It was decidedly a family match. Prince Francis Charles Augustus

Albert Emmanuel of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha--for such was his full title--had

been born just three months after his cousin Victoria, and the same

midwife had assisted at the two births. The children's grandmother,

the Dowager Duchess of Coburg, had from the first looked forward to

their marriage; as they grew up, the Duke, the Duchess of Kent, and

King Leopold came equally to desire it. The Prince, ever since the

time when, as a child of three, his nurse had told him that some day

'the little English May flower' would be his wife, had never thought of

marrying anyone else. When eventually Baron Stockmar himself signified

his assent, the affair seemed as good as settled.

The Duke had one other child--Prince Ernest, Albert's senior by one

year, and heir to the principality. The Duchess was a sprightly and

beautiful woman, with fair hair and blue eyes; Albert was very like her

and was her declared favourite. But in his fifth year he was parted

from her for ever. The ducal court was not noted for the strictness of

its morals; the Duke was a man of gallantry, and it was rumoured that

the Duchess followed her husband's example. There were scandals:

one of the Court Chamberlains, a charming and cultivated man of Jewish

extraction, was talked of; at last there was a separation, followed by

a divorce. The Duchess retired to Paris, and died unhappily in 1831.

Her memory was always very dear to Albert.

He grew up a pretty, clever, and high-spirited boy. Usually

well-behaved, he was, however, sometimes violent. He had a will of his

own, and asserted it; his elder brother was less passionate, less

purposeful, and, in their wrangles, it was Albert who came out top.

The two boys, living for the most part in one or other of the Duke's

country houses, among pretty hills and woods and streams, had been at a

very early age--Albert was less than four--separated from their nurses

and put under a tutor, in whose charge they remained until they went to

the University. They were brought up in a simple and unostentatious

manner, for the Duke was poor and the duchy very small and very

insignificant. Before long it became evident that Albert was a model

lad. Intelligent and painstaking, he had been touched by the moral

earnestness of his generation; at the age of eleven he surprised his

father by telling him that he hoped to make himself 'a good and useful

man.' And yet he was not over-serious; though, perhaps, he had little

humour, he was full of fun--of practical jokes and mimicry. He was no

milksop; he rode, and shot, and fenced; above all did he delight in

being out of doors, and never was he happier than in his long rambles

with his brother through the wild country round his beloved

Rosenau--stalking the deer, admiring the scenery, and returning laden

with specimens for his natural history collection. He was, besides,

passionately fond of music. In one particular it was observed

that he did not take after his father: owing either to his peculiar

upbringing or to a more fundamental idiosyncrasy he had a marked

distaste for the opposite sex. At the age of five, at a children's

dance, he screamed with disgust and anger when a little girl was led up

to him for a partner; and though, later on, he grew more successful in

disguising such feelings, the feelings remained.

The brothers were very popular in Coburg, and, when the time came for

them to be confirmed, the preliminary examination, which, according to

ancient custom, was held in public in the 'Giants' Hall' of the Castle,

was attended by an enthusiastic crowd of functionaries, clergy,

delegates from the villages of the duchy, and miscellaneous onlookers.

There were also present, besides the Duke and the Dowager Duchess,

their Serene Highnesses the Princes Alexander and Ernest of Wuertemberg,

Prince Leiningen, Princess Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and Princess

Hohenlohe-Schillingsfuerst. Dr. Jacobi, the Court chaplain, presided at

an altar, simply but appropriately decorated, which had been placed at

the end of the hall; and the proceedings began by the choir singing the

first verse of the hymn, 'Come, Holy Ghost.' After some introductory

remarks, Dr. Jacobi began the examination. 'The dignified and decorous

bearing of the Princes,' we are told in a contemporary account, 'their

strict attention to the questions, the frankness, decision, and

correctness of their answers, produced a deep impression on the

numerous assembly. Nothing was more striking in their answers than the

evidence they gave of deep feeling and of inward strength of

conviction. The questions put by the examiner were not such as to be

met by a simple "yes" or "no." They were carefully considered in

order to give the audience a clear insight into the views and feelings

of the young princes. One of the most touching moments was when the

examiner asked the hereditary prince whether he intended steadfastly to

hold to the Evangelical Church, and the Prince answered not only "Yes!"

but added in a clear and decided tone: "I and my brother are firmly

resolved ever to remain faithful to the acknowledged truth." The

examination having lasted an hour, Dr. Jacobi made some concluding

observations, followed by a short prayer; the second and third verses

of the opening hymn were sung; and the ceremony was over. The Princes,

stepping down from the altar, were embraced by the Duke and the Dowager

Duchess; after which the loyal inhabitants of Coburg dispersed, well

satisfied with their entertainment.

Albert's mental development now proceeded apace. In his seventeenth

year he began a careful study of German literature and German

philosophy. He set about, he told his tutor, 'to follow the thoughts

of the great Klopstock into their depths--though in this, for the most

part,' he modestly added, 'I do not succeed.' He wrote an essay on the

'Mode of Thought of the Germans, and a Sketch of the History of German

Civilisation,' 'making use,' he said, 'in its general outlines, of the

divisions which the treatment of the subject itself demands,' and

concluding with 'a retrospect of the shortcomings of our time, with an

appeal to every one to correct those shortcomings in his own case, and

thus set a good example to others.' Placed for some months under

the care of King Leopold at Brussels, he came under the influence of

Adolphe Quetelet, a mathematical professor, who was particularly

interested in the application of the laws of probability to political

and moral phenomena; this line of inquiry attracted the Prince, and the

friendship thus begun continued till the end of his life. From

Brussels he went to the University of Bonn, where he was speedily

distinguished both by his intellectual and his social activities; his

energies were absorbed in metaphysics, law, political economy, music,

fencing, and amateur theatricals. Thirty years later his

fellow-students recalled with delight the fits of laughter into which

they had been sent by Prince Albert's mimicry. The verve with which

his Serene Highness reproduced the tones and gestures of one of the

professors who used to point to a picture of a row of houses in Venice

with the remark, 'That is the Ponte Realte,' and of another who fell

down in a race and was obliged to look for his spectacles, was

especially appreciated.

After a year at Bonn, the time had come for a foreign tour, and Baron

Stockmar arrived from England to accompany the Prince on an expedition

to Italy. The Baron had been already, two years previously, consulted

by King Leopold as to his views upon the proposed marriage of Albert

and Victoria. His reply had been remarkable. With a characteristic

foresight, a characteristic absence of optimism, a characteristic sense

of the moral elements in the situation, Stockmar had pointed out what

were, in his opinion, the conditions essential to make the marriage a

success. Albert, he wrote, was a fine young fellow, well grown for his

age, with agreeable and valuable qualities; and it was probable that in

a few years he would turn out a strong, handsome man, of a kindly,

simple, yet dignified demeanour. 'Thus, externally, he possesses

all that pleases the sex, and at all times and in all countries must

please.' Supposing, therefore, that Victoria herself was in favour of

the marriage, the further question arose as to whether Albert's mental

qualities were such as to fit him for the position of husband of the

Queen of England. On this point, continued the Baron, one heard much

to his credit; the Prince was said to be discreet and intelligent; but

all such judgments were necessarily partial, and the Baron preferred to

reserve his opinion until he could come to a trustworthy conclusion

from personal observation. And then he added: 'But all this is not

enough. The young man ought to have not merely great ability, but a

right ambition, and great force of will as well. To pursue for a

lifetime a political career so arduous demands more than energy and

inclination--it demands also that earnest frame of mind which is ready

of its own accord to sacrifice mere pleasure to real usefulness. If he

is not satisfied hereafter with the consciousness of having achieved

one of the most influential positions in Europe, how often will he feel

tempted to repent his adventure! If he does not from the very outset

accept it as a vocation of grave responsibility, on the efficient

performance of which his honour and happiness depend, there is small

likelihood of his succeeding.'

Such were the views of Stockmar on the qualifications necessary for the

due fulfilment of that destiny which Albert's family had marked out for

him; and he hoped, during the tour in Italy, to come to some conclusion

as to how far the Prince possessed them. Albert on his side was much

impressed by the Baron, whom he had previously seen but rarely; he also

became acquainted, for the first time in his life, with a young

Englishman, Lieut. Francis Seymour, who had been engaged to accompany

him, whom he found sehr liebenswuerdig, and with whom he struck up a

warm friendship. He delighted in the galleries and scenery of

Florence, though with Rome he was less impressed. 'But for some

beautiful palaces,' he said, 'it might just as well be any town in

Germany.' In an interview with Pope Gregory XVI, he took the

opportunity of displaying his erudition. When the Pope observed that

the Greeks had taken their art from the Etruscans, Albert replied that,

on the contrary, in his opinion, they had borrowed from the Egyptians:

his Holiness politely acquiesced. Wherever he went he was eager to

increase his knowledge, and, at a ball in Florence, he was observed

paying no attention whatever to the ladies, and deep in conversation

with the learned Signor Capponi. 'Voila un prince dont nous pouvons

etre fiers,' said the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who was standing by: 'la

belle danseuse l'attend, le savant l'occupe.'

On his return to Germany, Stockmar's observations, imparted to King

Leopold, were still critical. Albert, he said, was intelligent, kind,

and amiable; he was full of the best intentions and the noblest

resolutions, and his judgment was in many things beyond his years. But

great exertion was repugnant to him; he seemed to be too willing to

spare himself, and his good resolutions too often came to nothing. It

was particularly unfortunate that he took not the slightest interest in

politics, and never read a newspaper. In his manners, too, there was

still room for improvement. 'He will always,' said the Baron, 'have

more success with men than with women, in whose society he shows too

little empressement, and is too indifferent and retiring.' One

other feature of the case was noted by the keen eye of the old

physician: the Prince's constitution was not a strong one. Yet, on

the whole, he was favourable to the projected marriage. But by now the

chief obstacle seemed to lie in another quarter. Victoria was

apparently determined to commit herself to nothing. And so it happened

that when Albert went to England he had made up his mind to withdraw

entirely from the affair. Nothing would induce him, he confessed to a

friend, to be kept vaguely waiting; he would break it all off at once.

His reception at Windsor threw an entirely new light upon the

situation. The wheel of fortune turned with a sudden rapidity; and he

found, in the arms of Victoria, the irrevocable assurance of his

overwhelming fate.


He was not in love with her. Affection, gratitude, the natural

reactions to the unqualified devotion of a lively young cousin who was

also a queen--such feelings possessed him, but the ardours of

reciprocal passion were not his. Though he found that he liked

Victoria very much, what immediately interested him in his curious

position was less her than himself. Dazzled and delighted, riding,

dancing, singing, laughing, amid the splendours of Windsor, he was

aware of a new sensation--the stirrings of ambition in his breast. His

place would indeed be a high, an enviable one! And then, on the

instant, came another thought. The teaching of religion, the

admonitions of Stockmar, his own inmost convictions, all spoke

with the same utterance. He would not be there to please himself, but

for a very different purpose--to do good. He must be 'noble, manly,

and princely in all things,' he would have 'to live and to sacrifice

himself for the benefit of his new country,' to 'use his powers and

endeavours for a great object--that of promoting the welfare of

multitudes of his fellow-men.' One serious thought led on to another.

The wealth and the bustle of the English Court might be delightful for

the moment, but, after all, it was Coburg that had his heart. 'While I

shall be untiring,' he wrote to his grandmother, 'in my efforts and

labours for the country to which I shall in future belong, and where I

am called to so high a position, I shall never cease ein treuer

Deutscher, Coburger, Gothaner zu sein.' And now he must part from

Coburg for ever! Sobered and sad, he sought relief in his brother

Ernest's company; the two young men would shut themselves up together,

and, sitting down at the pianoforte, would escape from the present and

the future in the sweet familiar gaiety of a Haydn duet.

They returned to Germany; and while Albert, for a few farewell months,

enjoyed, for the last time, the happiness of home, Victoria, for the

last time, resumed her old life in London and Windsor. She

corresponded daily with her future husband in a mingled flow of German

and English; but the accustomed routine reasserted itself; the business

and the pleasures of the day would brook no interruption; Lord M. was

once more constantly beside her; and the Tories were as intolerable as

ever. Indeed, they were more so. For now, in these final

moments, the old feud burst out with redoubled fury. The impetuous

sovereign found, to her chagrin, that there might be disadvantages in

being the declared enemy of one of the great parties in the State. On

two occasions, the Tories directly thwarted her in a matter on which

she had set her heart. She wished her husband's rank to be fixed by

statute, and their opposition prevented it. She wished her husband to

receive a settlement from the nation of L50,000 a year; and, again

owing to the Tories, he was allowed only L30,000. It was too bad.

When the question was discussed in Parliament, it had been pointed out

that the bulk of the population was suffering from great poverty, and

that L30,000 was the whole revenue of Coburg; but her uncle Leopold had

been given L50,000, and it would be monstrous to give Albert less. Sir

Robert Peel--it might have been expected--had had the effrontery to

speak and vote for the smaller sum. She was very angry, and determined

to revenge herself by omitting to invite a single Tory to her wedding.

She would make an exception in favour of old Lord Liverpool, but even

the Duke of Wellington she refused to ask. When it was represented to

her that it would amount to a national scandal if the Duke were absent

from her wedding, she was angrier than ever. 'What! That old rebel!

I won't have him,' she was reported to have said. Eventually she was

induced to send him an invitation; but she made no attempt to conceal

the bitterness of her feelings, and the Duke himself was only too

well aware of all that had passed.

Nor was it only against the Tories that her irritation rose. As the

time for her wedding approached, her temper grew steadily sharper and

more arbitrary. Queen Adelaide annoyed her. King Leopold, too, was

'ungracious' in his correspondence; 'Dear Uncle,' she told Albert, 'is

given to believe that he must rule the roast everywhere. However,' she

added with asperity, 'that is not a necessity.' Even Albert

himself was not impeccable. Engulfed in Coburgs, he failed to

appreciate the complexity of English affairs. There were difficulties

about his household. He had a notion that he ought not to be

surrounded by violent Whigs; very likely, but he would not understand

that the only alternatives to violent Whigs were violent Tories; and it

would be preposterous if his Lords and Gentlemen were to be found

voting against the Queen's. He wanted to appoint his own Private

Secretary. But how could he choose the right person? Lord M. was

obviously best qualified to make the appointment; and Lord M. had

decided that the Prince should take over his own Private

Secretary--George Anson, a staunch Whig. Albert protested, but it was

useless; Victoria simply announced that Anson was appointed, and

instructed Lehzen to send the Prince an explanation of the details of

the case. Then, again, he had written anxiously upon the necessity of

maintaining unspotted the moral purity of the Court. Lord M.'s pupil

considered that dear Albert was strait-laced, and, in a brisk

Anglo-German missive, set forth her own views. 'I like Lady A. very

much,' she told him, 'only she is a little strict and

particular, and too severe towards others, which is not right; for I

think one ought always to be indulgent towards other people, as I

always think, if we had not been well taken care of, we might also have

gone astray. That is always my feeling. Yet it is always right to

show that one does not like to see what is obviously wrong; but it is

very dangerous to be too severe, and I am certain that as a rule such

people always greatly regret that in their youth they have not been so

careful as they ought to have been. I have explained this so badly and

written it so badly, that I fear you will hardly be able to make it


On one other matter she was insistent. Since the affair of Lady Flora

Hastings, a sad fate had overtaken Sir James Clark. His flourishing

practice had quite collapsed; nobody would go to him any more. But the

Queen remained faithful. She would show the world how little she cared

for its disapproval, and she desired Albert to make 'poor Clark' his

physician in ordinary. He did as he was told; but, as it turned out,

the appointment was not a happy one.

The wedding-day was fixed, and it was time for Albert to tear himself

away from his family and the scenes of his childhood. With an aching

heart, he had revisited his beloved haunts--the woods and the valleys

where he had spent so many happy hours shooting rabbits and collecting

botanical specimens; in deep depression, he had sat through the

farewell banquets in the Palace and listened to the Freischuetz

performed by the State band. It was time to go. The streets were

packed as he drove through them; for a short space his eyes were

gladdened by a sea of friendly German faces, and his ears by a

gathering volume of good guttural sounds. He stopped to bid a last

adieu to his grandmother. It was a heart-rending moment. 'Albert!

Albert!' she shrieked, and fell fainting into the arms of her

attendants as his carriage drove away. He was whirled rapidly to his

destiny. At Calais a steamboat awaited him, and, together with his

father and his brother, he stepped, dejected, on board. A little

later, he was more dejected still. The crossing was a very rough one;

the Duke went hurriedly below; while the two Princes, we are told, lay

on either side of the cabin staircase 'in an almost helpless state.'

At Dover a large crowd was collected on the pier, and 'it was by no

common effort that Prince Albert, who had continued to suffer up to the

last moment, got up to bow to the people.' His sense of duty

triumphed. It was a curious omen: his whole life in England was

foreshadowed as he landed on English ground.

Meanwhile Victoria, in growing agitation, was a prey to temper and to

nerves. She grew feverish, and at last Sir James Clark pronounced that

she was going to have the measles. But, once again, Sir James's

diagnosis was incorrect. It was not the measles that was attacking

her, but a very different malady; she was suddenly prostrated by alarm,

regret, and doubt. For two years she had been her own mistress--the

two happiest years, by far, of her life. And now it was all to end!

She was to come under an alien domination--she would have to promise

that she would honour and obey ... someone, who might, after all,

thwart her, oppose her--and how dreadful that would be! Why had she

embarked on this hazardous experiment? Why had she not been

contented with Lord M.? No doubt, she loved Albert; but she loved

power too. At any rate, one thing was certain: she might be Albert's

wife, but she would always be Queen of England. He reappeared, in

an exquisite uniform, and her hesitations melted in his presence like

mist before the sun. On February 10, 1840, the marriage took place.

The wedded pair drove down to Windsor; but they were not, of course,

entirely alone. They were accompanied by their suites, and, in

particular, by two persons--the Baron Stockmar and the Baroness Lehzen.


Albert had foreseen that his married life would not be all plain

sailing; but he had by no means realised the gravity and the

complication of the difficulties which he would have to face.

Politically, he was a cipher. Lord Melbourne was not only Prime

Minister, he was in effect the Private Secretary of the Queen, and thus

controlled the whole of the political existence of the sovereign. A

queen's husband was an entity unknown to the British Constitution. In

State affairs there seemed to be no place for him; nor was Victoria

herself at all unwilling that this should be so. 'The English,' she

had told the Prince when, during their engagement, a proposal had been

made to give him a peerage, 'are very jealous of any foreigner

interfering in the government of this country, and have already in some

of the papers expressed a hope that you would not interfere. Now,

though I know you never would, still, if you were a Peer, they would

all say, the Prince meant to play a political part.' 'I know you

never would!' In reality, she was not quite so certain; but she

wished Albert to understand her views. He would, she hoped, make a

perfect husband; but, as for governing the country, he would see that

she and Lord M. between them could manage that very well, without his


But it was not only in politics that the Prince discovered that the

part cut out for him was a negligible one. Even as a husband, he

found, his functions were to be of an extremely limited kind. Over the

whole of Victoria's private life the Baroness reigned supreme; and she

had not the slightest intention of allowing that supremacy to be

diminished by one iota. Since the accession, her power had greatly

increased. Besides the undefined and enormous influence which she

exercised through her management of the Queen's private correspondence,

she was now the superintendent of the royal establishment and

controlled the important office of Privy Purse. Albert very soon

perceived that he was not master in his own house. Every detail of

his own and his wife's existence was supervised by a third person:

nothing could be done until the consent of Lehzen had first been

obtained. And Victoria, who adored Lehzen with unabated intensity, saw

nothing in all this that was wrong.

Nor was the Prince happier in his social surroundings. A shy young

foreigner, awkward in ladies' company, unexpansive and

self-opinionated, it was improbable that, in any circumstances, he

would have been a society success. His appearance, too, was against

him. Though in the eyes of Victoria he was the mirror of manly beauty,

her subjects, whose eyes were of a less Teutonic cast, did not agree

with her. To them--and particularly to the high-born ladies and

gentlemen who naturally saw him most--what was immediately and

distressingly striking in Albert's face and figure and whole demeanour

was his un-English look. His features were regular, no doubt, but

there was something smooth and smug about them; he was tall, but he was

clumsily put together, and he walked with a slight slouch. Really,

they thought, this youth was more like some kind of foreign tenor than

anything else. These were serious disadvantages; but the line of

conduct which the Prince adopted from the first moment of his arrival

was far from calculated to dispel them. Owing partly to a natural

awkwardness, partly to a fear of undue familiarity, and partly to a

desire to be absolutely correct, his manners were infused with an

extraordinary stiffness and formality. Whenever he appeared in

company, he seemed to be surrounded by a thick hedge of prickly

etiquette. He never went out into ordinary society; he never walked in

the streets of London; he was invariably accompanied by an equerry when

he rode or drove. He wanted to be irreproachable and, if that involved

friendlessness, it could not be helped. Besides, he had no very high

opinion of the English. So far as he could see, they cared for nothing

but fox-hunting and Sunday observances; they oscillated between an

undue frivolity and an undue gloom; if you spoke to them of friendly

joyousness they stared; and they did not understand either the Laws of

Thought or the wit of a German University. Since it was clear that

with such people he could have very little in common, there was no

reason whatever for relaxing in their favour the rules of etiquette.

In strict privacy, he could be natural and charming; Seymour and Anson

were devoted to him, and he returned their affection; but they were

subordinates--the receivers of his confidences and the agents of

his will. From the support and the solace of true companionship he was

utterly cut off.

A friend, indeed, he had--or rather, a mentor. The Baron, established

once more in the royal residence, was determined to work with as

whole-hearted a detachment for the Prince's benefit as, more than

twenty years before, he had worked for his uncle's. The situations

then and now, similar in many respects, were yet full of differences.

Perhaps in either case the difficulties to be encountered were equally

great; but the present problem was the more complex and the more

interesting. The young doctor, unknown and insignificant, whose only

assets were his own wits and the friendship of an unimportant Prince,

had been replaced by the accomplished confidant of kings and ministers,

ripe in years, in reputation, and in the wisdom of a vast experience.

It was possible for him to treat Albert with something of the

affectionate authority of a father; but, on the other hand, Albert was

no Leopold. As the Baron was very well aware, he had none of his

uncle's rigidity of ambition, none of his overweening impulse to be

personally great. He was virtuous and well-intentioned; he was clever

and well-informed; but he took no interest in politics, and there were

no signs that he possessed any commanding force of character. Left to

himself, he would almost certainly have subsided into a high-minded

nonentity, an aimless dilettante busy over culture, a palace appendage

without influence or power. But he was not left to himself: Stockmar

saw to that. For ever at his pupil's elbow, the hidden Baron pushed

him forward, with tireless pressure, along the path which had

been trod by Leopold so many years ago. But, this time, the goal at

the end of it was something more than the mediocre royalty that Leopold

had reached. The prize which Stockmar, with all the energy of

disinterested devotion, had determined should be Albert's was a

tremendous prize indeed.

The beginning of the undertaking proved to be the most arduous part of

it. Albert was easily dispirited: what was the use of struggling to

perform in a role which bored him and which, it was quite clear, nobody

but the dear good Baron had any desire that he should take up? It was

simpler, and it saved a great deal of trouble, to let things slide.

But Stockmar would not have it. Incessantly, he harped upon two

strings--Albert's sense of duty and his personal pride. Had the Prince

forgotten the noble aims to which his life was to be devoted? And was

he going to allow himself, his wife, his family, his whole existence,

to be governed by Baroness Lehzen? The latter consideration was a

potent one. Albert had never been accustomed to giving way; and now,

more than ever before, it would be humiliating to do so. Not only was

he constantly exasperated by the position of the Baroness in the royal

household; there was another and a still more serious cause of

complaint. He was, he knew very well, his wife's intellectual

superior, and yet he found, to his intense annoyance, that there were

parts of her mind over which he exercised no influence. When, urged on

by the Baron, he attempted to discuss politics with Victoria, she

eluded the subject, drifted into generalities, and then began to talk

of something else. She was treating him as she had once treated their

uncle Leopold. When at last he protested, she replied that her

conduct was merely the result of indolence; that when she was with

him she could not bear to bother her head with anything so dull as

politics. The excuse was worse than the fault: was he the wife and she

the husband? It almost seemed so. But the Baron declared that the

root of the mischief was Lehzen: that it was she who encouraged the

Queen to have secrets; who did worse--undermined the natural

ingenuousness of Victoria, and induced her to give, unconsciously no

doubt, false reasons to explain away her conduct.

Minor disagreements made matters worse. The royal couple differed in

their tastes. Albert, brought up in a regime of Spartan simplicity and

early hours, found the great Court functions intolerably wearisome, and

was invariably observed to be nodding on the sofa at half-past ten;

while the Queen's favourite form of enjoyment was to dance through the

night, and then, going out into the portico of the Palace, watch the

sun rise behind St. Paul's and the towers of Westminster. She

loved London and he detested it. It was only in Windsor that he felt

he could really breathe; but Windsor too had its terrors: though during

the day there he could paint and walk and play on the piano, after

dinner black tedium descended like a pall. He would have liked to

summon distinguished scientific and literary men to his presence, and

after ascertaining their views upon various points of art and learning,

to set forth his own; but unfortunately Victoria 'had no fancy to

encourage such people'; knowing that she was unequal to taking a part

in their conversation, she insisted that the evening routine should

remain unaltered; the regulation interchange of platitudes with

official persons was followed as usual by the round table and the books

of engravings, while the Prince, with three of his attendants, played

game after game of double chess.

It was only natural that in so peculiar a situation, in which the

elements of power, passion, and pride were so strangely apportioned,

there should have been occasionally something more than mere

irritation--a struggle of angry wills. Victoria, no more than Albert,

was in the habit of playing second fiddle. Her arbitrary temper

flashed out. Her vitality, her obstinacy, her overweening sense of her

own position, might well have beaten down before them his superiorities

and his rights. But she fought at a disadvantage; she was, in very

truth, no longer her own mistress; a profound preoccupation dominated

her, seizing upon her inmost purposes for its own extraordinary ends.

She was madly in love. The details of those curious battles are

unknown to us; but Prince Ernest, who remained in England with his

brother for some months, noted them with a friendly and startled

eye. One story, indeed, survives, ill-authenticated and perhaps

mythical, yet summing up, as such stories often do, the central facts

of the case. When, in wrath, the Prince one day had locked himself

into his room, Victoria, no less furious, knocked on the door to be

admitted. 'Who is there?' he asked. 'The Queen of England,' was the

answer. He did not move, and again there was a hail of knocks. The

question and the answer were repeated many times; but at last there was

a pause, and then a gentler knocking. 'Who is there?' came once more

the relentless question. But this time the reply was different. 'Your

wife, Albert.' And the door was immediately opened.

Very gradually the Prince's position changed. He began to find the

study of politics less uninteresting than he had supposed; he read

Blackstone, and took lessons in English Law; he was occasionally

present when the Queen interviewed her Ministers; and at Lord

Melbourne's suggestion he was shown all the despatches relating to

Foreign Affairs. Sometimes he would commit his views to paper, and

read them aloud to the Prime Minister, who, infinitely kind and

courteous, listened with attention, but seldom made any reply. An

important step was taken when, before the birth of the Princess Royal,

the Prince, without any opposition in Parliament, was appointed Regent

in case of the death of the Queen. Stockmar, owing to whose

intervention with the Tories this happy result had been brought about,

now felt himself at liberty to take a holiday with his family in

Coburg; but his solicitude, poured out in innumerable letters, still

watched over his pupil from afar. 'Dear Prince,' he wrote, 'I am

satisfied with the news you have sent me. Mistakes, misunderstandings,

obstructions, which come in vexatious opposition to one's views, are

always to be taken for just what they are--namely, natural phenomena of

life, which represent one of its sides, and that the shady one. In

overcoming them with dignity, your mind has to exercise, to train, to

enlighten itself; and your character to gain force, endurance, and the

necessary hardness.' The Prince had done well so far; but he must

continue in the right path; above all, he was 'never to relax.'--'Never

to relax in putting your magnanimity to the proof; never to relax in

logical separation of what is great and essential from what is trivial

and of no moment; never to relax in keeping yourself up to a high

standard--in the determination, daily renewed, to be consistent,

patient, courageous.' It was a hard programme, perhaps, for a young

man of twenty-one; and yet there was something in it which touched the

very depths of Albert's soul. He sighed, but he listened--listened as

to the voice of a spiritual director inspired with divine truth. 'The

stars which are needful to you now,' the voice continued, 'and perhaps

for some time to come, are Love, Honesty, Truth. All those whose

minds are warped, or who are destitute of true feeling, will be apt to

mistake you, and to persuade themselves and the world that you are not

the man you are--or, at least, may become.... Do you, therefore, be on

the alert betimes, with your eyes open in every direction.... I wish

for my Prince a great, noble, warm, and true heart, such as shall serve

as the richest and surest basis for the noblest views of human nature,

and the firmest resolve to give them development.'

Before long, the decisive moment came. There was a General Election,

and it became certain that the Tories, at last, must come into power.

The Queen disliked them as much as ever; but, with a large majority in

the House of Commons, they would now be in a position to insist upon

their wishes being attended to. Lord Melbourne himself was the first

to realise the importance of carrying out the inevitable transition

with as little friction as possible; and with his consent, the Prince,

following up the rapprochement which had begun over the Regency Act,

opened, through Anson, a negotiation with Sir Robert Peel. In a series

of secret interviews, a complete understanding was reached upon the

difficult and complex question of the Bedchamber. It was agreed that

the constitutional point should not be raised, but that, on the

formation of the Tory Government, the principal Whig ladies should

retire, and their places be filled by others appointed by Sir

Robert. Thus, in effect, though not in form, the Crown abandoned

the claims of 1839, and they have never been subsequently put forward.

The transaction was a turning-point in the Prince's career. He had

conducted an important negotiation with skill and tact; he had been

brought into close and friendly relations with the new Prime Minister;

it was obvious that a great political future lay before him. Victoria

was much impressed and deeply grateful. 'My dearest Angel,' she told

King Leopold, 'is indeed a great comfort to me. He takes the greatest

interest in what goes on, feeling with and for me, and yet abstaining

as he ought from biassing me either way, though we talk much on the

subject, and his judgment is, as you say, good and mild.' She was

in need of all the comfort and assistance he could give her. Lord M.

was going; and she could hardly bring herself to speak to Peel. Yes;

she would discuss everything with Albert now!

Stockmar, who had returned to England, watched the departure of Lord

Melbourne with satisfaction. If all went well, the Prince should now

wield a supreme political influence over Victoria. But would all go

well? An unexpected development put the Baron into a serious fright.

When the dreadful moment finally came, and the Queen, in anguish, bade

adieu to her beloved Minister, it was settled between them that, though

it would be inadvisable to meet very often, they could continue to

correspond. Never were the inconsistencies of Lord Melbourne's

character shown more clearly than in what followed. So long as he was

in office, his attitude towards Peel had been irreproachable; he

had done all he could to facilitate the change of government; he had

even, through more than one channel, transmitted privately to his

successful rival advice as to the best means of winning the Queen's

good graces. Yet, no sooner was he in opposition than his heart

failed him. He could not bear the thought of surrendering altogether

the privilege and the pleasure of giving counsel to Victoria--of being

cut off completely from the power and the intimacy which had been his

for so long and in such abundant measure. Though he had declared that

he would be perfectly discreet in his letters, he could not resist

taking advantage of the opening they afforded. He discussed in detail

various public questions, and, in particular, gave the Queen a great

deal of advice in the matter of appointments. This advice was

followed. Lord Melbourne recommended that Lord Heytesbury, who, he

said, was an able man, should be made Ambassador at Vienna; and a week

later the Queen wrote to the Foreign Secretary urging that Lord

Heytesbury, whom she believed to be a very able man, should be employed

'on some important mission.' Stockmar was very much alarmed. He wrote

a memorandum, pointing out the unconstitutional nature of Lord

Melbourne's proceedings and the unpleasant position in which the Queen

might find herself if they were discovered by Peel; and he instructed

Anson to take this memorandum to the ex-Minister. Lord Melbourne,

lounging on a sofa, read it through with compressed lips. 'This is

quite an apple-pie opinion,' he said. When Anson ventured to

expostulate further, suggesting that it was unseemly in the leader of

the Opposition to maintain an intimate relationship with the

Sovereign, the old man lost his temper. 'God eternally damn it!' he

exclaimed, leaping up from his sofa, and dashing about the room.

'Flesh and blood cannot stand this!' He continued to write to the

Queen, as before; and two more violent bombardments from the Baron were

needed before he was brought to reason. Then, gradually, his letters

grew less and less frequent, with fewer and fewer references to public

concerns; at last, they were entirely innocuous. The Baron smiled;

Lord M. had accepted the inevitable.

The Whig ministry resigned in September, 1841; but more than a year was

to elapse before another and an equally momentous change was

effected--the removal of Lehzen. For, in the end, the mysterious

governess was conquered. The steps are unknown by which Victoria was

at last led to accept her withdrawal with composure--perhaps with

relief; but it is clear that Albert's domestic position must have been

greatly strengthened by the appearance of children. The birth of the

Princess Royal had been followed in November 1841 by that of the Prince

of Wales; and before very long another baby was expected. The

Baroness, with all her affection, could have but a remote share in such

family delights. She lost ground perceptibly. It was noticed as a

phenomenon that, once or twice, when the Court travelled, she was left

behind at Windsor. The Prince was very cautious; at the change of

Ministry, Lord Melbourne had advised him to choose that moment for

decisive action; but he judged it wiser to wait. Time and the

pressure of inevitable circumstances were for him; every day his

predominance grew more assured--and every night. At length he

perceived that he need hesitate no longer--that every wish, every

velleity of his had only to be expressed to be at once Victoria's. He

spoke, and Lehzen vanished for ever. No more would she reign in that

royal heart and those royal halls. No more, watching from a window at

Windsor, would she follow her pupil and her sovereign, walking on the

terrace among the obsequious multitude, with the eye of triumphant

love. Returning to her native Hanover she established herself at

Bueckeburg in a small but comfortable house, the walls of which were

entirely covered by portraits of Her Majesty. The Baron, in spite

of his dyspepsia, smiled again: Albert was supreme.


The early discords had passed away completely--resolved into the

absolute harmony of married life. Victoria, overcome by a new, an

unimagined revelation, had surrendered her whole soul to her husband.

The beauty and the charm which so suddenly had made her his at first

were, she now saw, no more than the outward manifestation of the true

Albert. There was an inward beauty, an inward glory which, blind that

she was, she had then but dimly apprehended, but of which now she was

aware in every fibre of her being--he was good--he was great! How

could she ever have dreamt of setting up her will against his wisdom,

her ignorance against his knowledge, her fancies against his perfect

taste? Had she really once loved London and late hours and

dissipation? She who now was only happy in the country, she who

jumped out of bed every morning--oh, so early!--with Albert, to take a

walk, before breakfast, with Albert alone! How wonderful it was to be

taught by him! To be told by him which trees were which; and to learn

all about the bees! And then to sit doing cross-stitch while he read

aloud to her Hallam's Constitutional History of England! Or to listen

to him playing on his new organ ('The organ is the first of

instruments,' he said); or to sing to him a song by Mendelssohn, with a

great deal of care over the time and the breathing, and only a very

occasional false note! And, after dinner, too--oh, how good of him!

He had given up his double chess! And so there could be round games at

the round table, or everyone could spend the evening in the most

amusing way imaginable--spinning counters and rings. When the

babies came it was still more wonderful. Pussy was such a clever

little girl ('I am not Pussy! I am the Princess Royal!' she had

angrily exclaimed on one occasion); and Bertie--well, she could only

pray most fervently that the little Prince of Wales would grow up to

'resemble his angelic dearest Father in every, every respect, both in

body and mind.' Her dear Mamma, too, had been drawn once more into

the family circle, for Albert had brought about a reconciliation, and

the departure of Lehzen had helped to obliterate the past. In

Victoria's eyes, life had become an idyll, and, if the essential

elements of an idyll are happiness, love and simplicity, an idyll it

was; though, indeed, it was of a kind that might have disconcerted

Theocritus. 'Albert brought in dearest little Pussy,' wrote Her

Majesty in her journal, 'in such a smart white merino dress trimmed

with blue, which Mamma had given her, and a pretty cap, and placed her

on my bed, seating himself next to her, and she was very dear and good.

And as my precious, invaluable Albert sat there, and our little Love

between us, I felt quite moved with happiness and gratitude to God.'

The past--the past of only three years since--when she looked back upon

it, seemed a thing so remote and alien that she could explain it to

herself in no other way than as some kind of delusion--an unfortunate

mistake. Turning over an old volume of her diary, she came upon this

sentence--'As for "the confidence of the Crown," God knows! No

Minister, no friend EVER possessed it so entirely as this truly

excellent Lord Melbourne possesses mine!' A pang shot through her--she

seized a pen, and wrote upon the margin--'Reading this again, I cannot

forbear remarking what an artificial sort of happiness mine was

then, and what a blessing it is I have now in my beloved Husband

real and solid happiness, which no Politics, no worldly reverses

can change; it could not have lasted long as it was then, for after

all, kind and excellent as Lord M. is, and kind as he was to me, it was

but in Society that I had amusement, and I was only living on that

superficial resource, which I then fancied was happiness! Thank God!

for me and others, this is changed, and I know what REAL happiness

is--V.R.' How did she know? What is the distinction between

happiness that is real and happiness that is felt? So a

philosopher--Lord M. himself perhaps--might have inquired. But she was

no philosopher, and Lord M. was a phantom, and Albert was beside her,

and that was enough.

Happy, certainly, she was; and she wanted everyone to know it. Her

letters to King Leopold are sprinkled thick with raptures. 'Oh! my

dearest uncle, I am sure if you knew how happy, how blessed I feel,

and how proud I feel in possessing such a perfect being as my

husband...' such ecstasies seemed to gush from her pen unceasingly and

almost of their own accord. When, one day, without thinking, Lady

Lyttelton described someone to her as being 'as happy as a queen,' and

then grew a little confused, 'Don't correct yourself, Lady Lyttelton,'

said Her Majesty. 'A queen is a very happy woman.'

But this new happiness was no lotus dream. On the contrary, it was

bracing, rather than relaxing. Never before had she felt so acutely

the necessity for doing her duty. She worked more methodically than

ever at the business of State; she watched over her children with

untiring vigilance. She carried on a large correspondence; she was

occupied with her farm--her dairy--a whole multitude of household

avocations--from morning till night. Her active, eager little body

hurrying with quick steps after the long strides of Albert down the

corridors and avenues of Windsor, seemed the very expression of her

spirit. Amid all the softness, the deliciousness of unmixed joy, all

the liquescence, the overflowings of inexhaustible sentiment, her

native rigidity remained. 'A vein of iron,' said Lady Lyttelton, who,

as royal governess, had good means of observation, 'runs through her

most extraordinary character.'

Sometimes the delightful routine of domestic existence had to be

interrupted. It was necessary to exchange Windsor for Buckingham

Palace, to open Parliament, or to interview official personages, or,

occasionally, to entertain foreign visitors at the Castle. Then the

quiet Court put on a sudden magnificence, and sovereigns from over the

seas--Louis Philippe, or the King of Prussia, or the King of

Saxony--found at Windsor an entertainment that was indeed a royal one.

Few spectacles in Europe, it was agreed, produced an effect so imposing

as the great Waterloo banqueting hall, crowded with guests in sparkling

diamonds and blazing uniforms, the long walls hung with the stately

portraits of heroes, and the tables loaded with the gorgeous gold plate

of the Kings of England. But, in that wealth of splendour, the

most imposing spectacle of all was the Queen. The little Hausfrau,

who had spent the day before walking out with her children, inspecting

her livestock, practising shakes at the piano, and filling up her

journal with adoring descriptions of her husband, suddenly shone forth,

without art, without effort, by a spontaneous and natural transition,

the very culmination of Majesty. The Tsar of Russia himself was deeply

impressed. Victoria on her side viewed with secret awe the tremendous

Nicholas. 'A great event and a great compliment his visit certainly

is,' she told her uncle, 'and the people here are extremely flattered

at it. He is certainly a very striking man; still very handsome.

His profile is beautiful, and his manners most dignified and

graceful; extremely civil--quite alarmingly so, as he is so full of

attentions and politeness. But the expression of the eyes is

formidable, and unlike anything I ever saw before.' She and

Albert and 'the good King of Saxony,' who happened to be there at

the same time, and whom, she said, 'we like much--he is so

unassuming'--drew together like tame villatic fowl in the presence of

that awful eagle. When he was gone, they compared notes about his

face, his unhappiness, and his despotic power over millions. Well!

She for her part could not help pitying him, and she thanked God she

was Queen of England.

When the time came for returning some of these visits, the royal pair

set forth in their yacht, much to Victoria's satisfaction. 'I do love

a ship!' she exclaimed, ran up and down ladders with the greatest

agility, and cracked jokes with the sailors. The Prince was more

aloof. They visited Louis Philippe at the Chateau d'Eu; they visited

King Leopold in Brussels. It happened that a still more remarkable

Englishwoman was in the Belgian capital, but she was not remarked; and

Queen Victoria passed unknowing before the steady gaze of one of the

mistresses in M. Heger's pensionnat. 'A little, stout, vivacious

lady, very plainly dressed--not much dignity or pretension about her,'

was Charlotte Bronte's comment as the royal carriage and six flashed by

her, making her wait on the pavement for a moment, and interrupting the

train of her reflections. Victoria was in high spirits, and even

succeeded in instilling a little cheerfulness into her uncle's sombre

Court. King Leopold, indeed, was perfectly contented. His dearest

hopes had been fulfilled; all his ambitions were satisfied; and for the

rest of his life he had only to enjoy, in undisturbed decorum, his

throne, his respectability, the table of precedence, and the punctual

discharge of his irksome duties. But unfortunately the felicity of

those who surrounded him was less complete. His Court, it was

murmured, was as gloomy as a conventicle, and the most dismal of all

the sufferers was his wife. 'Pas de plaisanteries, madame!' he had

exclaimed to the unfortunate successor of the Princess Charlotte, when,

in the early days of their marriage, she had attempted a feeble joke.

Did she not understand that the consort of a constitutional sovereign

must not be frivolous? She understood, at last, only too well; and

when the startled walls of the state apartments re-echoed to the

chattering and the laughter of Victoria, the poor lady found that she

had almost forgotten how to smile.

Another year, Germany was visited, and Albert displayed the beauties of

his home. When Victoria crossed the frontier, she was much

excited--and she was astonished as well. 'To hear the people speak

German,' she noted in her diary, 'and to see the German soldiers, etc.,

seemed to me so singular.' Having recovered from this slight shock,

she found the country charming. She was feted everywhere, crowds of

the surrounding royalties swooped down to welcome her, and the

prettiest groups of peasant children, dressed in their best clothes,

presented her with bunches of flowers. The principality of Coburg,

with its romantic scenery and its well-behaved inhabitants,

particularly delighted her; and when she woke up one morning to find

herself in 'dear Rosenau, my Albert's birthplace,' it was 'like a

beautiful dream.' On her return home, she expatiated, in a letter to

King Leopold, upon the pleasures of the trip, dwelling especially upon

the intensity of her affection for Albert's native land. 'I have a

feeling,' she said, 'for our dear little Germany, which I cannot

describe. I felt it at Rosenau so much. It is a something which

touches me, and which goes to my heart, and makes me inclined to

cry. I never felt at any other place that sort of pensive pleasure and

peace which I felt there. I fear I almost like it too much.'


The husband was not so happy as the wife. In spite of the great

improvement in his situation, in spite of a growing family and the

adoration of Victoria, Albert was still a stranger in a strange land,

and the serenity of spiritual satisfaction was denied him. It was

something, no doubt, to have dominated his immediate environment; but

it was not enough; and, besides, in the very completeness of his

success, there was a bitterness. Victoria idolised him; but it was

understanding that he craved for, not idolatry; and how much did

Victoria, filled to the brim though she was with him, understand him?

How much does the bucket understand the well? He was lonely. He went

to his organ and improvised with learned modulations until the sounds,

swelling and subsiding through elaborate cadences, brought some solace

to his heart. Then, with the elasticity of youth, he hurried off to

play with the babies, or to design a new pigsty, or to read aloud the

'Church History of Scotland' to Victoria, or to pirouette before her on

one toe, like a ballet-dancer, with a fixed smile, to show her how she

ought to behave when she appeared in public places. Thus did he

amuse himself; but there was one distraction in which he did not

indulge. He never flirted--no, not with the prettiest ladies of the

Court. When, during their engagement, the Queen had remarked with

pride to Lord Melbourne that the Prince paid no attention to any

other woman, the cynic had answered 'No, that sort of thing is apt to

come later'; upon which she had scolded him severely, and then hurried

off to Stockmar to repeat what Lord M. had said. But the Baron had

reassured her; though in other cases, he had replied, that might

happen, he did not think it would in Albert's. And the Baron was

right. Throughout their married life no rival female charms ever gave

cause to Victoria for one moment's pang of jealousy.

What more and more absorbed him--bringing with it a curious comfort of

its own--was his work. With the advent of Peel, he began to intervene

actively in the affairs of the State. In more ways than one--in the

cast of their intelligence, in their moral earnestness, even in the

uneasy formalism of their manners--the two men resembled each other;

there was a sympathy between them; and thus Peel was ready enough to

listen to the advice of Stockmar, and to urge the Prince forward into

public life. A royal commission was about to be formed to enquire

whether advantage might not be taken of the rebuilding of the Houses of

Parliament to encourage the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom; and Peel,

with great perspicacity, asked the Prince to preside over it. The work

was of a kind which precisely suited Albert: his love of art, his love

of method, his love of coming into contact--close yet dignified--with

distinguished men--it satisfied them all; and he threw himself into it

con amore. Some of the members of the commission were somewhat

alarmed when, in his opening speech, he pointed out the necessity of

dividing the subjects to be considered into 'categories'--the

word, they thought, smacked dangerously of German metaphysics; but

their confidence returned when they observed His Royal Highness's

extraordinary technical acquaintance with the processes of

fresco-painting. When the question arose as to whether the decorations

upon the walls of the new buildings should, or should not, have a moral

purpose, the Prince spoke strongly for the affirmative. Although many,

he observed, would give but a passing glance to the works, the painter

was not therefore to forget that others might view them with more

thoughtful eyes. This argument convinced the commission, and it was

decided that the subjects to be depicted should be of an improving

nature. The frescoes were carried out in accordance with the

commission's instructions, but unfortunately before very long they had

become, even to the most thoughtful eyes, totally invisible. It seems

that His Royal Highness's technical acquaintance with the processes of

fresco-painting was incomplete.

The next task upon which the Prince embarked was a more arduous one: he

determined to reform the organisation of the royal household. This

reform had been long overdue. For years past the confusion,

discomfort, and extravagance in the royal residences, and in Buckingham

Palace particularly, had been scandalous; no reform had been

practicable under the rule of the Baroness; but her functions had now

devolved upon the Prince, and in 1844 he boldly attacked the problem.

Three years earlier, Stockmar, after careful enquiry, had revealed in

an elaborate memorandum an extraordinary state of affairs. The control

of the household, it appeared, was divided in the strangest manner

between a number of authorities, each independent of the other,

each possessed of vague and fluctuating powers, without responsibility

and without co-ordination. Of these authorities, the most prominent

were the Lord Steward and the Lord Chamberlain--noblemen of high rank

and political importance, who changed office with every administration,

who did not reside with the Court, and had no effective representatives

attached to it. The distribution of their respective functions was

uncertain and peculiar. In Buckingham Palace, it was believed that the

Lord Chamberlain had charge of the whole of the rooms, with the

exception of the kitchen, sculleries, and pantries, which were claimed

by the Lord Steward. At the same time, the outside of the Palace was

under the control of neither of these functionaries--but of the Office

of Woods and Forests; and thus, while the insides of the windows were

cleaned by the department of the Lord Chamberlain--or possibly, in

certain cases, of the Lord Steward--the Office of Woods and Forests

cleaned their outsides. Of the servants, the housekeepers, the pages,

and the housemaids were under the authority of the Lord Chamberlain;

the clerk of the kitchen, the cooks, and the porters were under that of

the Lord Steward; but the footmen, the livery-porters, and the

under-butlers took their orders from yet another official--the Master

of the Horse. Naturally, in these circumstances the service was

extremely defective and the lack of discipline among the servants

disgraceful. They absented themselves for as long as they pleased and

whenever the fancy took them; 'and if,' as the Baron put it, 'smoking,

drinking, and other irregularities occur in the dormitories, where

footmen, etc., sleep ten and twelve in each room, no one can help it.'

As for Her Majesty's guests, there was nobody to show them to

their rooms, and they were often left, having utterly lost their way in

the complicated passages, to wander helpless by the hour. The strange

divisions of authority extended not only to persons but to things. The

Queen observed that there was never a fire in the dining-room. She

enquired why. The answer was, 'The Lord Steward lays the fire, and the

Lord Chamberlain lights it'; the underlings of those two great noblemen

having failed to come to an accommodation, there was no help for

it--the Queen must eat in the cold.

A surprising incident opened everyone's eyes to the confusion and

negligence that reigned in the Palace. A fortnight after the birth of

the Princess Royal the nurse heard a suspicious noise in the room next

to the Queen's bedroom. She called to one of the pages, who, looking

under a large sofa, perceived there a crouching figure 'with a most

repulsive appearance.' It was 'the boy Jones.' This enigmatical

personage, whose escapades dominated the newspapers for several ensuing

months, and whose motives and character remained to the end ambiguous,

was an undersized lad of seventeen, the son of a tailor, who had

apparently gained admittance to the Palace by climbing over the garden

wall and walking in through an open window. Two years before he had

paid a similar visit in the guise of a chimney-sweep. He now declared

that he had spent three days in the Palace, hiding under various beds,

that he had 'helped himself to soup and other eatables,' and that he

had 'sat upon the throne, seen the Queen, and heard the Princess Royal

squall.' Every detail of the strange affair was eagerly canvassed.

The Times reported that the boy Jones had 'from his infancy

been fond of reading,' but that 'his countenance is exceedingly

sullen.' It added: 'The sofa under which the boy Jones was discovered,

we understand, is one of the most costly and magnificent material and

workmanship, and ordered expressly for the accommodation of the royal

and illustrious visitors who call to pay their respects to Her

Majesty.' The culprit was sent for three months to the 'House of

Correction.' When he emerged, he immediately returned to Buckingham

Palace. He was discovered, and sent back to the 'House of Correction'

for another three months, after which he was offered L4 a week by a

music hall to appear upon the stage. He refused this offer, and

shortly afterwards was found by the police loitering round Buckingham

Palace. The authorities acted vigorously, and, without any trial or

process of law, shipped the boy Jones off to sea. A year later his

ship put into Portsmouth to refit, and he at once disembarked and

walked to London. He was re-arrested before he reached the Palace, and

sent back to his ship, the Warspite. On this occasion it was noticed

that he had 'much improved in personal appearance and grown quite

corpulent'; and so the boy Jones passed out of history, though we catch

one last glimpse of him in 1844 falling overboard in the night between

Tunis and Algiers. He was fished up again; but it was conjectured--as

one of the Warspite's officers explained in a letter to The

Times--that his fall had not been accidental, but that he had

deliberately jumped into the Mediterranean in order to 'see the

life-buoy light burning.' Of a boy with such a record, what else could

be supposed?

But discomfort and alarm were not the only results of the mismanagement

of the household; the waste, extravagance, and peculation that also

flowed from it were immeasurable. There were preposterous perquisites

and malpractices of every kind. It was, for instance, an ancient and

immutable rule that a candle that had once been lighted should never be

lighted again; what happened to the old candles nobody knew. Again,

the Prince, examining the accounts, was puzzled by a weekly expenditure

of thirty-five shillings on 'Red Room Wine.' He enquired into the

matter, and

Louis Philippe's Visit Marriage And Delicacy Of The Prince's Position facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail