The Royal Young People

Many people had thought that the Russians hoped to get control of

India. If they had succeeded in doing so, the Queen would have been

saved the sorrow that came to her from a revolt of her Indian troops

which was known as the Sepoy Mutiny. The commanders of the troops were

English, but most of the rank and file were either Mohammedans or

Hindus. The Mohammedans looked upon the cow as sacred, and the Hindus

regarded the
hog as unclean, therefore, when cartridges were given them

greased with a mixture of tallow and lard, the soldiers of both peoples

were very angry. Another trouble was that the English government had

declared that no one should lose his property on account of any change

in his religious belief, and this decree aroused the wrath of the

native priests. The revolt was one of the most fearful events known in

history, for even women and children were murdered as brutally as if

the Sepoys had been wild beasts.

January, 1858, was the time that had been set for the marriage of the

Princess Royal, and although India was not entirely subdued, the Sepoys

were so nearly under control that England could join heartily in the

wedding rejoicings. Buckingham Palace was crowded with guests, so many

princes and princesses that when they went to the theater, they made,

as the Queen said, "a wonderful row of royalties." "Macbeth" and three

other plays were performed in honor of the occasion. For a week, eighty

or ninety persons sat at the Queen's dinner table every day. There were

operas, dinner parties, dances, concerts, and a great ball at which one

thousand guests were present.

When the wedding gifts began to arrive, the large drawing room of the

palace became a veritable fairyland, as table after table was piled

with presents. "Fritz," as the family called Prince Frederick William,

had brought to his bride a necklace of pearls, which the Queen said

were the largest she had ever seen. This was only the beginning. The

Princess and her mother went for a little walk in the palace garden,

and when they came in, there were more tables and an entirely new

display of gifts; they went to their own rooms, and when they returned,

still more gifts had arrived. There were pictures, candelabra, diamond

and emerald bracelets, brooches, necklaces, everything in the shape of

jewelry that can be imagined, and, what especially pleased the

housewifely tastes of the Queen, there were quantities of needlework

from many ladies of the kingdom, for the Princess was a special

favorite, and rich and poor were eager to send her some token of their

love. The young girl was in ecstasies; then she remembered that going

with "Fritz" meant leaving her father and mother, and she burst into


At the end of the festal week came the wedding day. The Queen said, "I

felt as if I were being married over again myself, only much more

nervous," and when just before the ceremony, she was daguerreotyped

with "Fritz and Vicky," she trembled so that her likeness was badly


Early in the morning the bells began to ring, but long before their

first peal, thousands were out in the streets, too excited to sleep or

even to remain in their homes. The procession was formed just as it had

been eighteen years before at the marriage of the Queen, and the long

line of carriages drove from Buckingham Palace to the Chapel Royal of

St. James. Trumpets were blown, banners were waved, and the whole city

reechoed with the shouts of the merrymakers. The Queen bowed to her

people as graciously as ever, but she could not forget for a moment

that her oldest daughter was about to leave her, and she wrote

afterwards, "The cheering made my heart sick within me."

The procession was even more beautiful than that on the wedding day of

the Queen, because in this one there were so many children. First came

the members of the royal family, the Duchess of Kent nearest to the

Queen and her children, looking very handsome in her gown of violet

velvet trimmed with ermine. Then came the Prime Minister bearing the

sword of state. He was followed by "Bertie," who was now a tall young

man of sixteen, and "Affie," the sailor boy of fourteen, both in

Highland costume. Everyone was looking for the Queen, and she came

directly after her two older sons. She was resplendent in a moire skirt

of lilac and silver with a long train of lilac velvet, and was all

ablaze with diamonds. The two little boys, the namesake of the Duke of

Wellington, and Leopold, who was not yet five years old, walked one on

either side of their mother. They as well as the older boys were

brilliant in Stuart plaid, which made a glowing contrast with the lilac

velvet. Behind the Queen walked hand in hand the three royal girls,

Alice, who was fifteen, and the two younger ones, Helena and Louise.

They were in pink satin with cornflowers and marguerites in their hair.

The nine royal children were present, with the exception of baby

Beatrice, who was not yet one year old. The Queen and the royal family

took their places in the "Royal Closet," a room opening into the


All the guests had assembled long before the entrance of the

procession, and now they were all watching eagerly for the Prince of

Prussia and the Princess Royal of England. The Prince, in his dark blue

uniform, looked thoroughly a soldier. He made a profound bow to the

Queen, knelt in prayer for a few minutes, then stood waiting to receive

his bride. After the gorgeous colors worn by those who had preceded

her, the white moire dress and the wreath of orange blossoms and myrtle

made the Princess look very childlike. She walked between her father

and King Leopold, her train borne by the eight young girls who were her

bridesmaids. They were in white tulle with pink roses. Among the roses

were sprigs of white heather, for even in the excitement of this

wedding season, the Queen did not forget her Scottish home.

The Prince was much more calm than the Archbishop of Canterbury, for

the clergyman was so nervous that he left out some passages from the

marriage service. At the moment that the ring was put on the finger of

the bride, the cannon were fired as at the marriage of the Queen; but

now the people of Germany must not be forgotten, and as the first gun

sounded, a telegram was sent to Berlin. The last words of the service

were read, "The Lord mercifully with his favor look upon you," and the

"Hallelujah Chorus" burst forth, followed by Mendelssohn's "Wedding

March," as the bride and bridegroom went forth from the chapel hand in


All London was keeping holiday, and throngs had gathered about

Buckingham Palace, ready to greet the returning party with most

tumultuous applause. The honeymoon was to be spent at Windsor, and the

Eton boys, who always claimed a share in royal rejoicings, dragged the

royal carriage from the railroad station to the castle.

A few days later came the final good-bys, and these were much harder

than if the bride had not been of the royal family, for kings and

queens can make few visits. It was a very tearful time, "a dreadful

day," wrote the Queen. "I think it will kill me to take leave of dear

papa," the bride had said to her mother, but the moment of parting had

to come. The snow was falling fast, but all the way to the wharf at

Gravesend were beautiful decorations and crowds of people, and on the

pier were companies of young girls wearing wreaths and carrying flowers

to strew before the feet of the bride. "Come back to us if he doesn't

treat you well," called a voice from the crowd, and the steamer moved

slowly away from the wharf. Prince Albert watched it for a few minutes,

then returned to the Queen, who was lonely in her great palace, so

lonely that even the sight of baby Beatrice made her sad, reminding her

that only a few hours before the little one had been in the arms of the

beloved eldest daughter.

"The little lady does her best to please him," Prince Albert had

written on the day of the Princess's engagement; but now she had

thousands of people to please, and the father and mother at home waited

anxiously for letters and telegrams and reports of friends to know what

welcome the Germans had given to their daughter, for so much of her

future comfort among them depended upon the first impression that she

made. "Dear child," wrote Prince Albert to her, "I should have so liked

to be in the crowd and hear what the multitude said of you." He had

already received a proud and jubilant telegram from "Fritz,"--"The

whole royal family is enchanted with my wife." The Princess Hohenlohe,

the Queen's beloved half-sister, wrote from Berlin, "The enthusiasm and

interest shown are beyond everything. Never was a princess in this

country received as she is."

Later in the year, the royal father and mother contrived to make a

fortnight's visit to Germany, and found the "Princess Frederick

William" "quite the old Vicky still." Prince Albert's birthday was

celebrated during their stay. The children at home were also

celebrating it with the Duchess of Kent. They recited poems and played

their pieces of music and exhibited the pictures that they had drawn.

Several days earlier, they had all sent birthday letters to Germany,

and these letters were given a prominent place on the "presents table."

The Queen's gift to her husband was a portrait of baby Beatrice, done

in oil. The Princess did not forget the Scotch home that she loved, and

among her gifts to her father was an iron chair for the Balmoral


The farewells had to be said much too soon. Then came the return to

England and the other children. They were growing up fast. The Prince

of Wales was at Oxford, not idling his time away, but working so hard

that the irrepressible Punch called him "A Prince at High Pressure."

Alfred, who was now fourteen, had just passed his examination and

received his midshipman's appointment. The examiners would have been

satisfied with fifty correct answers, but the Prince had presented

eighty; and when his father and mother landed at Osborne, there he

stood on the wharf in his naval cadet's uniform, half-blushing, and

looking as happy as a boy who was not a prince would have looked after

coming out of a three-days' examination with flying colors. Several

months earlier, Prince Albert had watched him reef a topsail in a

strong breeze, and said it almost took his breath away to see him "do

all sorts of things at that dizzy height."

The circle of children soon began to widen, for early in 1859 Princess

"Vicky" became the mother of a boy, and the Queen, not yet forty years

of age, was a grandmother. The child was named Frederick William Victor

Albert. Ever since her marriage, the Princess had kept up a constant

correspondence with home. She wrote her mother every day, sometimes

twice a day, telling all the little events of her life. To her father

she sent every Monday long letters on general topics, and he always

sent a reply two days later. No one knew better than he the

difficulties that lay before her in making her home in a foreign

country, and often his letters gave her bits of advice that had come

from his own experience. Sometimes they were little pictures of home

life. Once he told her of a "splendid snowman" that the children had

made, with a yellow carrot for a nose and an old hat of "Affie's" on

his head. After the birth of Frederick William Victor Albert, the

letters from Germany never forgot to tell the latest news about the

little German baby; and the English letters quoted the sayings of baby

Beatrice, whom Prince Albert called "the most amusing baby we ever

had." One day he wrote of this little one, "When she tumbles, she calls

out in bewilderment, 'She don't like it, she don't like it.' She came

into breakfast a short time ago with her eyes full of tears, moaning,

'Baby has been so naughty, poor baby so naughty,' as one might complain

of being ill or of having slept badly."

While Buckingham Palace had still its merry group of children, the two

older sons, "Bertie" and "Affie," were on their way across the ocean.

Prince Alfred was making a voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, and the

Prince of Wales was going to Canada. During the Crimean War, the colony

had raised and equipped a regiment to aid the mother country, and had

most urgently invited the monarch to visit her lands in the west; but

because of the exposure and fatigue it was not thought wise for her to

accept the invitation. Canada had then asked that one of the Princes

should be appointed governor. They were far too young for any such

position, but the promise was made that the Prince of Wales should

visit the colony. In the spring of 1860 it was decided that he should

go early in the autumn.

The Prince was delighted with the expedition, and was ready to be

pleased with whatever came to hand. In Newfoundland a ball was given

for him, and he danced not only with the ladies of the official circle,

but with the wives and daughters of the fish-merchants, and had the

tact to make himself liked by all. "He had a most dignified manner and

bearing," said the wife of the Archdeacon. "God bless his pretty face

and send him a good wife," cried the fishermen. His visit to Canada was

not all amusement, for he had the usual royal duties to perform. He

opened an exhibition, laid the last stone of the Victoria Bridge over

the St. Lawrence, and laid the corner stone of the new parliamentary

buildings at Ottawa. No fault could be found with his manner of

attending to such duties, but he won the hearts of the people less by

laying corner stones than by such bits of boyishness as singing with

the band one day when they chanced to play some of his favorite airs.

He saw Blondin walk across Niagara Falls on a tight-rope. "I beg of

you, don't do that again," he said earnestly to the performer. "There

is really not the least danger; I would willingly carry you over on my

back," replied Blondin, but the Prince did not accept the offer.

When Mr. Buchanan, President of the United States, heard that the

Prince of Wales was coming to Canada, he wrote to the Queen, inviting

the Prince to visit him at the White House, and assuring her that her

son would receive a very cordial greeting from the Americans. The city

of New York meant to have a royal visit all to herself, and therefore

sent a special invitation for him to come to that city.

The United States showed no lack of interest in the young man.

Reporters from the leading American papers followed him about in

Canada; and when he crossed to Detroit, he found the whole city

illuminated, and the streets so crowded that he had to slip into his

hotel by the side entrance. He visited the grave of Washington, and

planted a tree by the tomb of the man who had prevented him from

becoming the ruler of all North America. His visit to the White House

lasted for five days, and at its close, President Buchanan wrote to the

Queen: "In our domestic circle he has won all hearts."

In New York a ball was given for him which he enjoyed; but he was far

more enthusiastic over a parade of the New York Fire Department. Six

thousand firemen in uniform turned out one evening, all with lighted

torches except those who manned the ropes. A delightful trait in both

his parents was their feeling that honors shown them were not merely

actions due to their position, but were marks of courtesy and kindness;

and the Prince showed this same characteristic, for at the review he

cried with grateful delight, "It is splendid, and it's all for me,

every bit for me!"

On the Prince's return voyage he was so delayed by contrary winds that

two warships were sent out to search for him. He reached home late in

November, and on his return a letter was written to President Buchanan

by the Queen, expressing her gratitude for the kindness shown her son

and speaking very warmly of the friendship between England and the

United States.

While the Prince of Wales was receiving the honors of the western

continent, the midshipman brother was on his way to South Africa. When

he landed at Cape Town, the English governor accompanied him on a short

tour through the English possessions, during which he laid the first

stone of the famous breakwater in Table Bay. He was cheered and feasted

and received with all the honors that could be devised so long as he

was on land; but when he returned to his vessel, he was no longer

treated as a prince; for on shipboard he was simply a midshipman and in

no wise different from the other naval cadets. When the chief of an

African tribe came to visit the ship, he saw the young Prince

bare-footed and helping the other midshipmen to wash the decks. The

chief went away wondering, and a little later, he and his councilors

sent to the English a most interesting letter. It read:

"When the son of England's great Queen becomes subject to a subject,

that he may learn wisdom, when the sons of England's chiefs and nobles

leave the homes and wealth of their fathers, and with their young

Prince endure hardships and sufferings in order that they may be wise

and become a defense to their country, when we behold these things, we

see why the English are a great and mighty nation."

When the two brothers returned to England, they found that their sister

Alice had followed the example of the Princess Royal and had become

engaged. The fortunate man was Prince Louis of Hesse. Prince Albert

wrote to his daughter in Germany of "the great Alician event," saying,

"Alice and Louis are as happy as mortals can be."

Not long after these cheerful times, a deep sorrow came to the loving

heart of the Queen. In the midst of the days that were so full of care

for her children, her home, and the duties of state not only in

England, but also in Africa and Asia, the constant thought of the Queen

had been her mother's comfort. When the daughter could not be with her

mother, letters were sent every day, and frequently several times a

day, and nothing was neglected that could add to the Duchess's ease and

happiness. For some time she had not been well, and in the spring of

1861 came the dreaded summons to her bedside. In a few hours she was

gone. "Oh, if only I could have been near her these last weeks!" wrote

the Queen to King Leopold.

Save the sovereign herself, there was no woman in England whose death

would have affected the whole country so deeply. Statesmen recalled the

days when the Duchess of Kent was left alone in a strange land, without

means, disliked by the reigning king, and weighed down by the

responsibility of educating a child to stand at the head of the nation.

In the character of their sovereign, they saw proof of the able,

devoted, conscientious manner in which this sacred duty had been

performed; and the address of sympathy sent by Parliament to the

sorrowing Queen was as sincere as if it had been written by a personal

friend, and not by a body of lawmakers. "It is a great sorrow to me not

to have Feodore with me now," wrote the Queen to King Leopold; but

neither he nor the Princess Hohenlohe was able to be present at the

last services.

"I cannot imagine life without her," said the Queen sadly; but

nevertheless, life had to go on. Others may sometimes stop to mourn,

but the duties of a sovereign may not be neglected even for sorrow. A

new cause of anxiety had arisen that came nearer home than even the

sufferings of the Crimean soldiers. War had broken out in the United

States, and the supply of cotton to England was rapidly diminishing. If

the cotton supply failed entirely, the mills of England would have to

stop; many thousands of spinners and weavers would have no work; and

the sufferings of the manufacturing districts would be intense. The

government made an earnest effort to increase the amount of cotton

imported to England from India; but the emergency was so sudden that

even during the first few months of the war, there were many honest,

hard-working people in England who were sorely in need.

When autumn came, the Queen was free to go for a little while to the

beloved Balmoral for the rest and quiet which she so greatly needed.

The simple life of the Highlands did more for her than anything else

could have done. On this visit, Prince Albert, the Queen, the Princess

Alice, Prince Louis of Hesse, with Lady Churchill and General Grey in

attendance, went on two of what the Queen called "Great Expeditions,"

that is, trips of two or three days by carriage and by pony. To the

Queen these trips were as fascinating as they were novel. The party

tried to keep their identity a secret, and sometimes they succeeded:

Prince Albert and the Queen called themselves Lord and Lady

Churchill: the real Lady Churchill was now Miss Spencer, and General

Grey became Dr. Grey. They were as excited as children in a new

game over playing their parts properly, and the struggles of the two

men-servants to remember not to say "Your Majesty" and "Your Royal

Highness" amused them immensely. "The lady must be terrible rich,"

whispered an awe-struck woman to one of the servants, "for she has so

many gold rings on her fingers." "And you have many more than I," said

the aggrieved monarch to Lady Churchill. Two or three times they stayed

all night at little village inns. The Queen wrote in her journal that

at one of them the bedroom given to her and the Prince was hardly more

than large enough for the bed, but she found no fault with it, and

called it "very clean and neat." The dinner was "nice, clean, and good"

according to her description, for this sovereign of Great Britain, with

several magnificent palaces of her own, was so ready to be pleased with

what was done for her that she could be contented in the tiny inn of a

Highland village. At a second inn, which seems to have been

particularly poor, she admits that there was "hardly anything to eat,"

but closes her account less like the ruler of millions than like a half

amused and half disappointed little schoolgirl, "No pudding and no fun.

We soon retired."

The efforts to avoid being "found out" were like a continual frolic.

The royal party trembled when they heard the distant sound of a drum

and fife, but felt safe again on being told by a little maid at the inn

that it was "just a band that walked about twice a week." Sometimes

they came to tiny villages where they were "suspected;" and at last, on

getting up one morning, they heard the tread of somewhat irregular

marching, led by a drum and fife and bagpipe. There was no escape then,

for they were found out at last. A company of volunteers was drawn up

in front of the door to do them honor; the women of the village stood

by with bunches of flowers in their hands; and the landlady was

glorified by a black satin dress with white ribbons and orange

blossoms. There was nothing to do but to bow with all gratitude and

drive away as fast as possible.

Such a woman was Victoria of England, ready to be pleased with the

smallest things, praising what was good, saying little of what was not

good, and enjoying every little pleasure with a childlike zest and

simplicity. And yet, this gentle little lady understood so perfectly

her rights and duties as monarch of Great Britain that when her

Secretary of Foreign Affairs persisted in being quite too independent

in his methods of transacting business, she did not hesitate to write

to him the following very definite sentences:

"The Queen thinks it right, in order to prevent any mistake for the

future, to explain what it is she expects from the Foreign

Secretary. She requires:

"1. That he will distinctly state what he proposes in a given case,

in order that the Queen may know as distinctly to what she has

given her royal sanction.

"2. Having once given her sanction to a measure, that it be not

arbitrarily altered or modified by the Minister. She expects to be

kept informed of what passes between him and the Foreign Ministers,

before important decisions are taken, based upon that intercourse;

to receive the foreign dispatches in good time, and to have the

drafts for her approval sent to her in sufficient time to make

herself acquainted with their contents before they must be sent


It is worth noting that the royal lady who wrote this epistle had

sufficient self-control to delay for five months forwarding it to the

offending Secretary, hoping that his methods would be amended and that

so severe a rebuke would become unnecessary.