Mes plans – mes idees*

*Heading written by Cesar Ritz on first page of his last notebook.

Image: Victoria (London) Railway Station Terminus. 1860-62, remodelled 1909, damaged 1944 with late C20 alterations. Central entrance has paired Roman Doric columns on either side with narrow arched niches between the columns. This was the entrance to the Royal waiting rooms, used principally for meeting visiting Royalty arriving from the Continent. Later station building, facing Wilton Road and Terminus Place, designed by Alfred W Blomfield and W J Ancell, with sculpture by Henry C Fehr, built 1909-10. Central supporters have 4 mermaid caryatids carrying broken pediments with wreaths and decorated cartouche (see above). See also https://londonist.com/2014/08/the-secret-corners-and-peculiar-nicknames-of-victoria-station

Edward, Prince of Wales, was 59 when he became King (Edward VII) on 22 January 1901, on the death of his mother Queen Victoria. The Coronation was set for 26 June 1902, but only two days beforehand the King was forced to postpone it until 9 August, owing to an attack of appendicitis which required an emergency operation.

From: Ritz and Escoffier: The Hotelier, The Chef, and the Rise of the Leisure Class (2018), by Luke Barr:

“On Tuesday, June 24, two days before the coronation, London was already on holiday…

In Victoria Park, in East London, a local politician had organised a day of music and entertainment for the poorer children in the neighbourhood. Numerous actors and musicians had volunteered to take part, including Dan Leno, the famous music-hall comedian, who had assembled a slapstick cricket team for the occasion…

At Victoria Station, special trains carrying royal visitors from all over the world arrived every hour, it seemed, and were met by equally distinguished royal emissaries, who showed them to the royal waiting room, elaborately decorated…and then to their waiting carriages…

In the dining room of the Carlton that Tuesday, some of the very royalty who had been hailed in the streets were now preparing to eat…

Ritz was in the lobby when he was handed the telegraph tape: King Edward was gravely ill…It fell to Ritz to announce the news…

At the Carlton, the cancellations poured in…

Ritz remained serenely calm as he unwound the elaborate event. He was in shock. At about three o’clock that afternoon, in the middle of a conversation with his staff, he collapsed, unconscious, falling to the floor…”

On medical advice, Ritz went to Lucerne with his family to recover, though he was never fully to do so. In 1913 he was placed in a private hospital at Lausanne, and the following year he was moved to another on Lake Küssnacht in Canton Schwyz. He died at Küssnacht on 26 October 1918.

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