The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
The Education of a Royal Princess
Volume 12, 1901, pgs. 162-168
From a Memoir published at the date of the Coronation
Captain Back's Interview
"It was shortly after the return of the Royal Highnesses to Kensington Palace, that they gave a new proof of their active interest in all matters connected with the welfare of the country, whether for the promotion of science, or the furtherance of any other national object. Captain Back, who was on the point of setting out on his chivalrous expedition in search of Captain Ross and his crew, having been requested to wait upon the Duchess and her daughter, had the gratification of explaining to them, by the aid of maps, the whole object of his enterprise, the route he proposed to pursue, and the part of the coast on which he entertained the best hopes of meeting with tidings of the Captain. The Princess was greatly interested in this communication, and by the intelligence of her inquiries, and the anxiety she expressed for the success of the expedition, completely gained the heart of her enthusiastic informant. On parting, her Royal Highness thanked Captain Back with the utmost sweetness for the trouble he had taken in laying his plans so fully before her, and, as well as her mother, presented him with a valuable and highly-finished nautical instrument, accompanying it with an urgent request that he would convey to them, from time to time, by letter, an account of every thing of interest that occurred to him in the prosecution of his enterprise. This request was most willingly complied with, and Captain Back was honoured with a second interview immediately upon his return; but the Princess, meanwhile, had the pleasure of receiving from Captain Ross himself a full account of the causes of his detention, and every particular worthy of note which his memorable voyage afforded.
"Mr. Montgomery Martin was also permitted an introduction to the Princess at about this period, to present her with a copy of his History of the British Colonies, which her Royal Highness received most kindly, expressing her great desire for the welfare of our colonial possessions; and her hope that the people of England would always duly appreciate the value of dominions which, rising with England's glory, had spread into every part of the globe, and mainly contributed to her honour and prosperity.
Tour of the Southern Coast
"The Duchess of Kent made use of the opportunity afforded by a four months' residence at Norris Castle, in the Isle of Wight, during the summer of 1833, to show her daughter a portion of the south-west country, in a tour of the coast which they made in the Emerald yacht as far as Plymouth; landing first at Weymouth, whence they proceded to Melbury on a visit to the Earl of Ilchester: and re-embarking at Lyme Regis landed at Torquay for a night, continuing their voyage to Plymouth on the following day; here their Royal Highnesses rested from Friday till the succeeding Tuesday, spending much of their time at Devonport, where they minutely examined everything connected with the Dock-yard, and saw much of the naval and military officers assembled at this station. On Saturday the Princess Victoria publicly presented a new stand of colours to the 89th regiment at the Hoe; and on Sunday attended Divine service at the Dock-yard chapel, Devonport. On Monday their Royal Highnesses sailed southward of the Eddystone Lighthouse, in order that the Princess might the better observe it, and they afterwards viewed the breakwater, attended by Mr. Stuart, the superintendent of the works, who explained to them the whole nature of this stupendous undertaking, presenting them with plans of it, and with specimens of the stone used in its erection. The Princess was highly interested, and repeatedly expressed her astonishment at the magnitude of the work, observing that, 'although she had heard much of it previous to her visit to Plymouth, her expectations were more than realized in the vastness and grandeur of the conception, and the skill with which it had been followed up.' On leaving Plymouth, the royal party proceeded in their yacht to Dartmouth, and thence by land through Torquay, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Exeter, Honiton, and Wareham to Swanage, where they again embarked and reached Norris Castle, East Cowes, in safety, after a delightful fortnight's tour, which in regard to the loyalty and affectionate feeling that everywhere greeted them, was but a repetition of such scenes as those already recorded in their more northerly excursion of the preceding year.
"Their Royal Highnesses, it is observed above, arrived in safety at Norris Castle, but although in safety, not without hazard to the life of the youthful hope of England, which, by the interposition of Providence, and through the instrumentality of the master of the Emerald yacht, was spared for the future blessing of her people. The yacht, with their Royal Highnesses on board, proceeded up the harbour at Plymouth for the purpose of effecting a landing at the Dock-yard. Unfortunately, in rounding the Active hulk, which lay immediately off the yard, the Emerald ran foul of her consequence of not making sufficient allowance for the set of the tide, which was rapid at the time; the effect of the shock was that the mainmast of the royal yacht was sprung in two places, and her sail and gaff fell instantaneously upon the deck. The young Princess was standing almost immediately under it at the moment, and the most serious consequences might have ensued, but for the presence of mind of the master of the Emerald, who, perceiving the danger that threatened the life of his royal charge, instantly sprang forward, caught her in his arms, and respectfully, but with decision, conveyed her to a place of safety. The terror and consternation that prevailed throughout the vessel may be more easily imagined than described, especially the anxiety of the tender parent, who was for a moment unconscious of the safety of her beloved child; after a short pause, all parties having in some measure recovered from the alarm occasioned by this accident, it was discovered with the most heartfelt delight that the young Princess had been preserved from injury by the blunt but well-timed rescue of the honest sailor. Her Royal Highness, though somewhat agitated, evinced an admirable firmness throughout this trying scene; and having been relieved by the shedding of a few tears, was within the space of five minutes quite herself, and enabled to thank her preserver with grace and dignity for his timely exertions in her behalf; whilst it was evident that her heart was lifted up in gratitude to Heaven for her perfect and providential escape.
Visits to the Victory and Vestal Men-of-War
"During this residence at Norris Castle, the Princess had the gratification of witnessing at Portsmouth, for the first time, that exhilarating and magnificent sight, the launch of a British vessel of considerable magnitude; the brig Racer was christened, and afterwards glided majestically into the water, in the presence, and to the great delight of the heiress presumptive, who joined heartily in the cheers which hailed the ship's launch upon the bosom of the ocean. At the conclusion of the ceremony, her Royal Highness and her mother, accompanied by their suite, including the Duchess of Northumberland, who was with her in the island, purposely to lend her aid in turning these daily recreations to the formation of her royal pupil's mind, repaired on board the Victory; and here the young Princess was highly pleased with the novelty of inspecting the entire interior of a man-of-war. She was extremely minute in her inquiries into all matters connected with the ship and its service, but particularly into all that related to the heroic [Lord] Nelson; some observation being made upon the great interest which her Royal Highness seemed to take in the history of this celebrated man, she immediately replied that she had been lately reading Southey's beautiful memoir of him [The Life of Horatio Nelson], and that the circumstances of his last hours were fresh upon her memory. This incident led to further conversation on naval affairs; and her Royal Highness entered, to the surprise of some, and the great pleasure of all present, upon a rather enlarged development of her knowledge and opinions respecting the naval history of our country. She spoke with enthusiasm of the height of glory to which England had risen through its naval, in union with its military triumphs; and spoke, too, with a judgment and thoughtfulness far beyond her years, of the importance of that department of the sea service, by which our commercial and mercantile interests are upheld. This conversation, which took place between her Royal Highness and the rather numerous company of officers who attended her, was listened to with anxious interest by the assembled party, and formed indeed a rich treat to those who contemplated in the youthful, the delicate and diffident speaker, the future ruler, under heaven, not only of the naval, but of all the destinies of this great and mighty nation.
"Their Royal Highnesses having completed their interesting inspection of the Victory, seated themselves spontaneously at one of the mess tables, and desired the dinner intended for the seamen of that mess to be set before them; this being done, Princess Victoria, with her mother and all the ladies of her suite, drank of the grog, and partook of the beef and potatoes, served on wooden platters, and using the knives and forks belonging to the mess. The Princess declared that the dinner was much to her liking; and the delight of the sailors at this act of condescension exceeded all bounds. Never perhaps was huzzas more enthusiastic and sincere than those which greeted the future Queen on her quitting the Victory to return to the Emerald yacht. A few days afterwards, their Royal Highnesses visited, at Spithead, the Vestal man-of-war, equipped and in a perfect state for sea service, and remained on board her for seven hours and a half, during the whole of which time the young Princess paid the most accurate attention to the various evolutions which the ship successively performed, asking innumerable questions with extraordinary acuteness. She expressed herself highly delighted with her morning's amusement, for which she thanked the captain with her accustomed grace, observing at the same time that she should henceforth consider herself an accomplished sailor.
"On the 30th of July, 1835, the young Princess having lately completed her sixteenth year, the ceremony of her Confirmation was performed at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by the Bishop of London, and in the presence of their Majesties and several members of the royal family.
"After the performance of the church service for the day, into the spirit of which the Princess Victoria appeared to enter with even more than her usual fervour, the chapel was cleared, no part of the congregation being permitted to remain, except such of the nobility as had seats appropriated to them; and the royal party, with their numerous attendants, descended from their closet and placed themselves in a semi-circle round the altar, the suite being accommodated in the nearest pews. The King led his niece to the altar, before which she knelt, his Majesty standing at her left hand, and the Duchess of Kent at her right. It was a most interesting and affecting scene: the service was performed with the utmost solemnity, and the Princess went through it with firmness, although her pallid countenance and quivering lip denoted her inward agitation. But when, at its conclusion, the Archbishop proceeded to address her in a beautiful, pathetic, and parental exhortation, upon the sacred engagements she had now voluntarily assumed; the awful responsibility her exalted station imposed upon her; the propriety of arming herself for that struggle which would undoubtedly arise between the allurements of the world and the dictates of religion and justice; and, above all, upon the absolute necessity of her looking up to the King of kings for counsel and support in all the trials that awaited her, her composure gradually gave way; in a short time she was drowned in tears, and at length, unable to subdue the violence of her emotion, she laid her head upon her mother's shoulder and sobbed aloud. The Duchess of Kent was scarcely less affected; the Queen and all the ladies wept frequently; and even the King himself was observed occasionally to shed tears. When the Archbishop had concluded his address, and the Princess had in some measure recovered her self-possession, his Majesty, having affectionately kissed her, led her to the Queen, who did the same, as well as all her aunts and uncles present. During the Confirmation her bonnet had been taken off, but her pretty simple cap remained; she also wore a beautiful lace dress over white satin.
"On the following Sunday their Royal Highnesses attended Divine service at the Chapel Royal in Kensington Palace, when an impressive and appropriate sermon was preached by the Archbishop, after which the young Princess, accompanied by her mother, received the Holy Sacrament for the first time, from the hands of his Grace, and of the Dean of Chester, her preceptor.
Visits to National and Infant Schools
"The Princess warmly patronized the various Charity Schools of Tunbridge Wells and Ramsgate during her visits to those places in the autumn of 1835, not only contributing to their funds, but bestowing her time and personal attendance upon them. At Tunbridge Wells, her Royal Highness and her mother honoured the Infant School with a visit, attended by a very small suite, and were received by the members of the committee, and the lady patronesses, who alone were present. The business of the school commenced with the repetition of the little poem--'This is the Tumbridge Wells' Infant School'; with which the Princess was so much amused and pleased that she desired to have a copy sent to her. After following the children through the whole routine of their infantine studies, she walked about in the play-ground for a considerable time, observing their sports and games; and charmed with the cleanly appearance and artless simplicity of the young ones, chatted familiarly amongst them, and even kissed several of their little rosy faces. On returning to the school-room, their Royal Highnesses conversed for some minutes with the mistress, making many inquiries respecting the state and regulations of the schools, and gratified the friends of the institution by entering their names in the visitors' book, with a testimony of their approbation. On their departure, many were the infant voices which joined with those of their maturer fellow-subjects in the fervent exclamations of 'God bless them.'
"At Ramsgate their Royal Highnesses, as usual, made handsome donations to all the charities of the town, but to the National School in particular, they presented the munificent donation of £200.
"The young Victoria paid during this visit the most especial attention to this Institution, visiting it frequently, and herself examining with unostentatious kindness and patient minuteness into the advancement of the different classes in the simple studies allotted to them. When the Princess was leaving Ramsgate she was deeply affected by the unexpected appearance of these children, lining the streets through which her carriage was to pass, dressed in the neat and clean costume of the school, decorated with ribbons, and curtsying a grateful farewell to their beloved patroness.
(To be continued.)
Vol 12 pg 298-304
The Education of a Royal Princess
"Scarcely had the strain of congratulation which hailed the majority of the heiress presumptive ceased to resound throughout the country, than it was revived, although in a chastened note, to greet the accession of a Maiden Queen. At five o'clock in the morning of the 20th of June, 1837, the Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at Kensington Palace, to announce to the youthful Monarch the melancholy intelligence of the decease of her Royal Uncle and predecessor, and was immediately admitted to an interview with the Queen and the Duchess of Kent, which lasted a considerable time. After his Grace's departure, the first act of the new Sovereign was to write an affectionate letter of condolence to her widowed Aunt; which, forgetting in the sympathizing emotions of her warm heart her own newly-acquired dignity, she directed to 'Her Majesty the Queen.' On placing her letter in the hands of one of her household officers, it was respectfully represented to her Majesty, that the Queen of yesterday was the Dowager of to-day, and that it would be more accordant with etiquette were the letter so addressed; for one moment her Majesty considered of the proffered advice, but the next the native delicacy of her mind was predominant, 'No,' said she, with a mild firmness of the brightest promise, 'I wish you to transmit it as it is.'
The First Council
"At eleven o'clock, the privy counsellors having assembled in the grand saloon at Kensington Palace, the new Sovereign entered the apartment, accompanied only by the Duke of Sussex; and, seated at the head of the council board, the only female present, took the usual oaths respecting the government of the Kingdom and the Church of Scotland; and afterwards made the following interesting declaration in a firm, clear, musical voice, and with impressive emphasis:--
" 'The severe and afflicting loss which the nation has sustained by the death of his Majesty, my beloved uncle, has devolved upon me the duty of administering the government of this empire. This awful responsibility is imposed upon me so suddenly, and at so early a period of my life, that I should feel myself utterly oppressed by the burden, were I not sustained by the hope that Divine Providence, which has called me to this work, will give me strength for the performance of it, and that I shall find, in the purity of my intentions, and in my zeal for the public welfare, that support and those resources which usually belong to a more mature age, and to longer experience.
" 'I place my firm reliance upon the wisdom of Parliament, and upon the loyalty and affection of my people. I esteem it also a peculiar advantage that I succeed to a Sovereign whose constant regard for the rights and liberties of his subjects, and whose desire to promote the amlioration of the laws and institutions of the country, have rendered his name the object of general attachment and veneration.
" 'Educated in England under the tender and enlightened care of a most affectionate mother, I have learned from my infancy to respect and love the constitution of my native country.
" 'It will be my unceasing study to maintain the reformed religion as by law established, securing at the same time to all the full enjoyment of religious liberty; and I shall steadily protect the rights, and promote to the utmost of my power the happiness and welfare of all classes of my subjects.'
"This address, though most probably written by the Minister, deserved great credit for its simple and earnest beauty. State addresses are generally so unmeaning that it is refreshing to meet with an exception.
"The whole demeanour of our youthful and lovely Queen on this very striking occasion riveted the attention and excited the astonishment of every one present; and we have the concurring testimony of at least half-a-dozen distinguished members of the council, publicly given, to the grace, the dignity, the modesty and tenderness for the memory of her departed uncle and for her beloved mother, which marked her every word and action, and modulated her voice during this trying and exciting scene.
First Regal Request
"Her Majesty, having thus admirably dispatched her first essay in state business, returned to the society of her mother, and throwing herself into a chair, ruminated for some minutes on the vast change which the mournful event of the morning had made in her situation and present destination. At length, addressing herself to the Duchess, she said, 'I can scarcely believe, mamma, that I am Queen of England, but I suppose I really am so, am I not?' 'You know, my love, you are; you have just left a scene which must have assured you of it.' 'And in time,' replied her Majesty, 'I shall become accustomed to my change of character; meanwhile, since it is really so, and you see in your little daughter the sovereign of this great country, will you grant her the first request she has had occasion in her regal capacity to put to you? I wish, my dear mamma, to be left for two hours alone.' The Duchess, of course, complied with this wish, so earnestly expressed by her august daughter and sovereign; but it is an extraordinary fact, that the day of her accession was the first on which maternal solicitude had ever suffered its interesting object to be left, even for a minute, alone; since that day, however, scarcely one has passed without the young Queen taking refuge for some time, occasionally for hours, in the privacy of her boudoir, alone, and with the key turned against intruders.
"On the 21st of June, which by a curious coincidence was also the anniversary of the Battle of Vitoria, her Majesty Alexandrina-Victoria was publicly proclaimed in the metropolis, Queen of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith. Preparations having been made for the ceremony early in the morning, the Queen accompanied in her own carriage by her royal mother, and preceded by her suite in two others, arrived a little before ten o'clock at St. James's Palace; as the cavalcade passed along the whole road, the most affectionate demonstrations of attachment and loyalty were offered to her Majesty by the assembled crowds; and, as it approached St. James's, the multitude poured fourth a continuous cry of 'Long live the Queen--God bless our youthful Queen, long may she live.' Although her Majesty looked tolerably well, her cheeks were not tinted with their usual bloom, and her countenance presented as expression of anxiety and grief, without, however, bearing the slightest evidence of that excitement which might naturally have been expected. Precisely at ten o'clock the band struck up the national anthem; the Park and Tower guns fired a double royal salute, and the Queen, led by the Marquis of Lansdowne, president of the council, came forward to an opened window, looking upon the great court of the palace. Her Majesty, completely overcome by her affecting situation, in conjunction with the eventful occurrences of the preceding day, the instant the first fervent shout of gratulation from her assembled subjects pressed upon her ear, burst into tears; and notwithstanding her earnest endeavours to restrain them, they continued to flow in torrents down her now pallid cheeks until she retired from the window; her Majesty nevertheless curtsied many times in acknowledgement of her grateful sense of the devotion of her people. She was dressed in deep mourning, with a small black bonnet which did not the least impede the view of her countenance beneath it. The Duchess of Kent was also deeply affected, and watched every movement of her illustrious daughter with intense anxiety and interest.
The Duchess of Northumberland's Audiences
"Her Majesty, who cherished a fond attachment for her noble governess, was naturally desirous to see her immediately after her accession; and accordingly appointed the very next day for her Grace's audience. It was represented to the Queen by the state attendants, that so great a change having taken place between the relative positions of the Sovereign and her noblest subjects, her Majesty should receive the Duchess seated, and with the dignity becoming the Queen of this great empire, in bestowing a mark of especial favour upon a lady of her court. Her Majesty reluctantly assented, and seated herself in due form in the chair of state, but no sooner was the door thrown open, and the Duchess of Northumberland announced, than all recollection of the regal dignity was lost in the overflowing affections of her heart; and spontaneously rising, she ran to meet the Duchess, threw her arms round her neck, and kissed her with all the frankness and warmth which her amiable nature prompted.
"On a more recent occasion, when the Duchess returned last winter from her annual residence at Alnwick Castle, the Queen desired that if her Grace called to leave her card announcing her arrival in town, she should be requested to alight, as her Majesty wished to see her. The Duchess did call just as the royal party were about to mount their horses for their accustomed airing, and it was particularly requested by those around the Queen, that she would not suffer her Grace's presence to interfere with her salutary exercise; her Majesty gave no heed to these intreaties, but desired that her horses might be dismissed, and the Duchess immediately ushered in. The Queen received her with her usual hearty embrace, and then turning to the attendants present, said, 'You may all retire; and recollect I must not be interrupted until I summon you;' her Majesty thus enjoyed a delightful private chat with her beloved friend for upwards of two hours.
"On one occasion, shortly after her Majesty's accession, she commanded her ladies in waiting to attend upon her at Buckingham Palace at a certain hour, in order to accompany her to the Exhibition of the Royal Academy. Her Majesty was, as usual, ready at the appointed time, but one lady of the suite did not arrive until ten minutes afterwards. The Queen, taking out her watch, calmly remarked, 'I have been waiting my dear lady, ten minutes for your arrival, I trust such a circumstance will not occur again, as punctuality is of the utmost importance to me, and must be a ruling principle in my palace.' The lady, somewhat confused by her unintentional negligence and its natural consequence, could not in the agitation of the moment arrange her shawl to her satisfaction, which her Majesty observing, she kindly placed it upon her shoulder, saying, with one of her sweetest smiles, 'We shall all understand our duties better by and bye.'
The Premier and Expediency
"Her Majesty, though young and inexperienced, makes up for these defects, which every day must tend to diminish, by natural acuteness and an anxious desire to perform the great functions of the state for the benefit of the people. The Prime Minister, who is kept closely to his official duties, is said occasionally to declare that he would rather have ten Kings to manage than one Queen, for that he cannot place a single document in her Majesty's hand for signature, but she first asks an infinite variety of questions respecting it; and not unfrequently ends her interrogatories by declining to put her name to the paper in question, at least until she has taken time to consider of its merits.
"His lordship on one occasion having submitted some act of government for her Majesty's approval, was proceeding to urge the expediency of the measure, when he was stopped short by the Queen, who observed with firmness, 'I have been taught, my Lord, to judge between what is right and what is wrong, but 'expediency' is a word I neither wish to hear nor to understand.'
Economy of Time
"The Queen is an early riser, and is generally occupied for a couple hours before breakfast in looking over state papers, or in other affairs relating to the government of the country, having first fortified her mind by prayer, and by the attentive and devout perusal of a portion of Scripture, which she invariably reads every morning in the privacy of her dressing-room. At ten, the breakfast hour, one of the attendants is desired to request the company of her dear mamma, who, be it observed, makes it a rule never to enter the royal presence without an especial summons. Then comes, perhaps, the most agreeable portion of the day, the social breakfast; almost the only opportunity her Majesty now enjoys of unrestrained intercourse with her beloved parent; the conversation always turns on some topic interesting alike to mother and child, on politics--never; sometimes the Queen is benefited by the Duchess's judicious remarks on the literary productions of the day, for her Royal Highness reads much, and with great discrimination. At about twelve o'clock the ministers are admitted to audiences, and her Majesty is now for many hours involved in a vortex of state business, sufficient of itself to turn so young a brain, were it not that she happily possesses a firmness of temperament and clearness of intellect, by which she is enabled to smooth many difficulties that might otherwise overwhelm her. In the afternoon she takes an airing either in an open carriage or on horseback, whenever the weather is favourable and her indispensable engagements will in any way permit; but it is the subject of general remark, how very little time is allotted by the Queen for those light and graceful occupations so suited for her years, and so agreeable to her tastes. Yet her Majesty is observed to make use of every minute of the day, and to turn the briefest period of leisure to good account. Hers is not a mind to be for an instant idle. The moment a series of state duties have been dispatched, the book or the drawing is resorted to; or perhaps there is only time, that is to say, a very few minutes, which are always sufficient to prepare for a ride or a walk, as a few more invariably suffice for the demands of the toilette on the return to dinner; and even during the short time that her hair is dressing, she employs one of her ladies in reading to her, whilst she takes advantage of the opportunity to shut her eyes, thus giving them a little respite from their continual fatigue. In the evening her Majesty's recreation is complete; it is generally spent, whether at the theatres or at home, in the society of her mother and the enjoyment of music, of which she is enthusiastically fond; but with a maidenly modesty highly commendable, her Majesty never sings when any gentlemen, other than those of the immediate household, are present.
Attention to the Queen Dowager.
"An instance of her Majesty's affectionate attention to Queen Adelaide, and of the amiability of her disposition, occurred a short time since. The Queen Dowager is passionately fond of flowers, and last year, during her residence at Windsor, she planted some violets of a particular kind in those beautiful gardens near the Castle, called the slopes. It was during Queen Victoria's visit to Windsor in the Easter week, that the violets bloomed for the first time; and as soon as her Majesty was informed of it, she gathered a handful, and sent them off by express to Marlborough House, requesting Queen Adelaide to receive the first offering of the flowers which she herself had planted.
(To be continued.)
Vol 12 pg 467-474
The Education of a Royal Princess
"The gorgeous and imposing ceremonial upon which the eyes of the whole nation had been fixed in eager anticipation for many weeks, was at length enacted on the 28th of June, 1838; and never, perhaps, has England known a blither jubilee than that which witnessed the voluntary and solemn ratification of the compact, which has been for the past year understood and acted upon between the Sovereign and her people.
The sun broke forcibly through the heavy clouds with which the atmosphere had been for some days portentously laden, to hail the glad occasion; and as the bright procession passed in all the pomp of state appertaining to the 'fair vestal throned by the West,' all that dazzled the eyes and took the senses captive in the splendour of the pageant, was as nothing in degree to the moral interest with which the spectacle was clothed; for who could behold unmoved, the young and lovely representative of a long line of kings, whom Providence had called at so early an age to wield the scepter of earth's mightiest empire, visibly affected by the mingled emotions which such a scene was calculated to inspire, and touched even to tears while receiving the enthusiastic homage of her people?
The limits of this work forbid any lengthened detail of the observances of the day; suffice it to say that the great metropolis, crowded beyond any former precedent, poured forth her million, not only to mingle in the various amusements especially provided for their gratification, but to join heart and voice in the common assent to that allegiance which we, as the subjects of our fair young Sovereign, may be said to have on that day more specially vowed; whilst her Majesty's oath to administer her government according to law, justice, and mercy, was solemnly registered before God and her assembled people. Throughout the whole line of route, ample accommodations had been provided for all who chose to view the procession apart from the crowd, and erections of the most elegant and fanciful description occupied every inch of ground which could be lawfully appropriated, whilst the independence of British spirit thronged the footpaths with a dense mass of human beings, amongst whom the weaker sex bore their full share; indeed, so quiet, so orderly, so good-humoured were the crowd, so full of those finer emotions which tend to soften and humanize the heart, that the most delicate female might have moved amongst them without fear.
"The procession began to form in St. James's Park at nine o'clock; and precisely at ten a royal salute announced that her Majesty had entered the state carriage. Nothing could exceed the magnificence and beauty of the pageant when all was in motion, and especially when viewed from any point which commanded a lengthened sweep of the whole. First came a squadron of the Life Guards, then the carriages of the resident ministers from the lesser European states, which passed in tolerably quick succession; in a somewhat slower and more stately style followed those of the ambassadors extraordinary, sent purposely to grace the occasion, and present the congratulations of their respective sovereigns.
Ahmed Fethij Pacha, ambassador extraordinary from the Sultan, was detained by serious indisposition on his road to England, and has not yet reached our shores; his absence was the source of considerable disappointment, as the multitude had naturally looked for an unusual display of magnificence in the equipage of this representative of the great eastern potentate; Marshal Soult, the ambassador from the King of the French, led the way; and was followed by the Duke de Palmella, the ambassador from the Queen of Portugal; Count Lowenhjelm, from the King of Sweden; the Marquis de Brignole, from the King of Sardinia; Count Alten, from the King of Hanover; the Prince de Putbus, from the King of Prussia; the Marquis de Miraflores, from the Queen of Spain; the Baron de Capellen, from the King of the Netherlands; the Prince Schwartzenburgh, from the Emperor of Austria; the Court Strogonoff, from the Emperor of Russia; the Prince de Ligne, from the King of the Belgians; and the Count de Ludolf, from the King of the Two Sicilies. The very splendid and tasteful display made by these high personages, who exhibited one, two, or three carriages each, many of them drawn by six horses, beautifully caparisoned, formed a highly attractive part of the procession; the equipages of the Prussian, Belgian, and Hanoverian ambassadors being particularly distinguished for their richness and elegance. Amongst them all, however, that of Marshal Soult was pre-eminently admired; it was at once rich, chaste, and beautiful; magnificent, but not in the slightest degree gorgeous. To the honour of the British people be it recorded, that the gallant Marshal was loudly cheered throughout the whole route, which compliment he acknowledged with a good-humoured frankness that gave great pleasure. The resident Turkish, French, Russian and Austrian ambassadors completed this portion of the cavalcade.
A mounted band in their splendid uniforms, with a detachment of Life Guards, preceded the different members of the royal family, namely the Duchess of Kent, the Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke of Sussex, who were all received with expressions of affectionate loyalty; but upon the Duchess of Kent was poured forth a warmth of welcome which eloquently spoke the country's gratitude for the beautiful offering with which she had presented it--an offering about to be solemnly dedicated to the public service in its youthful and spotless purity. Each of these royal personages was attended by a proper escort of Life Guards.
Another military band opened the next detachment of the procession, which consisted of the Queen's bargemaster and forty-eight watermen on foot, succeeded by twelve of the royal carriages, each drawn by six superb horses, conveying the officers and ladies of her Majesty's household, and followed by another squadron of Life Guards. A third band preceded the military staff on horseback, the royal huntsmen, yeomen, prickers and foresters; six of her Majesty's horses with rich trappings, each led by two grooms; these noble animals attracted a large share of the popular applause. Then followed the marshalmen and yeomen of the guard, in ranks, four and four; who, in their fantastic costume and carrying their antique halberds, formed a very picturesque portion of the varied scene.
At length came the State Coach in its ponderous splendour, drawn by eight of the most superb horses the world can produce, each horse attended by a yeoman of the guard, and two footmen at each door of the carriage; within it the young and interesting Monarch occupied the back seat in isolated state, whilst on the opposite side rode the Duchess of Sutherland and the Earl of Albemarle. The Duke of Buccleuch, captain-general of the royal archers, on horseback, attended by his two footmen, immediately followed the royal carriage, and a squadron of Life Guards closed the magnificent cortège.
"In this order of procession her Majesty and her train wound their way from Buckingham Palace, up Constitution Hill, along Piccadilly, down St. James's Street, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Charing Cross, Whitehall, Parliament Street, through the Church-yard, to the great western entrance of Westminster Abbey. At every point of the route the first glimpse obtained by her ardently expectant subjects of their 'peerless sovereign Queen,' graced with the bloom of youth, and decked with the splendour of royalty, was the signal for one loud, long, fervent, enthusiastic cheer, which made the welkin [heavens] re-echo to the joyful sound. This heart-thrilling welcome was renewed and was repeated--peal after peal of applauding huzzas came thundering upon the ear--shout followed shout, and acclamation burst after acclamation, until the music of the military bands and the discharges of the artillery were completely drowned in the roar of popular delight.
And thus, amidst smiles, and cheers, and blessings, and the perpetual waving of hats and handkerchiefs, passed Queen Victoria from Buckingham Palace to the venerable Abbey, within the walls of which her covenant with her people was to receive its solemn consummation. The gorgeous vehicle which conveyed her moved slowly forward, bearing her from the thousands and tens of thousands who fondly greeted her fair face on one spot, only to be greeted by other thousands and tens of thousands on every spot she traversed.
The deep emotion evinced by the Queen on witnessing the cordiality of her reception, no doubt tended to heighten the enthusiasm of the spectators. There was a sympathy between the Sovereign and her people acting and re-acting upon each other. It was indeed a most affecting and mysterious sight for all capable of serious reflection, to behold so young and beautiful a creature, upon her first entry into life, destined to become the mainspring of that vast machine of government by which the destinies of the British Empire are regulated; and there was something inexpressibly touching in the contrast between the apparent frailty of the instrument, and the mighty task which Providence has assigned to it. Her youth, innocence, and gentleness, seemed moreover a beneficent pledge that in her days peace and joy and love should abound.
Her Majesty was evidently impressed with the solemnity of the service about to be performed, and the importance of the ceremony in which she was to act the most conspicuous part. She looked pale and agitated, her lip occasionally quivered, and she was at times affected almost to tears as the affectionate outburst of the myriads that thronged her path rose upon her ear, and their anxious but respectful gaze met her observant eye. She continued, however, to acknowledge the popular greetings by incessantly bowing with grace and graciousness to either side of the carriage; a sweet smile frequently illuminated her countenance, imparting to it even in the midst of her tremulous diffidence, a joyous tenderness, which youth along can command, and a female only can give expression to.
The royal carriage was delayed for a considerable time opposite to Marlborough House by the breaking of the traces; and again in Whitehall, near to the Admiralty, some irregularity in the procession caused a stoppage of a few minutes, to the high gratification of those who were fortunately in the neighbourhood at the time. As the procession advanced towards the Horse Guards, her Majesty's attention was arrested by some policemen, who were making more use of their truncheons than the circumstances seemed to require; the Queen evidently remarked it with pain, and spoke to Lord Albemarle, apparently to desire that less severity should be used; the disorder, however, proving but momentary, no step was taken in consequence of her Majesty's benevolent interference. This anecdote is in perfect accordance with another that occurred earlier in the morning. A short time before her Majesty entered her carriage, it was observed to her that she must undergo a great deal of fatigue before the proceedings of the day were terminated, to which she replied, 'That the greatest anxiety she experienced was that no accident might occur' to mar the enjoyment of the day.
"At half-past eleven her Majesty alighted at the west door of the abbey, where she was received by the great officers of state, the noblemen bearing the regalia, and the bishops carrying the patina, the chalice and the Bible. Her Majesty immediately repaired to her robing chamber, whilst the ladies and officers of the royal household, and of the households of the princes and princesses to whom no duties were assigned, together with the ambassadors, passed to the places prepared for them.
"Her Majesty having been robed, advanced up the nave into the choir, the choisters in the orchestra singing the anthem, 'I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the Lord,' &c. The Dean* and Prebendaries of Westminster led the procession, and were followed by some of the great officers of state and of the household; the Archbishops of Canterbury, York, and Armagh; the Royal Duchesses of Cambridge, Kent and Gloucester, each attired in her robe of estate of purple velvet, wearing a circlet of gold on her head; her train borne by a lady of rank, assisted by a gentleman of her household, and her coronet carried by a nobleman. Then followed the Regalia; St. Edward's Staff, borne by the Duke of Roxburgh; the Sceptre with the Cross, by the Duke of Cleveland; the Golden Spurs, by Lord Byron; Curtana, the Sword of Mercy, by the Duke of Devonshire; the Pointed Sword of Spiritual Justice, by the Duke of Sutherland; the Pointed Sword of Temporal Justice, by the Marquis of Westminster; Black Rod; Deputy Garter; Lord Willoughby d'Eresby, Great Chamberlain of England; the Dukes of Sussex and Cambridge, in their robes of estate, their coronets borne by noblemen, and their trains by gentlemen of their household; the Duke of Leinster, Lord High Constable of Ireland; the Earl of Erroll, Lord High Constable of Scotland; the Duke of Wellington, Lord High Constable of England; the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England; the Sword of State, borne by Lord Melbourne; St. Edward's Crown, by the Lord High Steward, Duke of Hamilton; the Sceptre with the Dove, by the Duke of Richmond; the Orb, by the Duke of Somerset; the Bible, by the Bishop of Winchester; the Patina, by the Bishop of Bangor; and the Chalice, by the Bishop of Lincoln.
At length came the Queen, arrayed in her royal robe of crimson velvet, furred with ermine and bordered with gold lace, wearing the Collars of her Orders, and on her head a circlet of gold; her train borne by eight young noble ladies, all dressed alike in silver lama, wearing a wreath of pink roses on their heads, assisted by the Lord Chamberlain, and the Groom of the Robes; the Duchess of Sutherland followed; then the seven Ladies of the Bedchamber; the Gold Stick; the Master of the Horse, the Captain of the Royal Archers, the Officers of the Yeomen of the Guard, and twenty Yeomen closed the splendid train.
The Queen walked up the nave with a firm step and an air of calm and dignified composure, her countenance still plainly indicating how deeply she was impressed with the solemnity of those holy rites which were about to be performed. The interior of the choir at the moment of her Majesty's entrance presented a scene of surpassing grandeur and interest, and could not fail to suggest reflections in which every Englishman might well indulge with conscious pride and exultation. The fair young Sovereign of the greatest empire in the world was here to have the solemn sanction of religion given to that Crown which has descended to her as her rightful inheritance, with the joyous concurrence of a devoted people; here was she to receive the willing homage of all the nobles of the land, in the presence of the highest especial functionaries of all the courts of Europe, and under the eyes of the representatives of the nation.
The most exquisite taste was displayed in all the arrangements for the fitting up and decoration of the abbey; and the greatest admiration was elicited by the perfect consistency and keeping of all the parts, applied as they were to the interior of so ancient a fabric, and harmonizing so completely with the massive grandeur of the time-stained walls, which were judiciously kept in all their original architectural beauty and simplicity. From the great western entrance through the nave, along the aisles into the interior of the theatre, including the choir, north and south transepts, altar, galleries above, and on all sides, there was a perfect uniformity of style; all that was requisite was embraced; and although gorgeous and magnificent almost beyond description, there was nothing to offend the eye of the most fastidious, or in any way to lessen the general effect of the whole.
"The altar displayed a vast quantity of massive gold plate used upon occasions of solemn state. Directly in front of it was St. Edward's Chair, richly gilt, and lower down in the same line was the faldstool, covered with purple velvet of the richest description. Detached from this, and also in the same line in the area, was a dais, with an elevation of four steps, leading to the Chair of State or Throne, which was richly gilt, and emblazoned with the Royal Arms in bold relief. The Orchestra, with is surpliced and red-hooded choristers, and its band of instrumental performers habited in scarlet, formed a singular spectacle. Opposite to these were the members of the House of Commons, many of them habited in every variety of uniform known to the military service of the country. In the north transept were the peeresses, making the temple bright by the display of their beauty and the brilliancy of their decorations. In the south transept were the peers, a moving mass of glittering grandeur. Add to these, the varied attractions of the Royal and Ambassador's boxes; and the richness and beauty of the spectacle it is impossible for words to compass. The sun, which had been obscured during the morning, at this period poured a flood of brilliant light through the lofty Gothic windows upon the gorgeous uniforms, robes, and draperies of every fantastic form and hue, glittering with diamonds and pearls, and gold and silver lace, which met the eye in every direction. From the theatre of the vast pile to the vaultings every point was crowded to excess, and all eyes were eagerly strained to catch the first glimpse of their much loved Sovereign.
* The Dean being dangerously ill, Lord John Thynne, a prebendary of Westminster, officiated in his place.
(To be continued.)
Vol 12 pg 728-734
The Education of a Royal Princess
"The Queen's demeanour throughout the long and exciting services, was an union of grace, ease and dignity. There was no portion of the ceremonial more interesting than the first act, that of the Recognition. The earnest manner and solemn tone of the archbishop, and the beautiful and gentle bearing of the youthful Sovereign, as they each turned towards the assembled people in full sight of all, formed a most touching and graceful picture, while the reply of the people to each demand with loud and repeated acclamations of 'God save Queen Victoria,' and at the last recognition, the sounding of trumpets and the beating drums produced a truly sublime effect. The First offering, the Litany, and the Communion service were then proceeded in.
The sermon was preached by the Lord Bishop of London from the 34th chapter and 31st verse of the 2nd book of Chronicles, 'And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.' Many parts of the ceremony seemed to fix and absorb Her Majesty's attention, but it was most of all riveted during the sermon. Nothing could exceed the pious beauty of her expression when the Bishop alluded to the high character, the sterling worth, and the unfeigned religion of the late king, urging the young Queen, though now in the bloom of promise, to take example from the piety of her predecessor, and by the humble and sincere discharge of her religious duties, to be prepared, like him, to meet with calmness and resignation that fatal destiny which is alike uncertain and inevitable to princes as to peasants. Every word carried weight and authority with it, and all was hushed attention; the earnest manner in which her Majesty listened, and the motion with which, on mention of the late king, she bowed her head on her hand as if to check a falling tear, were highly affecting.
The Oath was next administered, and although the solemn response, 'The things which I have here promised to do I will perform--So help me God,' was inaudible to all but those who immediately surrounded her Majesty, the impressive sincerity which characterised both her countenance and manner was distinctly observable in every part of the choir. To those who could hear, the interest must have amounted almost to pain, and the act must have been especially trying and full of sacred awe to the young and pure being thus brought to the footstool of the eternal Throne; for the mere knowledge that the compact betwixt Sovereign and People was being registered, though only conscious that such was the fact from the formulary, communicated a subdued and chastened feeling to all.
The Anointing immediately followed the oath, then the presenting of the Spurs and the Sword, the Offering of the Sword, the investing with the Mantle, the Orb, the Ring and the Sceptre.
The most imposing part of the whole ceremony was undoubtedly the Crowning. No sooner had the imperial diadem pressed the regal brow, than Peers and Peeresses, simultaneously rising, placed their coronets on their heads, the spiritual dignitaries put on their caps, the whole building rang with cheers and cries of 'God save the Queen,' while salvoes of cannon told to the hundreds of thousands collected without the Abbey, that Queen Victoria had assumed that crown, which Heaven grant her long to wear! The scene was proud, thrilling, and magnificent.
The presenting of the Holy Bible, the pronouncing of the Benediction, and the performance of the Te Deum were next gone through; then followed the Inthronization, the effect of which was extremely beautiful; the ecclesiastical dignitaries and state officers being marshalled around in due degree, and the fair and noble train-bearers grouped behind the chair. The most fatiguing portion of the ceremony to the Queen must have been the Homage, though it is now much abridged, by confining the repetition of the words of the oath to the premier of each order of nobles; when he has done homage, the remainder of his class ascend the throne in turn, according to priority of patent, and each touches the crown upon the Queen's head, in token that he is one of its supporters, and then kissing hands, retires, making obeisances.
A very interesting incident occurred at this part of the proceedings: Lord Rolle, who is eighty-two years of age, on approaching the throne, had much difficulty, from his feeble and infirm state, to ascend even the first step. Her Majesty seeing how painful was the effort to the venerable nobleman, graciously rose and held out her hand to him to kiss; her kindness was perceived on the instant, and the applause it elicited from the members of the House of Commons, who were the first to observe it, was at once re-echoed throughout every part of the choir. During this lengthened ceremonial, the grace with which her Majesty presented her hand to be kissed by each successive Peer, was particularly remarkable. The duty of throwing about the Coronation medals, which was done whilst the homage was performing, devolved upon the Earl of Surrey, and he flung them around in every direction with a profuse hand. It was highly amusing to see the impatient avidity with which some of the gravest and most staid characters in the land entered into a general scramble to catch them.
When the trifling confusion caused by this scene had subsided, the Queen having taken off her crown, knelt down to make her Second Offering, a purse of gold; and the Archbishop and the Dean of Westminster, with the bishops and clergy assisting, having received the Holy Sacrament, the same was administered to the Queen, the bread by the Archbishop, and the wine by the Dean of Westminster. At the conclusion of the Communion Service, the choir sang the anthem, 'Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth,' after which the Archbishop read the final prayers, and pronounced the blessing. Her Majesty went through all these fatiguing details with composure, self-possession and dignity, keeping up unflaggingly an eager interest in the whole proceedings. On her entrance she looked rather pale, but moved along the choir, and across the theatre to her chair of state with firm and composed gait, and with gracious demeanour. A bright suffusion stole over her face during the Recognition, which, as the ceremony proceeded, increased to a flush, but after the crowning, this again gave place to extreme pallor.
"The service being over, her Majesty passed into St. Edward's Chapel, where she disrobed of her imperial mantle; and the regalia, with the exception of the crown, sceptre, and orb, having been deposited on the altar in the chapel, she returned to her throne, and seated herself again upon it while the procession was reforming, without seeming to feel the slightest inconvenience or fatigue from the length of the ceremonial she had gone through; on the contrary, it was manifest to everybody that our beloved Sovereign rather acquired strength and firmness in proportion to the time to which it was extended.
"The queen proceeded out of the choir and to the west door of the Abbey at half-past three o'clock, her Majesty wearing her crown, and bearing in her right hand the sceptre with the cross, and in her left the orb; the princes and princesses, the peers and peeresses wearing their coronets, the archbishops and bishops their caps, and the kings at arms their crowns.
"And here it may be acceptable to give a brief description of that dazzling and beautiful insignia of regality, which had just been solemnly assumed by our youthful Queen. Her Majesty's Crown is in the highest degree costly and elegant, being much more tastefully designed, and much lighter and smaller than that worn by her two immediate predecessors. It is composed of hoops of silver, inclosing a cap of deep purple velvet; the hoops are completely covered with precious stones, surmounted by a ball composed of small diamonds, and having a Maltese cross of brilliants on the top of it. This cross has, in its centre, a splendid sapphire. The rim of the Crown is clustered with brilliants, and ornamented with rich fleurs-de-lis and Maltese crosses. In the middle of the cross, which is in front of the Crown, is the enormous heart-shaped ruby, once worn by chivalrous Edward the Black Prince. Beneath this, in the circular rim, is an immense oblong sapphire. There are many other precious gems, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, and several small clusters of drop pearls. The Crown is turned up with ermine.
"The procession returned from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace in the same order as that in which it arrived, and our anointed Sovereign was received with, if possible, still more ardent testimonies of rejoicing than on the former occasion; indeed the sight of the crown which so well became her fair and open brow, seemed to inspire the accumulated thousands with new stores of loyalty and love;
Awe struck, the much admiring crowd
"In passing through the churchyard, the progress of the state carriage was impeded for some minutes by the enthusiasm of the populace, during which time a scene was enacting which afforded equal amusement to the Queen and her subjects. Her Majesty experienced some difficulty in keeping the crown upon her head, as each inclination in answer to the constant salutations that awaited her, threatened to displace the imperial diadem, and her efforts to retain it in its rightful position were much impeded by the sceptre and orb, which occupied either hand; the Duchess of Sutherland at length endeavoured to assist her Majesty, and both the illustrious ladies seemed highly entertained with the Queen's mischance; the mirthful laugh with which her Majesty treated this little episode went straight to the hearts of all who witnessed it, and was answered by a loud and prolonged shout of sympathetic enjoyment.
Again, at the west end of Pall Mall, the cavalcade met with an unforeseen delay, and her Majesty most condescendingly made use of the opportunity to show herself to the best advantage to the surrounding multitude; she ordered her door of the carriage to be thrown open, and sat quite forward to the full view of all who were fortunate enough to be near the spot. Her Majesty having disrobed of her imperial mantle, her elegant dress of blonde lace over white satin, profusely adorned with brilliants, was distinctly seen; her figure, as she sat in her state chariot, her head crowned, and the sceptre of empire in her hand, was graceful in the extreme, and her motions in acknowledging the greetings of her people, peculiarly elegant.
On reaching Hyde Park Corner, the excitement she had been so long enduring at length overpowered the firmness of her spirits, and on passing under the triumphal arch on Constitution Hill, a tremendous burst of acclamation once more oppressed her, she let the sceptre fall from her hand, and gave vent to a flood of tears. Her Majesty, however, recovered herself sufficiently to answer to the last salutations of her subjects as the palace gates closed upon her, under a royal salute, precisely at six o'clock.
Thus ended the heart inspiring solemnities of this glorious day--a day which has now passed into history, and will, it is fervently hoped, be for-ever found amongst its brightest pages. May the remembrance of it through a long and prosperous future, kindle afresh the chivalrous enthusiasm with which earth's fairest diadem was seen to sparkle for the first time on the pure brow of our Maiden Queen. May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon her, and bless, preserve and keep her; may he strengthen her arm, and endue her heart with all heavenly graces, that the name of Victoria may be transmitted in glory, honour, and love, to the remotest generations; and may her presence be ever hailed, as when the trumpets and artillery announced that her solemn inauguration was completed, with the universal and joyous shout of--
"God save the Queen!
Ode on the Coronation
The Sceptre in a Maiden-hand,
Not by the tyrant-law of might,
Thee, isles and continents obey,
No slaves within thine empire breathe!
With mercy's beams yet more benign,
At home, abroad, by sea, on shore,
Proofread May 2011, LNL
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