When Empress Elisabeth needed a base for hunting in Cheshire her Secretary Karl Linger wrote to his former employer Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn 6th Bart. Linger had been his Chef. When the request came in, Viscount Combermere was staying at Sir Watkin’s mansion Wynnstay Park at Ruabon in North Wales. Combermere agreed to rent his home to Sisi for £600 per month.
When Empress Elisabeth stayed in Cheshire, she went out hunting with Sir Watkin Wynn-William’s Wynnstay hounds many times. He had been a Master of Hounds from the age of 23 and had hunted four days a week throughout his life.
Sir Watkin Wynn-Williams was born in London in 1820, the son of the 5th Baronet and Lady Antonia Clive, granddaughter of Robert Clive of India. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He did not allow his university education to interfere with his love of hunting. In 1839 Sir Watkin left Oxford and joined the Life Guards. The following year Watkin Williams Wynn’s father died and he became 6th Baronet, inheriting the largest landed estates in North Wales.
In 1852 Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn married his cousin Marie Emily Williams Wynn in London. They had two daughters. On one occasion Empress Elisabeth was somewhat surprised to find Sir Watkin’s daughters aged eight and 14 saddled up and ready to go. When Sisi asked who looked after the girls, the reply was that everybody did.
From the age of 21, Sir Watkin was Member of Parliament for Denbighshire until he died. He was also a leading freemason being made Provincial Grand Master of North Wales and Shropshire. Sir Watkin Williams- Wynn had an interest in the Welsh National Eisteddfod and was a member of the Bardic order.
Flintshire neighbour Sir Richard Pulestone called Sir Watkin’s father the ‘Prince in Wales’ and the same was said of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn when he died in 1885.
Attributed to Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, June 1873