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The First Christening The Season Of 1841


Comments Upon The Young Queen By A Contemporaneous Writer In Blackwood


The Royal Young People

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

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Prince Albert

The Condemnation Of The English Duel

Second Attempt On The Queen's Life

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

Sketch Of The Princess Charlotte

The Emperor And Empress Of France Visit Windsor

Stress And Strain

Victoria The Great

Victoria's First Christmas At Windsor Castle As Queen

The Last Day Of Victoria's Real Girlhood

Sixty-three Years Since

The 24th of May, 1819, was a memorable and happy day for England, though
like many such days, it was little noticed at the time. Sixty-three years
since! Do many of us quite realise what England was like then; how much
it differed from the England of to-day, even though some of us have lived
as many years? It is worth while devoting a chapter to an attempt to
recall that England.

A famous novel had for its second heading, "'Tis sixty years since." That
novel--"Waverley"--was published anonymously just five years before 1819,
and, we need not say, proved an era in literature. The sixty years behind
him to which Walter Scott--a man of forty-three--looked over his shoulder,
carried him as far back as the landing of Prince Charlie in Moidart, and
the brief romantic campaign of the '45, with the Jacobite songs which
embalmed it and kept it fresh in Scotch memories.

The wounds dealt at Waterloo still throbbed and burnt on occasions in
1819. Many a scarred veteran and limping subaltern continued the heroes
of remote towns and villages, or starred it at Bath or Tunbridge. The
warlike fever, which had so long raged in the country, even when ruined
manufacturers and starving mechanics were praying for peace or leading
bread-riots, had but partially abated; because whatever wrong to trade,
and misery to the poor, closed ports and war prices might have meant, the
people still depended upon their armed defenders, and in the hardest
adversity found the heart to share their triumphs, to illuminate cities,
light bonfires, cheer lustily, and not grudge parliamentary grants to the
country's protectors. The "Eagle" was caged on his rock in the ocean, to
eat his heart out in less than half-a-dozen years. Still there was no
saying what might happen, and the sight of a red coat and a sword
remained cheering--especially to soft hearts.

The commercial world was slowly recovering from its dire distress, but
its weavers and mechanics were blazing up into fierce, futile struggle
with the powers by which masses of the people believed themselves
oppressed. If the men of war had no longer anything to do abroad, there
was great fear that work might be found for them at home. All Europe was
looking on in the expectation that England was about to follow the
example of France, and indulge in a revolution on its own account--not
bloodless this time.

Rarely since the wars of the Commonwealth had high treason been so much
in men's mouths as it was in Great Britain during this and the following
year. Sedition smouldered and burst into flame--not in one place alone,
but at every point of the compass. The mischief was not confined to a
single class; it prevailed mostly among the starving operatives, but it
also fired minds of quite another calibre. Rash, generous spirits in
every rank became affected, especially after an encounter between the
blinded, maddened mobs and the military, when dragoons and yeomanry
charged with drawn swords, and women and children went down under the
horses' hoofs. Great riotous meetings were dispersed by force at
Manchester, Birmingham, Paisley. Political trials went on at every
assize. Bands of men lay in York, Lancaster, and Warwick gaols. At
Stockport Sir Charles Wolseley told a crowd armed with bludgeons that he
had been in Paris at the beginning of the French Revolution, that he was
the first man who made a kick at the Bastille, and that he hoped he
should be present at the demolition of another Bastille.

On the 22nd of August, 1819, Sir Francis Burdett wrote to his electors at
Westminster: "....It seems our fathers were not such fools as some would
make us believe in opposing the establishment of a standing army and
sending King William's Dutch guards out of the country. Yet would to
heaven they had been Dutchmen, or Switzers, or Russians, or Hanoverians,
or anything rather than Englishmen who have done such deeds. What! kill
men unarmed, unresisting; and, gracious God! women too, disfigured,
maimed, cut down, and trampled on by dragoons! Is this England? This a
Christian land--a land of freedom?"

For this, and a great deal more, Sir Francis, after a protracted trial,
was sentenced to pay a fine of two thousand pounds and to be imprisoned
for three months in the Marshalsea of the Court. In the Cato Street
conspiracy the notorious Arthur Thistlewood and his fellow-conspirators
planned to assassinate the whole of the Cabinet Ministers when they were
dining at Lord Harrowby's house, in Grosvenor Square. Forgery and
sheep-stealing were still punishable by death. Truly these were times of
trouble in England.

In London a serious difficulty presented itself when Queen Charlotte grew
old and ailing, and there was no royal lady, not merely to hold a
Drawing-room, but to lend the necessary touch of dignity and decorum to
the gaieties of the season. The exigency lent a new impetus to the famous
balls at Almack's. An anonymous novel of the day, full of society scandal
and satire, described the despotic sway of the lady patronesses, the
struggles and intrigues for vouchers, and the distinguished crowd when
the object was obtained. The earlier hours, alas! only gave longer time
for the drinking habits of the Regency.

It is a little difficult to understand what young people did with
themselves in the country when lawn-tennis and croquet were not. There
was archery for the few, and a good deal more amateur gardening and
walking, with field-sports, of course, for the lads.

The theatre in 1819 was more popular than it showed itself twenty years
later. Every country town of any pretensions, in addition to its assembly
rooms had its theatre, which reared good actors, to which provincial
tours brought London stars. Genteel comedy was not past its perfection.
Adaptations of the Waverley novels, with musical dramas and melodramas,
drew great houses. Miss O'Neill had just retired, but Ellen Tree was
making a success, and Macready was already distinguished in his
profession. Still the excellence and prestige of the stage had declined
incontestably since the days of Mrs. Siddons and John Kemble. Edmund
Kean, though he did much for tragedy, had a short time to do it in, and
was not equal in his passion of genius to the sustained majesty of the
sister and brother.

In the same way, the painters' art hovered on the borders of a brilliant
epoch. For Lawrence, with his courtly brush, which preferred flattery to
truth and cloying suavity to noble simplicity, was not worthy to be named
in the same breath with Reynolds. Raeburn came nearer, but his reputation
was Scotch. Blake in his inspiration was regarded, not without reason, as
a madman. Flaxman called for classic taste to appreciate him; and the
fame of English art would have suffered both at home and abroad if a
simple, manly lad had not quitted a Scotch manse and sailed from Leith to
London, bringing with him indelible memories of the humour and the pathos
of peasant life, and reproducing them with such graphic fidelity, power,
and tenderness that the whole world has heard of David Wilkie.

The pause between sunset and sunrise, the interregnum which signifies
that a phase in some department of the world's history has passed away as
a day is done, and a new development of human experience is about to
present itself, was over in literature. The romantic period had succeeded
the classic. Scott, Coleridge, Southey (Wordsworth stands alone), Byron,
Shelley, Keats, Campbell, Moore, were all in the field as poets, carrying
the young world with them, and replacing their immediate predecessors,
Cowper, Thompson, Young, Beattie, and others of less note.

Sir Walter Scott had also risen high above the horizon as a poet, and
still higher as a novelist.

A great start in periodical literature was made in 1802 by the
establishment of The Edinburgh Review, under Jeffrey and Sydney
Smith, and again in 1817 by the publication of Blackmoods Magazine,
with Christopher North for its editor, and Lockhart, De Quincey, Hogg,
and Delta among its earlier contributors. The people's friend, Charles
Knight, was still editing The Windsor and Eton Express.

In 1819 Sir Humphry Davy was the most popular exponent of science, Sir
James Mackintosh of philosophy. In politics, above the thunderstorm of
discontent, there was again the pause which anticipates a fresh advance.
The great Whig and Tory statesmen, Charles James Fox and William Pitt,
were dead in 1806, and their mantles did not fall immediately on fit
successors. The abolition of the slave-trade, for which Wilberforce,
Zachary Macaulay, and Clarkson had fought gallantly and devotedly, was
accomplished. But the Catholic Emancipation Bill was still to work its
way in the teeth of bitter "No Popery" traditions, and Earl Grey's Reform
Bill had not yet seen the light.

George III.'s long reign was drawing to a close. What changes it had seen
from the War of American Independence to Waterloo! What woeful personal
contrasts since the honest, kindly, comely lad, in his simple kingliness,
rode out in the summer sunshine past Holland House, where lady Sarah
Lennox was making hay on the lawn, to the days when the blind, mad old
king sat in bodily and mental darkness, isolated from the wife and
children he had loved so well, immured in his distant palace-rooms in
royal Windsor.

His silver beard o'er a bosom spread
Unvexed by life's commotion,
Like a yearly lengthening snow-drift shed
On the calm of a frozen ocean:

Still o'er him oblivion's waters lay,
Though the stream of time kept flowing
When they spoke of our King, 'twas but to say
That the old man's strength was going.

At intervals thus the waves disgorge,
By weakness rent asunder,
A piece of the wreck of the Royal George
For the people's pity and wonder.

Lady Sarah, too, became blind in her age, and, alas! she had trodden
darker paths than any prepared for her feet by the visitation of God.

Queen Charlotte had come with her sense and spirit, and ruled for more
than fifty years over a pure Court in England. The German princess of
sixteen, with her spare little person and large mouth which prevented
her from being comely, and her solitary accomplishment of playing on the
harpsichord with as much correctness and taste as if she had been taught
by Mr. Handel himself, had identified herself with the nation, so that
no suspicion of foreign proclivities ever attached to her. Queen
Charlotte bore her trials gravely; while those who came nearest to her
could tell that she was not only a fierce little dragon of virtue, as she
has been described, but a loving woman, full of love's wounds and scars.

The family of George III. and Queen Charlotte consisted of seven sons and
his daughters, besides two sons who died in infancy.

George, Prince of Wales, married, 1795, his cousin, Princess Caroline of
Brunswick, daughter of the reigning Duke and of Princess Augusta, sister
of George III. The Prince and Princess of Wales separated soon after
their marriage. Their only child was Princess Charlotte of Wales.

Frederick, Duke of York, married, 1791, Princess Frederica, daughter of

the reigning King of Prussia. The couple were childless.

William, Duke of Clarence, married, 1818, Princess Adelaide, of
Saxe-Meiningen. Two daughters were born to them, but both died in infancy.

Edward, Duke of Kent, married, 1818, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg,
widow of the Prince of Leiningen. Their only child is QUEEN VICTORIA.

Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, married, 1815, Princess Frederica of
Mecklenburg-Strelitz, widow, first of Prince Frederick Louis of Prussia,
and second, of the Prince of Saliris-Braunfels. Their only child was
George V., King of Hanover.

Augustus, Duke of Sussex, married morganatically.

Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, married, 1818, Princess Augusta of
Hesse-Cassel, daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel. They had three
children--George, Duke of Cambridge; Princess Augusta, Duchess of
Mecklenburg-Strelitz; and Princess Mary, Duchess of Teck.

The daughters of King George and Queen Charlotte were:--

The Princess Royal, married, 1797, the Prince, afterwards King, of
Wurtemberg. Childless.

Princess Augusta, unmarried.

Princess Elizabeth, married, 1818, the Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg.

Princess Mary, married, 1816, her cousin, William, Duke of Gloucester.

Princess Sophia, unmarried.

Princess Amelia, unmarried.

In 1817 the pathetic idyl, wrought out amidst harsh discord, had found
its earthly close in the family vault at Windsor, amidst the lamentations
of the whole nation. Princess Charlotte, the candid, fearless,
affectionate girl, whose youth had been clouded by the sins and follies
of others, but to whom the country had turned as to a stay for the
future--fragile, indeed, yet still full of hope--had wedded well, known
a year of blissful companionship, and then died in giving birth to a dead
heir. It is sixty-five years since that November day, when the bonfires,
ready to be lit at every town "cross," on every hill-side, remained dark
and cold. Men looked at each other in blank dismay; women wept for the
blushing, smiling bride, who had driven with her grandmother through the
park on her way to be married not so many months before. There are
comparatively few people alive who had come to man's or woman's estate
when the shock was experienced; but we have all heard from our
predecessors the story which has lent to Claremont a tender, pensive
grace, especially for royal young pairs.

Old Queen Charlotte nerved herself to make a last public appearance on
the 11th of July, 1818, four months before her death. It was in her
presence, at Kew, that a royal marriage and re-marriage were celebrated
that day. The Duke of Clarence was married to Princess Adelaide of
Saxe-Meiningen, and the Duke of Kent was re-married, in strict accordance
with the English Royal Marriage Act, to Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg,
the widowed Princess of Leiningen. The last couple had been already
united at Coburg in the month of May. The Archbishop of Canterbury and
the Bishop of London officiated at the double ceremony. The brides were
given away by the Prince Regent. The Queen retired immediately
afterwards. But a grand banquet, at which the Prince Regent presided, was
given at six o'clock in the evening. An hour later the Duke and Duchess
of Kent drove off in her brother, Prince Leopold's, carriage to

Of the two bridegrooms we have glimpses from Baron Stockmar, a shrewd
observer, who was no flatterer.

The Duke of Clarence, at fifty-three years of age, was the "smallest and
least good-looking of the brothers, decidedly like his mother, as
talkative as the rest;" and we may add that he was also endowed with a
sailor-like frankness, cordiality, and good humour, which did not,
however, prevent stormy ebullitions of temper, that recommended him to
the nation of that day as a specimen of a princely blue-jacket. Since the
navy was not considered a school of manners, he was excused for the
absence of much culture or refinement.

"The Duke of Kent, at fifty-one, was a tall, stately man, of soldierlike
bearing, already inclined to great corpulence.... He had seen much of the
world, and of men. His manner in society was pleasant and easy. He was
not without ability and culture, and he possessed great activity. His
dependents complained of his strictness and pedantic love of order....
The Duke was well aware that his influence was but small, but this did
not prevent him from forwarding the petitions he received whenever it was
possible, with his own recommendation, to the public departments....
Liberal political principles were at that time in the minority in
England, and as the Duke professed them, it can be imagined how he was
hated by the powerful party then dominant. He was on most unfriendly
terms with his brothers.... The Duke proved an amiable and courteous,
even chivalrous, husband."

Judiciously, in the circumstances, neither of the brides was in her first
youth, the future Queen Adelaide having been, at twenty-six, the younger
of the two. The Duchess of Kent, a little over thirty, had been already
married, in 1803, when she was seventeen, to Prince Emich Charles of
Leiningen. Eleven years afterwards, in 1814, she was left a widow with a
son and daughter. Four years later she married the Duke of Kent. The
brides were very different in looks and outward attractions. The Duchess
of Clarence, with hair of a peculiar colour approaching to a lemon tint,
weak eyes, and a bad complexion, was plain. She was also quiet, reserved,
and a little stiff, while she appears to have had no special
accomplishments, beyond a great capacity for carpet-work. The Duchess of
Kent, with a fine figure, good features, brown hair and eyes, a pretty
pink colour, winning manners, and graceful accomplishments--particularly
music, formed a handsome, agreeable woman, "altogether most charming and

But both Duchesses were possessed of qualities in comparison with which
beauty is deceitful and favour is vain--qualities which are calculated to
wear well. Queen Adelaide's goodness and kindness, her unselfish,
unassuming womanliness and devout resignation to sorrow and suffering,
did more than gain and keep the heart of her bluff, eccentric
sailor-prince. They secured for her the respectful regard of the nation
among whom she dwelt, whether as Queen or Queen-dowager. The Archbishop
of Canterbury could say of her, after her husband's death, "For three
weeks prior to his (King William's) dissolution, the Queen sat by his
bedside, performing for him every office which a sick man could require,
and depriving herself of all manner of rest and refection. She underwent
labours which I thought no ordinary woman could endure. No language can
do justice to the meekness and to the calmness of mind which she sought
to keep up before the King, while sorrow was pressing on her heart. Such
constancy of affection, I think, was one of the most interesting
spectacles that could be presented to a mind desirous of being gratified
with the sight of human excellence." [Footnote: Dr. Doran] Such graces,
great enough to resist the temptations of the highest rank, might well be
singled out as worthy of all imitation.

The Duchess of Kent proved herself the best of mothers--as she was the
best of wives, during her short time of wedlock--in the self-renunciation
and self-devotion with which, through all difficulties, and in spite of
every opposition and misconception, she pursued the even tenor of her
way. Not for two or ten, but for well-nigh twenty years, she gave herself
up unreservedly, turning her back on her country with all its strong
early ties, to rearing a good queen, worthy of her high destiny. England
owes much to the memories of Queen Adelaide and the Duchess of Kent, who
succeeded Queen Charlotte, the one as Queen Consort, the other as mother
of the future sovereign, and not only served as the salt to savour their
royal circles, but kept up nobly the tradition of honourable women among
the queens and princesses of England, handing down the high obligation to
younger generations.

The Duke and Duchess of Kent withdrew to Germany after their re-marriage,
and resided at the castle of Amorbach, in Bavaria, part of the
inheritance of her young son. The couple returned to England that their
child might be born there. The Duke had a strong impression that,
notwithstanding his three elder brothers, the Crown would come to him and
his children. The persuasion, if they knew it, was not likely to be
acceptable to the other Princes. Certainly, in the face of the Duke's
money embarrassments, his kinsmen granted no assistance to enable the
future Queen of England to be born in her own dominions. It was by the
help of private friends that the Duke gratified his natural and wise

Apartments in Kensington Palace were assigned to the couple. The old
queen had died at Kew, surrounded by such of her daughters as were in the
country, and by several of her sons, in the month of November, 1818.
George III. was dragging out his days at Windsor. The Prince Regent
occupied Carlton House.

The Kensington of 1819 was not the Kensington of today. In spite of the
palace and gardens, which are comparatively little altered, the great
crowded quarter, with its Museum and Albert Hall, is as unlike as
possible to the courtly village to which the Duke and Duchess of Kent
came, and where the Queen spent her youth. That Kensington consisted
mainly of a fine old square, built in the time of James II., in which the
foreign ambassadors and the bishops in attendance at Court congregated in
the days of William and Mary, and Anne, and of a few terraces and blocks
of buildings scattered along the Great Western Road, where coaches passed
several times a day. Other centres round which smaller buildings
clustered were Kensington House--which had lately been a school for the
sons of French emigres of rank--the old church, and Holland House,
the fine seat of the Riches and the Foxes. The High Street extended a
very little way on each side of the church and was best known by its
Charity School, and its pastrycook's shop, at the sign of the
"Pineapple," to which Queen Caroline had graciously given her own recipe
for royal Dutch gingerbread. David Wilkie's apartments represented the
solitary studio. Nightingales sang in Holland Lane; blackbirds and
thrushes haunted the nurseries and orchards. Great vegetable-gardens met
the fields. Here and there stood an old country house in its own grounds.
Green lanes led but to more rural villages, farms and manor-houses.
Notting Barns was a farmhouse on the site of Notting Hill. In the
tea-gardens at Bayswater Sir John Hill cultivated medicinal plants, and
prepared his "water-dock essence" and "balm of honey." Invalids
frequented Kensington Gravel pits for the benefit of "the sweet country

Kensington Palace had been bought by William III. from Daniel Finch,
second Earl of Nottingham. His father, the first Earl, had built and
named the pile of brick-building Nottingham House. It was comparatively
a new, trim house, though Evelyn called it "patched up" when it passed
into the hands of King William, and as such might please his Dutch taste
better than the beautiful Elizabethan Holland House--in spite of the
name, at which he is said to have looked, with the intention of making it
his residence.

The Duke of Sussex, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Kent, had
apartments in the palace. He dwelt in the portion of the southern front
understood to belong to the original building. His brother and
sister-in-law were lodged not far off, but their apartments formed part
of an addition made by King William, who employed Sir Christopher Wren as
his architect.

The clumsy, homely structure, with its three courts--the Clock Court, the
Princes' Court, and the Princesses' Court--had many interesting
associations in addition to its air of venerable respectability. William
and Mary resided frequently in the palace which they had chosen; and both
died under its roof. Mary sat up in one of these rooms, on a dreary
December night in 1694, after she felt herself stricken with small-pox,
seeking out and burning all the papers in her possession which might
compromise others. The silent, asthmatic, indomitable little man was
carried back here after his fall from his horse eight years later, to
draw his last breath where Mary had laid down her crown. Here Anne sat,
with her fan in her mouth, speaking in monosyllables to her circle.
George I.'s chief connection with Kensington Palace was building the
cupola and the great staircase. But his successors, George II. and Queen
Caroline, atoned for the deficiency. They gave much of their time to the
palace so identified with the Protestant and Hanoverian line of
succession. Queen Caroline especially showed her regard for the spot by
exercising her taste in beautifying it according to the notions of the
period. It was she who caused the string of ponds to be united so as to
form the Serpentine; and he modified the Dutch style of the gardens,
abolishing the clipped monsters in yew and box, and introducing
wildernesses and groves to relieve the stiffness and monotony of straight
walks and hedges. The shades of her beautiful maids of honour, "sweet
Molly Lepell," Mary Bellenden, and Sophy Howe, still haunt the Broad
Walk. Molly Lepell's husband, Lord Hervey (the "Lord Fanny" of lampoons
and songs), composed and read in these rooms, for the diversion of his
royal mistress and the princesses, with their ladies and gentlemen, the
false account of his own death, caused by an encounter with footpads on
the dangerous road between London and the country palace. He added an
audacious description of the manner in which the news was received at
Court, and of the behaviour of the principal persons in the circle.

With George II. and Queen Caroline the first glory of the palace
departed, for the early Court of George III. and Queen Charlotte took its
country pleasures at Kew. Then followed the selection of Windsor for the
chief residence of the sovereigns. The promenades in the gardens, to
which the great world of London flocked, remained for a season as a
vestige of former grandeur. In George II.'s time the gardens were only
thrown open on Saturdays, when the Court went to Richmond. Afterwards the
public were admitted every day, under certain restrictions. So late as
1820 these promenades were still a feature on Sunday mornings.

Kensington Palace has not yet changed its outward aspect. It still
stands, with its forcing-houses, and Queen Anne's banqueting-room--
converted into an orangery--in its small private grounds, fenced off by
a slight railing and an occasional hedge from the public gardens. The
principal entrance, under the clock-tower, leads to a plain, square, red
courtyard, which has a curious foreign aspect in its quiet simplicity, as
if the Brunswick princes had brought a bit of Germany along with them
when they came to reign here; and there are other red courtyards, equally
unpretentious, with more or less old-fashioned doors and windows. Within,
the building has sustained many alterations. Since it ceased to be a seat
of the Court, the palace has furnished residences for various members of
the royal family, and for different officials. Accordingly, the interior
has been divided and partitioned off to suit the requirements of separate
households. But the great staircase, imposing in its broad, shallow steps
of black marble and its faded frescoes, still conducts to a succession of
dismantled Presence-chambers and State-rooms. The pictures and tapestry
have been taken from the walls, the old panelling is bare. The
distinctions which remain are the fine proportions of the apartments--
the marble pillars and niches of one; the remains of a richly-carved
chimneypiece in another; the highly-wrought ceilings, to which ancient
history and allegory have supplied grandiose figures--their deep colours
unfaded, the ruddy burnish of their gilding as splendid as ever. Here and
there great black-and-gold court-stools, raised at the sides, and
finished off with bullet heads of dogs, arouse a recollection of
Versailles or Fontainebleau, and look as if they had offered seats to
Court ladies in hoops and brocades, and gentlemen-in-waiting in velvet
coats and breeches and lace cravats. One seat is more capacious than the
others, with a round back, and in its heavy black-and-gold has the look
of an informal throne. It might easily have borne the gallant William, or
even the extensive proportions of Anne.

There is a word dropped of "old kings" having died in the closed rooms
behind these doors. George II., in his old age? or William, worn out in
his prime? or it may be heavy, pacific George of Denmark, raised to the
kingly rank by the courtesy of vague tradition? The old chapel was in
this part of the house. Leigh Hunt tells us it was in this chapel George
I. asked the bishops to have good short sermons, because he was an old
man, and when he was kept long, he fell asleep and caught cold. It must
have been a curious old chapel, with a round window admitting scanty
light. The household and servants sat below, while a winding staircase
led round and up to a closed gallery in near proximity to the pulpit. It
was only a man's conscience, or a sense of what was due to his physical
well-being, which could convict him of slumbering in such a peaceful
retreat. It is said that her late Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent
objected to the obscurity of this place of worship, and, to meet her
objections, the present little chapel was fitted up.

The Duchess of Kent's rooms were in an adjacent wing; spacious rooms
enough, and only looking the more habitable and comfortable for the
moderate height of the ceilings. In a room with three windows on one
side, looking out on the private grounds, the Queen was born. It was
thinking of it and its occupants that the warm-hearted, quick-witted
Duchess-mother, in Coburg, wrote: "I cannot express how happy I am to
know you, dearest, dearest Vickel, safe in your bed, with a little
one.... Again a Charlotte--destined, perhaps, to play a great part one
day, if a brother is not born to take it out of her hands. The English
like queens; and the niece (by marriage) of the ever-lamented, beloved
Charlotte, will be most dear to them."

In another wide, low room, with white pillars, some eighteen years later,
the baby Princess, become a maiden Queen, held her first Council,
surrounded by kindred who had stood at her font--hoary heads wise in
statecraft, great prelates, great lawyers, a great soldier, and she an
innocent girl at their head. No relic could leave such an impression as
this room, with its wonderfully pathetic scene. But, indeed, there are
few other traces of the life that budded into dawning womanhood here,
which will be always linked with the memories of Kensington Palace. An
upper room, sunny and cheerful, even on a winter's day, having a pleasant
view out on the open gardens, with their straight walks and great pond,
where a child might forget sometimes that she had lessons to learn, was a
princess's school-room. Here the good Baroness who played the part of
governess so sagaciously and faithfully may have slipped into the book of
history the genealogical table which was to tell so startling a tale. In
another room is a quaint little doll's-house, with the different rooms,
which an active-minded child loved to arrange. The small frying-pans and
plates still hang above the kitchen dresser; the cook stands unwearied by
the range; the chairs are placed round the tables; the tiny tea-service,
which tiny fingers delighted to handle, is set out ready for company. But
the owner has long done with make-believes, has worked in earnest,
discharged great tasks, and borne the burden and heat of the day, in
reigning over a great empire.

Next: Childhood

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