The Queen In Mourning

Henceforth the great Queen was 'written widow,' and while striving nobly

in her loneliness to fulfil those public functions, in which she had

hitherto been so faithfully companioned, she shrank at first from courtly

pageantry and from the gay whirl of London life, and lived chiefly in the

quiet homes which she had always loved best, at Osborne and Balmoral. When

she has come out among her people, it has chiefly been for the sake of

some public benefit for the poor and the suffering.

At times there have been murmurs against the Queen for failing in her

widowhood to maintain the gaieties and extravagances of an open court in

the capital of her dominions. It was said that 'trade was bad therefore,'

and times of depression and want of employment were attributed to this

cause. The nation is growing wiser. It is seen that true prosperity does

not consist merely in the quick circulation of money--above all, certainly

not in the transference of wealth gained from the tillers of the soil to

the classes which minister solely to vanity and luxury.

A few months after her father's death, the Princess Alice married her

betrothed, Prince Louis, and since her own death (on the same day of the

year as her father's) in the year 1878, we have had an opportunity of

looking into the royal household from the point of view of a daughter and

a sister. The Prince-Consort's death-bed made a very close tie between the

Queen and the Princess Alice, who herself had a full share of womanly

sorrow in her comparatively short life, and the tone of perfect

self-abnegation which pervades her letters is very touching. On that fatal

14th December 1878, the first of the Queen's children was taken from her.

The Princess Alice fell a victim to her kind-hearted care while nursing

those of her family ill with diphtheria. Her last inquiries were about

poor and sick people in her little capital. And the day before she died,

she expressed to Sir William Jenner her regret that she should cause her

mother so much anxiety. The Queen in a letter thanked her subjects for

their sympathy with her loss of a dear child, who was 'a bright example of

loving tenderness, courageous devotion, and self-sacrifice to duty.'

In 1863, on the 10th of March, the Prince of Wales married the Princess

Alexandra of Denmark, and in 1871, when the fatal date, the 14th of

December came round, he lay at the point of death, suffering precisely as

his father had done. But his life was spared, and in the following spring,

accompanied by the Queen and by his young wife, and in the presence of all

the power, the genius, and the rank of the realm, he made solemn

thanksgiving in St Paul's Cathedral.

On the 3rd November 1871, Mr H. M. Stanley, a young newspaper

correspondent, succeeded in finding Dr Livingstone. This was but the

beginning of greater enterprises, for, catching the noble enthusiasm which

characterised Livingstone, Stanley afterwards crossed the Dark Continent,

and revealed the head-waters of the Congo. Again he plunged into Africa

and succoured Emin Pasha, whose death was announced in the autumn of 1893.

To Mr Stanley, Lord Granville, then Foreign Secretary, sent the present of

a gold snuff-box set with diamonds, and the following letter: 'Sir--I have

great satisfaction in conveying to you, by command of the Queen, Her

Majesty's high appreciation of the prudence and zeal which you have

displayed in opening a communication with Dr Livingstone, relieving Her

Majesty from the anxiety which, in common with her subjects, she had felt

in regard to the fate of that distinguished traveller. The Queen desires

me to express her thanks for the service you have thus rendered, together

with Her Majesty's congratulations on your having so successfully carried

out the mission which you so fearlessly undertook.'

The most notable events of the year 1873 were the death of the Emperor

Napoleon III. in his exile at Chiselhurst, and the visit of the Shah of

Persia, who was received by Her Majesty in state at Windsor. The Prince of

Wales made almost a royal tour through India in 1875-76, and early in the

following year witnessed the proclamation of the Queen as Empress of


In 1886 the Queen opened the Colonial and Indian Exhibition at Kensington,

the results of which, financially and otherwise, were highly satisfactory.

On 21st June 1887, Her Majesty completed the fiftieth year of her reign,

and the occasion was made one of rejoicing not only in Britain, but in all

parts of our world-wide empire. In every town and village of the kingdom,

by high and low, rich and poor, tribute was paid, in one way or other, to

a reign which, above all others, has been distinguished for the splendour

of its achievements in arts, science, and literature, as well as for its

great commercial progress. One notable feature was the release of 23,307

prisoners in India. The Jubilee presents were exhibited in St James's

Palace, and afterwards in Bethnal Green Museum, and attracted large crowds

of sight-seers. The Jubilee celebrations were brought to a close by a

naval review in the presence of the Queen at Spithead. The fleet assembled

numbered 135 war-vessels, with 20,200 officers and men, and 500 guns.

Early in 1887 a movement was set afoot in order to found in London an

Imperial Institute as a permanent memorial of the Queen's Jubilee. Her

Majesty laid the foundation stone on July 4, 1887, and it was formally

opened in 1893. A movement was also commenced having for its object the

receiving of contributions towards a personal Jubilee offering to the

Queen, from the women and girls of all classes, grades, and ages

throughout the United Kingdom. A leaflet was written for general

distribution, which ran as follows: 'The women and girls of the United

Kingdom, of all ages, ranks, classes, beliefs, and opinions, are asked to

join in one common offering to their Queen, in token of loyalty,

affection, and reverence, towards the only female sovereign in history

who, for fifty years, has borne the toils and troubles of public life,

known the sorrows that fall to all women, and as wife, mother, widow, and

ruler held up a bright and spotless example to her own and all other

nations. Contributions to range from one penny to one pound. The nature of

the offering will be decided by the Queen herself, and the names of all

contributors will be presented to Her Majesty.' The Queen selected as this

women's Jubilee gift a replica of Baron Marochetti's Glasgow statue of

Prince Albert, to be placed in Windsor Great Park, opposite the statue of

herself in Windsor.

The amount reached £75,000; nearly 3,000,000 had subscribed, and the

statue was unveiled by the Queen, May 12, 1890. The surplus was devoted to

founding an institution for promoting the education and maintenance of

nurses for the sick poor in their own homes.

In connection with the Jubilee the Queen addressed the following letter to

her people:

WINDSOR CASTLE, June 24, 1887.

I am anxious to express to my people my warm thanks for the kind, and

more than kind, reception I met with on going to and returning from

Westminster Abbey, with all my children and grandchildren.

The enthusiastic reception I met with then, as well as on all these

eventful days, in London, as well as in Windsor, on the occasion of

my Jubilee, has touched me most deeply. It has shown that the labour

and anxiety of fifty long years, twenty-two of which I spent in

unclouded happiness shared and cheered by my beloved husband, while

an equal number were full of sorrows and trials, borne without his

sheltering arm and wise help, have been appreciated by my people.

This feeling and the sense of duty towards my dear country and

subjects, who are so inseparably bound up with my life, will

encourage me in my task, often a very difficult and arduous one,

during the remainder of my life.

The wonderful order preserved on this occasion, and the good

behaviour of the enormous multitudes assembled, merits my highest


That God may protect and abundantly bless my country is my fervent



When a Jubilee Memorial Statue of the Queen, presented by the tenantry and

servants on Her Majesty's estates, was unveiled by the Prince of Wales at

Balmoral, the Queen in her reply said, she was 'deeply touched at the

grateful terms in which you have alluded to my long residence among you.

The great devotion shown to me and mine, and the sympathy I have met with

while here, have ever added to the joys and lightened the sorrows of my


In the Jubilee year the Queen did not grudge to traverse the great east

end of London, that she might grace with her presence the opening of 'the

People's Palace.' But we have not space to notice one half of the public

functions performed by the Queen.

On June 28, 1893, a Jubilee statue of the Queen, executed by Princess

Louise, was unveiled at Broad Walk, Kensington. The statue, of white

marble, represents the Queen in a sitting position, wearing her crown and

coronation robes, whilst the right hand holds the sceptre. The windows of

Kensington Palace--indeed the room in which Her Majesty received the news

of her accession to the throne--command a view of the memorial, which

faces the round pond. The likeness is a good one of Her Majesty in her

youth. The pedestal bears the following inscription:

'VICTORIA R., 1837.

'In front of the Palace where she was born, and where she lived till

her accession, her loyal subjects of Kensington placed this statue,

the work of her daughter, to commemorate fifty years of her reign.'

Sir A. Borthwick read an address to the Queen on behalf of the inhabitants

of Kensington, in which they heartily welcomed her to the scene of her

birth and early years, and of the accession to the throne, 'whence by

God's blessing she had so gloriously directed the destinies of her people

and of that world-wide empire which, under the imperial sway, had made

such vast progress in extent and wealth as well as in development of

science, art, and culture.' The statue representing Her Majesty at the

date of accession would, they trusted, ever be cherished, not for its

artistic merit only, and as being the handiwork of Her Majesty's beloved

daughter, Princess Louise, who had so skilfully traced the lineaments of a

sovereign most illustrious of her line, but also as the only statue

representing the Queen at that early date.

The Queen, in reply, said: 'I thank you sincerely for your loyal address,

and for the kind wish to commemorate my jubilee by the erection of a

statue of myself on the spot where I was born and lived till my accession.

It gives me great pleasure to be here on this occasion in my dear old

home, and to witness the unveiling of this fine statue so admirably

designed and executed by my daughter.'

All the Queen's children are now married. The Princess Helena became

Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. The Princess Louise has gone

somewhat out of the usual course of British princesses and in 1871 married

the Marquis of Lorne, Duke of Argyll since 1900. Him the Queen described

on her visit to Inveraray in 1847 as 'a dear, white, fat, fair little

fellow, with reddish hair but very delicate features.' The Princess

Beatrice, of whom we all think as the daughter who stayed at home with her

mother, became the wife of Prince Henry of Battenberg, without altogether

surrendering her filial position and duties. A daughter born October 24,

1887, was baptised at Balmoral, the first royal christening which had

taken place in Scotland for three hundred years.

Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, married the favourite child and only daughter

of the late Emperor of Russia, and sister of the Czar. On the death of

Duke Ernst of Coburg-Gotha, brother of the Prince-Consort, he succeeded to

the ducal throne on August 24, 1893, as Duke Alfred of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

He died in 1900. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, wedded the daughter of

Prince Charles, 'the Red Prince' of Prussia; and Leopold, Duke of Albany,

took for his wife Princess Helena of Waldeck. Prince Leopold had had a

somewhat suffering life from his childhood, and he died suddenly while

abroad, on March 28, 1884, leaving behind his young wife and two little

children, one of whom was born after his death.

On July 27, 1889, Princess Louise, eldest daughter of the Prince of Wales,

was married to the Duke of Fife. Preparations were being made to celebrate

another marriage, that of the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, eldest son of

the Prince of Wales, to Princess Victoria Mary (May) of Teck, in January

1892; but to the sorrow of all, he was stricken down with influenza

accompanied by pneumonia on January 10th, and died on the 14th. The Queen

addressed a pathetic letter to the nation in return for public sympathy,

which was much more than a mere note of thanks and acknowledgement.

OSBORNE, January 26, 1892.

I must once again give expression to my deep sense of the loyalty and

affectionate sympathy evinced by my subjects in every part of my

empire on an occasion more sad and tragical than any but one which

has befallen me and mine, as well as the nation. The overwhelming

misfortune of my clearly loved grandson having been thus suddenly cut

off in the flower of his age, full of promise for the future, amiable

and gentle, and endearing himself to all, renders it hard for his

sorely stricken parents, his dear young bride, and his fond

grandmother to bow in submission to the inscrutable decrees of


The sympathy of millions, which has been so touchingly and visibly

expressed, is deeply gratifying at such a time, and I wish, both in

my own name and that of my children, to express, from my heart, my

warm gratitude to all.

These testimonies of sympathy with us, and appreciation of my dear

grandson, whom I loved as a son, and whose devotion to me was as

great as that of a son, will be a help and consolation to me and mine

in our affliction.

My bereavements during the last thirty years of my reign have indeed

been heavy. Though the labours, anxieties, and responsibilities

inseparable from my position have been great, yet it is my earnest

prayer that God may continue to give me health and strength to work

for the good and happiness of my dear country and empire while life



On July 6, 1893, the Duke of York was united in marriage to the Princess

May, amidst great national rejoicing. Three years later occurred the death

of Prince Henry of Battenberg, husband of Princess Beatrice, when

returning from the Ashanti Expedition. On 22d July 1896 Princess Maud,

daughter of the Prince of Wales, married Prince Charles, son of Frederick,

Crown Prince of Denmark. The Queen was present on the occasion of the

marriage, which took place in the Chapel Royal, Buckingham Palace. The

visit of the Emperor and Empress of Russia to Balmoral in the autumn was a

memorable occasion, marked by great festivity and rejoicing.

During 1896 the Queen received an immense number of congratulatory

messages on entering upon the sixtieth year of her reign; and on 23d

September she exceeded the limit attained by any previous English

sovereign. Many proposals were made to publicly mark this happy event. One

scheme, supported by the Prince of Wales, had for its object the freeing

of certain London hospitals of debt; but at the Queen's personal request

the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee was reserved until the completion

of the sixtieth year of her reign in June 1897.

The Queen As An Artist And Author The Queen In Sorrow facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail