Rich and famous visit The Victoria Falls Hotel
As a hotel that welcomes the most discerning of international travellers, The Victoria Falls Hotel had always delighted in having its share of the rich and famous of the world, hosting them on behalf of Zimbabwe in a manner in which these travellers have come to expect.
Royalty from various countries have stayed or dined at the hotel, dating back to the first such guest, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein – born Princess Helene, a daughter of Queen Victoria. The most recent British royal was Viscount Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret, who spent time in the hotel with his new wife on their honeymoon in the 1990s.
Perhaps the biggest royal visit, however, was in April 1947 when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) stayed with their daughters Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret while on a tour of Southern Africa to say thank to the people of the region for their support of Britain in World War 2. They stayed during the Easter weekend and one of the highlights of the stay was to take part in the Eucharistic service in the hotel’s own chapel on the Sunday morning.
Other guests have included Hollywood stars – most recently David Hasselhof of TV and film fame – as well as sports personalities, famous singers and dancers, business leaders and political heavyweights. Sometimes they are happy to be seen and photographed, but sometimes they insist of being incognito – something not easy to do but with which the hotel’s management and staff are happy to comply.
And the feedback from them? Said Peter Sellers, one-time Goon and film star: “Wow … what a place and what a view … I’ve been treated royally and hospitably.”