The Man Behind the Legend
Thomas Cubitt, the 19th-century master builder and triple-great grandfather of Queen Consort Camilla, left a lasting impact. Queen Victoria praised him for his kind heart and simplicity, while others viewed him as a cold-hearted capitalist. Despite amassing considerable wealth, the debate over his true intentions continues.
A Royal Connection
Legend has it that Thomas refused a title or was never officially honoured because he died before completing the new wing of Buckingham Palace. Regardless, his connection to royalty endures through Queen Consort Camilla, wife of the soon-to-be-crowned King Charles III.
The Path to Nobility
Great Britain creates new hereditary and life peerages every year. Although Thomas never sought a title, his son George became a peer. Today, out of approximately 750 hereditary peers, only 92 remain in the House of Lords, including the 5th Baron of Ashcombe, a direct descendant of Thomas.
Upon Thomas’ death in 1855, his estate, Denbies, went to his widow Mary Anne and later to his male heirs. His son George, the eventual first Baron Ashcombe, attended Cambridge University and later entered Parliament as an MP for Epsom, Surrey. In 1892, George was elevated to the House of Lords, and the family seat moved to the grand Bodiam Castle.
A Royal Twist
Four Barons followed George, with the third Baron, Roland, fathering Rosalind Cubitt, mother of Queen Camilla. Though Charles initially married Lady Diana Spencer, her tragic death led to a different outcome: his marriage to Camilla and their upcoming coronation on May 6th, 2023.
An Unexpected Legacy
Thomas Cubitt, a man who never sought a title beyond “builder,” left a lasting legacy through his architectural achievements, family connections, and royal status in British history.
Join Barbara on her Garden Village of Pimlico walking tour