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Meeting Report - February 2019

There were over 60 members present at the meeting of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society on Tuesday 26th February. The speaker was a swashbuckling Cavalier (alias Max Keen), who gave a talk on, "Prince Rupert of the Rhine, King Charles First's Pirate Prince." Max admitted that Prince Rupert was his favourite hero of all time and he gave a very enthusiastic talk, complete with dog, on a person, few of those present knew anything about.

Prince Rupert, nephew of King Charles the First, was born in Prague in 1619. His ambition was to be a soldier and from a young age he fought in Europe after spending his boyhood in Holland. He was a very self-willed, determined youth and when he came to England, proved himself to be a loyal Royalist and fought for his uncle, King Charles First, in the Civil War. However, although he was war wise his military tactics were questionable and he had mixed success in his battles.

One of his chief victories was in Worcestershire at Powick Bridge, where he defeated the Parliamentary Army. He knew the area well, visiting Stourbridge and Lye. He even took part in the burning to the ground of Birmingham, which was just beginning to evolve as an industrial centre.

He made a clever, dashing figure, and although he had mistresses, he never married but did have illegitimate children. He also had a deep affection for his large white poodle, Boy, who used to join him on the battle fields and eventually got shot.

In later years he became the Lord High Admiral to the King, sailing to Ireland, the West Indies and South Africa where he earned the nick name, King Charles's Pirate Prince. He became Governor of the Hudson Bay Company and had Rupert's Land named after him.

He also had many interests in Science and Art, and was said to have a charismatic personality. He died from pleurisy in 1682 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His life was amazing and high powered. It was not difficult to see why this fascinating Stuart was Max's favourite hero and as ever, Max's performance and slides enthralled us throughout the evening.

The Annual Dinner will be held on June 7th and the next meeting of the Society will be on Tuesday 26th March at 7.30pm in the Church Hall, when Richard Simpson will give a talk on Edward Burne-Jones - His Life and Works. The meeting on Tuesday, 23rd of April is a talk by Mary Bodfish, Early Years in Soho. Everyone is welcome.

Pat Evans