The Sovereignty Of England And Hanover Severed Forever





Ever since the accession to the throne of Great Britain of the House of

Brunswick, the Kings of England had also been Kings of Hanover. To carry

on the two branches of the royal business simultaneously must have been a

little difficult, at least perplexing. It was like riding a "two-horse

act," with a wide space between the horses, and a wide difference in

their size. But the Salic law prevailed in that little kingdom over

there; so its Crown now gently devolved on the head of the male heir-

apparent, the Duke of Cumberland, and the quaint old principality parted

company with England forever. That is what Her Majesty, Victoria, got, or

rather lost, by being a woman. A day or two after her accession, King

Ernest called at Kensington Palace to take leave of the Queen, and she

dutifully kissed her uncle and brother-sovereign, and wished him God-

speed and the Hanoverians joy.



There is no King and no kingdom of Hanover now. When Kaiser William was

consolidating so many German principalities into his grand empire, gaily

singing the refrain of the song of the old sexton, "I gather them in!

I gather them in!" he took Hanover, and it has remained under the

wing of the great Prussian eagle ever since. It is said that the last

King made a gallant resistance, riding into battle at the head of his

troops, although he was blind--too blind, perhaps, to see his own

weakness. When his throne was taken out from under him, he still clung to

the royal title, but his son is known only as the Duke of Cumberland.

This Prince, like other small German Princes, made a great outcry against

the Kaiser's confiscations, but the inexorable old man still went on

piecing an imperial table-cover out of pocket-handkerchiefs.



The young Queen's new Household was considered a very magnificent and

unexceptionable one--principally for the rank and character and personal

attractions of the ladies in attendance, chief among whom, for beauty and

stateliness, was the famous Duchess of Sutherland--certainly one of the

most superb women in England, or anywhere else, even at an age when most

women are "falling off," and when she herself was a grandmother.



The funeral of King William took place at Windsor in due time, and with

all due pomp and ceremony. After lying in state in the splendid Waterloo

chamber, under a gorgeous purple pall, several crowns, and other royal

insignia, he was borne to St. George's Chapel, followed by Prelates,

Peers, and all the Ministers of State, and a solemn funeral service was

performed. But what spoke better for him than all these things was the

quiet weeping of a good woman up in the Royal Closet, half hidden by the

sombre curtains, who looked and listened to the last, and saw her husband

let down into the Royal Vault, where, in the darkness, his--their baby-

girl awaited him, that Princess with the short life and the long name--

poor little Elizabeth Georgina Adelando, whom the childless Queen once

hoped to hear hailed "Elizabeth Second of England."



In midsummer the Queen, the Duchess of Kent, and their grand Household

moved from Kensington to Buckingham Palace, then new, and an elegant and

luxurious royal residence internally, but externally neither beautiful

nor imposing. But with the exception of Windsor Castle, none of the

English Royal Palaces can be pointed to as models of architectural

beauty, or even sumptuous appointments. The palaces of some of our

Railway Kings more than rival them in some respects, while those of many

of the English nobility are richer in art-treasures and grander in

appearance. Kensington Palace was not beautiful, but it was picturesque

and historic, which was more than could be said of any of the Georgian

structures; there was about it an odor of old royalty, of poetry and

romance. The literature and the beauty of Queen Anne's reign were

especially associated with it. Queen Victoria was, when she left it, at

an age when memories count for little, and doubtless the flitting "out

of the old house into the new" was effected merrily enough; but long

afterwards her orphaned and widowed heart must often have gone back

tenderly and yearningly to the scene of many tranquilly happy years with

her mother, and of that first little season of companionship with her

cousin Albert.



Hardly had she got unpacked and settled in her new home when she had to

go through a great parade and ceremony. She went in state to dissolve

Parliament. The weather was fine and the whole route from Buckingham

Palace to the Parliament House was lined with people, shouting and

cheering as the magnificent procession and that brilliant young figure

passed slowly along. A London journal of the time gave the following

glowing account of her as she appeared in the House of Lords: "At 20

minutes to 3 precisely, Her Majesty, preceded by the heralds and attended

by the great officers of state, entered the House--all the Peers and

Peeresses, who had risen at the flourish of the trumpets, remaining

standing. Her Majesty was attired in a splendid white satin robe, with

the ribbon of the Garter crossing her shoulder and a magnificent tiara of

diamonds on her head, and wore a necklace and a stomacher of large and

costly brilliants. Having ascended the throne, the royal mantle of

crimson velvet was placed on Her Majesty's shoulders by the Lords in

waiting." And this was the same little girl who, six years before, had

bought her own straw hat and carried it home in her hand! I wonder if her

own mother did not at that moment have difficulty in believing that

radiant and royal creature was indeed her little Victoria!



The account continues: "Her Majesty, on taking her seat, appeared to be

deeply moved at the novel and important position in which she was placed,

the eyes of the assembled nobility, both male and female, being riveted

on her person." I would have wagered a good deal that it was the 'female'

eyes that she felt most piercingly. Then it goes on: "Her emotion was

plainly discernible in the heavings of her bosom, and the brilliancy of

her diamond stomacher, which sparkled out like the sun on the swell of

the ocean as the billows rise and fall." So disconcerted was she, it

seems, by all this silent, intense observation, that she forgot, nicely

seated as she was, that all those Peers and Peeresses were standing, till

she was reminded of it by Lord Melbourne, who stood close at her side.

Then she graciously inclined her head, and said in rather a low tone, 'My

Lords, be seated!' and they sat, and eke their wives and daughters.



"She had regained her self-possession when she came to read her speech,

and her voice also, for it was heard all over the great chamber." And it

is added: "Her demeanor was characterized by much grace and modest self-

possession."



Among the spectators of this rare royal pageant was an American, and a

stiff republican, a young man from Boston, called Charles Sumner. He was

a scholar, and scholar-like, undazzled by diamonds, admired most Her

Majesty's reading. In a letter to a friend he wrote: "I was astonished

and delighted. Her voice is sweet and finely modulated, and she

pronounced every word distinctly, and with a just regard to its meaning.

I think I never heard anything better read in my life than her speech,

and I could but respond to Lord Fitz-William's remark to me when the

ceremony was over, 'How beautifully she performs!'" How strange it now

seems to think of that slight girl of eighteen coming in upon that great

assembly of legislators, many of them gray and bald, and pompous and

portly, and gravely telling them that they might go home!





The Schooldays Of A Princess The Twilight Life After facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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