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The First Christening The Season Of 1841

Youth

The Queen's First Visit To Scotland

The Queen's First Visit To Scotland

The Proroguing Of Parliament The Visit To Guildhall And The Coronation

Comments Upon The Young Queen By A Contemporaneous Writer In Blackwood

Reign Of Queen Victoria

Childhood

Childhood

The Princess Opens The Victoria Park At Bath



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The Queen's Sympathy During The Illness Of President Garfield

Fresh Attempts Against The Queen's Life And The Death Of The Duc D'orleans

Marriage And Delicacy Of The Prince's Position

The Condemnation Of The English Duel

Marriage Of The Princess Royal

Failing Health Of Prince Albert

First Meeting With Prince Albert Death Of William Iv

Second Attempt On The Queen's Life

Distribution Of Victoria Crosses By The Queen

Last Years Of The Prince Consort






Birth Of The Duke Of Connaught








Early in this year of 1850, Prince Albert, though not in his usual
health, began in deadly earnest on his colossal labors in behalf of the
great "World's Exhibition." England owed that magnificent manifestation
of her resources and her enterprise far more to him than to any other
man. He met with much opposition from that conservative class who, from
the start, denounce all new ideas and innovations, shrinking like owls
from the advancing day; and that timid class who, while admitting the
grandeur of the idea, feared it was premature. "The time has not come,"
they said; "wait a century or two." Some opposed it on the ground that it
would bring to London a host of foreigners, with foreign ideas and
perilous to English morals and religion.

In the garden of a certain grand English country-place there is a certain
summer-house with a closed door, which, if a curious visitor opens, lets
off some water-works, which give him a spray-douche. So the Prince
received, at door after door, a dash of cold water for his "foreign
enterprise." But he persevered, letting nothing dishearten him--toiling
terribly, and inspiring others to toil, till at last the site he desired
for the building was granted him, and the first Crystal Palace--the first
palace for the people in England--went slowly up, amid the sun-dropped
shades of Hyde Park. Temporary as was that marvelous structure, destined
so soon to pass away, like "the baseless fabric of a vision," I can but
think it the grandest of the monuments to the memory of the Prince-
Consort, though little did he so regard it. To his poetic yet practical
mind it was the universal temple of industry and art, the valhalla of the
heroes of commerce, the fane of the gods of science--the caravansery of
the world. That Exhibition brought together the ends of the earth,--long-
estranged human brethren sat down together in pleasant communion. It was
a modern Babel, finished and furnished, and where there was almost a
fusion, instead of, a confusion, of tongues. The "barbarous Turk" was
there, the warlike Russ, the mercenary Swiss, the passionate Italian, the
voluptuous Spaniard, the gallant Frenchman,--and yet foreboding English
citizens did not find themselves compelled to go armed, or to lock up
their plate, or their wives and daughters. In fact, this beautiful
realized dream, this accomplished fact, quickened the pulses of commerce,
the genius of invention, the soul and the arm of industry, the popular
zeal for knowledge, as nothing had ever done before.

To go back a little to family events:--On May 1st, 1850, Prince Albert,
in writing to his step-mother at Coburg, told a bit of news very
charmingly: "This morning, after rather a restless night (being Walpurgis
night, that was very appropriate), and while the witches were careering
on the Blocksberg, under Ernst Augustus' mild sceptre, a little boy
glided into the light of day and has been received by the sisters with
jubilates. 'Now we are just as many as the days of the week!' was
the cry, and a bit of a struggle arose as to who was to be Sunday. of
well-bred courtesy the honor was conceded to the new-comer. Victoria is
well, and so is the child."

This Prince was called Arthur William Patrick Albert. The first name was
in honor of the Duke of Wellington, on whose eighty-first birthday the
boy was born; William was for the Prince of Prussia, now Emperor of
Germany; Patrick was for Ireland in general, and the "stout old woman" of
Dublin in particular.

This year both the Queen and the country lost a great and valued friend
in Sir Robert Peel, who was killed by being thrown from his horse. There
was much mourning in England among all sorts of people for this rarely
noble, unennobled man. The title of Baronet he had. inherited; it is said
he declined a grander title, and he certainly recorded in his will a wish
that no one of his sons should accept a title on account of his
services to the country--which was a great thing for a man to do in
England; and after his death, his wife was so proud of bearing his name
that she declined a peerage offered to her--which was a greater thing for
a woman to do in England.

Not long after, occurred the death of the ex-King of France, at
Claremont. McCarthy sums up his character very tersely, thus: "The
clever, unwise, grand, mean old man." Louis Philippe's meanness was in
his mercenary and plotting spirit, when a rich man and a king--his grand
qualities were his courage and cheerfulness, when in poverty and exile.

The Royal Family again visited Edinburgh, and stopped for a while at
Holyrood--that quaint old Palace of poor Mary Stuart, whose sad, sweet
memory so pervades it, like a personal atmosphere, that it seems she has
only gone but for a little walk, or ride, with her four Maries, and will
soon come in, laughing and talking French, and looking passing beautiful.
Queen Victoria had then a romantic interest in the hapless Queen of
Scots. She said to Sir Archibald Alison, "I am glad I am descended from
Mary; I have nothing to do with Elizabeth."

From Edinburgh to dear Balmoral, from whence the Prince writes: "We try
to strengthen our hearts amid the stillness and solemnity of the
mountains."

The Queen's heart especially needed strengthening, for she was dreading a
blow which soon fell upon her in the death of her dearest friend, her
aunt, the Queen of the Belgians. She mourned deeply and long for this
lovely and gifted woman, this "angelic soul," as Baron Stockmar called
her.

On April 29, 1851, the Queen paid a private visit to the Exhibition, and
wrote: "We remained two hours and a half, and I came back quite beaten,
and my head bewildered from the myriads of beautiful and wonderful things
which now quite dazzle one's eyes. Such efforts have been made, and our
people have shown such taste in their manufactures. All owing to this
great Exhibition, and to Albert--all to him!"

May 1st, which was the first anniversary of little Arthur's birth, was
the great opening-day, when Princes and people took possession of that
mighty crystal temple, and the "Festival of Peace" began.

The Queen's description in her diary is an eloquent outpouring of pride
and joy, and gratitude. One paragraph ends with these words: "God bless
my dearest Albert. God bless my dearest country, which has shown itself
so great to-day! One felt so grateful to the great God, who seemed to
pervade and bless all."

Her Majesty wrote that the scene in the Park as they drove through--the
countless carriages, the vast crowd, the soldiers, the music, the
tumultuous, yet happy excitement everywhere, reminded her of her
coronation day; but when she entered that great glass house, over which
floated in the sunny air the flags of all nations, within which were the
representatives of all nations, and when she walked up to her place in
the centre, conducted by the wizard who had conjured up for the world
that magic structure, and when the two stood there, with a child on
either hand, before the motley multitude, cheering in all languages--
then, Victoria felt her name, and knew she had come to her real
coronation, as sovereign, wife, and mother.

Shortly after this great day, Prince Albert distinguished himself by a
remarkably fine speech at an immense meeting of the "Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts." Such shoals of foreigners
being then in London, the Society felt that they must be casting in their
nets. Lord John Russell wrote to congratulate the Queen, who, next to the
heathen, was most interested in the success of this speech. Her reply was
very characteristic. After saying that she had been quite "sure that the
Prince would say the right thing, from her entire confidence in his tact
and judgment," she added, "The Queen at the risk of not appearing
sufficiently modest (and yet why should a Woman ever be modest about her
husband's merits?) must say that she thinks Lord John will admit now that
the Prince is possessed of very extraordinary powers of mind and heart.
She feels so proud of being his wife, that she cannot refrain from paying
herself a tribute to his noble character."

Ah, English husbands should be loyal beyond measure to the illustrious
lady, who has set such a matchless example of wifely faith, pride and
devotion. But it will be a pity if in preaching up to their wives her
example, they forget the no less admirable example of the Prince-Consort.





Next: Close Of The Great Exhibition-anecdote

Previous: Second Attempt On The Queen's Life



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