The Royal Birthday Fetes

THE following year found Colonel Clitherow's time greatly occupied with

the treasurership of the Sons of the Clergy Corporation, and with a

visitation of their estates in various parts of the country, which he

found in such woeful condition that they would cost 'some thousands to

repair and rebuild, or their ruin was certain.' This visitation, which

took him and his party by slow stages as far as Yorkshire, probably

ounts for our finding but one letter about the Court this year. It

was written from Rise Park, the seat of their cousin, Mr. Bethell,

M.P., on October 1, 1833. After an account of their journeys, and a

description of Mr. Bethell's well-kept grounds, Miss Clitherow proceeds:

'Now, from the Fens I will take you to the Forest. The cottage where

George IV. lived so much has been pulled down, except a banquetting

room, the conservatory, and a few small rooms for the gardener. Here

the preparations were made for a morning fete on the Queen's birthday

[August 13], and, as a surprise to her, the magnificent Burmese tents,

which she had never seen, were put up. I never saw anything prettier

than the whole scene, and the day was lovely. The tents the most

brilliant scarlet, ornamented with gold and silver, silver poles, and a

silvered velvet carpet, embroidered with gold and silver. The hangings,

sofas, and seats were all of Eastern splendour, and at the end was a

large glass. The company was very select, and the morning dresses

becoming and elegant. Two bands of music (Guards) played alternately. A

guard of honour and numbers of officers were present. Everybody seemed

gay and in their best fashion. The King and Queen, with about forty

guests, dined in the room, about as many more in a long, canvas room.

The tables had fruit, flowers, ornaments, confectionery, a few pyramids

of cold tongue, ham, chicken, and raised pies. Then you had handed to

you soups, fish, turtle, venison, and every sort of meat. Toasts were

given, cannon fired, and both bands united in the appropriate national

airs. Altogether it was a sort of enchantment. At seven fifteen of the

King's carriages and many private carriages took the party to the

Castle to dress for an evening assembly, where about two hundred were

asked. We were the envy of many in being allowed to go home, having had

the cream of the day. Nothing could be a greater compliment than our

being asked in the morning. We were the only untitled people. The King

had filled the Castle, Round Tower, and Cumberland Lodge, and had not a

bed to offer. So he invited us, saying: "Come at three. We dine at

four. And then go away at seven, and be home by daylight, for we cannot

give you beds."

'To his own birthday [August 21] we had the general invitation for the

evening, and the old trio went from Boston House at seven, and got back

by two. The noble Castle, so lit up, was a magnificent sight. The Queen

was quite the Queen, for it was very mixed society--too much so for

Royal presence. The good-humoured King asks everybody, and it was a

crowd! But she sat with the Royal Duchesses only, attended by her

ladies, and she was dressed much finer than her usual style. She twice

conversed with us, and when she left the room came up to us, shook each

by the hand, and was so sorry we had to go home so far.

'My brother and Mrs. Clitherow called at Windsor to take leave before

we left home for so many weeks, and after luncheon with her and the

King, she took them into her own room to see a bust of the little niece

that she nursed with such motherly affection, Princess Louise, and then

gave them two prints of herself and two of Prince George of Cambridge,

the best likeness I have seen of her. She said, "One for Miss

Clitherow, the other for you two, because you are as one." All she does

in such a gracious, pretty manner.'

In the winter the Clitherows spent three days at Brighton, dining each

day at the Pavilion. The King was remarkably well, but the Queen

unfortunately was confined to her room, and was only able to see Mrs.

Clitherow on one evening. 'Then,' Miss Clitherow adds:

'She could really enjoy her society, which in the drawing-room is

impossible. Grandees must come in your way. Lady Falkland only was with

her, which made a trio.

'I hope you and your belongings are well, and, with our united, kind


'Believe me, 'Sincerely yours, 'MARY CLITHEROW.'