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The 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 Royal Young People



The Proroguing Of Parliament The Visit To Guildhall And The Coronation

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Prince Albert

The Condemnation Of The English Duel

Second Attempt On The Queen's Life

Sketch Of The Princess Charlotte

The Emperor And Empress Of France Visit Windsor

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

Stress And Strain

Victoria's First Christmas At Windsor Castle As Queen

Victoria The Great

The Last Day Of Victoria's Real Girlhood

Royal Visitors And The Birth Op Prince Alfred

The year 1844 may be instanced as rich in royal visitors to England. On
the 1st of June the King of Saxony arrived and shortly after him a greater
lion, the Emperor of Russia. The King of Saxony came as an honest friend
and sightseer, entering heartily into the obligations of the latter. There
was more doubt as to the motives of the Czar of all the Russias, and
considerable wariness was needed in dealing with the northern eagle, whose
real object might be, if not to use his beak and claws on the English
nation, to employ them on some other nation after he had got an assurance
that England would not interfere with his game. Indeed, jealousy of the
French, and of the friendship between the Queen and Louis Philippe, was at
the bottom of the Emperor's sudden appearance on the scene.

The Emperor had paid England a previous visit so far back as 1816, in the
days of George, Prince Regent, when Prince Leopold and Princess Charlotte
were the young couple at Claremont. He had then won much admiration and
popularity by his strikingly handsome person, stately politeness, and
gallant devotion to the English ladies who caught his fancy. He was still
a handsome man--over six feet, with regular features, remarkable eyes, and
bushy moustaches. He wore on his arrival a cloth cloak lined with costly
fur, and a kind of cap which looked like a turban--rather a telling

But time and the man's life and character had stamped themselves on what
had once been a goodly mould. There was something oppressive in his
elaborate politeness. There was a glare, not far removed from ferocity,
in the great grey eyes, so little shaded by their lids and light eyelashes
that occasionally a portion of the white eyeball above the iris was
revealed, and there was an intangible brooding melancholy about the
autocrat whose will was still law to millions of his fellow-creatures.

The Queen received her distinguished guest in the great hall at Buckingham
Palace Shortly afterwards there was a dejeuner, at which some of
the Emperor's old acquaintances in the royal family and out of it, met
him--the Duchess of Gloucester, the Princess Sophia, the Duke of
Cambridge, the Duke of Wellington, &c. &c. In the evening there was a

The Emperor followed the Queen to Windsor, where, amidst the gaieties of
the Ascot week, he was royally entertained. Two visits were paid to the
racecourse, with which the new-comer associated his name by founding the
five hundred pounds prize. There was a grand review in Windsor Park, at
which both the Emperor of Russia and the King of Saxony were present, as
well as Her Majesty and Prince Albert and the royal children. The Emperor
in a uniform of green and red, the King of Saxony in a uniform of blue and
gold, and Prince Albert in a field-marshal's uniform--all the three
wearing the insignia of the Garter--were the observed of all observers in
the martial crowd. The only incidents of the day which struck Lady
Lyttelton were "the very fine cheer on the old Duke of Wellington passing
the Queen's carriage, and the really beautiful salute of Prince Albert,
who rode by at the head of his regiment, and of course lowered his sword
in full military form to the Queen, with such a look and smile as
he did it! I never saw so many pretty feelings expressed in a minute."

On the return of the Court with its guests to Buckingham Palace, the
Emperor went with Prince Albert to a fete at Chiswick, given by the Duke
of Devonshire, and attended by seven or eight hundred noble guests. The
Czar returned from it loud in the praise of the beauty of English women,
while staunchly faithful to the belles he had admired twenty-eight years
before. The same evening he accompanied the Queen to the opera, when she
took his hand and made him stand with her in the front of the box, that
the brilliant assemblage might see and welcome him.

The Emperor was an adept at saying courteous things. He remarked to the
Queen, of Windsor, which he greatly admired, "It is worthy of you,
Madame." He wished Prince Albert were his son. When the hour of
leave-taking came he found the Queen in the small drawing-room with her
children. He declared with emotion that he might at all times be relied
upon as her most devoted servant, and prayed God to bless her. He kissed
her hand and she kissed him; he embraced and blessed the children. He
besought her to go no farther with him. "I will throw myself at your
knees; pray let me lead you to your room." "But," wrote the Queen, "of
course I would not consent, and took his arm to go to the hall.... At the
top of the few steps leading to the lower hall he again took most kindly
leave, and his voice betrayed his emotion. He kissed my hand and we
embraced. When I saw him at the door I went down the steps, and from the
carriage he begged I would not stand there; but I did, and saw him drive
off with Albert to Woolwich."

The Emperor was rather suspiciously fond of declaring, "I mean what I say,
and what I promise I will perform." Some of his speeches were emphatic
enough. "I esteem England highly, but as for what the French say of me I
care not; I spit upon it." He felt awkward in evening dress; he was so
accustomed to wear military uniform that without it he said he felt as if
they had taken off his skin. To humour him, uniform was worn every evening
at Windsor during his stay. Among his camp habits was one which he had
formed in his youth and kept up to the last: it was that of sleeping every
night on clean straw stuffed into a leathern case. The first thing his
valets did on being shown their master's bedroom in Windsor Castle was to
send out for a truss of straw for the Emperor's bed. The last thing got
for him at Woolwich was the same simple stuffing for his rude mattress.

On the 15th of June, 1844, Thomas Campbell, author of the "Pleasures of
Hope," "Ye Mariners of England," &c., died at Boulogne at the age of
sixty-seven. Although he had not quite reached the threescore and ten, the
span of man's life on earth, he had long survived the authors, Scott,
Byron, &c., with whom his name is linked. He was one of many well-known
men in very different spheres who passed away in 1844. Sir Augustus
Callcott, the painter; Crockford with his house of Turf celebrity;
Beckford, the eccentric author of "Vathek," and the owner of the
art-treasures of Fonthill; Lord Sidmouth, the well-known statesman of the
"Addington Administration;" Sir Francis Burdett, who in recent times was
lodged in the Tower under a charge of high treason.

In the same year an attempt was made to honour the memory of a greater
poet than Thomas Campbell, one whose worldly reward had not been great,
whose history ended in a grievous tragedy. The Scotchmen of the day seized
the opportunity of the return of two of Robert Burns's sons from military
service in India to give them a welcome home which should do something to
atone for any neglect and injustice that had befallen their father. The
festival was not altogether successful, as such festivals rarely are, but
it excited considerable enthusiasm in the poet's native country,
especially in his county of Ayrshire. And when the lord of the Castle of
Montgomery presided over the tribute to the sons of the ploughman who had
"shorn the harvest" with his Highland Mary on the Eglinton "lea-riggs,"
and Christopher North made the speech of the day, the demonstration could
not be considered an entire failure.

Scotch hearts warmed to the belief that the Queen understood and admired
Burns's poetry, and proud reference was made to the circumstance that
during one of her Highland excursions she applied the famous descriptive
passage in the "Birks of Aberfeldy" to the scene before her:

The braes ascend like lofty wa'e,
The foamy stream deep roaring fa's,
O'erhung with fragrant spreading shaws,
The birks of Aberfeldy.

The hoary cliffs are crown'd wi' flowers,
White o'er the linn the burnie pours,
And rising, weets wi' misty showers
The birks of Aberfeldy.

This summer, brown Queen Pomare, and the affairs of far-off Tahiti, had a
strange, inordinate amount of attention from the English public. French
interference in the island, the imprisonment of an English consul and
Protestant missionary, roused the British lion. The dusky island-queen
claimed the help of her English allies, and till Louis Philippe and M.
Guizot disowned the policy which had been practised by their
representatives in the South Seas, there was actually fear of war between
England and France, in spite of the friendly visit to Chateau d'Eu.
Happily the King and his minister made, or appeared to make, reparation as
well as explanation, and the danger blew over.

On the 31st of July, down at Windsor a humble but affectionately loved
friend died. Prince Albert's greyhound Eos--his companion from his
fourteenth to his twenty-fifth year, his avant courier when he came
as a bridegroom to claim his bride--was found dead, without previous
symptom of illness. She lies buried on the top of the bank above the
Slopes, and a bronze model of her marks the spot.

On the 6th of August the Queen's second son was born at Windsor Castle.
The Prince of Prussia (the present Emperor of Germany), the third royal
visitor this year, came over in time for the christening, when the little
prince received the name of the great Saxon King of England, Alfred,
together with the names of his uncle, Ernest, and his father, Albert. The
godfathers were Prince George of Cambridge, the Queen's cousin,
represented by his father; and the Prince of Leiningen, the Queen's
brother, represented by the Duke of Wellington; while the godmother was
the Queen and Prince Albert's sister-in-law, the Duchess of Coburg-Gotha,
represented by the Duchess of Kent. "To see these two children there too,"
the Queen wrote of the Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales, "seems such
a dream to me ... May God bless them all, poor little things." The
engraving represents the sailor-Prince in his childhood.

A tour in Ireland had been projected for the Queen's holiday, but the
excitement in the country consequent on the liberation of O'Connell and
his companions rendered the time and place unpropitious for a royal visit,
so it was decided that Her Majesty should go again to Scotland. On this
occasion the Queen and the Prince took their little four-year-old daughter
with them. The route was not quite the same as formerly. The party went by
a shorter way to the Highlands, the yacht sailing to Dundee, the great
manufacturing city so fortunate in its situation, where the rushing Tay
calms and broadens into a wide Frith, with a background of green hills and
a foreground of the pleasantly broken shores of Forfar and Fife. The
trades held high holiday, and gave the Queen a jubilant welcome, the air
ringing with shouts of gladness as she landed from the yacht, leaning on
Prince Albert's arm, while he led by the hand the small daughter who
reminded the Queen so vividly of herself--as the little Princess of past

The Queen, escorted by the Scots Greys, proceeded by Cupar Angus to
Dunkeld, stopping at one of the hotels to get "some broth for the child,"
who proved an excellent traveller, sleeping in her carriage at her usual
hours, not put out or frightened at noise or crowds--an excellent thing in
a future empress--standing bowing to the people from the windows like a
great lady.

At Moulinearn her Majesty tasted that luscious compound of whisky, honey,
and milk known as "Athol brose."

The Queen's destination was Blair Castle, the seat of Lord Glenlyon--a
white, barrack-like building in the centre of some of the grandest scenery
of the Perthshire Highlands. There a strong body of Murrays met her
Majesty at the gate and ran by the side of the carriages to the portico of
the Castle, where the clansmen, pipers and all, were drawn up in four
companies of forty each, to receive the guests. The Queen occupied the
Castle during her stay, Lord and Lady Glenlyon, with their son and the
other members of their family, being quartered in the lodge for the time.

The Queen and the Prince led the perfectly retired and simple life which
was so agreeable to them. Spent among romantic and interesting scenery, it
was doubly delightful to the young couple. They dispensed as much as
possible with state and ceremony. The Highland Guard were ordered not to
present arms more than twice a day to the Queen, and once a day to the
Prince and the Princess Royal; but in other respects the Guard were so
much impressed by their responsibility that not only would they permit no
stranger to pass their cordon without giving the password, which
was changed every day, they stopped Lord Glenlyon's brother for want of
the necessary "open sesame," telling him that, lord's brother or not, he
could not pass without the word.

Her Majesty's piper, Mackay, had orders to play a pibroch under her
windows every morning at seven o'clock. At the same early hour a bunch of
fresh heather, with a draught of icy-cold water from Glen Tilt, was
brought to the Queen. The Princess Royal, on her Shetland pony,
accompanied the Queen and the Prince in their morning rambles. Sometimes
the little one was carried in her father's arms, while he pointed out to
her any object that would amuse her and call forth her prattle. "Pussy's
cheeks are on the point of bursting, they have grown so red and plump,"
wrote the Prince to his stepmother. "She is learning Gaelic, but makes
wild work with the names of the mountains."

So free was the life that one morning when a lady, plainly dressed and
unaccompanied, left the Castle about seven o'clock no notice was taken of
her, and it was only after she had gone some distance that the rank of the
pedestrian was discovered. With a little hesitation, a body-guard was told
off and followed her Majesty, but she intimated that she would dispense
with their attendance, and went on alone as far as the lodge, where she
inquired for Lord Glenlyon. It was understood afterwards that she had
chosen to be her own messenger with regard to some arrangements to be made
respecting a visit to the Falls of the Bruar.

Lord Glenlyon was not out of bed, and the deputy-porter was electrified by
being told that the Queen had called on his master. On her Majesty's
return to the house she took a different road and lost her way, so that
she had to apply to some Highland reapers whom she met, trudging to one of
the isolated oatfields, to direct her to the Castle. They told her
civilly, but without ceremony, to cross one of the "parks" (fields or
meadows) and climb over a paling--instructions which she obeyed literally,
and found herself at home again.

On a fine September morning the two who were so happy in each other's
company rode on a dun and a grey pony, attended only by Sandy McAra, who
led the Queen's pony through the ford, up the grassy hill of Tulloch, "to
the very top." There they saw a whole circle of stupendous Bens--Ben
Vrackie, Ben-y-Ghlo, Ben-y-Chat, as well as the Falls of the Bruar and the
Pass of Killiecrankie, which the Hanoverian troopers likened to "the mouth
of hell" on the day that Dundee fell on the field at Urrard.

"It was quite romantic," declared the Queen joyfully. "Here we were with
only this Highlander behind us holding the ponies--for we got off twice
and walked about; not a house, not a creature near us, but the pretty
Highland sheep, with their horns and black faces, up at the top of
Tulloch, surrounded by beautiful mountains ... the most delightful, the
most romantic ride I ever had."

There was much more riding and driving in Glen Tilt, with its disputed
"right of way" ease, but there was none to bar the Queen's progress. Her
Majesty showed herself a fearless rider, abandoning the cart-roads and
following the foot-tracks among the mountains. She grew as fond of her
homely Highland pony, Arghait Bhean, with which Lord Glenlyon
supplied her, as she was of her Windsor stud, with every trace of high
breeding in their small heads, arching necks, slender legs, and dainty

One day the foresters succeeded in driving a great herd of red-deer, with
their magnificent antlers, across the heights, so that the Queen had a
passing view of them. On another day she was able to join in the
deer-stalking, scrambling for hours in the wake of the hunters, among the
rocks and heather, when she was not "allowed," as she described it, to
speak above a whisper, in case she should spoil the sport. It was a brief
taste of an ideal, open-air, unsophisticated life, upon which there was no
intrusion, except when stolid sightseers flocked to the little parish
church of Blair Athol for the chance of "seeing royalty at its prayers,
and hardly a regret beyond the lack of time to sketch the groups of
keepers and dogs, the deer, the mountains.

The Queen, as usual, enjoyed and admired everything there was to
admire--the pretty jackets or "short gowns" of the rustic maidens; the
"burns," clear as glass; the mossy stones; the peeps between the trees;

the depth of the shadows; the corn-cutting or "shearing," when a patch of
yellow oats broke the purple shadow of the moor; Ben-y-Ghlo standing like
a mighty sentinel commanding the course of the Garry, as when many a lad
"with his bonnet and white cockade," sped with fleet foot by the flashing
waters, "leaving his mountains to follow Prince Charlie;" Chrianean, where
the eagles sometimes sat; the sunsets when the sky was "crimson, golden
red, and blue," and the hills "looked purple and lilac," till the hues
grew softer and the outlines dimmer. Prince Albert, an ardent admirer of
natural scenery, was in ecstasy with the mountain landscape. But her
Majesty has already permitted her people to share in the halcyon days of
those Highland tours.

On the homeward journey to Dundee, Lord Glenlyon and his brother, Captain
Murray, performed the loyal feat of riding fifty miles, the whole distance
from Blair, by the Queen's carriage.

Next: Louis Philippe's Visit

Previous: Allies From Afar And Death And Absence

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