Home Archives & Manuscripts Archive Contents WILLIAM OF GLOUCESTER, HRH Prince (A73)

Prince William, who died in a flying accident on 28 Aug. 1972, became RAI Patron early in that year. He launched the Centenary Appeal at the Martini-Rossi Terrace, New Zealand House, on 12 July. His African Collection was presented to the RAI by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester at the Conversazione held at the Museum of Mankind, 6 Burlington Gardens, on 4 Oct. 1973. The Collection was presented later to the Dept of Ethnography, British Museum. See CM/101/3, 6, Council minutes, CM/101/3, 6, Items 23, 38, 13 Apr. and 12 Oct. 1972, and Report of the Council, 1972.

Six photographs of items from the collection are stored in the RAI Photo Collection

  1    Memorial service, St Clement Danes, 5 Oct. 1972 – order of service (printed)

  2    W.B. Fagg, Keeper, Museum of Mankind (WBF) to Sir Jack Wolfenden, Director, British Museum (BM), 30 Jan. 1973 – on the Centenary Appeal [see A45]; asks permission for RAI to hold a Conversazione at the Museum of Mankind ‘probably in the early summer’; on dates; on BM providing facilities, preferably free (tpc.)

  3    Sir Jack Wolfenden to WBF, 12 Feb. – in principle agrees to ‘a suitably friendly gesture’ from BM to RAI; asks him to get in touch with Miss Youngman (tp.)

  4    Mrs Barbara Bentley, Administrative Secretary, RAI, to WBF, 25 May – it would be very helpful to have a definite date for the function; possible that Prince Charles, RAI’s Royal Patron, might attend; on a Centenary Dinner to be held on 7 Nov. at Grocers Hall [see A45/9/74, A45/11/5]; on putting Prince William’s collection on display at the dinner (tp.)

  5    Ibid., 5 June – has written to Buckingham Palace in case Prince Charles can attend the Soiree; on the showcases and plaques for the display, at Grocers Hall and at Soiree (tp.)

  6    WBF to Miss Barbara Youngman, Administrative Assistant, BM, 18 June – had hoped to hold Conversazione to coincide with exhibitions on the Maya and on Kingship but this not possible; on other dates; asks whether BM’s generous hospitality would extend to provision of food and drinks (tp.)

  7    Barbara Youngman to WBF, 26 July – has noted that 4 Oct. fixed as date for Conversazione; the BM could not provide refreshments as it is not a BM reception (tp.)

  8    WBF to Sir Jack Wolfenden, ibid. – on date of Conversazione; Sir Jack will receive formal invitation; the Chairman [Lord Trevelyan] will also be invited; on the presentation by the Duchess of Gloucester of Prince William’s collection of African art; asks whether the collection might be displayed for three weeks afterwards (tpc.)

  9    Sir Jack Wolfenden to WBF, 30 July – had heard of the date of Conversazione; Chairman has been told; agrees that the collection could remain on display for three weeks (tp.)

 10    The Times, 7 Aug. – ‘Princely gift’; on the presentation of Prince William’s collection to RAI (newspaper cutting)

 11    Barbara Bentley to WBF, 18 Aug. – on progress with plans for Conversazione; the Duchess of Gloucester will stay approximately an hour and a half; on showing films; on library tours; on further practical arrangements. 4 leaves (tp.)

 12    Barbara Bentley to Mr Gowers, Museum of Mankind, 29 Aug. – encloses programme for the Conversazione; anxious to conduct the evening in close agreement with his administration; sets out problems and asks for help where necessary; on showing films; on entry tickets; on tables needed for displays; on library tours; thinks she should visit Museum to discuss the evening with him; is deeply grateful for the help he is giving. 3 leaves (tpc.)

 .1    Suggested programme for Conversazione (tp. with autogr. notes)

 13    Barbara Bentley to Lord & Lady Trevelyan, Museum of Mankind, 29 Aug. – encloses programme for Conversazione; it would be an honour if they could attend; if so, asks if he would be part of the Reception Committee for the Duchess of Gloucester; refers to Lord Trevelyan’s role as Sponsor of the RAI Centenary Appeal (tpc.)

 14    Ibid. to Lord & Lady Wolfenden, ibid. – ibid. (tpc.)

 15    Margaret Bean, ‘Tomorrow’s News’, to WBF, 4 Sept. – encloses draft for next press release about the Conversazione; asks him to look through it; Miss Kirkpatrick [RAI Librarian 1948-76] has approved the section on the Library; she said press could see the collection on the morning of 4 Oct. (tp.)

 16    nd – draft of press release about the Conversazione [enclosed with A73/15]

 17    nd – final version of press release. 2 leaves (tp.)

 .1    Compliments slip from ‘Tomorrow’s News’ (printed)

 18    [Barbara Bentley] to [those taking part in the Conversazione], 24 Sept. – on arrangements for setting up stands; on car parking; encloses a rough sketch of ground and first floors showing placements [A73/21, leaf 2]; on press and TV coverage; other details; she has conveyed heartfelt thanks to WBF; thanks recipient for ‘enormously encouraging support’. 2 leaves (tp.)

 19    Barbara Bentley to Prof. Edmund Leach, RAI President, 26 Sept. – on arrangements and timings for the event. 2 leaves (tp. with autogr. note to WBF)

 20    Ibid. to WBF, 27 Sept. – has written to those taking part [A73/18] and to Sir John Wolfenden and Lord Trevelyan, setting out order of events for Duchess’s visit; summarizes this (tp.)

 21    Conversazione held at the Museum of Mankind, 4 Oct. 1973 – programme; plan of BM ground floor and first floor. 2 leaves (mimeo.)

 22    List of exhibitions open during the Conversazione (tp.)

 23    Speech of HRH The Duchess of Gloucester on presenting the Collection (mimeo.)

 24    President’s (Prof. E.R. Leach) reply. 2 leaves (tp.)

 25    Description of the items in the collection by W.B. Fagg. 4 leaves (tpc. annotated by WBF)

 .1    Compliments slip from WBF to Miss Kirkpatrick (printed with autogr. notes)

 26    Description of the items in the collection by W.B. Fagg. 3 leaves (tp. with autogr. additions)

 27    Brain H. MacDermot (Council member, 1972-5) to WBF, 31 Dec. – wonders what happened to the few items which were not included in the showcases; perhaps he should retrieve them; will offer them back to the Duchess of Gloucester (tp.)

 28    22 Mar. 1993 – print-out of the items in the collection presented to the Dept. of Ethnography. 14 leaves