A rather distinguished if slightly demure voice came from the Facetime link with a gentleman calling from France.
Attempts to show a fishing tackle collection on a mobile phone are always fraught with difficulties so the agreement was made that when in England the following week, he would call me from his Cotswolds residence.
Call made and appointment made, I assumed I was meeting a couple of holiday makers enjoying the golden triangle delights of the Cotswolds.
A 15thcentury country house was the location and I was greeted with warmth and good humour, and as always I produced a packet of choc chip cookies to get the kettle on.
Tackle on show in the study, I was immediately drawn to a reel engraved HRH Prince Axel of Denmark!
Family? I quipped – Yes, it’s my grandfather! So the conversation opened an amazing story of Prince Axel’s love of all sports especially fishing and sailing.
The collection, mainly game orientated, contains some very interesting pieces.
The reel engraved HRH etc. is a Thompson USA perfect style reel with 3 spool and boxes, rare to find these days, as well as a Hardy salmon Uniqua reel with auxiliary press button brake, a Hardy Perfect 4-1/2” reel with revolving line guide, Farlow BWP reel and spool in a special order twin block leather case, fabulous Hardy Atlas wood and brass salmon net, Hardy huge brass scales, line driers, and a good collection of traditional salmon flies. Many of the rods and boxes having a hand painted red & white Danish flag flash, similar to a naval insignia, no surprise with the Prince’s naval background.
In 1936 his Bernstorff estate villa, the residence of his father Prince Valdemar was burned down due to a maid leaving an iron plugged into the socket. Prince Axel rebuilt it with a naval themed bridge on the upper terrace AND a compass set in marble in the front reception hall.
The Villa was bought by the British Government in 1978 and is now the residence of the British Ambassadeur to Denmark. Prince Axel’s book library remains intact today containing a large fishing and sailing content, many volumes signed by visiting royalty.
A thoroughly enjoyable visit and we aim to rehome the tackle with Hardy and Danish collectors.
Richard found this comedy clip, in which HRH Prince Axel visits Charlie Chaplin in 1919 and takes part in a sketch, comedy gold: