Over the centuries, The Red Lion has had many visitors. We pay tribute to them with our historic rooms.
These are some of the hotel's historic visitors who helped to enhance it's reputation.
ROOM 105 - QUEEN WILHELMINA'S ROOM
It is recorded in local history that Queen Wilhelmina, with George III, Princess Elizabeth and the Princess Royal, breakfasted at the Red Lion Hotel on the 12th July 1788.
ROOM 106 - RED LION ROOM
The Red Lion is of great historical interest and dates back to 1632 when Charles I is purported to have stayed here. His Royal Coat of Arms can be seen in one of the bedrooms. This was discovered in 1889 when alterations were being done. Other famous names connected with the Red Lion are Wellington, George III, Queen Charlotte, Prince Rupert, Dr. Johnson, Boswell and Shenstone the poet.
ROOM 107 - SHENSTONE'S ROOM
It is reputed that the poet Shenstone whilst staying at the Red Lion Hotel in 1750, scratched with a diamond on a pane of glass his famous lines:
Wher'er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found,
The warmest welcome at an Inn.
The original pane of glass is no longer in existence, but a reproduction of the same can be seen in this room.
ROOM 108 - CHARLES I ROOM
Charles I is reported to have visited the Red Lion in 1632 and again in 1642 accompanied by Prince Rupert, during the Civil War. In 1889, during alterations, the Royal Coat of Arms with King Charles' monogram in the centre and the date 1632 was discovered. This has been preserved in the glass panel and can be seen in this room.
ROOM 109 - DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH'S ROOM
The Red Lion was, in the days of slow travelling, the resting place of the Duke of Marlborough, on his way from Blenheim to London. He furnished one room which he kept for his command on his stately journeys through Henley. His furniture remained in the hotel until 1849 (over a century).
ROOM 110 - QUEEN CHARLOTTE'S ROOM
It is purported that Queen Charlotte, accompanied by George III, breakfasted at the Red Lion when journeying from London to Oxford, it being a notable Inn for good food and comfort.
ROOM 111 - GENERAL BLUCHER'S ROOM
When the General, in the company of the Duke of Wellington, victors of Waterloo, were on their way to Oxford to receive University Honours, a halt was made at the Red Lion for refreshments. Here twelve of Henley's prettiest girls were dispatched to entertain them. It is said that the Prussian General sought a kiss from one, Caroline Cooper, but was refused.
ROOM 112 - BOSWELL'S ROOM
Mr Boswell accompanied Dr. Johnson to the Red Lion in 1778, where they stayed one night. Boswell was the son of Lord Auchinleck of Ayrshire and first met Dr. Johnson when he was 23 years old. He is famous for the writing of "The Life of Samuel Johnson", which was published in 1719.
ROOM 113 - Dr JOHNSON'S ROOM
Dr Johnson was accompanied by Mr Boswell. They spent a night at the Red Lion in 1776. He was a great scholar, and was known as the 'Literary Lion'. A degree of 'Doctor of Law' was conferred upon him by the University of Oxford for compiling a dictionary. He lived in great poverty for most of his young life, and it was not until quite late that his worth was recognised.
ROOM 114 - PRINCESS GRACE ROOM
The Princess, formerly the actress Grace Kelly, visited the Red Lion in 1947 when her brother Jack was competing in the Diamond Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta, which he went on to win that year.
ROOM 115 - LADY MALMESBURY'S ROOM
On June 15th, Lady Malmesbury was sitting in an upstairs room of the Red Lion Inn watching the triumphant procession of General Blucher with Emperor Alexander of Russia, King of Prussia en route to Oxford. Lady Malmesbury sent Mr Dixon, the proprietor of the Red Lion, to beg Sir C Stewart to bring General Blucher into the Inn, a task in which he was successful.
ROOM 116 - THAMESIS ROOM
The figure head of Thamesis, one of the keystones of Henley Bridge, looking downstream, was carved by the Hon. Mrs. Damer, daughter of General Conway, typifying the fabled marriage between the Thames and the Isis, when they unite into the river near Dorchester, Oxfordshire.
ROOM 117 - ISIS ROOM
The figure head of Isis on one of the keystones of Henley Bridge, looking upstream, was carved - with that of Thamesis looking downstream - by the Hon. Mrs. Damer, daughter of General Conway, typifying the fabled marriage between the Thames and the Isis, when they unite one river near Dorchester, Oxfordshire.
ROOM 201 - CAROLINE COOPER'S ROOM
It is purported that when Wellington and Blucher, victors of Waterloo, were on their way to Oxford to receive University Honours, they made a halt at the Red Lion Inn for a meal. Caroline Cooper was one of the twelve local girls chosen to entertain them, and it was said that General Blucher demanded a kiss from her but she refused.
ROOM 202 - CHANTRY ROOM
The old fourteenth century Chantry House can be seen in the rear of the courtyard of the hotel. It was originally the home of the Chantry priests. It was built early in the fourteenth century. In 1664 it was used as a schoolroom, the Grammar School being the upper half and Lady Periams Bluecoats using the lower half. Later it formed part of the Red Lion Hotel for many years. Then it was again restored to the Church as a memorial to Canon J. F. Maul, a former rector of Henley, who died in 1915.
ROOM 203 - ST CATHERINE'S ROOM
St Catherine appears to have been a favourite saint of Henley and her chapel was endowed by the corporation with a considerable annual rental. She is still commemorated by the Catherine Wheel restaurant in Hart Street, which was at first probably the sign of St. Catherine with her wheel. This Inn dates back to 1541.
ROOM 206 - PRINCE RUPERT'S ROOM
It is purported that Prince Rupert in 1642, during the Civil War, visited the Red Lion in the company of Charles I, although it is not known definitely whether the Red Lion was an Inn at that time or a private residence. His brigade at the time were stationed in Henley.
ROOM 208 - PRINCE REGENT'S ROOM
The lively young Prince Regent, who later became George IV, is purported to have visited the Red Lion. On one occasion he ate no fewer than fourteen mutton chops for which the hostess at that time, Mrs Dixon Was famous.
ROOM 209 - GEORGE III ROOM
It is purported that George III accompanied by Queen Charlotte breakfasted at the Red Lion in 1788, but he was known to have frequented it and been familiar with the Inn right from his boyhood days.