shouting “Yer Royal Highness, here’s yer dinner. It’s a Poooooooooooooof—-!” and blew the soufflé all over the dinner table. Hasty to make amends, he pounded the table with his fist while declaring “Yer Royal Highness, I’ll have you know we’re so loyal in Portadown, we’re still mourning yer Mum.” (Queen Victoria had died in 1901). A right royal time was had (though not always as planned) whenever the Duke and Duchess came to Glaslough. In their old age, they rather touchingly told Granny that the only fun they’d ever had in their lives had been with her.
A noble potty neighbour, not exactly known for romance, was so enamoured by another guest of the Mauve Room, the lovely Queen Margaret of Sweden, that upon her stay he hid himself in the big white wardrobe in the room before she came up to bed, not realising the catch could not be undone from inside. Halfway through the night, disturbed by muffled thuds and weird groans, Queen Margaret threw open the wardrobe, and a half suffocated Earl tumbled out. She was not amused.
Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful also slept in the Mauve Room whilst staying at Castle Leslie in the 1960s. Unfortunately, one weekend the inmates of a girls’ reformatory school, run by local nuns, chose to picnic by the lake. On hearing that “Mr McJeager” was in residence, they chased him round the lake screaming for blood. The only place where he felt he might be safe was on top of St. Salvator’s church tower. So up he was sent, while a rescue plan was worked out with the good nuns. Finally the tough delinquents agreed to moderate their behaviour in exchange for autographs, and Mick was eventually coaxed down.
There was a slight problem in that no one had any paper, only thick green felt tipped pens. The problem was however quickly overcome – arms, legs, even bosoms were bared, and the girls went away whooping with joy. Six weeks later the Head Nun rang in despair. The girls would rather go on hunger strike than wash. What was she to do? Desmond suggested `Tattoo them, then scrub them.’ And so passed another tranquil weekend at Glaslough.
W.B. Yeats the poet, Sir John and Lady Lavery (the famous Irish painter and his beautiful American wife Hazel Lavery whom Michael Collins was in love with), Monsignor Giovanni Benelli (who later became Archbishop of Florence and at one time served as personal secretary to Giovanni Battista Montini, who went on to become Pope Paul VI in 1963) and Princess Marthe Bibesco, the famous Romanian writer, have all graced the Mauve Room with a stay.
From one window in the room, there are views of the surrounding meadows and cattle, whilst from the other there are views of the formal terraces. Lady Constance liked formality, Sir John preferred the rustic. So they devised the curving balustrades of the exterior accordingly.
This room is unchanged since it was first built, save for the curtains. All the white furniture was designed by Sir John Leslie, 1st Bt., and built on the Estate. Unfortunately, the original curtains crumbled after 110 years, but new replicas were specially made by hand and now adorn the windows in the room.
Check other Castle Rooms
The Castle at Castle Leslie Estate exudes old world grandeur and offers complete respite from the world.