A Marriage A Death And A Birth In The Royal Family





The rest of the autumn and early winter passed in busy quiet and domestic

happiness. In November, the Queen honoured the Duke of Wellington by a

second visit to Walmer. She was no longer the girl-princess--a solitary

figure, but for her devoted mother, she was the Queen-wife, taking with

her not only her good and noble husband, but her two fine children, to

show her old servant, the great soldier of a former generation, who had

known her from her childhood, how rich she had become in all womanly

blessings. During her stay her Majesty went to Dover, and included the

guardian castle of England, on the chalk cliffs which overlook the coast

of France, among the venerable fortresses she had inspected this year.



In the meantime, the agitation for Free Trade was exciting the country in

one direction, and O'Connell was thundering for a repeal of the union

between England and Ireland in another. On the 20th of January, 1843, a

public crime was committed which shocked the whole nation and aroused the

utmost sympathy of the Queen and Prince Albert. A half-crazy man named

Macnaughten, who conceived he had received a political injury from Sir

Robert Peel, planned to waylay and shoot the Premier in Downing Street.

The man mistook his victim, and fatally wounded Sir Robert's private

secretary, Mr. Drummond, who perished in the room of his chief. The plea

of insanity accepted by the jury on the trial was so far set aside by the

judges.



The descendants of the numerous family of George III. and Queen Charlotte,

in the third generation, only numbered five princes and princesses. Apart

from her German kindred, the Queen had only four cousins--her nearest

English relations after her uncles and aunts. Of these the Crown Prince of

Hanover, German born but English bred as Prince George of Cumberland, and

long regarded as, in default of Princess Victoria, the heir to the crown,

married at Hanover, on the 18th of February, Princess Mary of

Saxe-Altenburg. The Crown Prince was then twenty-four years of age.

Though he had no longer any prospect of succeeding to the throne of

England, he was the heir to a considerable German kingdom. But the

terrible misfortune which had cost him his eyesight did not terminate his

hard struggle with fate. His father, whose ambition had been built upon

his son from his birth, appeared to have more difficulty in submitting to

the sore conditions of the Prince's loss than the Prince himself showed.

By a curious self-deception, the King of Hanover never acknowledged his

son's blindness, but persisted in treating him, and causing others to

treat him, as if he saw. The Queen of Hanover, once a bone of contention

at the English Court, and Queen Charlotte's bete noire, as the

divorced wife of one of her two husbands prior to her third marriage with

the Duke of Cumberland, had died two years before. It was desirable in

every light that she should find a successor--a princess--to preside over

the widowed Court, and be the mother to the future kings of Hanover,

supposing Hanover had remained on the roll of the nations. A fitting

choice was made, and the old King took care that the marriage should be

celebrated with a splendour worthy of the grandson of a King of England.

Twenty-four sovereigns and princes, among them the King of Prussia, graced

the ceremony. The bride wore cloth of silver and a profusion of jewels,

and whatever further troubles were in store for the blind bridegroom,

whose manly fortitude and uprightness of character--albeit these qualities

were not without their alloy of pride and obstinacy--won him the respect

of his contemporaries, Providence blessed him on that February day with a

good, bright, devoted wife.



On the 25th of March, the Thames Tunnel, which at the time was fondly

regarded as the very triumph of modern engineering, and a source of the

greatest convenience to London, was opened for foot-passengers by a

procession of dignitaries and eminent men, including in their ranks the

Lord Mayor, Sir Robert Inglis, Lord Lincoln, Joseph Hume, Messrs. Babbage

and Faraday, &c. &c. The party descended by one staircase, shaft, and

archway which carried them to Wapping, and, ascending again, returned by

the other archway to Rotherhithe. Some of the Thames watermen hoisted

black flags as a sign that they considered their craft doomed.



For the first time since her accession, the Queen had been unable, from

the state of her health, to open Parliament or to hold the usual spring

levees. Prince Albert relieved her of this, as of so many of her burdens,

and Baron Stockmar paid a visit to England, at the Prince's urgent

request, that the Baron's sagacity and experience might be brought to bear

on what remained of the arduous task of getting a Queen's household into

order and directing a royal nursery. The care of the Queen's Privy Purse

had been transferred to the Prince on the departure of Baroness Lehzen.

These various obligations, together with his rapidly increasing interest

in public affairs, and the number of persons who claimed his attention,

especially when he was in London, become a serious tax on his strength, a

tax which the Queen even at this early date feared and sought to guard

against. Baron Stockmar was greatly pleased with the aspect of the family.

He proudly proclaimed that the Prince was quickly showing what was in him,

among other things that he was rich in that very practical talent in which

the Baron had feared the young man might be deficient; at the same time

the old family friend remarked that the Prince, in the midst of his

industry and happiness, frequently looked "pale, worried, and weary."



An instance of Prince Albert's cordial interest in the welfare of the

humbler ranks is to be found in one of Bishop Wilberforce's letters, dated

March, 1843: "After breakfast with the Prince, for three-quarters of an

hour talked about Sunday. Told him that I thought 'Book of Sports' did

more than anything to shock the English mind. He urged want of amusements

for common people of an innocent class--no gardens. In Coburg, with ten

thousand inhabitants, thirty-two gardens, frequented by different sorts of

people, who meet and associate in them. 'I never heard a real shout

in England. All my servants marry because they say it is so dull here,

nothing to interest-good living, good wine, but there is nothing to do but

turn rogue or marry.'"



On the 20th of April, Prince Augustus of Saxe-Coburg was married to

Princess Clementine of France, the youngest daughter of Louis Philippe. On

the following day, the 21st, the Queen's uncle, the Duke of Sussex, who

had long been infirm, and for a little time seriously ailing, died at

Kensington Palace, at the age of seventy years. The body lay in state

there on the 3rd of May, all persons in decent mourning being admitted to

witness the sight. Twenty-five thousand persons availed themselves of the

permission. On the following morning, the funeral of the first of the

Royal Dukes, who was buried by daylight and not in the royal vault at

Windsor, took place. There was a great procession, a mile in length,

beginning and ending with detachments of Horse and Foot Guards, their

bands playing at intervals the "Dead March in Saul," in acknowledgement of

the military rank of the deceased. The hearse, drawn by eight black

horses, was preceded and followed by twenty-two mourning-coaches and

carriages, each with six horses, and upwards of fifty private carriages,

one of these containing Sir Augustus d'Este, the son of the dead Duke and

of Lady d'Ameland (Lady Augusta Murray). [Footnote: The Duke of Sussex

made a second morganatic marriage, after Lady d'Ameland's death, with Lady

Cecilia Buggin, daughter of the second Earl of Arran, and widow of Sir

George Buggin. She was created Duchess of Inverness. She survived the Duke

of Sussex thirty years.] The Duke of Cambridge acted as chief mourner. The

cortege passed along the High Street to Kensal Green Cemetery, where

Prince Albert, Prince George of Cambridge, and the Grand Duke of

Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whose son was about to become the husband of

Princess Augusta of Cambridge, awaited its arrival. The service was read

by the Bishop of Norwich in the cemetery chapel, and the coffin was

deposited in the vault prepared for it. It was observed of Prince Albert

that "he seemed to be more affected than any person at the funeral."



An old face, once very familiar, had passed away: a young life had dawned.

In the interval between the Duke of Sussex's death and funeral, five days

after the death, on the 24th of April, 1843, a second princess was born.

The Queen was soon able to write to King Leopold that the baby was to be

called "Alice," an old English name, "Maud," another old English name, and

"Mary," because she had been born on the birthday of the Duchess of

Gloucester. The godfathers were the Queen's uncle, the King of Hanover,

and Prince Albert's brother, by their father's retirement, already Duke of

Coburg. The King of Hanover came to England, though, unfortunately, too

late to be present at the christening, so that one likes to think of the

Princess, whose name is associated with all that is good and kind, as

having served from the first in the light of a messenger of peace to heal

old feuds. The godmothers were the Princess of Hohenlohe and Princess

Sophia Matilda of Gloucester.



In the illustration Princess Alice is given as she represented "Spring" in

the family mask in 1854.



On the 18th of May, 1843, the prolonged contest between the civil and

ecclesiastical courts in Scotland reached its climax--in many respects

striking and noble, though it may be also one-sided, high-handed, and

erring. The chief civil law-court in Scotland--the Court of Session--had

overruled the decisions of the chief spiritual court--the General Assembly

of the Church of Scotland--and installed, by the help of soldiers, in the

parishes, which patronage had presented to them, two ministers, disliked

by their respective congregations, and resolutely rejected by them, though

neither for moral delinquencies nor heretical opinions. The Government,

after a vain attempt to heal the breach and reconcile the contending

parties, not only declined to interfere, but asserted the authority of the

law of the land over a State church.



Once more the representatives of the Scotch clergy and laity, of all

shades of opinion, met, as their forefathers had done for centuries, in

the Assembly Hall, in Edinburgh, in the month of May. Then, after the

usual introductory ceremonies, the moderator, or chairman, delivered a

solemn protest against the State's interference with the spiritual rights

of the Church, declared that the sovereignty of its Divine Head was

invaded, and, in the name of himself and his brethren, rejected, a union

which compelled submission to the civil law on what a considerable

proportion of the population persisted in regarding as purely spiritual

questions. Four hundred and seventy ministers of one of the poorest

churches in Christendom had appended their names to the protest. Churches,

manses, livings were laid down, the mass following their leaders. Among

them, though many a good and gifted man remained with equal

conscientiousness behind, there were men of remarkable ability as well as

Christian worth; and there was one, Dr. Chalmers, with a world-wide

reputation for genius, eloquence, and splendid benevolence. The band

formed themselves into a procession of black-coated soldiers of a

King--not of this world--marched along the crowded streets of Edinburgh,

hailed and cheered by an enthusiastic multitude, and entering a building

temporarily engaged for the purpose, constituted themselves a separate

church, and flung themselves on the liberality of their portion of the

people, on whom they were thenceforth entirely dependent for maintenance.

And their people, who, with their compatriots, are regarded among the

nations as notably close-fisted and hard-headed, responded generously,

lavishly, to the impassioned appeal. All Scotland was rent and convulsed

then, and for years before and after, by the great split in what lay very

near its heart--its church principles and government. These things were

not done in a corner, and could not fail to arouse the interest of the

Queen and Prince, whatever verdict their judgment might pronounce on the

dispute, or however they might range themselves on the constitutional side

of the question, as it was interpreted by their political

advisers--indeed, by the first statesmen, Whig or Tory, of the day.



Six years later, Sir Edwin Landseer painted the picture called "The Free

Kirk," which became the property of her Majesty.



The Royal Commission on the Fine Arts, at the head of which was Prince

Albert, in view of the decoration of the new Houses of Parliament, had an

exhibition of prize cartoons in Westminster Hall during the summer of

1843. Great expectations were entertained of the effect of such patronage

on painting in its higher branches. Many careful investigations were

made into the best processes of fresco painting, of which the Prince had a

high opinion, and this mode of decoration was ultimately adopted,

unfortunately, as it proved, for in spite of every precaution, and the

greatest care on the part of the painters--some of whom, like Dyce, were

learned in this direction, while others went to Italy to acquire the

necessary knowledge--the result has been to show the perishable nature of

the means used, in this climate at least, since the pictures on the walls

of the Houses of Parliament have become but dim, fast-fading shadows of

the original representations. In the early days of the movement the

Prince, in order the better to test and encourage a new development of art

in this country, gave orders for a series of fresco paintings from

Milton's "Comus," in eight lunettes, to decorate a pavilion in the grounds

of Buckingham Palace. Among the painters employed were Landseer, Maclise,

Leslie, Uwins, Dyce, Stanfield, &c. &c. Two of them--Leslie and

Uwins--record the lively interest which the Queen and the Prince took in

the painting of the pavilion, how they would come unannounced and without

attendants twice a day, when the Court was at Buckingham Palace, and watch

the painters at work. Uwins wrote, that in many things the Queen and her

husband were an example to the age. "They have breakfasted, heard morning

prayers with the household in the private chapel, and are out some

distance from the Palace, talking to us in the summer-house, before

half-past nine o'clock--sometimes earlier. After the public duties of the

day, and before the dinner, they come out again, evidently delighted to

get away from the bustle of the world to enjoy each other's society in the

solitude of the garden.... Here, too, the royal children are brought out

by the nurses, and the whole arrangement seems like real domestic

pleasure."



The square of the Palace, with a park on either hand, and its main

entrance fronting the Mall, has green gardens of its own, velvet turf,

shady trees, shining water--now expanding into a great round pond, like

that in Kensington Gardens, only larger--now narrowing till it is crossed

by a rustic bridge. These cheat the eye and the fancy into the belief

that the dwellers in the Palace have got rid of the town, and furnish

pleasant paths and pretty effects of landscape gardening within a limited

space.



But the Palace has a public as well as a private side. The former looks

out on the parks and drives, which belong to all the world, and in the

season are crowded with company.



The great white marble staircase leads to many a stately corridor, with

kings and queens looking down from the walls, to many a magnificent room

with domed and richly fretted roofs, ball-room with a raised dais for

court company, and a spot where royal quadrilles are danced,

banqueting-room, music-room, white, crimson, blue, and green

drawing-rooms, crimson and gold throne-room. There are finely-wrought

white marble chimney-pieces with boldly-carved heads, angelic figures, and

dragons in full relief. There are polished pillars of purple-blue, and

red scagliola, hugs china vases--oriental, Dresden, unpolished Sevres--and

glittering timepieces of every shape and device.



King George and Queen Charlotte in shadowy form preside once and again, as

well they may, seeing this was her house when it was named the Queen's

House. Their family, too, still linger in their portraits. George IV. in

very full-blown kingly state, the Duke of York and his Duchess, the Duke

of Kent and his Duchess, the King of Hanover, King William and Queen

Adelaide, the Duke of Sussex. But not one of their lives is so linked with

the place as the life of Queen Victoria has been, especially the double

life of the Queen and the Prince Consort in their "blooming time."

Buckingham Palace was their London home, to which they came every season

as regularly as Park Lane and Piccadilly, with the squares and streets of

Belgravia, find their fitting occupants. From this Palace the girl-Queen

drove to Westminster, to be crowned, and returned to watch in the soft

dusk of the summer evening all London illuminated in her honour. Here she

announced her intended marriage to her Lords in Council; here she met her

princely bridegroom come across the seas to wed her. From that gateway she

drove in her bridal white and orange blossoms, and it was up these steps

she walked an hour-old wife, leaning on the arm of her husband. Most of

their children were born here. The Princess Royal was baptized here, and

she went from Buckingham Palace to St. James's, like her mother before

her, to be married. In the immediate neighbourhood occurred some of the

miserable attempts on the Queen's life, and it was round Buckingham Palace

that nobility and people thronged to convince themselves of her Majesty's

safety, and assure her of their hot indignation and deep sympathy. On that

balcony she has shown herself, to the thousands craving for the sight, on

the opening-day of the first Exhibition and on the morning when the Guards

left for the Crimea. Through these corridors and drawing-rooms streamed

the princely pageant of the Queen's Plantagenet Ball. Kingly and courtly

company, the renowned men and the fair women of her reign, have often held

festival here. Along these quiet garden walks the Queen was wont to stroll

with her husband-lover; from that rustic bridge he would summon his

feathered favourites around him; in yon sheet of water he swam for his

life among the broken ice, the day before the christening of the Princess

Royal. In the little chalet close to the house the Queen loved to carry on

her correspondence on summer-days, rather than to write within palace

walls, because she, whose life has been pure and candid as the day, has

always loved dearly the open air of heaven. In the pavilion where the

first English artists of the time strove to do their Prince's behest,

working sometimes from eight in the morning to six or seven in the

evening, her Majesty and the Prince delighted to watch Maclise put in

Sabrina releasing the Lady from the enchanted chair, and Leslie make Comus

offering the cup of witchery.



As in the case of King George and Queen Charlotte, it is well that

portraits and marble statues of the Queen and the Prince, in the flower of

their age, should remain here as unfailing links with the past which was

spent within these walls.



In later years the widowed Queen has dwelt little at Buckingham Palace,

coming rarely except for the Drawing-rooms, which inaugurate the season

and lend the proper stamp to the gilded youth of the kingdom. What tales

that Throne-room could tell of the beating hearts of debutantes and

the ambitious dreams of care-laden chaperons! The last tale is of the kind

consideration of the liege lady. From the room where the members of the

royal family assemble apart, she walks, not to take her seat on the

throne, but to stand in front of the steps which lead to it, that the

ladies who advance towards her in single file may not have to climb the

steps with stumbling feet, often caught in their trailing skirts, till the

wearers were in danger of being precipitated against the royal knees as

the ladies bent to kiss the Queen's hand. In the same manner, the slow and

painful process of walking backwards with long trains, of which such

stories were told in Queen Charlotte's day, is graciously dispensed with.

A step or two, and the trains are thrown over their owners' arms by the

pages in waiting, while the ladies are permitted to retire, like ordinary

mortals, in a natural, easy, and what is really a more seemly fashion. A

royal chapel has for a considerable time taken the place of a great

conservatory, so that the Queen and the Prince could worship with their

household, without the necessity of repairing to the neighbouring Chapel

Royal of St. James's.



There are other suites of rooms besides the private apartments, notably

the Belgian floor, full of memories of King Leopold and Queen Louise.



Among the portraits of foreign sovereigns, the correctly beautiful face of

the Emperor Alexander of Russia, and the likeness of his successor,

Nicholas, occur repeatedly. The portraits of the Emperor and Empress of

Germany, when as Prince and Princess of Prussia they won the cordial

friendship of the Queen, are here. There is a pleasant picture of Queen

Victoria's girl friend, Maria da Gloria, and a companion picture of her

husband, the Queen and the Prince's cousin. The burly figure of Louis

Philippe appears in the company of two of his sons. Another ruler of

France, the Emperor Napoleon III., looks sallow and solemn beside his

Empress at the height of her loveliness. Other royal portraits are those

of the King of Saxony, the present King and Queen of the Belgians, as Duke

and Duchess of Brabant; the late blind King of Hanover and his devoted

Queen; the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, now blind also, and his Duchess,

who was the handsome and winning Princess Augusta of Cambridge; her not

less charming sister, Princess Mary, Duchess of Teck; the familiar face of

their soldierlike brother, the Duke of Cambridge; the Maharajah Dhuleep

Singh, in his slender youth and eastern dress, &c. &c.



In the sister country of France, one has a feeling that there are blood

stains on all the palaces. Let us be thankful that, as a rule, it is not

so in England. But there are tragic faces and histories here too, mocking

the glories of rank and State. There is a fine picture of Matilda of

Denmark, to whom--but for the victim's fairer hair--her collateral

descendant, Queen Victoria, is said to bear a great resemblance. The

Queen's ancestress was herself a princess and a queen, yet she was fated

to fall under an infamous, unproven charge, and to pine to an early death

in a prison fortress.



Here, with a pathos all her own, in her pale dark girlish face and slight

figure, is the Queen's Indian god-daughter, Princess Gouromma, the child

of the Rajah of Coorg. She was educated in England, and married a Scotch

gentleman named Campbell. But the grey northern skies and the bleak

easterly winds were cruel to her, as they would have been to one of her

native palm-trees, and she found an early grave.



A graceful remembrance of a peculiarly graceful tribute to the faithful

service and devotion of a lifetime appears in a picture of the old Duke of

Wellington--after whom the Queen named her third son--presenting his

godfather's token of a costly casket to the infant Prince Arthur, seated

on the royal mother's knee. Another laughing child, in the arms of another

happy mother, is the Queen herself, held by the Duchess of Kent.



The long picture gallery contains valuable specimens of Dutch and Flemish

art, a remnant of George IV.'s collection, and a portion, of the Queen's

many fine examples of these schools. Here are Tenierses, full of riotous

life; exquisite Metzus, Terburgs, and Gerard Dows; cattle by Paul Potter;

ships by Van de Velde; skies by Cuyp; landscapes, with white horses, by

Wouvermanns; driving clouds and shadow-darkened plains by Ruysdael, who,

though he died in a workhouse, yet lives in his pictures in kings'

palaces.



Lady Bloomfield has given the world a delightful glimpse of what the life

at Windsor and Buckingham Palace was from 1842 to 1845; how much real

friendliness existed in it; what simplicity and naturalness lay behind its

pomp and magnificence. Dissipation and extravagance found no place there.

That palace home--whether in town or country, where all sacred obligations

and sweet domestic affections reigned supreme, where noble work had due

prominence and high-minded study paved the way for innocent pleasure--was,

indeed, a pattern to every home in the kingdom. The great household was

like a large family, with a queenly elder sister and a royal brother at

its head; for the Queen and the Prince were still in their first prime,

and very kindly, as well as very wise, were their relations with old and

young. It is good to read of the tenderly-united pair; of their

well-regulated engagements--punctually performed as clockwork, and rarely

jostling each other; of their generous consideration for others, their

faithful regard for old friends, so that to this day the ranks of the

Queen's household are replenished from the households of her youth. It has

been pointed out how rarely the Duchess of Kent allowed any change in the

little Princess's guardians and teachers. In like manner, as whoever will

examine Court calendars may learn for themselves, this middle-aged

Mistress of the Robes, or that elderly Lady in Waiting, was in former

times a young Maid of Honour, and the youngest page of to-day is very

likely the grandson of a veteran courtier, and has a hereditary interest

in his surroundings.



When her Majesty was still young, there was the frankest sympathy with the

young girls who were so proud to be in their Queen's service--a sympathy

showing itself in a thousand unmistakable ways; in concern for each noble

maiden's comfort and happiness; in interest in her friends pursuits, and

prospects; by the kindly informal manner in which each member of the

girlish suite was addressed by her familiar christian-name, sometimes with

its home abbreviation; by the kiss with which she was greeted on her

return from her six months' absence. We do not always connect such lovable

attributes with kings' and queens' courts, and it is an excellent thing

for us to know that the greatest, towards whom none may presume, can also

he the most ready to oblige, the least apt to exact, the most cordial and

trustful.



We hear from Lady Bloomfield that the sum total of a Maid of Honour's

obligations, when she is in residence, like a canon, is to give the Queen

her bouquet before dinner every other day. In reality, the young lady and

her companions, as well as the older and more experienced Ladies and Women

of the Bedchamber, are in waiting to drive, ride, or walk with the Queen

when she desires their society, to sit near her at dinner, to share her

occupations--such as reading, music, drawing, needlework--when she wishes

it, to help to make up any games, dances, &c. &c. These favoured damsels

enjoy a modest income of three hundred a year, and wear a badge--the

Queen's picture, surrounded with brilliants on a red bow--such as the

public may have seen in the portraits of several of the Maids of Honour

belonging to the Queen which were exhibited on the walls of the Academy

within recent years. The hours of "the Maids" never were so early as those

of their royal mistress, while their labours, like their responsibilities,

have been light as thistledown in comparison with hers.



The greatest restriction imposed on these youthful members of the

Household, when Lady Bloomfield as Miss Liddell figured among them, seems

to have been that they were expected to be at their posts, and they were

not at liberty to entertain all visitors in their private sitting-rooms,

but had to receive some of their friends in a drawing-room which belonged

to the ladies in common.



The routine of the Palace passes before us, unpretentious in its dignity

as the actual life was led: the waiting of the ladies in the corridor to

meet the Queen when she left her apartments and accompany her to dinner;

the talk at the dinner-table; the round game of cards--vingt-et-un,

or some other in the evening, for which the stakes were so low, that the

players were accustomed to provide themselves with a stock of new

shillings, sixpences, and fourpenny pieces, and the winnings were now

threepence, now eightpence; the workers and talkers in the background. In

spite of different times and different manners, there is a slight flavour

of Queen Charlotte's drawing-room, in Miss Burney's day, about the whole

scene.



The ordinary current was broken by varying eddies of royal visits and

visitors, with their accompanying whirl and bubble of excitement, and by

ceremonies, like the opening and proroguing of Parliament, State visits to

the City, royal baptisms. In addition there were the more tranquil and

homely diversions of the festivals of the seasons and family festivals.

There was Christmas, when everybody gave and received Christmas-boxes; and

this happy individual had a brooch, "of dark and light blue enamel, with

two rubies and a diamond in the shape of a bow;" and another had a

bracelet, with the Queen's portrait; while to all there were pins, rings,

studs, shawls, &c. &c. Or it was the Duchess of Kent's birthday, when the

Court went to dine and dance, and wish the kind Duchess many happy returns

of the day, at Frogmore. On one occasion the little ball ended in a

curious dance, called "Grand-pere," a sort of "Follow my Leader." "The

Prince and the Duchess of Kent led the way, and it was great fun, but

rather a romp." Solemn statesmen, hoary soldiers, reverent churchmen,

foreign diplomatists, were frequently consigned for companionship and

entertainment to the "ladies of the Household," and relaxed and grew

jocular in such company, under the spring sunshine of girlish smiles and

laughter.



More mature and distinguished figures stood out among the women, to match

the men--whose names will be household words so long as England keeps her

place among the nations. Sagacious Baroness Lehzen, the incomparable early

instructress and guide of the Queen, so good to all the young people who

came under her influence, before she retired to her quiet home at

Buckeburg; Lady Lyttelton, who had been with the Queen as one of the

ladies-in-waiting ever since her Majesty came to the throne, who, after

the most careful selection, was appointed governess to the Royal children,

and was well qualified to discharge an office of such consequence to the

Queen and the nation. It is impossible to read such portions of her

letters as have been published without being struck by their wise

womanliness and gentle motherliness. Beautiful Lady Canning, with her

artist soul, was another star in an exalted firmament.



Little feet pattered amongst the brilliant groups. The Princess Royal was

a remarkably bright, lively child; the Prince of Wales a beautiful

good-tempered baby, in such a nautilus-shell cradle as Mrs. Thorneycroft

copied in modelling the likeness of Princess Beatrice. We have the pretty

fancy before us: the exquisite curves of the shell, its fair round-limbed

occupant, one foot and one arm thrown out with the careless grace of

childhood, as if to balance and steer the fairy bark, the other soft hand

lightly resting on the breast, over which the head and face, full of

infant innocence and peace, are inclined.



Both children were fond of music, as the daughter and son of parents so

musical might well be. When the youthful pair were a little older they

would stand still and quiet in the music-room to hear the Prince-father

discourse sweet sounds on his organ, and the Queen-mother sing with one of

her ladies, "in perfect time and tune," with a fine feeling for her songs,

as Mendelssohn has described her. The small people furnished a

never-ending series of merry anecdotes and witticisms all their own, and

would have gone far to break down the highest dead wall of stiffness and

reserve, had such a barrier ever existed. Now it was the little Princess,

a quaint tiny figure "in dark-blue velvet and white shoes, and, yellow kid

gloves," keeping the nurseries alive with her sports, showing off the new

frocks she had got as a Christmas-box from her grandmamma, the Duchess of

Kent, and bidding Miss Liddell put on one. Now it was the Queen offending

the dignity of her little daughter by calling her "Missy," and being told

in indignant remonstrance, "I'm not Missy--I'm the Princess Royal." Or it

was Lady Lyttelton who was warned off with the dismissal in French, from

the morsel of royalty, not quite three, "N'approchez pas moi, moi ne

veut pas vous;" or it was the Duke of Wellington, with a dash of old

chivalry, kissing the baby-hand and bidding its owner remember, him. Or

the child was driving in Windsor Park with the Queen and three of her

ladies, when first the Princess imagined she saw a cat beneath the trees,

and announced, "Cat come to look at the Queen, I suppose." Then she longed

for the heather on the bank, and asked Lady Dunmore to get her some; when

Lady Dunmore said she could not do that, as they were driving so fast, the

little lady observed composedly, "No, you can't, but those

girls," meaning the two Maids of Honour, in the full dignity of their

nineteen or twenty summers and their office, "might get me some."



Windsor Castle in the height of summer, Windsor in the park among the old

oaks and ferns, Windsor on the grand terrace with its glorious English

view, might well leave bright lingering memories in a susceptible young

mind. So we hear of a delightful ride, when the kind Queen mounted her

Maid of Honour on a horse which had once belonged to Miss Liddell's

sister, and in default of Miss Liddell's habit, which was not forthcoming,

lent her one of the Queen's, with hat, cellar and cuffs to suit, and the

two cantered and walked over the greensward and down many a leafy glade

for two hours and a half. Once, we are told, the Queen, the Prince, and

the whole company went out after dinner in the warm summer weather, and

promenaded in the brilliant moonlight, a sight to see, with the lit-up

castle in the background, the men in the Windsor uniform, the women in

full dress, like poor Marie Antoinette's night promenades at Versailles,

or a page from Boccaccio.



Running through all the young Maid of Honour's diary is the love which

makes all service light; the loyal innocent sense of hardship at being in

waiting and not seeing the Queen "at least once a day;" the affectionate

regret to lose any of her Majesty's company; the pride and pleasure at

being selected by the Queen for special duties.





A Look Back A Queen At Eighteen facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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