In the months of March and May, 1819, the following announcements of royal

births appeared in succession in the newspapers of the day, no doubt to

the satisfaction alike of anxious statesmen and village politicians

beginning to grow anxious over the chances of the succession:--

"At Hanover, March 26, her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, of a

son; and on March 27, her Royal Highness the Duchess of Clarence, of

daughter, the latter only surviving a few hours."

"24th May, at Kensington Palace, her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent,

of a daughter."

"27th May, at her hotel in Berlin, her Royal Highness the Duchess of

Cumberland, of a son."

Thus her Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria first saw the light in Kensington

Palace on the 24th of May, 1819, one in a group of cousins, all, save

herself, born out of England.

The Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Wellington, and other officers of State

were in attendance on the occasion, though the probability of her

succession to the throne was then very doubtful. The Prince Regent had

already made overtures towards procuring a divorce from the Princess of

Wales. If he were to revive them, and prove successful, he might marry

again and have heirs. The Duchess of Clarence, who had just given birth to

an infant that had only survived a few hours, might yet be the joyful

mother of living children. The little Princess herself might be the

predecessor of a troop of princes of the Kent branch. Still, both at

Kensington and in the depths of rural Coburg, there was a little flutter,

not only of gladness, but of subdued expectation. The Duke of Kent, on

showing his baby to his friends, was wont to say, "Look at her well, for

she will be Queen of England." Her christening was therefore an event of

more than ordinary importance in the household. The ceremony took place a

month afterwards, on the 24th of June, and doubtless the good German

nurse, Madame Siebold, who was about to return to the Duchess of Kent's

old home to officiate on an equally interesting occasion in the family of

the Duchess's brother, the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, carried

with her flaming accounts of the splendour of the ceremonial, as well as

pretty tales of the "dear little love" destined to mate with the coming

baby, whose big blue eyes were soon looking about in the lovely little

hunting-seat of Rosenau. The gold font was brought down from the Tower,

where for some time it had been out of request. The Archbishop of

Canterbury and the Bishop of London officiated, as they had done the year

before at the re-marriage of the Duke and Duchess. The godfathers were the

Prince Regent, present in person, and Alexander, Emperor of Russia, then

at the height of his popularity in England, represented by the Duke of

York. The godmothers were the Queen-dowager of Wurtemberg (the Princess

Royal), represented by Princess Augusta, and the Duchess-dowager of Coburg

(mother of the Duchess of Kent, and grandmother of both the Queen and the

Prince Consort), represented by the Duchess of Gloucester (Princess Mary).

It is said there had been a proposal to name the little princess Georgiana

also, after her grandfather and uncle, George III. and George, Prince

Regent; but the idea was dropped because the latter would not permit his

name to stand second on the list.

Among the other privileged guests at the christening was Prince Leopold,

destined to be the child's second father, one of her kindest and wisest

friends. It is not difficult to comprehend what the scene must have been

to the young man whose cup had been so full two years before, who was how

a widower and childless. We have his own reference to his feelings in a

letter to one of the late Princess Charlotte's friends. It had been hard

for him to be present, but he had felt it to be his duty, and he had made

the effort. This was a man who was always facing what was hard, always

struggling and overcoming in the name of right. The consequence was that,

even in his youth, all connected with him turned to him as to a natural

stay. We have a still better idea of what the victory cost him when we

read, in the "Life of the Prince Consort," it was not till a great

misfortune happened to her that Prince Leopold "had the courage to look

into the blooming face of his infant niece." With what manly pity and

tenderness he overcame his reluctance, and how he was rewarded, we all


In December, 1819, the Duke and Duchess of Kent went for sea-air to

Woolbrook Cottage, Sidmouth, Devonshire.

The first baby is always of consequence in a household, but of how much

consequence this baby was may be gleaned by the circumstance that a

startling little incident concerning the child made sufficient mark to

survive and be registered by a future chronicler. A boy shooting sparrows

fired unwittingly so near the house that the shot shattered one of the

windows of the nursery, and passed close to the head of the child in the

nurse's arms. Precious baby-head, that was one day to wear, with honour, a

venerable crown, to be thus lightly threatened at the very outset! One can

fancy the terror of the nurse, the distress of the Duchess, the fright and

ire of the Duke, the horror and humiliation of the unhappy offender, with

the gradual cooling down into magnanimous amnesty--or at most dignified

rebuke, mollified by penitent tears into reassuring kindness, and just a

little quiver of half-affronted, half-nervous laughter.

But there was no more room for laughter at false alarms at Woolbrook

Cottage. Within a month the Duke was seized with the illness which ended

his life in a few days. The particulars are simple and touching. He had

taken a long walk with his equerry and great friend, Captain Conroy, and

came in heated, tired, and with his feet so wet that his companion

suggested the propriety of immediately changing his boots. But the baby of

whom he was so fond and proud came in his way. She was eight months old,

able to stretch out her little arms and laugh back to him. He stayed to

play with her. In the evening it was evident he had caught a chill; he was

hoarse, and showed symptoms of fever. The complaint settled at once on his

lungs, and ran its course with great rapidity. We hardly need to be told

that the Duchess was his devoted nurse, concealing her anxiety and grief

to minister to him in everything.

There is a pathetic little reference to the last illness of the Duke of

Kent in one of the Princess Hohenlohe's letters to the Queen. This elder

sister (Princess Feodora of Leiningen) was then a little girl of nine or

ten years of age, residing with her mother and stepfather. "Indeed, I well

remember that dreadful time at Sidmouth. I recollect praying on my knees

that God would not let your dear father die. I loved him dearly; he always

was so kind to me."

On the afternoon of the 22nd his case was hopeless, and it became a

question whether he had sufficient consciousness to sign his will. His old

friend, General Wetherall, was brought up to the bed. At the sound of the

familiar voice which had always been welcome to him, the sick man,

drifting away from all familiar sounds, raised himself, collected his

thoughts for the last time, and mentioned several places and people

intelligently. The poor Duke had never been negligent in doing what he saw

to be his duty. He had been forward in helping others, even when they were

not of his flesh and blood. He heard the will read over, and with a great

effort wrote the word "Edward," looking at every letter after he wrote it,

and asking anxiously if the signature was legible.

In this will, which left the Duchess guardian to the child, and appointed

General Wetherall and Captain Conroy trustees of his estate for the

benefit of his widow and daughter, it is noticeable that the name in each

case is given in the French version, "Victoire." Indeed so rare was the

term in England at this date, that it is probable the English equivalent

had scarcely been used before the christening of the Queen.

The Duke died on the following day, the 23rd of January, 1820. Only six

days later, on the 29th, good old King George expired at Windsor. The son

was cut down by violent disease while yet a man in middle life, just after

he had become the head of a little household full of domestic promise, and

with what might still have been a great public career opening out before

him. The father sank in what was, in his case, the merciful decay of age,

after he had been unable for ten years to fulfil the duties and charities

of life, and after surviving his faithful Queen a year. The language of

the official announcement of the physicians was unusually appropriate: "It

has pleased the Almighty to release his Majesty from all further

suffering." To complete the disasters of the royal family this month, the

new King, George IV., who had been labouring under a cold when his father

died, was seized immediately after his proclamation with dangerous

inflammation of the lungs, the illness that had proved fatal to the Duke

of Kent, and could not be present at his brother's or father's funerals;

in fact, he was in a precarious state for some days.

The Duke of Kent was buried, according to the custom of the time, by

torchlight, on the night of the 12th of February, at Windsor. As an

example of the difference which distance made then, it took nearly a

week's dreary travelling to convey the Duke's body from Woolbrook Cottage,

where it lay in State for some days, to Cumberland Lodge, from which the

funeral train walked to Windsor. The procession of mourning-coaches,

hearse, and carriages set out from Sidmouth on Monday morning, halting on

successive nights at Bridport, Blandford, Salisbury, and Basingstoke, the

coffin being deposited in the principal church of each town, under a

military guard, till on Friday night Cumberland Lodge was reached. The

same night a detachment of the Royal Horse Guards, every third man bearing

a flambeau, escorted a carriage containing the urn with the heart to St.

George's Chapel, where in the presence of the Dean, the officers of the

chapel, and several gentlemen appointed for the duty, urn and heart were

deposited in the niche in which the coffin was afterwards to be placed.

The body lay in State on the following day, that it might be seen by the

inhabitants of Windsor, his old military friends, and the multitude who

came down from London for the two mournful ceremonies. At eight o'clock at

night the final procession was formed, consisting of Poor Knights, pages,

pursuivants, heralds, the coronet on a black velvet cushion, the body

under pall and canopy, the supporters of the pall and canopy field-marshals

and generals, the chief mourner the Duke of York, the Dukes of Clarence,

Sussex, Gloucester, and Prince Leopold in long black cloaks, their trains

borne by gentlemen in attendance.

These torchlight funeral processions formed a singular remnant of

mediaeval pageantry. How the natural solemnity of night in itself

increased the awe and sadness of the scene to all simple minds, we can

well understand. Children far away from Windsor remembered after they were

grown men and women the vague terror with which they had listened in the

dim lamplight of their nurseries to the dismal tolling of the bell out in

the invisible church tower, which proclaimed that a royal duke was being

carried to his last resting-place. We can easily believe that thousands

would flock to look and listen, and be thrilled by the imposing spectacle.

The show must have been weirdly picturesque when wild wintry weather, as

in this case, added to the effect, "viewed for the distance of three

miles, through the spacious Long Walk, amidst a double row of lofty trees,

whilst at intervals the glittering of the flambeaux and the sound of

martial music were distinctly seen and heard."

The Duke's funeral only anticipated by a few days the still more

magnificent ceremonial with which a king was laid in the tomb.

But the real mourning was down in Devonshire, in the Sidmouth cottage. It

would be difficult to conceive more trying circumstances for a woman in

her station than those in which the young Duchess--she was but little over

thirty--found herself left. She had lost a kind husband, her child would

miss a doting father. She was a foreigner in a strange country. She had

entered into a divided family, with which her connection was in a measure

broken by the death of the Duke, while the bond that remained, however

precious to all, was too likely to prove a bone of contention. The Duke

had died poor. The Duchess had previously relinquished her German

jointure, and the English settlement on her was inadequate, especially if

it were to be cumbered with the discharge of any of her husband's personal

debts. It was not realised then that the Duchess of Kent, in marrying the

Duke and becoming his widow and the guardian of their child, had given up

not only independence, but what was affluence in her own country, with its

modest ways of living--even where princes were concerned--for the

mortification and worry of narrow means, the strain of a heavy

responsibility, the pain of much unjustifiable and undeserved interference,

misconception, and censure, until she lived to vindicate the good sense,

good feeling, and good taste with which she had always acted.

But the Duchess was not altogether desolate. Prince Leopold hurried to her

and supported her then, and on many another hard day, by brotherly

kindness, sympathy, and generous help. It was in his company that she came

back with her child to Kensington.

One element of the Coburg character has been described as the sound

judgment and quiet reasonableness associated with the temperate blood of

the race. Accordingly, we find the Duchess not only submitting with gentle

resignation to misfortune, but rousing herself, as her brother might have

done in her circumstances--as doubtless he urged her to do--to the active

discharge of the duties of her position. On the 23rd of February, before

the first month of her widowhood was well by, she received Viscount

Morpeth and Viscount Clive, the deputation bearing to her the address of

condolence from the House of Commons. She met them with the infant

Princess in her arms. The child was not only the sign that she fully

appreciated and acknowledged the nature of the tie which united her to the

country, it was the intimation of the close inseparable union with her

daughter which continued through all the years of the Queen's childhood

and youth, till the office of sovereign forced its holder into a separate

existence; till she found another fitting protector, when the generous,

ungrudging mother gave way to the worthy husband, who became the dutiful,

affectionate son of the Duchess's declining years.

Five months after these events the Duchess, at her own request, had an

interview with William Wilberforce, then living in the house at Kensington

Gore which was occupied later by the Countess of Blessington and Count

D'Orsay. "She received me," the good man wrote to Hannah More, "with her

fine, animated child on the floor by her side, with its playthings, of

which I soon became one. She was very civil, but, as she did not sit down,

I did not think it right to stop above a quarter of an hour; and there

being but a female attendant and a footman present, I could not well get

up any topic so as to carry on a continual discourse. She apologised

for not speaking English well enough to talk it; intimated a hope that

she might talk it better and longer with me at some future time. She spoke

of her situation, and her manner was quite delightful."

The sentence in italics opens our eyes to one of the difficulties of the

Duchess to which we might not otherwise have given much consideration. We

are apt to take it for granted that, though there is no royal road to

mathematics, the power of speaking foreign languages comes to royal

personages, if not by nature, at least by inheritance and by force of

circumstances. There is some truth in this when there is a foreign father

or mother; when royal babies are brought up, like Queen Victoria, to speak

several languages from infancy, and when constant contact with foreigners

confirms and maintains the useful faculty. Even when a prince or a

princess is destined from his or her early youth to share a foreign

throne, and is brought up with that end, a provision may be made for an

adopted tongue to become second nature. But the Duchess of Kent was not

brought up with any such prospect, and during her eleven years of married

life in Germany she must have had comparatively little occasion to

practise what English she knew; while, at the date of her coming to

England, she was beyond the age when one learns a new language with

facility. Any one of us who has experienced the fettered, perturbed,

bewildered condition which results from being reduced to express ourselves

at an important crisis in our history through a medium of speech with

which we are but imperfectly acquainted, will know how to estimate this

unthought-of obstacle in the Duchess of Kent's path, at the beginning of

her widowhood.

This was the year (1820) of the greatest eclipse of the sun which had been

seen for more than a century, when Venus and Mars were both visible, with

the naked eye, for a few minutes in the middle of the day. Whatever the

portents in the sky might mean, the signs on the earth were not

reassuring. When the Bourbon monarchy had seemed fairly restored in

France, all the world was shocked by the assassination of the Duc de Berri

at the door of the Opera-house in Paris. Three kingdoms which had but

recently been delivered from the clutch of the usurper were in revolt

against the constituted authorities--Portugal, Spain, and Naples. Of

these, the two former were on the brink of wars of succession, when the

royal uncles, Don Miguel and Don Carlos, fought against their royal

nieces, Donna Maria and Donna Isabella. At home the summer had been a sad

one to the royal family and the country. The ferment of discontent was

kept up by the very measures--executions and imprisonments--taken to

repress anarchy, and by the continuance of crushed trade, want of work,

and high prices. The Duchess of York died, making the third member of the

royal family dead since the new year; yet she, poor lady, was but a unit

in the sum, a single foreign princess who, however, kind she might have

been to the few who came near her, was nothing to the mass of the people.

The name of another foreign princess was in every man's mind and on every

man's tongue. However, there were many reasons for the anomaly. Caroline

of Brunswick was the Queen until she should be proved unworthy to bear the

title. Her quarrel with the King had long made her notorious. Though the

story reflected little credit on her, it was so utterly discreditable to

him that it raised up friends for her where they might have been least

expected. His unpopularity rendered her popular. Her name became the

rallying-cry for a great political faction. The mob, with its usual

headlong, unreasoning appropriation of a cause and a person, elevated her

into a heroine, cheered frantically, and was ready to commit any outbreak

in her honour.

After six years' absence from England Queen Caroline had come back on the

death of George III. to demand her rights. She had landed at Dover and

been welcomed by applauding crowds. She had been escorted through Kent by

uproarious partisans, who removed the horses from her carriage and dragged

her in triumph through the towns. London, in its middle and lower classes,

had poured out to meet her and come back in her train, till she was safely

lodged in South Audley Street, in the house of her champion, Alderman Wood.

The King had instructed his ministers to lay before the House of Lords a

bill of Pains and Penalties against the Queen which, if sustained, would

deprive her of every claim to share his rank and would annul the marriage.

The Queen was prepared with her defence, and furnished with two of the

ablest advocates in the kingdom, Mr. Brougham and Mr. Denman. In the

earlier stages of the proceedings she was present almost every day in the

House of Lords. She entered in her puce or black sarcenet pelisse and

black velvet hat, a large, not uncomely woman, a little over fifty, and

took the chair of State provided for her, the House rising to receive the

Queen whom it was trying. The trial, in its miserable details of gross

folly well-nigh incredible, lasted from July to November--four months of

burning excitement--when it collapsed from the smallness of the majority

(nine) that voted for the second reading of the bill. The animus of the

prosecution and the unworthy means taken to accomplish its purpose,

defeated the end in view. It is said that had it been otherwise the

country would have broken out into widespread insurrection.

The Queen's supporters, of all classes, sects, and shades, indulged in a

perfect frenzy of rejoicing. Festivals, illuminations, every token of

triumph for her and condemnation for him accompanied what was equivalent

to her acquittal. She went in something like State, with her queer, motley

household--Bohemian, English and Italians--and her great ally, Alderman

Wood, to offer up thanksgiving in St. Paul's, where, at the same time, she

found her name omitted from the Church service. She wore white velvet and

ermine, and was surrounded by thousands of shouting followers, as if she

had been the most discreet of queens and best of women. The poor

passionate, wayward nature, which after all had been cruelly dealt with,

was touched as well as elated.

On the very day after Queen Caroline's arrival in London in June, she had

dispatched Alderman Wood to Kensington, to condole with the Duchess of

Kent on her recent widowhood, and inquire after the health of the infant

princess. The message was innocent in itself, but alarming by implication;

for Queen Caroline was not a woman to be kept at a distance, or to

hesitate in expressing her sentiments if she fancied her overtures

slighted by the embarrassed Duchess. In the month of August Queen Caroline

had established herself at Brandenburg House--the Margravine of Anspach's

house, by the river at Hammersmith--near enough to Kensington Palace, to

judge from human nature, to disconcert and provoke a smile against the

smiler's will--for Caroline's extravagances would have disturbed the

gravity of a judge--in the womanly Princess at the head of the little

household soberly settled there. Never were princesses and women more

unlike than Caroline of Brunswick and Victoria of Coburg; But poor Queen

Caroline was not destined to remain long an awkward enigma--a queen and

yet no queen, an aunt and yet no aunt, a scandal and a torment in

everybody's path.

In the summer of the following year, when the country was drawn away and

dazzled by the magnificent ceremonial of the coronation of George IV., she

exercised her last disturbing influence. She demanded to be crowned along

with her husband; but her demand was refused by the Privy Council. She

appeared at the door of Westminster Abbey, but the way was barred to her.

A fortnight afterwards, when King George had gone to Ireland to arouse the

nation's loyalty, his wife had passed where Privy Council ushers and

yeomen of the guard were powerless, where the enmity of man had no voice

in the judgment of God. She had been attacked by severe illness, and in

the course of five days she died, in the middle of a wild storm of

thunder, wind, and rain. The night before, a boatful of Methodists had

rowed up the Thames, within sound of the open windows of her sick-room,

and sung hymns to comfort her in her extremity. The heart of a large part

of the nation still clung to her because of her misfortunes and the

insults heaped upon her. The late Queen's body was conveyed back to

Brunswick. The funeral passed through Kensington, escorted by a mighty

mob, in addition to companies of soldiers. The last were instructed to

conduct the cortege by the outskirts of London to Harwich, where a

frigate and two sloops of war were waiting for the coffin. The mob were

resolute that their Queen's funeral should pass through the city. The

first struggle between the crowd and the military took place at the corner

of Church Street, Kensington. The strange, unseemly, contention was

renewed farther on more than once; but as bloodshed had been forbidden,

the people had their way, and the swaying mass surged in grim

determination straight towards the Strand and Temple Bar. The captain of

the frigate into whose keeping the coffin was committed in order to be

conveyed back to Brunswick had been, by a curious, sorrowful coincidence,

the midshipman who, "more than a quarter of a century before, handed the

rope to the royal bride whereby to help her on board the Jupiter,"

which was to bring her to England.

One can fancy that, when that sorry tragedy was ended, and its perpetual

noisy ebullitions had sunk into silence, a sense of relief stole over the

palace-home at Kensington.

Round the childhood and youth of sovereigns, especially popular

sovereigns, a growth of stories will gather like the myths which attend on

the infancy of a nation. Such stories or myths are chiefly valuable as

showing the later tendency of the individual or people, the character and

history of the monarch or of the subjects, in accordance with which, in

reversal of the adage that makes the child father to the man, the man is,

in a new sense, father to the child, by stamping on his infancy and nonage

traits borrowed from his mature years. Mingled with the species of

legendary lore attaching to every generation, there is a foundation more

or less of authentic annals. It is as affording an example of this human

patchwork of fancy and fact, and as illustrating the impression deeply

engraved on the popular mind, that the following incidents of the Queen's

childhood and youth are given.

First, the people have loved to dwell on the close union between mother

and child. The Duchess nursed her baby--would see it washed and dressed.

As soon as the little creature could sit alone, her small table was placed

by her mother's at meals, though the child was only allowed the food fit

for her years. The Princess slept in her mother's room all through her

childhood and girlhood. In the entries in the Queen's diary at the time of

the Duchess of Kent's death, her Majesty refers to an old repeater

striking every quarter of an hour in the sick-room on the last night of

the Duchess's life--"a large watch in a tortoiseshell case, which had

belonged to my poor father, the sound of which brought back to me all the

recollections of my childhood, for I had always used to hear it at night,

but had not heard it for now twenty-three years."

When the Princess was a little older, and lessons and play alternated with

each other, she was taught to attend to the thing in hand, and finish what

she had begun, both in her studies and games. One day she was amusing

herself making a little haycock when some other mimic occupation caught

her volatile fancy, and she flung down her small rake ready to rush off to

the fresh attraction. "No, no, Princess; you must always complete what you

have commenced," said her governess, and the small haymaker had to

conclude her haymaking before she was at liberty to follow another


From the Princess's fifth year Dr. Davys, afterwards Bishop of

Peterborough, was her tutor. When it became clear that the little girl

would, if she lived, be Queen of England, a prelate high in the Church was

proposed to the Duchess of Kent as the successor of Dr. Davys in his

office. But the Duchess, with the mild firmness and conscientious fidelity

which ruled her conduct, declared that as she was perfectly satisfied with

the tutor who had originally been appointed (when the appointment was less

calculated to offer temptations to personal ambition and political

intrigue), she did not see that any change was advisable. If a clergyman

of higher rank was necessary, there was room for the promotion of Dr.

Davys. Accordingly he was named Dean of Chester.

The Baroness Lehzen was another of the Queen's earliest guardians who

remained at her post throughout her Majesty's youth. Louise Lehzen,

daughter of a Hanoverian clergyman, came to England as governess to

Princess Feodora Leiningen and remained as governess to Princess Victoria,

entering on her duties in 1824. In 1827 she was raised to the rank of a

Hanoverian Baroness, by George IV., at the request of Princess Sophia.

From that time Baroness Lehzen acted also as lady in attendance. On her

death, so late as 1870, her old pupil recorded of her, in a passage in the

Queen's journal, which is given in the "Life of the Prince Consort," "My

dearest, kindest friend, old Lehzen, expired on the 9th quite gently and

peaceably.... She knew me from six months old, and from my fifth to my

eighteenth year devoted all her care and energies to me with the most

wonderful abnegation of self, never even taking one day's holiday. I

adored, though I was greatly in awe of her. She really seemed to have no

thought but for me.... She was in her eighty-seventh year." This constancy

and permanency in the family relations were in themselves inestimable

boons to the child, who thus grew up in an atmosphere of familiar

affection and unshaken trust, for the absence of which nothing in the

world could have compensated. Another lady of higher rank was of necessity

appointed governess to the Queen in 1831, when she became next heir to the

throne. This lady, the Dowager Duchess of Northumberland, appears also as

the Queen's friend in after life.

The late Bishop Wilberforce was told by Dr. Davys an interesting anecdote

of his former pupil. "The Queen always had from my first knowing her a

most striking regard to truth. I remember when I had been teaching her one

day, she was very impatient for the lesson to be over--once or twice

rather refractory. The Duchess of Kent came in, and asked how she had

behaved. Lehzen said, 'Oh, once she was rather troublesome.' The Princess

touched her and said, 'No, Lehzen, twice, don't you remember?' The Duchess

of Kent, too, was a woman of great truth."

It had been judged meet that the future Queen should not be made aware of

her coming greatness, which, for that matter, continued doubtful in her

earlier years. She was to grow up free from the impending care and

responsibility, happy and healthful in her unconscious girlhood--above

all, unassailed by the pernicious attempts to bespeak her favour, the

crafty flattery, the undermining insinuations which have proved the bane

of the youth of so many sovereigns. In order to preserve this reticence,

unslumbering care and many precautions were absolutely necessary. It is

said the Princess was constantly under the eye either of the Duchess of

Kent or the Baroness Lehzen. The guard proved sufficient; yet it was

difficult to evade the lively intelligence of an observant sensible child.

"Why do all the gentlemen take off their hats to me and not to my sister

Feodora?" the little girl is said to have asked wonderingly on her return

from a drive in the park, referring to her elder half-sister, who became

Princess of Hohenlohe, between whom and the questioner there always

existed the strong sweet affection of true sisters. Perhaps the little

lady felt indignant as well as mystified at the strange preference thus

given to her, in spite of her sister's superiority in age and wisdom. We

do not know what reply was made to this puzzling inquiry, though it would

have been easy enough to say that the little Princess was the daughter of

an English royal Duke, therefore an English Princess, and the big Princess

was German on both sides of the house, while these were English gentlemen

who had saluted their young countrywoman. We all know from the best

authority that Sir Walter Scott was wrong when he fancied some bird of the

air must have conveyed the important secret to the little fair-haired

maiden to whom he was presented in 1828. The mystery was not disclosed for

years to come.

The child, though brought up in retirement, was by no means secluded from

observation, or deprived of the change and variety so advantageous to

human growth and development. From her babyhood in the sad visit to

Sidmouth in 1820, and from 1821, when she was at that pretentious

combination of fantasticalness and gorgeousness, the Pavilion, Brighton,

she was carried every year, like any other well-cared-for child, either to

the seaside or to some other invigorating region, so that she became

betimes acquainted with different aspects of sea and shore in her island.

Ramsgate was a favourite resort of the Duchess's. The little Thanet

watering-place, with its white chalk cliffs, its inland basin of a

harbour, its upper and lower town, connected by "Jacob's Ladder," its pure

air and sparkling water, with only a tiny fringe of bathing-machines, was

in its blooming time of fresh rural peace and beauty when it was the

cradle by the sea of the little Princess.

When she was five she was at Claremont, making music and motion in the

quiet house with her gleeful laughter and pattering feet, so happy in

being with her uncle that she could look back on this visit as the

brightest of her early holidays. "This place," the Queen wrote to the King

of the Belgians long afterwards, "has a peculiar charm for us both, and to

me it brings back recollections of the happiest days of my otherwise dull

childhood,--when I experienced such kindness from you, dearest uncle,

kindness which has ever since continued.... Victoria plays with my old

bricks, and I see her running and jumping in the flower-garden, as

old, though I feel still little, Victoria of former days

used to do." In the autumn of 1825 the Queen's grandmother, the Dowager

Duchess of Coburg, visited England, and the whole family were together at


In 1826, "the warm summer," when the Princess was seven years of age, she

was invited to Windsor to see another uncle, George IV. That was a more

formidable ordeal, but her innocent frank brightness carried her through

it successfully. It is not easy for many men to contemplate with

satisfaction their heirs, when those heirs are no offspring of theirs. It

must have been doubly difficult for the King to welcome the little girl

who had replaced his daughter, the child of his wronged brother and of a

Princess whom King George persistently slighted and deprived of her due.

But we are told his Majesty was delighted with his little niece's

liveliness and intelligence.

In the following year, 1827, the Duke of York died, and the Princess, was

a step nearer to the throne, but she did not know it. So far from being

reared in an atmosphere of self-indulgence, the invaluable lesson was

early taught to her that if she were to be honourable and independent in

any rank, she must not buy what she could not pay for; if she were to be a

good woman she must learn to deny herself. An incident in illustration,

which made a small stir in its locality at the time, is often quoted. The

Duchess and her daughter were at Tunbridge Wells, dwelling in the

neighbourhood of Sir Philip Sidney's Penshurst, retracing the vanished

glories of the Pantiles, and conferring on the old pump-woman the

never-to-be-forgotten honour of being permitted to present a glass of

water from the marble basin to the Princess. The little girl made

purchases at the bazaar, buying presents, like any other young visitor,

for her absent friends, when she found her money all spent, and at the

same time saw a box which would suit an absent cousin. "The shop-people of

course placed the box with the other purchases, but the little lady's

governess admonished them by saying, 'No. You see the Princess has not got

the money; therefore, of course, she cannot buy the box.'" This being

perceived, the next offer was to lay by the box till it could be

purchased, and the answer was, "Oh, well, if you will be so good as to do

that." On quarter-day, before seven in the morning, the Princess appeared

on her donkey to claim her purchase.

In the reverence, peace, and love of her pure, refined, if saddened home,

everything went well with Princess Victoria, of whom we can only tell that

we know the old brick palace where she dwelt, the playground that was

hers, the walks she must have taken. We have sat in the later chapel where

she said her prayers, a little consecrated room with high pews shutting in

the worshippers, a royal gallery, open this time, and an elderly gentleman

speaking with a measured, melodious voice. We can guess with tolerable

certainty what was the Princess's child-world of books, though from the

circumstance that in the light of the future she was made to learn more

than was usual then for English girls of the highest rank, she had less

time than her companions for reading books which were not study, but the

most charming blending of instruction and amusement. That was still the

age of Mrs. Barbauld and Miss Edgeworth. "Evenings at Home," "Harry and

Lucy," and "Frank and Rosamond," were in every well-conducted school-room.

All little girls read with prickings of tender consciences about the lady

with the bent bonnet and the scar on her hand, and came under the

fascination of the "Purple Jar." A few years later, Harriet Martineau's

bristling independence did not prevent her from feeling gratified by the

persuasion that the young Princess was reading through her tales on

political economy, and that Princess Victoria's favourite character was

Ella of the far north.

In the Princess's Roman history one day she came to the passage where the

noble matron, Cornelia, in answer to a question as to her precious things,

pointed to her sons, and declared, "These are my jewels." "Why," cried the

ready-witted little pupil, with a twinkle in her blue eyes, "they must

have been cornelians."

When the Princess's lessons took the form of later English history, she

was on the very spot for the study. Did her teacher tell her, we wonder,

the pretty story of "Bucky," who interrupted grave, saturnine King William

at his statescraft in one of yonder rooms? How the small dauntless

applicant wiled his father's master, great Louis's rival, into playing at

horses in the corridor? Or that sadder story of another less fortunate

boy, poor heavy-headed William of Gloucester? Tutors crammed and doctors

shook him up, with the best intentions, in vain. In his happier moments he

drilled his regiment of little soldiers on that Palace Green before his

uncle, King William.

Was the childish passion for exploring old garrets and lumber-rooms

excited in this royal little woman by the narrative of the wonderful

discovery which Queen Caroline had made in a forgotten bureau in this very

palace? Did the little Princess roam about too, in her privileged moments,

with a grand vision of finding more and greater art-treasures, other

drawings by Holbein or Vandyke, fresh cartoons by Raphael?

All the more valuable paintings had been removed long ago to Windsor, but

many curious pictures still remained on the walls of presence chambers and

galleries, kings' and queens' great dining-rooms and drawing-rooms,

staircases and closets. Did the pictures serve as illustrations to the

history lessons? Was the inspection made the recreation of rainy days,

when the great suites of State-rooms in which Courts were no longer held

or banquets celebrated, but which still echoed with the remembered tread

of kings' and courtiers' feet, must have appeared doubly deserted and


What was known as the King's Great Drawing-room was not far from the

Duchess of Kent's rooms, and was, in fact, put at her disposal in its

dismantled, ghostly condition. Among its pictures--freely attributed to

many schools and masters--including several battle-pieces and many

portraits, there were three representations of English palaces: old

Greenwich, where Elizabeth was born; old Hampton, dear to William and

Mary; and Windsor, the Windsor of George III. and Queen Charlotte, the

Princess's grandfather and grandmother. In the next room, amidst classic

and scriptural subjects, and endless examples of "ladies with ruffs,"

"heads in turbans," &c., there were occasionally family portraits--the old

King and Queen more than once; William, Duke of Gloucester; the Queen of

Wurtemberg as the girl-Princess Royal, with a dog. (She died in Wurtemberg

about this time, 1828. She had quitted England on her marriage in 1797,

and in the thirty-one years of her married life only once came back, as an

aging and ailing woman. She proved a good wife and stepmother.) A youthful

family group of an earlier generation was sure to attract a child--George

III. and his brother, Edward, Duke of York, when young, shooting at a

target, the Duke of Gloucester in petticoats, Princess Augusta (Duchess of

Brunswick, and mother of Caroline, Princess of Wales) nursing the Duke of

Cumberland, and Princess Louisa sitting in a chaise drawn by a favourite

dog, the scene in Kew Gardens, painted in 1746. Queen Elizabeth was there

as a child aged seven, A.D. 1540--three-quarters, with a feather-fan in

her hand. Did the guide of the little unconscious Princess pause

inadvertently, with a little catch of the breath, by words arrested on the

tip of the tongue, before that picture? And was he or she inevitably

arrested again before another picture of Queen Elizabeth in her prime,

returning from her palace, wearing her crown and holding the sceptre and

the globe; Juno, Pallas, and Venus flying before her, Juno dropping her

sceptre, Venus her roses, and the little boy Cupid flinging away his bow

and arrows, and clinging in discomfiture to his mother because good Queen

Bess had conquered all the three in power, wisdom, and beauty? We know the

Princess must have loved to look at the pictures. More curious than

beautiful as they were, they may have been sufficient to foster in her

that love of art which has been the delight of the Queen's maturer years.

English princesses, even though they were not queens in perspective, were

not so plentiful in Queen Victoria's young days as to leave any doubt of

their hands and hearts proving in great request when the proper time came.

Therefore there was no necessity to hold before the little girl, as an

incentive to good penmanship, the example of her excellent grandmother,

Queen Charlotte, who wrote so fair a letter, expressed with such

correctness and judiciousness, at the early age of fifteen, that when the

said letter fell, by an extraordinary train of circumstances, into the

hands of young King George, he determined there and then to make that

painstaking and sensible Princess, and no other, a happy wife and great

Queen. There was no strict need for the story, and yet as a gentle

stimulant it may have been administered.

Queen Victoria was educated, as far as possible, in the simple habits and

familiarity with nature which belongs to the best and happiest training of

any child, whatever her rank. There is a pleasant picture in Knight's

"Passages of a Working Life": "I delighted to walk in Kensington Gardens

in the early summer, on my way to town.... In such a season, when the sun

was scarcely high enough to have dried up the dews of Kensington's green

alleys, as I passed along the broad central walk I saw a group on the lawn

before the palace, which, to my mind, was a vision of exquisite

loveliness. The Duchess of Kent and her daughter, whose years then

numbered nine, are breakfasting in the open air, a single page attending

on them at a respectful distance, the mother looking on with eyes of love,

while the fair, soft, English face is bright with smiles. The world of

fashion is not yet astir. Clerks and mechanics passing onwards to their

occupations are few, and they exhibit nothing of vulgar curiosity."

We have another charming description, by Leigh Hunt, of a glimpse which he

had of Princess Victoria in these gardens: "We remember well the peculiar

kind of personal pleasure which it gave us to see the future Queen, the

first time we ever did see her, coming up a cross-path from the Bayswater

Gate, with a girl of her own age by her side, whose hand she was holding

as if she loved her. It brought to our minds the warmth of our own

juvenile friendships, and made us fancy that she loved everything else

that we had loved in like measure--books, trees, verses, Arabian tales,

and the good mother who had helped to make her so affectionate. A

magnificent footman in scarlet came behind her, with the splendidest pair

of calves, in white stockings, that we ever beheld. He looked somehow like

a gigantic fairy, personating for his little lady's sake the grandest kind

of footman he could think of; and his calves he seemed to have made out of

a couple of the biggest chaise-lamps in the possession of the godmother of

Cinderella. With or without her big footman, the little Princess could

have rambled safely in the grounds which her predecessors had made for

her, could have fed the ducks which swam in the round pond before her

palace windows, could have drunk from the curious little mineral well,

where, in Miss Thackeray's 'Old Kensington,' Frank Raban met Dolly

Vanburgh, or peeped out of the little side gate where the same Dolly came

face to face with the culprits George and Rhoda. The future owner of all

could have easily strayed down the alleys among the Dutch elms which King

William brought, perhaps saplings, from the Boomjees, as far as the oak

that tradition says King Charles set in the form of an acorn taken from

his leafy refuge at Boscobel."

The Duke of Kent had brought an old soldier-servant, called Stillman, and

established him, with his wife and family, in a cottage in one of the

Kensington lanes. It is said the Duke had recommended this former retainer

to the care of the Duchess, and that she and her daughter were in the

habit of visiting and caring for the family, in which there were a sickly

little boy and girl.

An event happened in 1828 to the household in Kensington Palace which was

of importance to all. It was a joyful event, and the preparations for the

royal wedding, with the gala in which the preliminaries culminated, must

have formed an era in the quiet young life into which a startling

announcement and its fulfilment had broken, filling the hours of the short

winter days with wonder, admiration, and interest.

Yet all the pleasant stir and excitement; the new member of the family

prominent for a brief space; the gifts, the trousseau, the wedding-cake,

the wedding guests, were but the deceptive herald of change and loss to

the family, whose members were so few that each became deeply precious.

The closely united circle was to be broken, and a dear face permanently

withdrawn from the group. The Duchess of Kent's elder daughter, Princess

Victoria's only sister, was about to marry. It was the most natural and

the happiest course, above all when the Princess Feodora wedded

worthily--how worthily let the subsequent testimony of the Queen and the

Prince Consort prove. It was given at the time of the Prince of

Hohenlohe's death, thirty-two years afterwards, in 1860.

The Queen wrote to her own and her sister's uncle, the King of the

Belgians, in reference to the Prince of Hohenlohe: "A better, more

thoroughly straightforward, upright, and excellent man, with a more

unblemished character, or a more really devoted and faithful husband,

never existed."

The Prince Consort's opinion of his brother-in-law is to be found in a

letter to the Princess William of Prussia: "Poor Ernest Hohenlohe is a

great loss. Though he was not a man of great powers of mind, capable of

taking comprehensive views of the world, still he was a great character

--that is to say, a thoroughly good, noble, spotless, and honourable man,

which in these days forms a better title to be recognised as great than do

craftiness, Machiavellism, and grasping ambition."

At the time of his marriage the Prince of Hohenlohe was in the prime of

manhood, thirty-two years of age.

But the marriage meant the Princess Feodora's return to Germany and her

separation from the other members of her family, with the exception of her

brother, brought up in his own country. The bride, whom we hear of

afterwards as a true and tender woman, was then a sweet maiden of twenty,

whose absence must have made a great blank to her mother and sister.

Happily for the latter, she was too young to realise in the agreeable

excitement of the moment what a deprivation remained in store for her.

There were eleven years between the sisters. This was enough difference to

mingle a motherly, protecting element with the elder sister's pride and

fondness, and to lead the younger, whose fortunes were so much higher, but

who was unaware of the fact, to look up with affectionate faith and trust

to the grown-up companion, in one sense on a level with the child, in

another with so much more knowledge and independence.

It was a German marriage, both bride and bridegroom being German, though

the bride had been nine years--the difference between a child and a

woman--in England, and though the event occurred in an English household.

Whether the myrtle was worn for the orange-blossoms, or any of the other

pretty German wedding customs imported, we cannot tell. Anyhow, the

ordinary peaceful simplicity of the palace was replaced by much bustle and

grandeur on that February morning, the modest forerunner of another

February morning in another palace, when a young Queen plighted her troth.

The royal family in England, with two exceptions, were at Kensington Palace

to do honour to the marriage. The absent members were the King and Princess

Augusta--the latter of whom was at Brighton. The company arrived soon after

two o'clock, and consisted of the Duke and Duchess of Clarence, the Duke of

Sussex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Princess Sophia, the

Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester, and Prince Leopold.

At three o'clock the party walked in procession to the great saloon

adjoining the vestibule, in which a temporary altar had been fitted up. The

bride was given away by the Duke of Clarence. The ceremony was performed in

the simple Lutheran fashion by a simple Lutheran pastor, Dr. Kuper, "the

chaplain of the Royal German Chapel."

Then came the parting, and the quiet palace-home was stiller and shadier

than ever, when the gracious maidenly presence had gone, when the opening

rose was plucked from the parent stem, and only the bud left.

In 1830 George IV. died, and William, Duke of Clarence, succeeded to the

throne as King William IV. That summer was the last of the Princess's

ignorance of her prospects; until then not even the shadow of a throne had

been projected across the sunshiny path of the happy girl of eleven. She

was with her mother in one of the fairest scenes in England--Malvern. The

little town with its old Priory among the Worcester hills, looks down on

the plain of Worcester, the field of a great English battle.

A dim recollection of the Duchess and the Princess is still preserved at

Malvern--how pleasant and kind they were to all, how good to the poor; how

the future Queen rode on a donkey like any other young girl at

Malvern--like poor Marie Antoinette in the forest glades of Compiegne and

Fontainebleau half a century earlier, when she was only four years older,

although already Dauphiness of France. The shadowy records do not tell us

much more; we are left to form our own conclusions whether the Queen

anticipated her later ascents of Scotch and Swiss mountains by juvenile

scrambles amongst the Worcester hills; whether she stood on the top of the

Worcester or Hereford Beacon; or whether these were considered too

dangerous and masculine exploits for a princess of tender years, growing up

to inherit a throne? She could hardly fail to enter the Wytche, the strange

natural gap between Worcestershire and Herefordshire, by which, at one

step, the wayfarer leaves wooded England behind, and stands face to face

with a pastoral corner of Wales; or to drive along the mile-long common of

Barnard's Green, with the geese, and the hay-stacks, and the little

cottages on either side, and always in front the steep ridge of hills with

the grey Priory where Piers Plowman saw his vision, nestling at their feet;

or to pull the heather and the wild strawberries in Cowleigh Park, from

which every vestige of its great house has departed. She might have been a

privileged visitor at Madresfield, where some say Charles II. slept the

night before the battle of Worcester, and where there is a relic that would

better become Kensington, in a quilt which Queen Anne and Duchess Sarah

embroidered together in silks in the days of their fast friendship.

As it was part of the Princess's good education to be enlightened, as far

as possible, with regard to the how and why of arts and manufactures, we

make no question she was carried to Worcester, not only to see the

cathedral, but to have the potteries exhibited to her. There was a great

deal for the ingenuous mind of a royal pupil to see, learn, and enjoy in

Worcester and Warwickshire--for she was also at Guy's Cliff and Kenilworth.

It had become clear to the world without that the succession rested with

the Duke of Kent's daughter. Long before, the Duchess of Clarence had

written to her sister-in-law in a tender, generous struggle with her

sorrow: "My children are dead, but yours lives, and she is mine too." As

the direct heir to the crown, the Princess Victoria became a person of

great importance, a source of serious consideration alike to the Government

and to her future subjects. The result, in 1830, was a well-deserved if

somewhat long-delayed testimony to the merits of the Duchess of Kent, which

must have given honest satisfaction not only at Kensington, but at

Claremont--to whose master the Belgian Revolution was opening up the

prospect of a kingdom more stable than that of Greece, for which Prince

Leopold had been mentioned. Away in the Duchess's native Coburg, too, the

congratulations were sincere and hearty.

The English Parliament had not only formally recognised the Princess as the

next heir and increased the Duchess's income to ten thousand a year, so

relieving her from some of her difficulties; it had, with express and

flattering reference to the admirable manner in which she had until then

discharged the trust that her husband had confided to her, appointed her

Regent in the event of King William's death while the Princess was still a

minor. In this appointment the Duchess was preferred to the Duke of

Cumberland. He had become the next royal Duke in the order of descent, but

had failed to inspire confidence in his countrymen. In fact he was in

England the most uniformly and universally unpopular of all George III.'s

sons. There was even a wild rumour that he was seeking, against right and

reason, to form a party which should attempt to revive the Salic law and

aim at setting aside the Princess and placing Prince George of Cumberland

on the throne of England as well as on that of Hanover.

The Princess had reached the age of twelve, and it was judged advisable,

after her position had been thus acknowledged, that she herself should be

made acquainted with it. The story--the authenticity of which is

established beyond question--is preserved in a letter from the Queen's

former governess, Baroness Lehzen, which her Majesty has, given to the


"I ask your Majesty's leave to cite some remarkable words of your Majesty

when only twelve years old, while the Regency Bill was in progress. I then

said to the Duchess of Kent, that now, for the first time, your Majesty

ought to know your place in the succession. Her Royal Highness agreed with

me, and I put the genealogical table into the historical book. When Mr.

Davys (the Queen's instructor, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough) was gone,

the Princess Victoria opened the book again, as usual, and seeing the

additional paper, said, 'I never saw that before.' 'It was not thought

necessary you should, Princess,' I answered. 'I see I am nearer the throne

than I thought.' 'So it is, madam,' I said. After some moments the Princess

answered, 'Now, many a child would boast, but they don't know the

difficulty. There is much splendour, but there is more responsibility.' The

Princess having lifted up the forefinger of her right hand while she spoke,

gave me that little hand, saying, 'I will be good. I understand now why you

urged me so much to learn even Latin. My aunts Augusta and Mary never did;

but you told me Latin is the foundation of English grammar and of all the

elegant expressions, and I learned it as you wished it, but I understand

all better now;' and the Princess gave me her hand, repeating, 'I will be

good.' I then said, 'But your aunt Adelaide is still young, and may have

children, and of course they would ascend the throne after their father,

William IV., and not you, Princess.' The Princess answered, 'And if it was

so, I should never feel disappointed, for I know by the love aunt Adelaide

bears me how fond she is of children.'"

No words can illustrate better what is striking and touching in this

episode than those with which Mrs. Oliphant refers to it in her sketch of

the Queen. "It is seldom that an early scene like this stands out so

distinctly in the early story even of a life destined to greatness. The

hush of awe upon the child; the childish application of this great secret

to the abstruse study of Latin, which was not required from the others; the

immediate resolution, so simple, yet containing all the wisest sage could

have counselled, or the greatest hero vowed,' I will be good,' makes a

perfect little picture. It is the clearest appearance of the future Queen

in her own person that we get through the soft obscurity of those childish

years." The Duchess of Kent remained far from a rich woman for her station,

and the young Princess had been sooner told of her mother's straitened

income than of the great inheritance in store for herself. She continued to

be brought up in unassuming, inexpensive habits.

In February, 1831, when Princess Victoria was twelve, she made her first

appearance in state at "the most magnificent Drawing-room which, had been

seen since that which had taken place on the presentation of Princess

Charlotte of Wales upon the occasion of her marriage." The Drawing-room was

held by Queen Adelaide, and it was to do honour to the new Queen no less

than to commemorate the approaching completion of the Princess's twelfth

year that the heiress to the throne was present in a prominent position, an

object of the greatest interest to the splendid company. She came along

with the Duchess her mother, attended by an appropriate suite, including

the Duchess of Northumberland, Lady Charlotte St. Maur, Lady Catherine

Parkinson, the Hon. Mrs. Cust, the Baroness Lehzen, and the Princess's

father's old friends, General Wetherall and Captain (now Sir John) Conroy,

with his wife, Lady Conroy. The Princess's dress was made, as the Queen's

often was afterwards, entirely of articles manufactured in the United

Kingdom. She wore a frock of English blonde, "simple, modest, and

becoming." She stood on the left of her Majesty on the throne, and

"contemplated all that passed with much dignity, but with evident

interest." We are further told, what we can well believe, that she excited

general admiration as well as interest. We can without difficulty call up

before us the girlish figure in its pure, white dress, the soft, open face,

the fair hair, the candid blue eyes, the frank lips slightly apart, showing

the white pearly teeth. The intelligent observation, the remarkable absence

of self-consciousness and consequent power of self-control and of

thought for others, which struck all who approached her in the great crisis

of her history six years afterwards, were already conspicuous in the young

girl. No doubt it was for her advantage, in consideration of what lay

before her, that while brought up in wholesome privacy, she was at the same

time inured, so far, to appear in public, to bear the brunt of many

eyes--some critical, though for the most part kind--touched by her youth

and innocence, by the circumstance that she was fatherless, and by the

crown she must one day wear. She had to learn to conduct herself with the

mingled self-respect and ease which became her station. Impulsiveness,

shyness, nervousness, are more serious defects in kings and queens than in

ordinary mortals. To use a homely phrase, "to have all their wits about

them" is very necessary in their case. If in addition they can have all

their hearts--hearts warm and considerate, nobly mindful of their own

obligations and of the claims of others--so much the better for the

sovereigns and for all who come under their influence. A certain amount of

familiarity with being the observed of all observers, with treading alone a

conspicuous path demanding great circumspection, was wanted beforehand, in

order that the young head might remain steady in the time of sudden,

tremendous elevation.

Nevertheless, the Princess was not present at the coronation of King

William and Queen Adelaide, and her absence, as the heir-presumptive to the

throne, caused much remark and speculation, and gave rise to not a few

newspaper paragraphs. Various causes were assigned for the singular

omission. The Times openly accused the Duchess of Kent of proving

the obstacle. Other newspapers followed suit, asserting that the grounds

for the Duchess's refusal were to be found in the circumstance that in the

coronation procession, marshalled by Lord A. Fitzclarence, the place

appointed for the Princess Victoria, instead of being next to the King and

Queen, according to her right, was after the remaining members of the royal

family. Conflicting authorities declared that the Prime Minister, Earl

Grey, for some occult reason, opposed the Princess's receiving an

invitation to be present at a ceremony which had so much interest for her;

or that the Duchess of Northumberland, the governess of the Princess, took

the same extraordinary course from political motives. Finally, The

Globe gave, on authority, an explanation that had been offered all

along in the midst of more sensational rumours. The Princess's health was

rather delicate, and the Duchess of Kent had, on that account, got the

King's sanction to her daughter's not being exposed to unusual excitement

and fatigue. The statement on authority was unanswerable, but while it

stilled one cause of apprehension it awakened another. After the untimely

death of Princess Charlotte, the nation was particularly sensitive with

regard to the health of the heir to the crown. Whispers began to spread

abroad, happily without much foundation, of pale cheeks, and a constitution

unfit for the burden which was to be laid upon it.