“My ancestor was photographed by the Queen”
Lin Hyde, via email
Lin traced her father's line to one of the best-known men in British India
Sir Dighton was something of a hero during the Indian uprising. He was knighted and received a number of notable medals – he's the only person other than a royal to ever hold the Knight Grand Cross. He even had a regiment named after him, Probyns Horse.
Around 1870, Dighton became Comptroller to the Royal Household – he held this position for 54 years, during which time he was also Secretary to the Prince of Wales and Equerry to Queen Victoria's son Alfred. On the death of Edward VII in 1910, he became an extra equerry to King George V and Comptroller to the Household of Queen Alexandra.
It appears he and the Queen had a very close relationship. She took to carrying a small pocket knife with her, as Dighton suffered from occasional seizures and it enabled her to cut off his collar to help him breathe. It must have been quite a sight to see the Queen beside a prone man on the floor with a knife to his throat!
Queen Alexandra was a keen photographer, and I've even been able to find photographs of Dighton at Sandringham that she took with her Kodak camera.
He died on 20 June 1924 and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London. The Queen placed a cross of flowers on his coffin with a hand-written note: "For my beloved General Probyn, with thanks for all he has been to me all these years - 52 years. We shall miss him so much, but he will draw us up to Heaven, where he is sure to go. God bless. From his devoted ALEXANDRA."