THE Bridge Inn is being renovated by pub chain Harvey’s. Will future visitors know the boozer was home to a king? Sam Brooke reports

HISTORICALLY, French aristocracy landing on English shores were not received well.

The Hundred Years’ War in the 14th and 15th centuries is an extreme example of that.

But when the deposed king Louis Philippe landed in disguise at Newhaven on March 3, 1848, his reception could not have been warmer.

“We are safe on your hospitable shores,” the Illustrated London News reported him saying.

The ex-king had been forced to swap the cushy confines of the Palais-Royal for a Newhaven pub after he was ousted as the fiery February Revolution took hold in Paris.

The Argus:

Eager to escape the threat of the chopping block, Louis Philippe shaved his whiskers, discarded his wig, and disguised himself in an old cloak and cap before slipping out of the city.

First posing as an Englishman and hitching a ride on a fishing boat to Le Havre, the disgraced king secretly chartered the Express steamer to England.

As the ship pulled in to Newhaven harbour, Louis Philippe’s confidant General Dumas rowed to shore and arranged a room for the royal party at the Bridge Inn.

Of course, he did not tell the landlady her guest would be former royalty.

At 11am an elderly gentleman dressed in an old green blouse and a travelling cap stepped ashore.

No one could have guessed he was King Louis Philippe until one excited resident yelled: “Welcome to England King Louis Philippe!”

The Argus:

Entering the Bridge Inn with his wife Maria Amalia and five confidantes, the king wept when he realised he had reached safety.

Word quickly spread of Louis Philippe’s arrival.

“Mr Catt, of Bishopstone, who had the honour of an introduction to Louis Philippe two years ago repaired to the Bridge Inn,” the Illustrated London News reported.

“The king at once recognised Mr Catt and received his congratulations on his escape with much emotion.”

Louis Philippe told his aristocrat friend of his nightmare experience in Paris.

“Ah, Mr Catt, we have had a fearful time of it,” he said.

“We have been eight days in flight and have been, it may be said, within two hours of being murdered. But, thank God, here we are safe on your hospitable shores.

“It is not the first time, Mr Catt, that I have experienced the generous hospitality of England.

“The good people of the inn have done everything to render us comfortable and we shall do extremely well.”

The Argus:

Gifts soon came flooding in to Louis Philippe and his party.

The Brighton Railway and Continental Steam-Packet Company chartered a train for the ex-king to take wherever he pleased.

A friend from Brighton known as Mr Packham offered to exchange Louis Philippe’s francs into English currency and buy him some new clothes.

“On Mr Packham’s arrival, he was charged to proceed to Brighton in order to repair the deficiencies of the royal wardrobe,” the Illustrated London News wrote.

The Argus:

Even the editor of the Sussex Advertiser visited Louis Philippe’s quarters to net an exclusive interview.

What the journalist found was a surprisingly chipper man for someone whose life had been in danger a week earlier.

“We found Louis Philippe dressed plainly in black, without his wig, and looking cheerful and refreshed,” the editor wrote.

“The queen, however, appeared much worn and fatigued.

“The ex-king intimated his wish that the names of his attendants should not transpire, observing how desirous he was not to compromise in the eyes of their countrymen those faithful friends who had exposed themselves to danger for his sake in the hour of peril and need.

“In alluding to recent events, his majesty pointedly disclaimed any feelings of animosity or resentment against those who had helped to hurl him from the lofty position he had lately occupied.”

After his short stay in Newhaven, Louis Philippe eventually settled in a leafy Surrey estate until his death two years later.