Most ViewedThe First Christening The Season Of 1841
Comments Upon The Young Queen By A Contemporaneous Writer In Blackwood
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
Reign Of Queen Victoria
Least ViewedThe Condemnation Of The English Duel
The Emperor And Empress Of France Visit Windsor
Stress And Strain
Victoria The Great
Victoria's First Christmas At Windsor Castle As Queen
Distribution Of Victoria Crosses By The Queen
The Queen's Sympathy During The Illness Of President Garfield
Birth Of The Duke Of Connaught
Failing Health Of Prince Albert
"Upon the good education of princes, and especially of those who are
destined to govern, the welfare of the world in these days very
The love of children was always a strong connecting link between the
Queen and her people. No trouble was ever spared by her to obtain
the best possible advice on the training of her own family. The
nursery was as well governed as her kingdom.
Acting upon the advice of Baron Stockmar, the Queen determined to
have some one at the head on whom she could thoroughly rely, as her
many occupations prevented her from devoting so much time to these
duties as she could have wished. Lady Lyttelton, who had been a
lady-in-waiting, was appointed governess to the Royal Family in 1842,
and for eight years she held this post, winning the affection and
respect of her young pupils and the gratitude of the Queen and her
From time to time the Queen wrote her views upon the subject. "The
greatest maxim of all is," she declared, "that the children should
be brought up as simply, and in as domestic a way as possible; that
(not interfering with their lessons) they should be as much as
possible with their parents, and learn to place their greatest
confidence in them in all things."
Training in religion, to be of real and lasting value, must be given
by the mother herself, and in 1844 the Queen noted with regret that
it was not always possible for her to be with the Princess Royal when
the child was saying her prayers.
"I am quite clear," she said, "that she ought to be taught to have
great reverence for God and for religion, but that she should have
the feeling of devotion and love which our Heavenly Father encourages
His earthly children to have for Him, and not one of fear and
trembling; and that the thoughts of death and an after-life should
not be represented in an alarming and forbidding view, and that she
should be made to know as yet no difference of creeds, and not think
that she can only pray on her knees, or that those who do not kneel
are less fervent and devout in their prayers."
On November 21, 1840, the Queen's first child, Victoria Adelaide Mary
Louisa, the Princess Royal, was born. The Prince's care of his wife
"was like that of a mother, nor could there be a kinder, wiser, or
more judicious nurse." Only for a moment was he disappointed that
his first child was a daughter and not a son.
The children were all brought up strictly and were never allowed to
appear at Court until a comparatively late age. They were all taught
to use their hands as well as their heads, and at Osborne, in the
Swiss cottage, the boys worked at carpentering and gardening, while
the girls were employed in learning cooking and housekeeping.
Christmas was always celebrated in splendid fashion by the family,
and the royal children were always encouraged to give as presents
something which they had made with their own hands. Lessons in riding,
driving, and swimming also formed part of their training, for the
Queen was wise enough to realize that open-air exercise was very
necessary for the health of her children.
In 1846 the question arose as to who should educate the Prince of
Wales (born 1841). A pamphlet on the subject had been published and
created general interest. Baron Stockmar was again consulted, and
gave it as his opinion that the Prince's education should be one
"which will prepare him for approaching events"--that is, he was to
be so educated that he would be in touch with the movements of the
age and able to respond sympathetically to the wishes of the nation.
The rapid growth of democracy throughout Europe made it absolutely
necessary that his education should be of a different kind. The task
of governing well was becoming more and more difficult, and reigning
monarchs were criticized in an open fashion, such as had not hitherto
been possible. After much thought the post was given to Mr Henry Birch
(formerly a master at Eton College, and at that time rector of
Prestwich, near Manchester), who had made a very favourable
impression upon the Queen and her husband.
Plain people as well as princes must be educated, and this fact was
never lost sight of by the Queen and her husband. In 1857 the Prince
called attention to the fact that there were at that time no fewer
than 600,000 children between the ages of three and fifteen absent
from school but known to be employed in some way; he pointed out
also--and this seems in these days difficult to believe--that no less
than two million children were not attending school, and were, so
far as could be ascertained, not employed in any way at all.
The most interesting visitors whom the Queen entertained during her
early married life were the Emperor Nicholas of Russia and Louis
Napoleon of France. The Emperor Nicholas came to England, as he told
the Queen, to see things with his own eyes, and to win, if he could,
the confidence of English statesmen. "I esteem England highly; but
as to what the French say of me, I care not."
He was, however, undoubtedly jealous of this country's growing
friendship with her old enemy, France, but any attempt to weaken this
met with no encouragement.
The Queen, in writing to her uncle Leopold, said, "He gives Albert
and myself the impression of a man who is not happy, and on whom
the burden of his immense power and position weighs heavily and
painfully. He seldom smiles, and when he does, the expression is
not a happy one. He is very easy to get on with." In a further letter
she continued, "By living in the same house together quietly and
unrestrainedly (and this Albert, and with great truth, says is the
great advantage of these visits, that I not only see these great
people, but know them), I got to know the Emperor and he to know
me. . . . He is sincere, I am certain, sincere even in his most
despotic acts--from a sense that that is the only way to
govern. . . . He feels kindness deeply--and his love for his wife
and children, and for all children, is very great. He has a strong
feeling for domestic life, saying to me, when our children were in
the room: 'These are the sweet moments of our life.' One can see by
the way he takes them up and plays with them that he is very fond
of children." And again she wrote: "He also spoke of princes being
nowadays obliged to strive to make themselves worthy of their
position, so as to reconcile people to the fact of their being
The effect of this visit was to make France somewhat suspicious, and
the Queen expressed her wish that it might not prevent the visit which
had been promised by King Louis Philippe.
There was at one time actually danger of war over trouble in the East,
but King Leopold, whose kingdom was in the happy position of having
its independence guaranteed by the Powers, was able to bring his
influence to bear, and the critical period passed over, to the great
relief of the Queen.
[Footnote 2: This, however, did not protect Belgium in 1914, when
Germany did not hesitate to attack her.]
In 1844 King Louis Philippe paid his promised visit, of which the
Queen said, "He is the first King of France who comes on a visit to
the Sovereign of this country. A very eventful epoch, indeed, and
one which will surely bring good fruits."
The King was immensely pleased with everything he saw, and with the
friendly reception he received. He assured the Queen that France did
not wish to go to war with England, and he told her how pleased he
was that all their difficulties were now smoothed over.
During his stay he was invested with the Order of the Garter--an Order,
it is interesting to recollect, which had been created by Edward the
Third after the Battle of Cressy, and whose earliest knights were
the Black Prince and his companions.
The Corporation of London went to Windsor in civic state to present
the King with an address of congratulation. He declared in his answer
that "France has nothing to ask of England, and England has nothing
to ask of France, but cordial union."
But in 1848 the Orleans dynasty was overthrown, France proclaimed
a republic, and King Louis Philippe, his wife and family were forced
to flee to England. Here in 1850, broken in health, the King died.
In 1852 Louis Napoleon, who had been elected President for life,
created himself Emperor, and in 1855, after the conclusion of the
Crimean War and the death of the Emperor Nicholas, he visited
A State Ball was held of which the Queen wrote: "How strange to think
that I, the granddaughter of George III, should dance with the
Emperor Napoleon, nephew of England's great enemy, now my nearest
and most intimate ally, in the Waterloo room, and this ally only six
years ago living in this country an exile, poor and unthought of! . . .
I am glad to have known this extraordinary man, whom it is certainly
impossible not to like when you live with him, and not even to a
considerable extent to admire. I believe him to be capable of
kindness, affection, friendship, and gratitude. I feel confidence
in him as regards the future; I think he is frank, means well towards
us, and, as Stockmar says, 'that we have insured his sincerity and
good faith towards us for the rest of his life.'"
The Queen and her husband paid frequent visits, and made many tours
during their early married life. It was a great source of pleasure
to both of them to feel that everywhere they went they were received
with the greatest delight and enthusiasm.
In 1847 they visited Cambridge University, of which Prince Albert
was now Chancellor. "Every station and bridge, and resting-place,
and spot of shade was peopled with eager faces watching for the Queen,
and decorated with flowers; but the largest, and the brightest, and
the gayest, and the most excited assemblage was at Cambridge station
itself. . . . I think I never saw so many children before in one
morning, and I felt so much moved at the spectacle of such a mass
of life collected together and animated by one feeling, and that a
joyous one, that I was at a loss to conceive how any woman's sides
can bear the beating of so strong a throb as must attend the
consciousness of being the object of all that excitement, the centre
of attraction to all those eyes. But the Queen has royal strength
[Footnote 3: The Duke of Argyll, Queen Victoria.]
In 1849 they paid their first visit to Ireland, and received a royal
welcome on landing in Cork. The Queen noticed particularly that
"the beauty of the women is very remarkable, and struck us much; such
beautiful dark eyes and hair, and such fine teeth; almost every third
woman was pretty, and some remarkably so."
The royal children were the objects of great admiration. "Oh! Queen,
dear!" screamed a stout old lady, "make one of them Prince Patrick,
and all Ireland will die for you."
In Dublin, the capital of a country which had very recently been in
revolt, the loyal welcome was, if possible, even more striking.
The Queen writes: "It was a wonderful and striking spectacle, such
masses of human beings, so enthusiastic, so excited, yet such perfect
order maintained; then the numbers of troops, the different bands
stationed at certain distances, the waving of hats and handkerchiefs,
the bursts of welcome which rent the air--all made a
Lord Clarendon, writing of the results of the Irish tour, said, "The
people are not only enchanted with the Queen and the gracious
kindness of her manner and the confidence she has shown in them, but
they are pleased with themselves for their own good feelings and
behaviour, which they consider have removed the barrier that
hitherto existed between the Sovereign and themselves, and that they
now occupy a higher position in the eyes of the world."
In 1850 they visited for the first time the Palace of Holyrood. This
was a memorable occasion, for since Mary, Queen of Scots, had been
imprisoned there, no queen had ever stayed within its walls.
The Queen took the liveliest interest in the many objects of
historical interest which were shown to her. "We saw the rooms where
Queen Mary lived, her bed, the dressing-room into which the murderers
entered who killed Rizzio, and the spot where he fell, where, as the
old housekeeper said to me, 'If the lady would stand on that side,'
I would see that the boards were discoloured by the blood. Every step
is full of historical recollections, and our living here is quite
an epoch in the annals of this old pile, which has seen so many deeds,
more bad, I fear, than good."
Both the Queen and her husband had an especial love for animals, and
the Queen's suite, when she travelled, always included a number of
dogs. Her favourites were Skye terriers and the so-called
'turnspits' which were introduced into this country by Prince Albert.
One of the Queen's great delights at Windsor was to walk round the
farms and inspect the cattle, which are still, owing largely to the
careful methods of feeding and tending instituted by the Prince,
among the finest in the world. Kindness to animals was a lesson she
taught to all her children, and pictures and statuettes of all her
old favourites were to be found in her homes.
THE ROYAL FAMILY
QUEEN VICTORIA m. PRINCE ALBERT of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Victoria, Princess Princess Alice Princess Beatrice
Royal (Empress (Grand Duchess (Princess Henry of
Frederick of of Hesse) Battenberg)
Germany) born 1840 born 1843 born 1857
--------- (Duke of Albany)
Prince Alfred, Duke born 1853
of Edinburgh (Duke
of Saxe-Coburg and Princess Helena --------
Gotha) born 1844 (Princess Christian
Holstein) born 1846 Prince Arthur
(Duke of Connaught)
-------------- (Duchess of Argyll)
Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, m. Princess Alexandra of Denmark
born 1841 1863
(King Edward VII)
Albert Victor George Frederick, Prince Alexander
(Duke of Clarence) Prince of Wales, born 1870
born 1864 born 1865
(King George V),
m., 1893, Princess
Victoria Mary of Teck
Princess Louise Princess Victoria Princess Maud
(Duchess of Fife) born 1868 (Queen of Norway)
born 1867 born 1869
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