Princess Anne unveils memorial to screen goddess Anna Neagle

17:15 06 March 2014

Princess Anne unveils memorial to Anna Neagle

Princess Anne unveils memorial to Anna Neagle


Princess Anne came to east London today to put something right after 28 years when she unveiled a memorial to Dame Anna Neagle, one of the best-loved British and Hollywood screen legends who has a street named after her where she was born.

Sisters Hannah and Alice Gill lay flowers at grave of their famous great-great auntSisters Hannah and Alice Gill lay flowers at grave of their famous great-great aunt

The Princess Royal lifted the Union flag covering the newly-installed memorial stone on the Robertson family grave marking the final resting place of the stage and screen goddess.

Neagle died in 1986 and was buried in the grave alongside her award-winning film director husband Herbert Wilcox, who died in 1977.

But fans who came to pay homage to the star of 13 award-winning films could never find the grave at Manor Park’s City of London Cemetery because she was interred in her married name Florence Marjorie Wilcox.

Princess Anne put matters right with today’s unveiling and met members of Neagle’s family.

In the cul-de-sac named after their famous great-great aunt are Olivia Bourne (far left) with Alice and Hannah Gill and George and Will BourneIn the cul-de-sac named after their famous great-great aunt are Olivia Bourne (far left) with Alice and Hannah Gill and George and Will Bourne

Neagle’s biographer Michael Thornton said: “Fans from all round the world were frustrated when they arrived and couldn’t find her grave—we got so many angry emails complaining, including a group from California saying they’d come all that way for nothing.”

Among special guests at the unveiling were film, TV and radio veteran Leslie Phillips, who turns 90 in two months, and 1960s pop star Joe Brown, both of whom have appeared on the London stage with Dame Anna in their careers.

Anna Neagle’s great great-niece Hannah Gill, 21, who presented a bouquet to Princess Anne, later went with her sister and three cousins to see Anna Neagle Close in Forest Gate, the cul-de-sac a mile away named after the famous actress who was born in the neighbourhood in 1904.

“We never knew about the street,” Hannah said. “How amazing there’s a turning named after her.”

The five cousins looked around for a few minutes in the warm lunchtime sun, sitting on a garden wall, before the chauffeur hurried them back from their ‘close’ encounter.


Latest Stories

Yesterday, 17:59
Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon looks on (pic: Richard Sellers/Empics)

Orient boss watched side concede late on to London rivals after John Marquis had earned a red card in the 58th minute at Brisbane Road

Mathieu Baudry
Yesterday, 17:04
Leyton Orient players celebrate after Jay Simpson scores again (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 1 AFC Wimbledon 1

Jay Simpson
Yesterday, 16:00
Papa John's in East Ham is holding a pizza party in aid of Text Santa (file picture: Steve Parsons/PA)

Do you like pizza? Do you like supporting charity appeals?

Yesterday, 12:00
Jonny and Alistair Brownlee with their London 2012 Olympic medals. Picture: Ian West/PA Images

They’re two of the country’s most famous sporting siblings used to giving it their all to win in one of the most gruelling races around.

Yesterday, 10:00
Leyton Orient forward Jay Simpson celebrates with Ollie Palmer after scoring against Plymouth Argyle (pic: Simon O'Connor).

League Two top goalscorer Jay Simpson a doubt for match at Brisbane Road

Mathieu Baudry
Yesterday, 08:00
Caritas Anchor House boss Keith Fernett on the contstruction site of the charity's planned

An international law firm has agreed to help out embattled homelessness charity Caritas Anchor House after it was hit with a £1m VAT bill earlier this year.

Canning Town
Fri, 18:47
London Ambulance Service has been recommended for special measures following a CQC report

A London ambulance chief has downplayed fears that the service isn’t ready for a major terrorist attack following a scathing report by health inspectors yesterday.

London Ambulance Service
Fri, 17:53
Action from the latest indoor cricket league matches at UEL

Latest news from indoor cricket league

Most read


Section Boys, Big Tipper, Big Narstie, Lady Leshurr, Trapstar, and UFest street team members

We’ve got 10 pairs of tickets to give away to watch some of the country’s best and brightest urban music talent at UFest, London’s official youth festival.

Read more
MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Digital Edition

Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder