Birth Of The Prince Of Wales Visit Of The King Of Prussia





On the 9th of November, 1841, the happiness of the Queen and Prince was

increased by the birth of the Prince of Wales. The event took place on the

morning of the Lord Mayor's Day, as the citizens of London rejoiced to

learn by the booming of the Tower guns. In addition to the usual calls of

the nobility and gentry, the Lord Mayor and his train went in great state

to offer their congratulations and make their inquiries for the

Queen-mother and child.



The sole shadow on the rejoicing was the dangerous illness of the

Queen-dowager. She had an affection of the chest which rendered her a

confirmed invalid for years. At this time the complaint took an aggravated

form, and her weakness became so great that it was feared death was

approaching. But she rallied--a recovery due in a great measure, it was

believed, to her serene nature and patient resignation. She regained her

strength in a degree and survived for years.



The public took a keen interest in all that concerned the heir to the

crown, though times were less free and easy than they had been--all the

world no longer trooped to the Queen's House as they had done to taste the

caudle compounded when royal Charlotte's babies were born. There was at

least the cradle with the nodding Prince of Wales feathers to gossip

about. The patent creating the Duke of Cornwall Prince of Wales and Earl

of Chester was issued on the 8th of December, when the child was a month

old. It was a quaint enough document, inasmuch as the Queen declared in it

that she ennobled and invested her son with the Principality and earldom

by girting him with a sword, by putting a coronet on his head and a gold

ring on his finger, and also by delivering a gold rod into his hand, that

he might preside there, and direct and defend these parts. The Royal

Nursery had now two small occupants, and their wise management, still more

than that of the household, engaged the serious consideration of the Queen

and the Prince's old friend, Baron Stockmar, and engrossed much of the

attention of the youthful parents. They took great delight in the bright

little girl, whom her mother named "Pussy," and the charming baby who was

so near her in age.



"To think," wrote the Queen in her Journal this Christmas, "that we have

two children now, and one who enjoys the sight already" (referring to the

Christmas-tree); "it is like a dream."



"This is the dear Christmas Eve on which I have so often listened with

impatience to your step which was to usher us into the gift-room," the

Prince reminded his father. "To-day I have two children of my own to make

gifts to, who, they know not why, are full of happy wonder at the German

Christmas-tree and its radiant candles."



On this occasion the New Year was danced into "in good old English

fashion. In the middle of the dance, as the clock finished striking

twelve, a flourish of trumpets was blown, in accordance with a German

custom." The past year had been good also, and fertile in blessings on

that roof-tree, though in the world without there were the chafings and

mutterings of more than one impending crisis. The corn-laws, with the

embargo they laid on free trade, weighed heavily on the minds both of

statesmen and people. In Scotland Church and State were struggling keenly

once more, though, bloodlessly this time, as they had struggled to the

death in past centuries, for mastery where what each considered its rights

were in question.



Among the blows dealt by death in 1841, there had been heavy losses to art

in the passing away of Chantrey and Wilkie.



In January, 1842, events happened in Afghanistan which brought bitter

grief to many an English home, and threw their shadow over the palace

itself in the next few months. The fatal policy of English interference

with the fiery tribes of Northern India in support of an unpopular ruler

had ended in the murder of Sir Alexander Burns and Sir William Macnaghten,

and the evacuation of Cabul by the English. This was not all. The march

through the terrible mountain defiles in the depth of winter, under the

continual assaults of an unscrupulous and cruel enemy, meant simply

destruction. The ladies of the party, with Lady Sale, a heroic woman, at

their head, the husbands of the ladies who were with the camp, and finally

General Elphinstone, who had been the first in command at Cabul, but who

was an old and infirm man, had to be surrendered as hostages. They were

committed to the tender mercies of Akbar Khan, the son of the exiled Dost

Mahomed, the moving spirit of the insurrection against the native puppet

maintained by English authority, and the murderer, with his own hand, of

Sir William Macnaghten, whose widow was among the prisoners. The surrender

of hostages was partly a matter of necessity, in order to secure for the

most helpless of the party the dubious protection of Akbar Khan, partly a

desperate measure to prevent what would otherwise have been

inevitable--the perishing of the women and children in the dreadful

hardships of the retreat. The captives were carried first to Peshawur and

afterwards to a succession of hill-forts in the direction of the Caucasus,

while their countrymen at home, long before they had become familiar with

the tragedy of the Indian Rebellion, burned with indignation and thrilled

with horror at the possible fate of those victims of a treacherous,

vindictive Afghan chief. In the meantime the awful march went on, amidst

the rigours of winter, in wild snowy passes, by savage precipices, while

the most unsparing guerilla warfare was kept up by the furious natives at

every point of vantage. Alas! for the miserable end which we all know,

some of us recalling it, through the mists of years, still fresh with the

wonder, wrath, and sorrow which the news aroused here. Out of a company of

sixteen thousand that left Cabul, hundreds were slain or died of

exhaustion every day, three thousand fell in an ambush, and after a

night's exposure to such frost as was never experienced in England. At

last, on the 13th of January, 1842, one haggard man, Dr. Brydon, rode up,

reeling in his saddle, to the gates of Jellalabad. The fortress was still

in the keeping of Sir Robert Sale, who had steadfastly refused to retire.

It is said his wife wrote to him from her prison, urging him to hold out,

because she preferred her own and her daughter's death to his dishonour.



But the Afghan disasters were not fully known in England for months to

come. In the interval, the christening of the Prince of Wales was

celebrated with much splendour in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, on the

25th of January. The King of Prussia came over to England to officiate in

person as one of the Prince's godfathers. The others were the child's two

grand-uncles, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg,

uncle of the Queen and of Prince Albert, and father of the King Consort of

Portugal and the Duchesse de Nemours. The godmothers were the Duchess of

Kent, proxy for the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg, Prince Albert's stepmother;

the Duchess of Cambridge, proxy for the child's great-grandmother, the

Duchess of Saxe-Gotha; and the Princess Augusta of Cambridge, proxy for

the Princess Sophia of England.



The ambassadors and foreign ministers, the Cabinet ministers with their

wives in full dress, the Knights of the Garter in their mantles and

collars, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London,

Winchester, Oxford, and Norwich assembled in the Waterloo Gallery; the

officers and the ladies of the Household awaited the Queen in the

corridor. At noon, certain officers of the Household attended the King of

Prussia, who was joined by the other sponsors at the head of the grand

staircase, to the chapel.



The Queen's procession included the Duke of Wellington, bearing the Sword

of State between the Lord Chamberlain, the Earl De la Warr, and the Lord

Steward, the Earl of Liverpool, the three walking before her Majesty and

Prince Albert, who were supported by their lords-in-waiting, and followed

by the Duke of Sussex, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince Edward of

Saxe-Weimar, Prince Augustus and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, sons of

Prince Ferdinand and cousins of the Queen and Prince Albert.



When the sponsors had taken their places, and the other company were

seated near the altar, the Lord Chamberlain, accompanied by the Groom of

the Stall to Prince Albert, proceeded to the Chapter-house, and conducted

in the infant Prince of Wales, attended by the lord and groom in waiting.

The Duchess of Buccleugh, the Mistress of the Robes, took the infant from

the nurse, and put him in the Archbishop's arms. The child was named

"Albert" for his father, and "Edward" for his maternal grandfather, the

Duke of Kent. The baby, on the authority of The Times, "behaved

with princely decorum." After the ceremony, he was reconducted to the

Chapter-house by the Lord Chamberlain. By Prince Albert's desire "The

Hallelujah Chorus," which has never been given in England without the

audience rising simultaneously, was played at the close of the service.



The Queen afterwards held a Chapter of the Order of the Garter, at which

the King of Prussia, "as a lineal descendant of George I.," was elected a

Knight Companion, the Queen buckling the garter round his knee. There was

luncheon in the White Breakfast-room, and in the evening there was a

banquet in St. George's Hall. The table reached from one end of the hall

to the other, and was covered with gold plate. Lady Bloomfield, who was

present, describes an immense gold vessel--more like a bath than anything

else, capable of containing thirty dozens of wine. It was filled with

mulled claret, to the amazement of the Prussians. Four toasts were

drunk--that to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales taking precedence;

toasts to his Majesty the King of Prussia, the Queen and Prince Albert

followed. A grand musical performance in the Waterloo Gallery wound up the

festivities of the day.



The presence of the King of Prussia added additional dignity to the

proceedings. He was a great ally whose visit on the occasion was a

becoming compliment. Besides, his personal character was then regarded as

full of promise, and excited much interest. His attainments and

accomplishments, which were really remarkable, won lively admiration. His

warm regard for a man like Baron Bunsen seemed to afford the best augury

for the liberality of his sentiments. As yet the danger of

impracticability, discouragement, confusion, and paralysis of all that had

been hoped for, was but faintly indicated in the dreaminess and

fancifulness of his nature.



Lady Bloomfield describes the King as of middle size, rather fat, with an

excellent countenance and little hair. The Queen met him on the grand

staircase, kissed him twice, and made him two low curtseys. Her Majesty

says in her Journal: "He was in common morning costume, and complained

much of appearing so before me.... He is entertaining, agreeable, and

witty, tells a thing so pleasantly, and is full of amusing anecdotes."



Madame Bunsen, who was privileged to see a good deal of the gay doings

during the King of Prussia's visit, has handed down her experience. "28th

January, 1842, came by railway to Windsor, and found that in the York

Tower a comfortable set of rooms were awaiting us. The upper housemaid

gave us tea, and bread and butter--very refreshing; when dressed we went

together to the corridor, soon met Lord De la Warr, the Duchess of

Buccleugh, and Lord and Lady Westmoreland--the former showed us where to

go--that is, to walk through the corridor (a fairy scene--lights,

pictures, moving figures of courtiers unknown), the apartments which we

passed through one after another till we reached the magnificent ball-room

where the guests were assembled to await the Queen's appearance. Among

these guests stood our King himself, punctual to quarter-past seven

o'clock; soon came Prince Albert, to whom Lord De la Warr named me, when

he spoke to me of Rome. We had not been there long before two gentlemen

walking in by the same door by which we had entered, and then turning and

making profound bows towards the open door, showed that the Queen was

coming. She approached me directly and said, with a gracious smile, 'I am

very much pleased to see you,' then passed on, and after speaking a few

moments to the King took his arm and moved on, 'God save the Queen' having

begun to sound from the Waterloo Gallery, where the Queen has always dined

since the King has been with her. Lord Haddington led me to dinner, and

one of the King's suite sat on the other side. The scene was one of fairy

tales, of undescribed magnificence, the proportions of the hall, the mass

of light in suspension, the gold plate, and the table glittering with a

thousand lights in branches of a proper height not to meet the eye. The

King's health was drunk, then the Queen's, and then the Queen went out,

followed by all her ladies. During the half-hour or less that elapsed

before Prince Albert and the King followed the Queen, she did not sit, but

went round to speak to the different ladies. She asked after my children,

and gave me an opportunity of thanking her for the gracious permission to

behold her Majesty so soon after my arrival. The Duchess of Kent also

spoke to me, and I was very glad of the notice of Lady Lyttelton, who is

very charming. As soon as the King came the Queen went into the ball-room

and made the King dance a quadrille with her, which he did with all

suitable grace and dignity, though he has long ceased to dance. At

half-past eleven, after the Queen had retired, I set out on my travels to

my bed-chamber. I might have looked and wandered about some miles before I

had found my door of exit, but was helped by an old gentleman, I believe

Lord Albemarle."



The same thoughtful observer was present when the King of Prussia saw the

Queen open Parliament. "February, 1842, Thursday. The opening of the

Parliament was the thing from which I expected most, and I was not

disappointed; the throngs in the streets, in the windows, in every place

people could stand upon, all looking so pleased; the splendid Horse

Guards, the Grenadiers of the Guard--of whom might be said as the King

said on another occasion--'An appearance so fine, you know not how to

believe it true;' the Yeomen of the Body Guard; then in the House of

Lords, the Peers in their robes, the beautifully-dressed ladies with very

many beautiful faces; lastly, the procession of the Queen's entry and

herself, looking worthy and fit to be the converging-point of so many rays

of grandeur. It is self-evident that she is not tall, but were she ever so

tall, she could not have more grace and dignity, a head better set, a

throat better arching; and one advantage there is in her looks when she

casts a glance, being of necessity cast up and not down, that the effect

of the eyes is not lost, and they have an effect both bright and pleasing.

The composure with which she filled the throne while awaiting the Commons,

I much admired--it was a test, no fidget, no apathy. Then her voice and

enunciation cannot be more perfect. In short it could not be said that she

did well, but that she was the Queen--she was, and felt

herself to be, the descendant of her ancestors. Stuffed in by her

Majesty's mace-bearers, and peeping over their shoulders, I was enabled to

struggle down the emotions I felt, at thinking what mighty pages in the

world's history were condensed in the words so impressively uttered by

that soft and feminine voice. Peace and war--the fate of

millions--relations and exertions of power felt to the extremities of the

globe! Alterations of corn-laws, birth of a future sovereign, with what

should it close, but the heartfelt aspiration, God bless her and guide her

for her sake, and the sake of all."



Lady Bloomfield, who was also present, mentions that when the Queen had

finished speaking and descended from the throne, she turned to the King of

Prussia and made him a low curtsey. The same eye-witness refers to one of

the "beautiful faces" which Madame Bunsen remarked; it was that of one of

the loveliest and most accomplished women of her time: "Miss Stewart

(afterwards Marchioness of Waterford) was there, looking strikingly

handsome. She wore a turquoise, blue velvet which was very becoming, and

she was like one of the Madonnas she is so fond of painting."



The Queen and the Prince's hearts were gladdened this spring by the news

of the approaching marriage of his brother, Prince Ernest, to Princess

Alexandrine of Baden. In a family so united such intelligence awoke the

liveliest sympathy. The Queen wrote eagerly on the subject to her uncle,

and the uncle of the bridegroom, King Leopold. "My heart is full, very

full of this marriage; it brings back so many recollections of our dear

betrothal--as Ernest was with us all the time and longed for similar

happiness... I have entreated Ernest to pass his honeymoon with us, and I

beg you to urge him to do it, for he witnessed our happiness and

we must therefore witness his."



There were warm wishes for Prince Albert's presence at the ceremony at

Carlsruhe on the 3rd of May; but though his inclination coincided with

these wishes, he believed there were grave reasons for his remaining in

England, and, as was usual with him, inclination yielded to duty. The

times were full of change and excitement. The people were suffering.

Rioting had occurred in the mining districts, both in England and

Scotland. Lord Shaftesbury, then Lord Ashley, a champion of hard-pressed

humanity, was able to obtain an Act of Parliament which redeemed women

from the degradation and slavery of their work as beasts of burden in the

mines, and he was pushing forward his "Factories Bill," to release little

children from the unchildlike length of small labour, which was required

from them in mills. The Anti-corn Law League was stirring up the country

through its length and breadth. The twin names of Cobden and Bright, men

of the people, were becoming associated everywhere with eloquent

persistent appeals for "Free Trade"--cheap bread to starving multitudes.

Fears were entertained of the attitude of the Chartists. The true state of

matters in Afghanistan began to break on the public. America was sore on

what she considered the tampering with her flag in the interests of the

abolition of the slave trade. Sir Robert Peel's income-tax, in order to

replenish an ill-filled exchequer, was pending. Notwithstanding, the

season was a gay one, though the gaiety might be a little forced in some

quarters. Certainly an underlying motive was an anxious effort to promote

trade by a succession of "dinners, concerts, and balls."



One famous ball is almost historical. It is still remembered as "the

Queen's Plantagenet Ball." It was a very artistic and wonderfully perfect

revival, for one night at Buckingham Palace, of the age of Chaucer and the

Court of Edward III. and Queen Philippa.



Nothing could exceed the enthusiasm with which the idea was taken up in

the great world. All aristocratic London set themselves to study the pages

of Chaucer and Froissart. At the same time, though the Court was to be

that of Edward III and his Queen, no limit was put to the periods and

nationalities to be selected by the guests. The ball was to be a masque,

and perhaps it would have lost a little of its motley charm had it been

confined entirely to one age in history, and to one country of the world.

A comical petition had to be presented, that the masquers might remain

covered before the Queen, lest the doffing of hats should cause the

displacement of wigs.



The great attraction lay in the fact that not only did her Majesty

represent one of her predecessors, an ancestress however remote, but that

many of the guests were enabled to follow her example. They appeared--some

in the very armour of their forefathers, others in costumes copied from

family pictures, or in the dress of hereditary offices still held by the

representatives of the ancient houses. For it was the sons and daughters

of the great nobles of England that held high revelry in Buckingham Palace

that night. There was an additional picturesqueness, as well as a curious

vividness, lent to the pageant by the circumstance that in many cases the

blood of the men and the women represented ran in the veins of the

performers in the play.



The wildest rumours of the extent and cost of the ball circulated

beforehand. It was said that eighteen thousand persons were engaged in it.

The Earl of Pembroke was to wear thirty-thousand pounds' worth of

diamonds--the few diamonds in his hat alone would be of the value of

eighteen thousand pounds. He was to borrow ten thousand pounds' worth of

diamonds from Storr and Mortimer at one per cent, for the night. These

great jewellers' stores were reported to be exhausted. Every other

jeweller and diamond merchant was in the same condition. It almost seemed

as if the Prince of Esterhazy must be outdone, even though the report of

his losses from falling stones on the Coronation-day had risen to two

thousand pounds. One lady boasted that she would not give less than a

thousand pounds for her dress alone. Lord Chesterfield's costume was to

cost eight hundred pounds. Plain dresses could not be got under two

hundred; the very commonest could not be bought under fifty pounds. A new

material had been invented for the occasion--gold and silver blonde to

replace the heavy stuffs of gold and silver, since the nineteenth century

did not always furnish strength or endurance to bear such a burden in a

crowded ball-room on a May night. Truly one description of trade must have

received a lively impetus.



Both The Times and the Morning Post give full accounts of

the ball. "The leading feature.... was the assemblage and meeting of the

Courts of Anne of Brittany (the Duchess of Cambridge) and Edward III. and

Philippa (her Majesty and Prince Albert). A separate entrance to the

Palace was set apart for the Court of Brittany, the Duchess of Cambridge

assembling her Court in one of the lower rooms of the Palace, while the

Queen and Prince Albert, surrounded by a numerous and brilliant circle,

prepared to receive her Royal Highness in the Throne-room, which was

altered so as to be made as much as possible to harmonize with the period.

The throne was removed and another erected, copied from an authentic

source of the time of Edward III. It was lined (as well as the whole

alcove on which the throne was placed) with purple velvet, having worked

upon it in gold the crown of England, the cross of St. George, and

emblazoned shields with the arms of England and France. The State chairs

were what might be called of Gothic design, and the throne was surmounted

with Gothic tracery. At the back of the throne were emblazoned the royal

arms of England in silver. Seated on this throne, her Majesty and Prince

Albert awaited the arrival of the Court of Anne of Brittany."



Her Majesty's dress was entirely composed of the manufactures of

Spitalfields. Over a skirt with a demi-train of ponceau velvet

edged with fur there was a surcoat of brocade in blue and gold lined with

miniver (only her Majesty wore this royal fur). From the stomacher a band

of jewels on gold tissue descended. A mantle of gold and silver brocade

lined with miniver was so fastened that the jewelled fastening traversed

the jewelled band of the stomacher, and looked like a great jewelled cross

on the breast. Her Majesty's hair, folded a la Clovis, was

surmounted by a light crown of gold; she had but one diamond in her crown,

so large that it shone like a star. It was valued at ten thousand pounds.



Prince Albert, as Edward III., wore a cloak of scarlet velvet, lined with

ermine and trimmed with gold lace--showing oak-leaves and acorns, edged

with two rows of large pearls. The band connecting the cloak was studded

with jewels; so was the collar of the full robe, or under-cloak, of blue

and gold brocade slashed with blue velvet. The hose were of scarlet silk,

and the shoes were richly jewelled. The Prince had on a gold coronet set

with precious stones.



The suite were in the costume of the time. The Hon. Mrs. Anson and Mrs.

Brand, Women of the Bedchamber, had dresses bearing the quarterings of the

old arms of England, with lions and fleurs-de-lys. The Maids of

Honour had dresses and surcoats trimmed with gold and silver. The Duke of

Buccleugh figured as one of the original Knights of the Garter. The

Countess of Rosslyn appeared as the beautiful Countess of Salisbury.



About half-past ten, the heralds marshalled the procession from the lower

suite of rooms up the grand white marble staircase, and by the Green

Drawing-room to the Throne-room, all the State-rooms having been thrown

open and brilliantly illuminated. The Duchess of Cambridge entered

magnificently dressed as Anne of Brittany, led by the Duke of Beaufort,

richly clad as Louis XII., and followed by her court. It included the Earl

of Pembroke as the Comte d'Angouleme, with Princess Augusta of Cambridge

as Princess Claude; Prince George of Cambridge as Gaston de Foix, with the

Marchioness of Ailesbury as the Duchesse de Ferrare; Lord Cardigan as

Bayard, with Lady Exeter as Jeanne de Conflans; Lord Claud Hamilton as the

Comte de Chateaubriand, with Lady Lincoln as Ann de Villeroi.... The

Duchess of Gloucester and the Duchess of Saxe-Weimar represented two

French Chatelaines of the period. Each gentleman, leading a lady, passed

before the Queen and Prince Albert, and did obeisance.



Among the most famous quadrilles which followed that of France were the

German quadrille, led by the Duchess of Sutherland, and the Spanish

quadrille, led by the Duchess of Buccleugh. There were also Italian,

Scotch, Greek and Russian quadrilles, a Crusaders' quadrille led by the

Marchioness of Londonderry, and a Waverley quadrille led by the Countess

De la Warr.



One of the two finest effects of the evening was the passing of the

quadrilles before the Queen, a ceremony which lasted for an hour. On

leaving the Throne-room, the quadrille company went by the Picture Gallery

to join the general company in the ballroom. The Queen and the Prince

then headed their procession, and walked to the ballroom, taking their

places on the haut pas under a canopy of amber satin, when each

quadrille set was called in order, and danced in turn before the Queen,

the Scotch set dancing reels. The court returned to the Throne-room for

the Russian mazurkas. The Russian or Cossack Masquers were led by Baroness

Brunnow in a dress of the time of Catherine II., a scarlet velvet tunic,

full white silk drawers, and white satin boots embroidered with gold, a

Cossack cap of scarlet velvet with heron's feathers. The appearance of the

Throne-room with its royal company and brilliant picturesque groups, when

the mazurkas were danced, is said to have been striking and beautiful.



The diamonds of the Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge, and the Marchioness

of Londonderry outshone all others. Lady Londonderry's very gloves and

shoes were resplendent with brilliants. The Duke and Duchess of

Beaufort--the one as Louis XII. of France, the other as Isabelle of

Valois, Queen of Spain, in the French and Spanish quadrilles, were

magnificent figures.



Among the beauties of the evening, and of Queen Victoria's earlier reign,

were Lady Clementina Villiers as Vittoria Colonna; Lady Wilhelmina

Stanhope as her ancestress, Anne Stanhope, Duchess of Somerset; Lady

Frances and Lady Alexandrina Vane as Rowena and Queen Berengaria; and the

Ladies Paget in the Greek quadrille led by the Duchess of Leinster.

Another group of lovely sisters who took part in three different

quadrilles, were the Countess of Chesterfield, Donna Florinda in the

Spanish quadrille; the Honourable Mrs. Anson, Duchess of Lauenburg in the

German quadrille; and Miss Forrester, Blanche de St. Pol in the French

quadrille.



Of the ladies and gentlemen who came in the guise of ancient members of

their families, or in the costumes of old hereditary offices, Lady De la

Warr appeared as Isabella Lady De la Warr, daughter of the Lord High

Treasurer of Charles I.; Lady Colville as the wife of Sir Robert Colville,

Master of the Horse to James IV. of Scotland; Viscountess Pollington,

daughter of the Earl of Orford, as Margaret Rolle, Baroness Clinton, in

her own right, and Countess of Orford; and the Countess of Westmorland as

Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt and wife of Ralph Neville, first

Earl of Westmoreland. Earl De la Warr wore the armour used by his ancestor

in the battle of Cressy, and the Marquis of Exeter the armour of Sir John

Cecil at the siege of Calais. The Earl of Warwick went as Thomas

Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, Marshal-General of the army at the battle of

Poietiers; the Duke of Norfolk as Thomas Howard, Earl-Marshal in the reign

of Elizabeth; the Earl of Rosslyn as the Master of the Buckhounds; the

Duke of St. Albans as Grand Falconer-hereditary offices.



Mr. Monckton Milnes, the poet, presented himself as Chaucer. The

historical novelist of the day, Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer, contented

himself with a comparatively humble anonymous dress, a doublet of dark

velvet slashed with white satin. The Duke of Roxburgh as David Bruce, the

captive King of Scotland, encountered no rival royal prisoner, though a

ridiculous report had sprung up that a gentleman representing John of

France was to form a prominent feature of the pageant, to walk in chains

past the Queen. This stupid story not only wounded the sensitive vanity of

the French, to whom the news travelled, it gave rise to a witty

canard in the Morning Chronicle professing to give a debate

on the affront, in the Chamber of Deputies.



The tent of Tippoo Saib was erected in the upper or Corinthian portico

communicating with the Green Drawing-room, and used as a refreshment-room.

At one o'clock, the Earl of Liverpool, the Lord High Steward, as an

ancient seneschal, conducted the Queen to supper, which was served in the

dining-room. The long double table was covered with shields, vases, and

tankards of massive gold plate. Opposite the Queen, where she sat at the

centre of the horseshoe or cross table, a superb buffet reached almost to

the roof, covered with plate, interspersed with blossoming flowers. After

supper her Majesty danced in a quadrille with Prince George of Cambridge,

opposite the Duke of Beaufort and the Duchess of Buccleugh. The Queen left

the ball-room at about a quarter to three o'clock, and dancing was

continued for an hour afterwards. Thus ended the most unique and splendid

fete of the reign. About a fortnight afterwards, the Queen and the Prince

went in state to a ball given at Covent Garden Theatre, for the relief of

the Spitalfields weavers. Society followed the Queen's example. There was

another fancy ball at Stafford House, and a magnificent rout at Apsley

House. Fanny Kemble was present at both, and retained a vivid remembrance

of "the memorable appearance" of two of the belles of the evening at the

last fete, "Lady Douro and Mdlle. D'Este, [Footnote: Daughter of the Duke

of Sussex, by his morganatic marriage with Lady Augusta Murray. Mdlle.

D'Este became the wife of Lord Chancellor Truro.] who, coming into the

room together, produced a most striking effect by their great beauty and

their exquisite dress. They both wore magnificent dresses of white lace

over white satin, ornamented with large cactus flowers, those of the

blonde Marchioness being of the sea-shell rose colour, and the dark

Mademoiselle D'Este's of deep scarlet, and in the bottom of each of those

large veined blossoms lay, like a great drop of dew, a single splendid

diamond. The women were noble samples of fair and dark beauty, and their

whole appearance, coming in together attired with such elegance and

becoming magnificent simplicity, produced an effect of surprise and

admiration on the whole brilliant assembly." Of this year's Drawing-rooms

we happen to have two characteristic reports. Baroness Bunsen attended one

on April 8th, and wrote: "I was extremely struck with the splendour of the

scene at the Drawing-room, and had an excellent place near enough to see

everybody come up to the Queen [Footnote: "At a Levee or Drawing-room it

is his (the Lord Chamberlain's) duty to stand next to the Queen and read

out the names of each one approaching the royal presence.... Any peeress

on presentation, as also daughters of dukes, marquises, and earls, have

the privilege of being kissed by her Majesty; all other ladies make the

lowest Court curtsey they can, and lifting the Queen's hand, which she

offers, on the palm of their hand, it is gently kissed.... It seems

unnecessary to say that of course the right-hand glove is removed before

reaching the Presence Chamber."--"Old Court Customs and Modern Court

Rule," by the Hon. Mrs. Armytage.] and pass off again. I was very much

entertained, and admired a number of beautiful persons. But nobody did I

admire more than Mrs. Norton, whom I had never seen before, and Lady

Canning's face always grows upon me." Fanny Kemble also attended a

Drawing-room and described it after her fashion. "You ask about my going

to the Drawing-room, which happened thus. The Duke of Rutland dined some

little time ago at the Palace, and speaking of the late party at Belvoir,

mentioned me, when the Queen asked why I didn't have myself presented? The

Duke called next day, at my house, but we did not see him, and he being

obliged to go out of town, left a message for me with Lady Londonderry to

the effect that her Majesty's interest about me (curiosity would have been

the more exact word I suspect) rendered it imperative that I should go to

the Drawing-room; and indeed Lady Londonderry's authoritative 'Of course

you'll go,' given in her most gracious manner, left me no doubt whatever

as to my duty in that respect...."



"You ask me how I managed about diamonds to go to Court in?" she wrote

afterwards in reply to a friend's question. "I used a set of the value of

seven hundred pounds, which I also wore at the fete at Apsley House; they

were only a necklace and earrings, which I wore ... stitched on scarlet

velvet and as drops in the middle of scarlet velvet bows in my hair, and

my dress being white satin and point lace, trimmed with white Roman

pearls, it all looked nice enough.



"I suffered agonies of nervousness, and I rather think did all sorts of

awkward things; but so I dare say do other people in the same predicament,

and I did not trouble my head much about my various mis-performances. One

thing, however, I can tell you, if her Majesty has seen me, I have not

seen her, and should be quite excusable in cutting her wherever I met her.

'A cat may look at a king,' it is said; but how about looking at the

Queen? In great uncertainty of mind on this point I did not look at my

sovereign lady. I kissed a soft white hand which I believe was hers; I saw

a pair of very handsome legs in very fine silk stockings, which I am

convinced were not hers, but am inclined to attribute to Prince Albert;

and this is all I perceived of the whole Royal family of England, for I

made a sweeping curtsey to the 'good remainders of the Court' and came

away, with no impression but that of a crowded mass of full-dressed

confusion, and neither know how I got in or out of it."



We might furnish a third sketch of a Drawing-room from one of the letters

of Bishop, then Archdeacon, Wilberforce, who was often at Court about this

time. In the early part of 1842 he paid a visit to Windsor, of which he

has left a graphic account. "All went on most pleasantly at the Castle. My

reception and treatment throughout was exceedingly kind. The Queen and the

Prince were both at church, as was also Lord Melbourne, who paid his first

visit at the same time. The Queen's meeting with him was very interesting.

The exceeding pleasure which lighted up her countenance was quite

touching. His behaviour to her was perfect--the fullest attentive

deference of the subject with a subdued air of 'your father's friend' that

was quite fascinating. It was curious to see (for I contemplated myself at

the moment objectively--and free from the consciousness of subjectivity),

sitting round the Queen's table, (1) the Queen, (2) the Prince, (3) Lord

Melbourne, (4) Archdeacon, (5) Lady F. Howard, (6) Baron Stockmar, (7)

Duchess of Kent, (8) Lady Sandwich, in the evening, discussing Coleridge,

German literature, &c., with 2 and 3, and a little with 4 and 6, who is a

very superior man evidently. The remarks of 3 were highly characteristic,

his complaints of 'hard words,' &c., and 2 showed a great deal of interest

and taste in German and English literature, and a good deal of

acquaintance with both. I had orders to sit by the Duchess of Kent at

dinner, just opposite to 1 and 2, 3 sitting at l's right, and the

conversation, especially after dinner, was much more general across the

table on etymology," &c. &c.





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