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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

The Emperor And Empress Of France Visit Windsor

Sketch Of The Princess Charlotte

Victoria's First Christmas At Windsor Castle As Queen

Victoria The Great

Second Attempt On The Queen's Life

Stress And Strain

Failing Health Of Prince Albert

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

The Sovereignty Of England And Hanover Severed Forever

Ever since the accession to the throne of Great Britain of the House of
Brunswick, the Kings of England had also been Kings of Hanover. To carry
on the two branches of the royal business simultaneously must have been a
little difficult, at least perplexing. It was like riding a "two-horse
act," with a wide space between the horses, and a wide difference in
their size. But the Salic law prevailed in that little kingdom over
there; so its Crown now gently devolved on the head of the male heir-
apparent, the Duke of Cumberland, and the quaint old principality parted
company with England forever. That is what Her Majesty, Victoria, got, or
rather lost, by being a woman. A day or two after her accession, King
Ernest called at Kensington Palace to take leave of the Queen, and she
dutifully kissed her uncle and brother-sovereign, and wished him God-
speed and the Hanoverians joy.

There is no King and no kingdom of Hanover now. When Kaiser William was
consolidating so many German principalities into his grand empire, gaily
singing the refrain of the song of the old sexton, "I gather them in!
I gather them in!" he took Hanover, and it has remained under the
wing of the great Prussian eagle ever since. It is said that the last
King made a gallant resistance, riding into battle at the head of his
troops, although he was blind--too blind, perhaps, to see his own
weakness. When his throne was taken out from under him, he still clung to
the royal title, but his son is known only as the Duke of Cumberland.
This Prince, like other small German Princes, made a great outcry against
the Kaiser's confiscations, but the inexorable old man still went on
piecing an imperial table-cover out of pocket-handkerchiefs.

The young Queen's new Household was considered a very magnificent and
unexceptionable one--principally for the rank and character and personal
attractions of the ladies in attendance, chief among whom, for beauty and
stateliness, was the famous Duchess of Sutherland--certainly one of the
most superb women in England, or anywhere else, even at an age when most
women are "falling off," and when she herself was a grandmother.

The funeral of King William took place at Windsor in due time, and with
all due pomp and ceremony. After lying in state in the splendid Waterloo
chamber, under a gorgeous purple pall, several crowns, and other royal
insignia, he was borne to St. George's Chapel, followed by Prelates,
Peers, and all the Ministers of State, and a solemn funeral service was
performed. But what spoke better for him than all these things was the
quiet weeping of a good woman up in the Royal Closet, half hidden by the
sombre curtains, who looked and listened to the last, and saw her husband
let down into the Royal Vault, where, in the darkness, his--their baby-
girl awaited him, that Princess with the short life and the long name--
poor little Elizabeth Georgina Adelando, whom the childless Queen once
hoped to hear hailed "Elizabeth Second of England."

In midsummer the Queen, the Duchess of Kent, and their grand Household
moved from Kensington to Buckingham Palace, then new, and an elegant and
luxurious royal residence internally, but externally neither beautiful
nor imposing. But with the exception of Windsor Castle, none of the
English Royal Palaces can be pointed to as models of architectural
beauty, or even sumptuous appointments. The palaces of some of our
Railway Kings more than rival them in some respects, while those of many
of the English nobility are richer in art-treasures and grander in
appearance. Kensington Palace was not beautiful, but it was picturesque
and historic, which was more than could be said of any of the Georgian
structures; there was about it an odor of old royalty, of poetry and
romance. The literature and the beauty of Queen Anne's reign were
especially associated with it. Queen Victoria was, when she left it, at
an age when memories count for little, and doubtless the flitting "out
of the old house into the new" was effected merrily enough; but long
afterwards her orphaned and widowed heart must often have gone back
tenderly and yearningly to the scene of many tranquilly happy years with
her mother, and of that first little season of companionship with her
cousin Albert.

Hardly had she got unpacked and settled in her new home when she had to
go through a great parade and ceremony. She went in state to dissolve
Parliament. The weather was fine and the whole route from Buckingham
Palace to the Parliament House was lined with people, shouting and
cheering as the magnificent procession and that brilliant young figure
passed slowly along. A London journal of the time gave the following
glowing account of her as she appeared in the House of Lords: "At 20
minutes to 3 precisely, Her Majesty, preceded by the heralds and attended
by the great officers of state, entered the House--all the Peers and
Peeresses, who had risen at the flourish of the trumpets, remaining
standing. Her Majesty was attired in a splendid white satin robe, with
the ribbon of the Garter crossing her shoulder and a magnificent tiara of
diamonds on her head, and wore a necklace and a stomacher of large and
costly brilliants. Having ascended the throne, the royal mantle of
crimson velvet was placed on Her Majesty's shoulders by the Lords in
waiting." And this was the same little girl who, six years before, had
bought her own straw hat and carried it home in her hand! I wonder if her
own mother did not at that moment have difficulty in believing that
radiant and royal creature was indeed her little Victoria!

The account continues: "Her Majesty, on taking her seat, appeared to be
deeply moved at the novel and important position in which she was placed,
the eyes of the assembled nobility, both male and female, being riveted
on her person." I would have wagered a good deal that it was the 'female'
eyes that she felt most piercingly. Then it goes on: "Her emotion was
plainly discernible in the heavings of her bosom, and the brilliancy of
her diamond stomacher, which sparkled out like the sun on the swell of
the ocean as the billows rise and fall." So disconcerted was she, it
seems, by all this silent, intense observation, that she forgot, nicely
seated as she was, that all those Peers and Peeresses were standing, till
she was reminded of it by Lord Melbourne, who stood close at her side.
Then she graciously inclined her head, and said in rather a low tone, 'My
Lords, be seated!' and they sat, and eke their wives and daughters.

"She had regained her self-possession when she came to read her speech,
and her voice also, for it was heard all over the great chamber." And it
is added: "Her demeanor was characterized by much grace and modest self-

Among the spectators of this rare royal pageant was an American, and a
stiff republican, a young man from Boston, called Charles Sumner. He was
a scholar, and scholar-like, undazzled by diamonds, admired most Her
Majesty's reading. In a letter to a friend he wrote: "I was astonished
and delighted. Her voice is sweet and finely modulated, and she
pronounced every word distinctly, and with a just regard to its meaning.
I think I never heard anything better read in my life than her speech,
and I could but respond to Lord Fitz-William's remark to me when the
ceremony was over, 'How beautifully she performs!'" How strange it now
seems to think of that slight girl of eighteen coming in upon that great
assembly of legislators, many of them gray and bald, and pompous and
portly, and gravely telling them that they might go home!

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