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THE 



PERSONAL LIFE 



OF 



QUEEN VICTORIA 



BY 



SARAH A. TOOLEY 



AUTHOR OF "lives GREAT AND SIMPLE," "LIFE OF HARRIET DEECHER STOWE 



SECOND EDITION 



LONDON 

HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

27, PATERNOSTER ROW 
1897 



1 ^v * 






PrimUd by HmatUt H'ai»OM, d* yttwv* Ld.^ Lomdon and AyUsbury. 



PREFACE 

'^ I "HE aim of the writer of this '* Life** has been 
-*• to narrate those incidents which tend most to 
reveal the personal history and character of the Queen, 
and no attempt has been made to deal with the events 
of her reign which belong more to the historian than 
to the personal biographer. In writing of one so 
illustrious and far removed from ordinary acquaintance 
and observation, the difficulties of faithful portraiture 
are apparent ; but the frank manner in which Her 
Majesty has revealed the details of her domestic life 
in Sir Theodore Martin s *' Life of the Prince Consort," 
the two volumes of ** Leaves from Our Journal in the 
Highlands," and the *' Memoir of Princess Alice," makes 
the task easier. In addition to these sources of infor- 
mation, I am indebted to the '*Greville Memoirs," the 
"Life of Baron Stockman" Lady Bloomfield*s ** Reminis- 
cences," the Bunsen and Malmesbury " Memoirs," and 



V 



vi PREFACE 

many other ** Lives " and " Reminiscences " of eminent 
courtiers and statesmen which throw side lights upon 
the Queen's private life. Among the many books 
written upon Her Majesty I have found none more 
suggestive than the biographies by Jefferson, Barnett 
Smith, and Grace Greenwood, and Humphrey's ** Queen 
at Balmoral." Fugitive literature throughout the reign 
has been laid under contribution as affording pictures 
of scenes and events as they passed before the public 
eye. 

A large amount of private information has been 
kindly given by those personally acquainted with Her 
Majesty, and who have had the opportunity for observ- 
ing the attractiveness and dignity of her character in 
private ; and to them I am indebted for many of the 
incidents and anecdotes related. Canon Davys, son of 
the Queen's tutor, a former Bishop of Peterborough, has 
also supplied much interesting information regarding 
her early years. 

SARAH A. TOOLEY. 

Streatham, 1896. 



CONTENTS 



I 



THE CHILDHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 



• 



PAGF. 

3 



11 



THE GIRLHOOD OF QUEEN VICTOUIA 



35 



III 



THE MAIDEN MONARCH 



• • • 



69 



IV 



BETROTHAL AND 
VICTORIA 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE OF QUEEN 



lOI 



V 



HOME AND COURT LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 



135 



VII 



viu CONr£J^7S 

VI 

rxcx 
THE LATER MARRIED LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA . .165 

VII 
THE WIDOWED MONARCH 197 

VIII 
VICTORIA, QUEEN AND EMPRESS .221 

IX 

PERSONAL TASTES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF QUEEN 

VICTORIA 251 



THE CHILDHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 



I 



THE CHILDHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

A N American gentleman being called upon, at a banquet 
x\ in London, to propose the health of Her Gracious 
Majesty the Queen, did so in the following terms : " The 
Queen of England, the Empress of India, the Woman of 
the world." Nothing could more happily have expressed the 
keynote to the love and loyalty which have surrounded the 
throne of Victoria — it is her womanliness which has held 
the heart of the nation. The laws of heredity and of 
environment make no distinction between king and peasant ; 
and it is to the parentage and early training of the Queen 
that we must look to see how her character, so distinguished 
by womanly virtues and domestic graces, has been moulded. 

We find that her father, the Duke of Kent, fourth son of 
George III., was deservedly known as the "Popular Duke." 
He was a tall, stately man of soldierly bearing, characterised 
by courteous and engaging manners, and was generous to a 
fault He was connected with no less than sixty-five charitable 
organisations at the time of his death. From him the Queen 
has inherited her love of order and punctuality, and she is 
fond of referring to his connection with the Army. Once, 
when presenting new colours to the Royal Scots, she said to 

3 



4 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the men : " I have been associated with your regiment from 
my earliest infancy, as my dear father was your Colonel 
He was proud of his profession, and I was always taught 
to consider myself a soldier's child." Fit complement to 
the soldier-Duke was the Queen's mother, who, without 
being a beauty, was a charming and attractive woman, 
elegant in figure, with fine brown eyes and luxuriant brown 
hair. She was warmly affectionate, free and gracious in 
her manner, but withal a duchess of duchesses to her finger- 
tips, as after events showed. Above everything else, she 
was distinguished for motherly devotion and the domestic 
virtues. It was these characteristics which caused the Duke of 
Kent to fall in love with her. He was entrusted in 1818, by 
Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, then in retirement at Clare- 
mont mourning his young wife, the beloved Princess Charlotte, 
with letters to his sister, the Princess of Leiningen, who was a 
young widow living a retired life in her castle at Amorbach, 
Bavaria, superintending the education of her two children. 
The Duke of Kent, a bachelor of fifty, was entirely charmed 
by the picture of domestic felicity which he found when he 
arrived at Castle Amorbach, and in due time became the 
affianced husband of the widowed Princess. 

They were married at Coburg on the 29th of May, 181 8, 
according to the rites of the Lutheran Church, and re-married 
in England shortly afterwards at a private ceremony at Kew 
Palace, after which they returned to Bavaria. The prospect of 
the birth of a child, however, made the Duke of Kent anxious 
to bring his wife to England, so that his coming heir might 
be "Briton-born." He thought at first of taking a house in 
Lanarkshire, in which case the Queen would have been bom 



6 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

safety, and at four o'clock on the morning of the 24th of 
May, 1 819, a pretty little princess was born, who, according 
to Baron Stockmar, was as "plump as a partridge." 

One may be permitted to say that the Duke was 
ridiculously proud of his wee girlie, and is said to have 
cried for joy when she was presented to the royal and 
official persons who had been awaiting news of her birth in 
the ante-chamber. Although several lives stood between the 
infant Princess and the throne, her father had a prophetic 
instinct that she was destined to be Qqeen of England. 
" Take care of her," he would say; "she may yet be Queen of 
England." No disappointment was ever expressed that the child 
was a girl. The grief which had filled the country when the 
Princess Charlotte died showed that the people were eager for 
a queen, a sentiment referred to by the Dowager Duchess 
of Coburg when writing congratulations to her daughter, the 
Duchess of Kent "Again a Charlotte," she writes, "destined 
perhaps to play a great part one day, if a brother is not born 
to take it out of her hands. The English like queens, and 
the niece of the ever-lamented, beloved Princess Charlotte 
will be most dear to them." It was Grandmamma of Coburg 
who named the new-comer the blossom of May. "How 
pretty the little Mayflower will be," she writes, "when I sec 
it in a year's time! Siebold [the nurse] cannot sufficiently 
describe what a dear little love it is." Siebold was a lady 
doctor from Berlin, popularly known as " Dr. Charlotte," who 
attended the Duchess of Kent at her confinement, she having 
declined the services of the male physicians in attendance at 
the Palace. Three months later Dr. Charlotte returned to 
Germany to officiate at the birth of a little prince, one day 



8 TH£ PERSONAL LIFE OF Qt/EEN VICTORIA 

of a happy union between parents distinguished for goodness 
and piety, and from the hour of her birth she basked in the 
sunshine of love. She came when the world of nature was 
fresh and jubilant — the sweet spring-time, when birds were 
singing, trees budding, and the air fragrant with the odour of 
flowers. Small wonder that she was a lovely baby. She had 
flaxen hair, blue eyes, a fair skin, and was the picture of 
health — chubby, rosy, beautifully formed, and of a happy, 
lively disposition. The Duchess of Kent nursed her at her 
own breast, and in the absence of the Princess's special nurse, 
Mrs. Brock, dressed and undressed the little one herself. 
Robert Owen, the Socialist, is said to have been the first 
man who held the Princess in his arms, he having called 
to see the Duke of Kent on business shortly after her arrival. 
The christening of the infant Princess took place in the 
Grand Saloon of Kensington Palace, the gold font from the 
Tower being brought for the occasion. The Archbishop of 
Canterbury and the Bishop of London officiated. The sponsors 
were the Prince Regent in person, the Emperor Alexander of 
Russia, represented by the Duke of York, the Queen-Dowager 
of Wurtembcrg, represented by the Princess Augusta, and the 
Dowager Duchess of Coburg, represented by the Dowager 
Duchess of Gloucester. The Duke of Kent was anxious that 
his " little Queen " should be named Elizabeth, but the Prince 
Regent gave the name Alexandrina, after the Emperor of 
Russia, upon which the Duke asked that another name might 
be associated with it ; then the Prince Regent, who according 
to Greville was annoyed that the infant was not to be 
named Georgiana, after himself, said, "Give her her mother's 
name also." Accordingly the Princess was named Alexandrina 



10 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF Q^UEEN VICTORIA 

through the Gardens. The Duke was always pleased to have 
her shown to the people, and when she was only four months 
old took her in the carriage with him to a review on Hounslow 
Heath. The Prince Regent, annoyed at the attention which 
she created, sharply remonstrated, saying, " That infant is too 
young to be brought into public" At three months old the 
Princess was vaccinated, and was the first royal baby to be 
inoculated after the method of Jenner. 

In order to escape the rigour of the winter, the Duke and 
Duchess removed, at the end of the year, with their darling 
child, into Devonshire, staying at Woolbrook Glen, Sidmouth, 
a lovely retreat lying back from the sea, and surrounded by 
picturesque grounds. On their way to Sidmouth the royal 
party stayed two days with the Bishop of Salisbury. His 
Lordship was fond o jumping the little Princess in his arms, 
and during one of these frolics she seized hold of the good man's 
wig and shook it so violently with her dimpled hands that 
she covered herself with powder, and was not prevailed upon 
to loosen her clutches until she had pulled off a tuft of hair 
also. 

I have found no more charming glimpse of this period of 
the Queen's infancy than is recorded by Mrs. Marshall in her 
"Recollections of Althea Allingham." The AUinghams were 
living at Sidmouth at the time of the royal visit, and we get 
this graphic picture of the local interest it elicited. 

" * I have just heard a piece of news,* Oliffe said, * The 
Duke of Kent has taken the " Glen " at the farther end of 
the village, and the servants are expected to-morrow to put 
the place in order for the Duke and Duchess of Kent and the 
little Princess Victoria.* " Sidmouth was elated at the prospect 



14 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Kent, "linked arm in arm," the nurse carrying the little 
Princess, who looked lovely in a white swansdown hood and 
pelisse, and was holding out her hand to her father. He took 
her in his arms as the party drew up in h'ne, respectfully 
waiting, uncovered and curtseying. 

" Stella exclaimed : * What a beautiful baby I * 

"The Duchess hearing, smiled and said, 'Would you like 
to kiss the baby?' 

"Stella coloured with delight, and looked at me [Mrs. 
Allingham] for permission. 

"The Duke kindly held the little Princess down towards 
Stella, and said : 

"'I am glad my little May blossom finds favour in your 
eyes.* 

" Then a shout was heard from the donkey where Stephen 
sat. 

"*Me too, please, Duke.' 

" Instead of being in the least shocked with my boy's 
freedom, the Duke laughed, saying : 

''Dismount, then.' 

"Stephen scrambled down, and coming up received the 
longed-for kiss. 

" * Father calls Stella and Benvenuta his May blossoms/ 
Stephen volunteered. 

"'And you may be proud of them,* the Duke said, as 
he gave the Princess back into her nurse's arms ; and the 
Duchess, with repeated bows and smiles, passed on." 

This tender picture of domestic felicity was, alas ! soon to 
be inarred by death. The Duke of Kent, returning from an 
excursion in the vicinity of Sidmouth, sat down in wet boots 



THE CHILDHOOD OP QUEEN VICTORIA 
to play with his little daughter, and was so enchanted 



'ith 



her b.iby ways that he could not tear himself away to make 

the needed change of his damp garments. A chill ensued, 

which resulted in a fatal attack of inflammation of the lungs. 

He died on the 23rd of 

January, 1820. Two days 

later, the good people of 




1 6 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

just in time to see his sister's husband breathe his last In his 
" Reminiscences " he says : " The Duchess, who had lost a most 
amiable and devoted husband, was in a state of the greatest 
distress. The poor Duke had left his family deprived of all 
means of subsistence. The journey to Kensington was very 
painful, and the weather very severe." From this time forward 
we find Prince Leopold acting as a father and guardian to his 
little niece, Victoria, It was he who generously supplemented 
the jointure of £6,000 which the Duchess of Kent received 
from the country, and enabled her to rear our future Queen 
in a manner befitting her position. By her second marriage 
the Duchess had sacrificed her dowry, and she conscientiously 
yielded the Duke of Kent's estate to his creditors, so that all 
that remained to her was her jointure. 

The same day on which the Duchess and her infant returned 
to Kensington, George III. died, and was succeeded by the 
Prince Regent. This event, coupled with her father's death, 
placed the Princess two lives nearer to the throne. The 
Duchess, doubtless actuated by these circumstances, determined 
to rear her child in the land over which she might eventually 
rule, and gave up her own natural desire to return to Bavaria. 
Speaking of herself and infant at this time, she says : " We 
stood alone — almost friendless and alone in this country ; I 
could not even speak the language of it. I did not hesitate 
how to act ; I gave up my home, my kindred, my duties [the 
regency of Leiningcn] to devote myself to that duty which was 
to be the whole object of my future life." Thus nobly did the 
Duchess of Kent start upon her important work — no light task 
— the training of a queen. From that day forward she lived 
at Kensington in stately seclusion, watching over the young 



iS THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN ViClORIA 

A room on the top floor served as the Princess's nursery, and 
in one corner still stands a doll's house, a headless horse, and 
the model of a ship, remnants of the toys which delighted 
her rather monotonous childhood. 

Here, in the old Palace which in days gone by had been the 
stately abode of kings and queens and the scene of gay court 
revels, the Princess was nurtured in all that was simple, 
loving, and pure. She had a natural home life free from the 
formalities of a court The one misfortune was that she bad 
no companions of her own age : 

*' For her there was no mate, 
A royal child of power and state.** 

Her stcp-sister, the Princess Feodore (daughter of the Duchess 
of Kent by her first marriage), was eleven years her senior, and 
though the little Princess was devotedly attached to her as an 
elder sister, she was no playmate for her. A pretty story is 
told of the visit of the infant harp-player, Lyra, to Kensington 
Palace, and how delighted the Princess Victoria was — not with 
the harp-playing, but with having a little girl of her own s^e 
to speak to. When the Duchess of Kent returned to the room 
after a brief absence, she found the two children sitting on the 
hearthrug with toys strewn around them, enjoying themselves 
hugely as they laughed and prattled, oblivious of the harp 
standing desolate, as the one which " rang through Tara's halls." 
The little Princess dearly loved a romp, as is testified by 
William Wilberforce, who lived at Gore House, Kensington, 
and was occasionally received by the Duchess of Kent. The 
philanthropist, in writing to his friend, Hannah More, says : 
" In consequence of a very civil message from the Duchess of 



50 THE PEkSONAL lIF£ OF QUEEN VICTOrIA 

We well remember being in a country town when the Queen 
came to unveil a statue of the Prince Consort The local 
authorities had provided a sumptuous luncheon, with all the 
delicacies of the season ; but great was the consternation when 
Her Majesty asked for rice pudding. No such homely dish 
was included in the menu. 

The little Princess's day was passed in the following 
manner. She rose early, and breakfasted at eight o'clock in 
the pretty morning-room of the Palace, sitting beside her 
mother in a little rosewood chair, a table to match in front of 
her on which was placed her bread and milk and fruit, her 
nurse standing beside her. After breakfast her half-sister, the 
Princess Feodorc, retired with her governess, Fraulein Lehzen, 
to study, and the little Victoria mounted her donkey, a present 
from her uncle, the Duke of York, and rode round Kensington 
Gardens. From ten to twelve she received instruction from 
her mother, assisted by Fraulein Lehzen ; then came a good 
romp through the long suite of rooms with her nurse, Mrs. 
Brock, whom she affectionately called her " dear, dear Boppy." 
At two o'clock she dined plainly at her mother's luncheon 
table, afterwards came lessons again until four o'clock, then 
she went with her mother for a drive, or, if the weather was 
hot, spent the afternoon in the Gardens under the trees, coming 
out early in the evening for a turn in her little pony-chaise. 
The Duchess dined at seven o'clock, at which time the 
Princess supped at the same table on bread and milk ; she then 
retired for a little play in a farther part of the room along 
with " dear Boppy," joining her mother again at dessert At 
nine o'clock she went to her little French bed with its pretty 
chintz hangings, placed beside that of her mother. An 



THE CHILDHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 21 

occasional visit to Windsor to see her " Uncle King," as she 
called His Majesty George IV., a sojourn at Claremont with 
her adored Uncle Leopold, and a few weeks at the sea in 
autumn, were the only breaks in her little life. 

On her fourth birthday she had a great excitement, no less 
than being bidden by " Uncle King " to attend a State dinner 
party with her mother at Carlton House. She was dressed 
for the occasion in a simple white frock looped up on the left 
sleeve by a miniature of the King, set in diamonds, His 
Majesty's birthday present to his little niece, whose vivacious 
manners seemed to have delighted him vastly. 

Several stories arc told of the quick repartee which " Uncle 
King" received from his amusing little niece of Kent. During 
one of her visits to Windsor, the King said, " Now, Victoria, 
the band is waiting to play ; what tune would you like to 
hear best ? " 

" * God Save the King,* if you please, uncle," she promptly 
replied. 

And again, when asked what part of her visit had been the 
greatest treat, she discreetly said, " Oh, the ride in the carriage 
with you, uncle." On this occasion the King had driven her 
himself, which was doubtless a great event. We get a further 
glimpse into these little trips to Windsor in one of Grand- 
mamma Coburg's charming letters. Writing in 1826 to the 
Duchess of Kent, she says : " I see by the English newspapers 
that * His Majesty George IV. and H.R.H. the Duchess of 
Kent went on Virginia Water,' The little monkey [Princess 
Victoria] must have pleased and amused him. She is such 
a pretty, clever child." 

A few years later " Uncle King " gave a child's ball in honour 



32 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of the visit of Donna Maria, the little Queen of Portugal, to 
this country. This was the first Court ceremoniaj at which the 
Princess Victoria was present. A lady of the Court, however, 
gave great offence to the King by saying how " pretty it would 
be to see the two little Queens dancing together." His Majesty 
had no mind as yet to hear his niece of Kent dubbed a 
queen. By all accounts the juvenile ball was a pretty and 
brilliant affair. The children of the highest nobility were 
there, and paid mimic court to the little Queen of Portugal, 
who sat by the side of the King, dressed in a red velvet frock 
and literally blazing with jewels from head to foot This was 
the first occasion upon which that spicy Court chronicler, Mr. 
Grcvillc, saw the Princess Victoria ; but he appears to have 
been carried off his head by the dark-eyed Donna of Portugal's 
brilliant appearance. "Our little Princess," he writes, "is a 
short, plain-looking child, and not near so good-looking as 
the Portuguese." Fie upon you, Mr. Greville ; did not the 
fine Donna Maria awkwardly trip in the dance and fall down 
and bruise her face, while our fair-haired, blue-eyed Princess, 
in her simple white frock, kept her head and her heels, and 
was admired by all people of good taste for her natural, 
unadorned beauty? 

Visits to Uncle King were very rare events, as the Duchess 
of Kent did not wish her little daughter to see much of 
Court life ; but she took her frequently to see her Uncle 
Leopold at Claremont, and these visits were the most delightful 
holidays of all. Writing in after years from Claremont to her 
uncle, then King of the Belgians, the Queen says : " This place 
brings back recollections of the happiest days of my otherwise 
dull childhood — days in which I experienced such kindness 



24 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

charming account of the royal party in the letters of Miss Jane 
Porter, author of " The Scottish Chiefs." She dwelt with her 
mother and sister in a cottage close to the grounds of Claremont, 
and had frequent opportunities for seeing the Princess, who, she 
was delighted to find, resembled her lamented aunt, the Princess 
Charlotte. Miss Porter describes her as " a beautiful child, with 
a cherubic form of features, clustered round by glossy fair 
ringlets. Her complexion was remarkably transparent, with a 
soft and often heightening tinge of the sweet blush-rose upon 
her cheeks, that imparted a peculiar brilliancy to her clear blue 
eyes. Whenever she met any strangers in her usual paths, 
she always seemed, by the quickness of her glance, to inquire 
who and what they were.** 

At home the Princess was not allowed to attend public 
worship at Kensington Church for fear of attracting too much 
attention, service being conducted in the Palace by the 
Duchess herself during her daughter's earliest years, and after- 
wards by the Rev. George Davys, her tutor. But while at 
Clarcmont she was taken to the little village church at Esher. 
Fortunate Miss Porter had a seat facing the Claremont pew, 
and we fear that her devotions were somewhat disturbed by the 
attention which she gave to the movements of the royal visitors, 
although she is able, at least on one occasion, to give a very 
good reason for her attentive scrutiny. " I should not volun- 
tarily have so employed myself in church," she piously writes, 
" but I had seen a wasp skimming backwards and forwards over 
the head and before the unveiled summer bonnet of the little 
Princess ; and I could not forbear watching the dangerous 
insect, fearing it might sting her face. She, totally unobserving 
it, had meanwhile fixed her eyes on the clergyman, who had 



THE CHILDHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 25 

taken his seat in the pulpit to preach the sermon, and she never 
withdrew them thence for a moment during his whole dis- 
course." Next day, from a lady personally intimate at Clare- 
mont, Miss Porter learned the reason why the Princess riveted 
her eyes upon the clergyman, who, according to her account, 
was not an attractive person, so that she saw not the " dangerous 
insect " — she was required to give her mother not only the text, 
but the leading heads of the discourse. Poor little Princess! 
those were the days of long and formal sermons. 

It was in the autumn succeeding this visit to Claremont 
that the Princess paid the first of her many visits to Ramsgate. 
Three years before she had taken her first sight of the sea at 
Brighton. During her seaside visits she was allowed to play 
with other children on the sands, have donkey rides ad libitum, 
and to run out to meet the on-coming waves. If they chanced 
to ripple over her little feet, she was in a high state of glee. 
Then at Ramsgate she used frequently to go to a delightful 
old dairy-woman's cottage to have a glass of milk before break- 
fast We find a graphic sketch of the Princess at this time by 
a writer in Fraset^s Magazine^ who in somewhat florid style thus 
relates his observations : ** When first I saw the pale and pretty 
daughter of the Duke of Kent, she was fatherless. Her fair, 
light form was sporting in all the redolence of youth and health 
on the noble sands of old Ramsgate. She wore a plain straw 
bonnet with a white ribbon round it, and as pretty a pair of 
shoes on as pretty a pair of feet as I ever remember to have 
seen from China to Kamschatka. I defy you all to find me a 
prettier pair of feet than those of the belle Victoria, when she 
played with the pebbles and the tides on Ramsgate sands." 
The Princess on this occasion was accompanied by her mother 



26 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and by William Wilbcrforce ; the latter is said to have beguiled 

the adventurous Victoria from sporting too freely with the waves 

by telling her stories of the slave children whom he was 

labouring to emancipate. As he did so, he stood on the shore, 

an impressive figure, clasping in his own the tiny hands of the 

five-years-old Princess, into whose heart his words were sinking 

deep and were destined to bear glorious fruit in after years. 

When they turned homeward from the shore down the High 

Street, the Princess espied an old Irishwoman sitting pale and 
dejected by the wayside, and literally " teased " a silver coin 

from her mother to give to this lonely wayfarer. 

The Duchess and her daughter frequently returned to visit 
Ramsgate, staying principally at Townley House, close to the 
picturesque grounds of East Cliff, the residence of Mr. Moses 
Montefiore, who courteously provided them with a special key 
to his private gate in order that they might use his grounds at 
their pleasure. On the occasion of the Queen's visit to the City 
of London soon after her accession, Mr. Montefiore received her 
in his capacity of Sheriff, and one can imagine that Her Majesty 
was not unmindful of those pleasant days at Ramsgate when 
she bade him rise up Sir Moses Montefiore. He was the first 
Jew to receive the honour of knighthood. 

But a truce to the little Princess's holiday jaunts ; we must 
continue the thread of her life at Kensington. An old lady 
friend has often described to me how she used to watch the 
Princess taking her walks and rides in Kensington Gardens. 
She never wore smart things, but was plainly and prettily 
dressed in a straw hat with a ribbon round it— sometimes the 
hat was lined with blue— and her summer dresses were of simple 
white cotton, relieved by a coloured silk fichu. She was often 



28 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

donkey, gaily caparisoned with blue ribbons, an old soldier, a 
former retainer of her father's, leading her bridle rein, while 
some of the ladies of the household walked by her side. She 
was then at the height of enjoyment, and, once mounted, ** not 
all the king's horses nor all the king's men " could persuade her 
to come down again. Her mother had made a little rule that 
she should ride and walk alternately ; but there were not a few 
scenes, and we fear some screams, in Kensington Gardens when 
nurse or governess tried to force the little lady to dismount, for 
she was as wilful as she was engaging. It was only when the 
old soldier, who was a special favourite, held out his arms for 
her that she was persuaded to quit her dear donkey's back. 

She used sometimes to ride in a pony-chaise over the gravel 
walks, led by a page. One day a dog ran between the pony's 
legs, causing the tiny carriage to upset, and the Princess would 
undoubtedly have been killed by the fall had not a soldier 
passing at the time caught her clothes and swung her into his 
arms. His name was Maloney, and he was of course thanked 
and rewarded by the Duchess of Kent. This was the second 
providential escape from death which the Queen had in 
her childhood. The first was during her stay at Sidmouth. 
A boy was shooting sparrows close to the Duke of Kent's 
residence, and a shot came through the nursery window, where 
the Princess was sitting in her nurse's lap, and narrowly escaped 
hitting her head. 

I am indebted to Miss Kortright, an old inhabitant of 
Kensington, for some pretty little incidents relating to this 
period of the Queen's life. The Princess was known to go 
with her mother and her step-sister, Feodore, to a milliner's 
shop in Kensington, buy a new hat, stay while it was trimmed, 



fHE CtilLDHOOD OF QUMMN VICTORIA i^ 

and carry it home in her hand quite proudly — but surely it 
was the old one she carried in her hand ! Meeting the Princess 
in her pony-chaise one day, an " unknown little girl " asked to 
be allowed to kiss her. The Princess Feodore stopped the 
tiny carriage and indulged the child's wish. The "unknown 
little girl" who secured a kiss from her future Queen was 
Miss Kortright's elder sister. 

Mr. Charles Knight, the publisher, has left a pleasing record 
of this period of the Queen's life. He tells that, during an early 
morning walk through Kensington Gardens, he saw a group 
upon the lawn in front of the Palace which seemed to him a 
" vision of exquisite loveliness." It was the Duchess of Kent 
and the Princess Victoria breakfasting in the open air, attended 
by a single page. " What a beautiful characteristic it seemed 
to me," he writes, " of the training of this royal girl, that she 
should have been taught not to shrink from the public eye — 
that she should not have been burdened with a premature 
conception of her probable high position— that she should enjoy 
the freedom and simplicity of a child's nature. I passed on 
and blessed her ; and I thank God that I have lived to see 
the golden fruits of such training." 

The education of the Princess Victoria was conducted at 
first by her mother with the help of Fraulein Lehzen, who at a 
later date was formally appointed her governess, and remained 
with the Queen as confidential secretary for a number of years 
after her accession. The Princess learned her letters at her 
mother's knee, but not very willingly, and we find Grandmamma 
of Coburg taking sides with the little truant. She writes to her 
daughter, " Do not tease your little puss with learning. She 
is so young still," adding that her grandson, Prince Albert, was 



33 iHK PURSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 




makin<; eyes at a picture-book. When it was made clear to 
the Princess that until the ABC was mastered she could not 
read books like her mother, she replied with alacrity, " Me learn 
too, very quick " ; and she did, for there was no lack of ability. 
Her regular education began in her fifth year, when the Rev, 
Geoi^e Davys, eventually Bishop of Peterborough, became her 



THE CHILDHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 31 

tutor. " I fear you will find my little girl very headstrong," 
explained the Duchess of Kent to the new tutor; "but the 
ladies of the household will spoil her." As she grew older, the 
Princess became docile in all things except taking medicine, 
and she reformed on this point when she discovered that her 
physician only entertained her with stories after the medicine 
had been taken. She was reared to speak in French and 
German as well as in her native tongue. German she found 
most efficacious when she wanted a favour from her mother. 
By the time she reached her eleventh year Italian, Latin, Greek, 
and mathematics had been added to her studies. Music she 
studied under Mr. John Bernard Sale, afterwards organist at 
the Chapel Royal, and drawing under Mr. Wcstall, R.A. 

Sketching was a favourite occupation with the Princess, her 
love of form and of the beauties of nature having been observ- 
able at a very early age. When taking walks about Esher with 
her Uncle Leopold, she often pointed out beautiful bits of land- 
scape, and it was at Claremont that she first began sketching 
from nature. She was fond too of looking at pictures and of 
imagining what the people in them might be saying to each 
other, a dramatic element in her character which found further 
expression in the mock ceremonies which she enacted with her 
retinue of dolls. Upon a long board full of pegs, into which the 
dolls* feet fitted, she rehearsed court receptions, presentations, 
and held mimic drawing-rooms and levees. Her dolls numbered 
one hundred and thirty-two ; a large number of them were 
dressed entirely by herself in artistic costumes to represent 
historic characters or people she knew. A list of them, with 
their names and history, was kept in a copybook. She was 
passionately fond of animals and of seeing natural history 



ji THE Personal life of queen victoRiA 

collections; her first visit to the British Museum was an un- 
bounded joy, and she begged to be taken there often. Botany 
too delighted her, and she began the study, under the tuition 
of her Uncle Leopold, among the bowery groves of Claremont. 
Lord Albemarle remembers seeing her watering her flowers at 
Kensington Palace, and tells that it was amusing to see how 
impartially she divided the contents of her watering-pot 
between the flowers and her own little feet 

And so the childhood of the Queen passed under the 
watchful eye of that wisest of mothers, and year by year saw 
her fine natural abilities developing, and her character ripening 
into thoughtful maidenhood. As yet no busybody had been 
allowed to disturb the simplicity of her child's nature by 
whispering in her ear, " You are the future Queen of England." 
She had been reared in all things to be a queen, without being 

• 

oppressed or unduly elated by a knowledge of the high position 
to which she might attain. In closing this period of the 
Queen's life, we can but echo the words of Grandmamma 
of Coburg, who, writing to the Duchess of Kent upon the 
Princess's eleventh birthday, says : " My blessings and good 
wishes for the day which gave you the sweet blossom of May ! 
May God preserve and protect the valuable life of that lovely 
flower from all the dangers that will beset her mind and heart ! 
The rays of the sun are scorching at the height to which she 
may one day attain. It is only by the blessing of God that all 
the fine qualities He has put into that young soul can be 
kept pure and untarnished." 



THE GIRLHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 



I 
\ 



II 

THE GIRLHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

THE day on which the Queen was told that she was 
heiress to the throne of Great Britain may be regarded 
as marking that period in her life when she emerged from mere 
childhood into the more thoughtful period of girlhood. This 
occurred when she was approaching her twelfth birthday. Two 
years previously, Sir Walter Scott, after dining with the 
Duchess of Kent, noted in his diary that the " little Victoria 
is educated with much care, and watched so closely that no 
busy maid has a moment to whisper, *You are heir of Eng- 
land.*" There are several accounts of the manner in which 
the information was first conveyed to the young Princess. 
It was current gossip of the time that Prince George of 
Cumberland, who was fond of teasing his pretty cousin, twitted 
her one day with the unpleasant prospect of having to be a 
queen, enlarging on the discomforts of the position, and throwing 
out dark hints of the untimely end of Mary Queen of Scots. 
If the Princess failed in her lessons, or was discovered in a 
delinquency, Prince George improved the occasion by saying, 
" A pretty sort of queen you will make." All such references 
were received by the Princess with passionate tears. 

Another version is given by Caroline Fox. Writing in 

3S 



36 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

her journal, she details a gossipy visit from her friend Mrs. 
Corgie, the " rightful Lady George Murray," who told her that 
the Princess Victoria was first informed of the high position 
which awaited her by her mother. The Duchess of Kent 
desired that her daughter should read aloud that portion of 
English history which related to the death of the Princess 
Charlotte. In reading, the Princess made a dead halt, and 
asked if it were possible that she should ever be Queen. Her 
mother replied : " As this is a very possible circumstance, I 
am anxious to bring you up as a good woman, when you 
will be a good queen also." 

It appears also that the Princess's governess, the Baroness 
Lehzen, and her tutor, the Rev. George Davys, both claim to 
have informed their pupil of her place in the succession to tlie 
throne. In a letter written in her eighty-fourth year by the 
Baroness to her former pupil, she says : " 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." The Baroness continues her 
story to the effect that when the Princess opened the book 
and noticed the additional paper, she said, " I never saw 
that before." 

" * It was not thought necessary you should, Princess,* the 
governess replied. 

" * I see,' continued the Princess, * I am nearer the throne 
than I thought' 

• • • 

"*So it is, madam,' replied the Baroness. 



THE GIRLHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 37 

" 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 ' ; and laying 
her hand in that of her governess, she said, * I will be good. 
I understand now why you urged me so much to learn even 
Latin.' " 

The Baroness then explained to the Princess that her aunt, 
Queen Adelaide, might yet have children, in which case she 
would not succeed to the throne. 

" And if it were so," replied the Princess, " I should never 
feel disappointed, for I know by the love Aunt Adelaide bears 
me how fond she is of children." 

I am indebted to the Rev. Canon Davys, son of the Queen's 
tutor, Bishop Davys, for yet another account of how the 
momentous tidings were conveyed to the Princess Victoria. 

" The story of the Princess discovering that she would be 
Queen," Canon Davys tells me, "has not generally been 
correctly told. My father had set her to make a chart of the 
kings and queens. She got as far as * Uncle William.' Next 
day my father said to the Princess, *But you have not put 
down the next heir to the throne.' She rather hesitated, and 
said, ' I hardly like to put down myself.' My father mentioned 
the matter to the Duchess of Kent, who said she was so glad 
that the truth had come upon her daughter in this way, 
as it was time she became aware what responsibility was 
awaiting her." 

The three accounts agree in showing that the Princess's 
mother, together with her governess and her tutor, all felt, after 
the accession of William IV., that the time had arrived for the 
Princess to be informed of her position, and that each of them 



38 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICIORIA 

made a lesson in history the means by which to tell her. As 
to whether Prince George of Cumberland had previously let the 
proverbial " cat out of the bag " remains a moot point 

The Princess Victoria was now regarded by the people as 
the heiress-apparent ; but the King himself never ceased hoping 
that a child of his own might yet be bom to succeed, and at 
times he displayed jealousy of his niece of Kent and ill-will 
towards the mother who had borne her. In beautiful con- 
trast was the attitude of the Good Queen Adelaide. When 
her second child died, soon after the birth of the Princess 
Victoria, she wrote to the Duchess of Kent, " My children 
are dead, but yours lives, and she is mine too." 

A Court lady recalls a pleasing little incident which she 
witnessed when Queen Adelaide was still Duchess of Clarence. 
The lady was sitting with Her Royal Highness, when the 
Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria were announced, 
whereupon she rose to withdraw. 

" Do not go yet," said the Duchess of Clarence. " I want 
you to see little Victoria; she is such a sweet child." 

After drawing the Princess towards her with affectionate 
greeting, the Duchess of Clarence produced a child's tea-service 
of the prettiest china imaginable, which, in her sweet, kind way, 
she had provided as a surprise for her little niece. Trivial as 
the incident is, nothing could better illustrate the love of the 
childless Queen for the heiress to the throne. 

The Princess Victoria attended her first Drawing-Room 
on the 24th of February, 1831, on the occasion of Queen 
Adelaide's birthday. It was a reception of unusual splendour ; 
nothing had been seen like it since the Drawing-Room at which 
the Princess Charlotte had been presented on the occasion of 



THE GIRLHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 41 

her marriage. There were three things to make it of special 
import : it was the first Drawing-Room held after the accession 
of William IV., it was Queen Adelaide's birthday, and the first 
formal appearance at Court of the Heiress of Great Britain. 

The Princess set out from Kensington Palace with her 
mother, attended by a suite of ladies and gentlemen in State 
carriages, and escorted by a detachment of Life Guards. This 
was cur beloved Queen's first public procession, and the number 
in which she has taken part since it would indeed be difficult 
to enumerate. Some of the people, as they watched her, 
cheered, and others wept, for there was something both joyous 
and pathetic in the sight of this young girl upon whose head 
the weight of a crown might fall all too soon. At the Drawing- 
Room she was the centre of observation. She stood on Queen 
Adelaide's left hand, dressed in a frock of English blonde 
draped over white satin. Her fair hair was arranged Madonna- 
like, according to the fashion of the times, and the braids were 
fastened at the back of her head with a diamond clasp. 
Around her throat she wore a single row of lovely pearls. 
It was no small ordeal for a young girl of twelve, reared in the 
strictest seclusion, to pass through ; but she bore herself with 
modest dignity, and took evident delight in watching the 
presentations. The gay scene was as novel to her as to the 
simplest girl in the land. 

Two months later another opportunity was taken by Queen 
Adelaide of giving prominence to the Princess. The Queen 
and the royal ladies were standing on the balcony watching the 
pageant which attended William IV. on the prorogation of his 
first Parliament As the people cheered, Queen Adelaide took 
the young Princess Victoria by the hand, and, leading her to 



42 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

the front of the balcony, presented her to the assembled crowds. 
It would be difficult to decide whether the deafening shouts 
which rent the air were given more in honour of the future 
Queen or in recognition of the Good Queen Adelaide's attitude 
towards the young girL In the same year the Princess made 
her first appearance at the theatre, attending a children's enter- 
tainment at Covent Garden. A staid chronicler of this event 
would have us believe that the pleasure which the Princess 
evinced at seeing a play was rather the result of musical 
sympathy with the orchestra than of attachment to the drama. 
Why, then, Mr. Chronicler, did she not go to a concert instead ? 
The Princess Victoria having been brought so far into 
prominence, there was much comment regarding her absence 
from the Coronation of King William IV. and Queen Adelaide 
in Westminster Abbey, September, 1831. Many reasons were 
assigned for this omission. Some said that the King, jealous 
of the attention which the Princess had excited during the last 
few months, would not assign her the place in the procession 
due to her rank as the heiress-presumptive. On the other hand, 
it was affirmed that the Duchess of Kent pleaded the delicate 
state of her young daughter's health as an excuse for keeping 
her away from the ceremonial. It is a matter of history that 
there was always friction between the Duchess of Kent and the 
King regarding the comparative seclusion in which the Princess 
«vas kept. The Duchess was determined to preserve the girlish 
innocence and purity of her daughter by withholding her as 
much as possible from the Court. The King was well known 
for a coarse wit. When he was in a good humour " he swore 
like an admiral," and when he was in a bad humour " he swore 
like our armies in Flanders." His facetious extravagances at 



44 THE PERSONAL LIFE OB QUEEN VICTORIA 

The confidence and esteem with which the Duchess of 
Kent was regarded, however, by the nation was amply t^tified 
by the action of Pariiament in appointing her to be Regent 
in the event of the Princess Victoria succeeding to the throne 
before she came of age. The Regency Bill was passed imme- 
diately after the accession of William IV., and during its 
discussion Cabinet ministers vied with each other in praising 
the admirable training given by the Duchess of Kent to her 
daughter. An extract from the speech of Lord Lyndhurst 
will illustrate the general feeling : " The first question which 
your lordships will naturally ask is, whom do we propose as 
the guardian of Her Royal Highness under the circumstances 
inferred? I am sure, however, that the answer will at once 
suggest itself to every mind. It would be quite impossible 
that we should recommend any other individual for that high 
office than the illustrious Princess, the mother of H.R.H. the 
Princess Victoria. The manner in which Her Royal Highness 
the Duchess of Kent has hitherto discharged her duty in the 
education of her illustrious offspring — and I speak upon the 
subject not from vague report, but from accurate information 
— gives us the best ground to hope most favourably of H.R. 
Highncss's future conduct. Looking at the past, it is evident 
that we cannot find a better guardian for the time to come.** 

After the passing of the Regency Bill, we find another of 
those charming letters from Grandmamma of Coburg to her 
daughter. " It is only a just return," she writes to the Duchess 
of Kent, " for your constant devotion and care to your child* 
May God bless and protect our little darling. If I could but 
once see her again ! The print you sent me of her is not 
like the dear picture I have The quantity of curls hide the 



THE GIRLHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 45 

well-shaped head, and make it look too large for the lovely 
little figure." 

The tender family circle of the Princess seemed to be 
narrowing sadly at this period of her early girlhood. Her 
favourite paternal uncle, the Duke of York, had died ; her 
half-sister, the Princess Feodore, had married the Prince of 
Hohenlohe and had left England ; and in 1831 her beloved 
Grandmamma of Coburg died. About the same time her 
Uncle Leopold succeeded to the throne of Belgium. This was 
perhaps the greatest grief of all, bringing to an end as it did 
her delightful visits to Claremont. The Queen has herself 
told us that she " adored " her Uncle Leopold, and his de- 
parture from the country filled her with despair. From the 
hour of her father's death he had been her watchful guardian, 
advising her mother in all points regarding her training, and 
even providing additional income. The Princess was a warm- 
hearted girl, passionate in her attachments, as she has remained 
throughout her life, and one can understand that the break up 
of so many family ties oppressed her spirits at this time. She 
had few of the outlets of ordinary girls for throwing dull care 
aside, the circumstance of her high estate keeping her life 
monotonous and lonely. When I asked one who knew the 
Princess well as a girl what her amusements were, he replied 
that they were all of a quiet kind — chiefly walking in Kensington 
Gardens, driving her ponies, and playing with her favourite dog 
Dash, a black-and-tan spaniel. In order to vary this rather too 
quiet existence, the Duchess of Kent took her daughter on a 
series of visits to places of interest in her native land. In these 
days of varied travel, one marvels to find that Her Majesty 
never set foot off English soil, if we except Wales, until she 



46 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

had been several years upon the throne, and was both wife 
and mother. 

The royal visitors could not enjoy Brighton by reason of 
the crowds which dogged their footsteps ; but at Broadstairs 
they spent some pleasant times, residing at Pierpont House ; 
and Ramsgate was always a favourite watering-place. In 
1830, the Princess spent a long holiday at Malvern, where 
she led a free outdoor life, and displayed agility in climbing 
walls and trees. Unfortunately she did not descend with equal 
ease, and on one occasion had to be rescued from the bough 
of an apple tree by the gardener. At Tunbridge Wells the old 
people recall her fearless donkey-riding, and her fondness for 
coming to drink the water from the widow who kept the well. 
There comes a story, too, that her mother would not allow her 
to outrun her exchequer by the purchase of a half-crown box 
until she had the money to pay for it, her rather reckless 
purchase of presents for her friends having reduced the Princess 
to a temporary state of insolvency. When her next allowance 
of pocket-money became due, she set forth on her donkey at 
seven o'clock in the morning to claim the box, which the 
shopkeeper had retained for her. 

She was also taken on visits to country seats ; and the story is 
told that during a visit to Wentworth House the Princess was a 
little too adventurous in racing about the glades and unfrequented 
parts of the grounds, heedless of the warning which the gardener 
had given her that they were "slape." "What is 'slape'?" 
asked the Princess, receiving when she had scarcely uttered the 
words a practical demonstration as her feet slided from under 
her on the slippery path. " That is slape, miss," replied the old 
gardener, with a sense of humour, as he assisted her to her feet 




A note from the diary of Thomas Moore gives a peep behind 
the scenes when the royal travellers were expected at Watson 
Taylor's place, near Devizes. " Have been invited," he writes, 
"to meet the Duchess of Kent and young Victoria . . . rather 
amused with being behind the scenes to see the fuss of pre- 
paration for a royal reception." He then proceeds to describe 
a musical evening, the Duchess and the Princess singing duets 
together. "No attempts at bravura and graces," is his criticism, 
" but all simplicily and expression. Her Royal Highness 
evidently is very fond of music, and would have gone on singing 



48 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

much longer if there had not been rather premature preparations 
for bed." To have pleased the ear of so fastidious a judge as 
Thomas Moore proves tnat the Princess had a sweet and 
well-trained voice. 

Even during these early jaunts the Princess took part in 
public functions. We find her opening the Victoria Park at 
Bath, and distributing colours to a regiment of foot at Plymouth, 
and later on, when she visited Wales, she gave the prizes 
to the successful competitors at the Eisteddfod. 

In 1832, the Princess was taken on a further tour, which, 
being attended with some ceremonious arrangement, caused the 
old King to speak with amused cynicism of his niece's jaunts 
as " royal progresses." The Duchess of Kent and the Princess, 
attended by a modest retinue, set forth in carriages from 
Kensington Palace, travelling by way of Shrewsbury and 
Coventry into Wales. They crossed the Menai Strait, enjoying 
the lovely scenery at their leisure, and passing over the water 
to Anglesey made a prolonged stay in the island, returning home 
by way of the Midland counties. An opportunity was taken in 
passing through the manufacturing towns to show the Princess 
the interiors of some of the factories. It is amusing to find, 
in records of the period, that the interest which she took in 
what was shown her is gravely interpreted as evidence of her 
desire .tp promote British industries The fact that she was 
delighted with a working model illustrating cotton-spinning is 
commented upon as though our beloved Queen had been a 
second Arkwright come to judgment, instead of a bright, clever 
girl full of curiosity. During this tour tlie Duchess of Kent and 
her daughter paid visits to several historic country seats, among 
them Eaton Hall, Chatsworth, Alton Towers, and Powis Castle, 



THE GIRLHOOD OP QUEEN VICTORIA 49 

Wherever they appeared the people came out in great crowds 
to see them, testifying their loyalty to the young Heiress of 
Britain. The King indeed was not far wrong when he testily 
spoke of these visits as "royal progresses," for, however 
desirous the Duchess of Kent might have been to make 
the Princess's journeys private, the people insisted upon 
openly displaying their loyalty. 

In 1833, the Duchess and her daughter resided for some 
months at Norris Castle in the Isle of Wight, where the Princess 
was frequently seen enjoying country rambles, or listening to 
the stories of the sailors and the coastguardsmen as she lingered 
about the shore. A pretty incident is told by an American 
writer who was visiting the island. While in Arreton church- 
yard, near Brading, he noticed a lady and a little girl seated 
near the grave of the " Dairyman's Daughter." The lady was 
reading aloud the story of the humble heroine, and as the visitor 
regarded the pair he could see that the large blue eyes of the 
young girl were suffused with tears. He subsequently learned 
that the ladies were the Duchess of Kent and the Princess 
Victoria. It was doubtless during this visit of her girlhood that 
the Queen formed an affection for the Isle of Wight, which induced 
her, in later years, to select Osborne as a marine residence. 

After a period of rest at Norris Castle, the Duchess of Kent 
and her daughter went on board their yacht, the Emerald, 
for a cruise in the Channel, visiting Southampton, Plymouth, 
and Torquay. At each place they were welcomed by loyal 
addresses from the local authorities. The enthusiasm of the 
people was great ; and if the old King had been annoyed at 
the homage paid to the mother and daughter during their tour 
by land, he was more chagrined than ever by the popular 

4 



50 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

demonstrations of loyalty which attended their progress by 
water. He sent forth a royal decree that an end should be put 
to the continual " poppings " of the ships in the Channel in the 
way of salutes to the Duchess of Kent's yacht The naval 
authorities were of opinion that the royal ladies were legally 
entitled to the salutes, whereupon the irate King endeavoured 
to coerce the Duchess into waiving her right to them ; but Her 
Royal Highness replied with becoming dignity : " If the King 
would offer me a slight in the face of his people, he can offer it 
so easily that he should not ask me to make the task easier." 
We fear there were young midshipmen irreverent enough to 
cry, " That's * one * for the King," as they tossed their caps in 
the air and gave three cheers for the pretty, blue-eyed Princess, 
who was so merrily sailing the waters of the Channel under 
the care of her dignified mamma. The King finally ended the 
miserable contention by summoning the Privy Council to pass 
an order that henceforth no salute should be offered to any 
vessel flying the royal flag unless the King or the Queen were 
on board. The Court chronicler very fittingly describes this 
as a " council for a foolish business." 

It was during her cruise on the Emerald that the Princess 
met with her third narrow escape from death. She was sitting 
on deck when the yacht came into collision with another vessel 
so violently that the top-mast of the Emerald fell close to 
the Princess, and would have struck her but for the timely 
intervention of the pilot, Mr. Saunders, who snatched her up in 
his arms and carried her to a place of safety. The Queen never 
forgot her gallant preserver. She promoted him to the rank 
of Master when she ascended the throne, and cared for his 
widow and children after his death. 



52 IHE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

Princess Victoria. The Queen has related that she regarded 
her with the warmest affection, although she stood much in 
awe of her. It has already been told how the Baroness 
acquainted her pupil with her nearness to the throne, and it 
would appear from the Baroness's letters of this period that she 
had been absent for a time from Kensington Palace, and 
returned there from Paris in May, 1831. "My Princess," she 
writes, "will be twelve years old to-morrow. She is not tall, 
but very pretty, has dark blue eyes, and a mouth which, though 
not tiny, is very good-tempered and pleasant, very fine teeth, 
a small but graceful figure, and a very small foot. She was 
dressed (to receive me) in white muslin with a coral necklet. 
Her whole bearing is so childish and engaging that one could 
not desire a more amiable child." Again she writes, shortly 
afterwards, that her Princess "flourishes in goodness and 
beauty." 

It was now thought, however, desirable by the King that 
an English governess should be appointed for the Princess in 
conjunction with the Baroness, and His Majesty selected for 
this important post Charlotte Florentia (Clive), third Duchess 
of Northumberland and second daughter of the first Earl of 
Powis. It was the duty of the Duchess to instruct her pupil 
in matters of Court etiquette and ceremonial, to train her in 
deportment, and to generally instruct her in the lighter 
graces. How apt was the pupil and how well the instructress 
succeeded in her delicate task was evinced by the almost 
startling ease and grace of manner which distinguished 
the girl-Queen when she first ascended the throne. It is 
the universal testimony of all who have been about the 
Queen that she is unsurpassed for graciousness and aueenly 




bearing. Madame Bourdin instructed her in dancing, and 
the famous vocalist, Luigi Lablachc, in singing. The Princess 
must surely have derived some entertainment from her 
singing-master, for he is reported to have been of such 
huge dimensions that one of bis boots would have made 
a small portmanteau, and a child might have been clad 
in one of his gloves. His portentous vuicc rang through 
ihc house like a great bell. His wife is said to have been 
aroused by a sound in the middle of the night which she took 



S4 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

for the tocsin announcing a fire ; but it was only Lablachc 
producing in his sleep these bell-like sounds. 

Mr. Bernard Sale continued to instruct the Princess in 
music, and Mr. Richard Westall, R.A., in drawing and painting, 
in which she grew so proficient that, had she been " Miss " 
instead of the Princess Victoria, her tutor was of opinion that 
she would have been the first woman artist of the day. She 
once told her tutor that her pencil was a source of great 
delight to her, and that it was a study in which she would 
willingly spend more of her time than in any other. This 
talent has been inherited by all the Queen's daughters, but 
more especially by the Princess Louise, who is both artist 
and sculptor. Mr. Stewart, the writing- and arithmetic-master 
at Westminster School, instructed the Princess in those branches 
of education. 

From the well-known riding-master of the day, Mr. Fozard, 
the Princess was rapidly acquiring that grace in the saddle of 
which old people never tire of speaking, as they recall the days 
when they saw the girl-Queen cantering down the Row. Her 
mother was her chief instructress in languages ; Mr. Amos 
trained her in the difficult paths of constitutional history ; while 
her chief preceptor in Greek, Latin, mathematics, theology, and 
literature continued to be her childhood's tutor, the Rev. George 
Davys, who had been made Dean of Chester, and was eventually 
to be Bishop of Peterborough. The Queen constantly speaks 
of him as " my kind, good master." The Duchess of Kent 
thought very highly of her daughter's tutor, who also served 
as domestic chaplain at Kensington Palace. An amusing 
story used to be told by him. " I like your sermons so 
much, Mr. Dean," said the Duchess one day, adding, as he 




bowed low, "because tlicy are so short." I am indebted to 
his son, Canon Davys, for a corrected version of the story, 
What the Duchess really said was that she liked the Dean's 
sermons because they were so goad and so short. Bishop 
Davys' modesty or his sense of humour led him to omit the 
word "good" when he told the story. 

The reverend tutor had a quiet humour, and enjoyed his 
pupil's clever repartees. The Dean had been preaching from 
his favourite text, "Whatsoever a man sowcth, that shall he also 
reap." The Princess asked, " Do not men reap anything but 
what they sow?" "Yes," replied the Dean, "if they allow 
some one to come and sow tares amongst their wheat." "Ah, 
I know who that some one is," said the Princess, "and I must 
Jtcep him at arm's length." " At arm's length only, your 



56 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Royal Highness?" rejoined the Dean. "Well, if 1 keep him 
there, he won't do much harm," was the quick reply. 

Bishop Davys was fond of telling another story as illus- 
trating his young pupil's fearless truthfulness. The Princess 
had been giving trouble to her tutor over her lessons one 
morning, and the Baroness Lehzen had occasion to reprove 
her. When the Duchess of Kent came into the room, she 
inquired after her daughter's behaviour. The Baroness reported 
that the Princess had been naughty once. But the little culprit 
interrupted her with, " Twice^ Lehzen ; don't you remember ? " 
A less partial judge than Bishop Davys might have discovered 
a little sauciness in this very truthful statement 

The Bishop was an exceedingly good elocutionist, and it is 
to his careful training that the Princess owed her clear and 
expressive intonation. She was very fond of good literature, 
and read principally in the English classics ; Pope, Drydcn, and 
Shakespeare being special favourites. The " Spectator " was 
the class book chiefly used by the Princess, and she also read 
the Latin authors under her tutor's direction. To him also 
she looked for religious guidance in the solemn ceremony of 
confirmation, for which she was now preparing. There is every 
evidence to show that her feelings at this period were of a 
serious and devout kind. On the 30th of August, 1835, the 
Princess stood in her simple white confirmation dress in the 
Chapel Royal of St. James's. The Archbishop of Canterbury 
and the Bishop of London officiated at the ceremony, which 
was entirely private. There were present the King and Queen, 
the Duchess of Kent, the Duchess of Saxe- Weimar, and several 
other members of the royal family. The address of the Arch- 
bishop was tender and solemni and as he dwelt upon the 



58 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

state of health ; in fact, at the close of her fifteenth year her 
condition caused general concern. When, after her recovery, 
she was again seen driving with her mother in Hyde Park, 
the demonstration of joy shown by the people amounted to an 
ovation. We find her now emerging from the unformed period 
of girlhood into maidenly maturity and comeliness. She was 
seen more frequently at public places of amusement, and her 
fresh, fair face, peeping from under the huge bonnet of the 
period, was the delight of the London crowds. The extreme 
simplicity of attire which had distinguished her as a child was 
exchanged for rich and tasteful costumes. In the summer of 
183s, she accompanied Queen Adelaide to the Ascot races, 
and as she drove in the royal procession to the racecourse 
her pretty appearance was much talked of. She wore a large 
pink bonnet and a rose-coloured satin frock, which matched 
the roses on her checks and contrasted nicely with her fair 
hair and blue eyes. Mr. Nathaniel Parker Willis, the American 
writer, then visiting London, has recorded his impressions of 
the Princess as he saw her at Ascot. He came to the conclu- 
sion that she was quite " unnecessarily pretty and interesting " 
for a royal princess. " She will be sold, poor thing ! " continues 
this youth of eighteen, " bartered away by those great dealers 
in royal hearts, whose calculations will not be of much 
consolation to her if she happens to have a taste of her own." 
Not so fast, Mr. Willis ; the Prince Charming will shortly 
appear to woo and win the fair Princess in the pink bonnet 
and the rose-coloured dress, and she has ** a taste of her own, 
and will show it." 

In the autumn of this year the Princess and her mother 
made another " royal progress," this time through East Anglia. 



6o THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

say so, but we are afraid the Princess laughed at the contretemps, 
A ball followed, which was opened by Lord Exeter and the 
Princess, who after dancing one dance went to bed ; the 
Duchess never allowing any festivity to interfere with the 
simple routine of her daughter's life. Next day the royal 
ladies set off to Holkham, where they were the guests of the 
Lady Anne Coke. Separate bedrooms had been prepared 
for the Princess and her mother ; but the Duchess desired that 
a bed should be provided for her daughter in her own room, 
as they never slept apart. The Earl of Albemarle, who came 
to assist his sister, Lady Anne Coke, to entertain the royal 
visitors, records in his autobiography that the Princess " had 
most sweet and winning manners." 

In May, 1836, when the Princess was seventeen, there came 
to Kensington Palace some very interesting visitors — the Duke 
of Coburg and his two sons, Ernest and Albert It was the 
first meeting of the Princess Victoria and her cousin Prince 
Albert. Fond relatives had destined the two for each other 
from their cradles ; but the happiness of the Princess was too 
dear both to her mother and to her uncle. King Leopold, for 
any coercion to be used. It was arranged for the young 
people to meet without reference being made to any tenderer 
tie than that of cousinship. They passed several weeks in 
each other's society, playing duets on the piano, sketching, 
walking and riding in Kensington Gardens, and attending 
some functions in town. Prince Albert, writing home regarding 
this visit, said : " Dear aunt is very kind to us, and does every- 
thing she can to please us, and our cousin also is very amiable." 
The Queen, in after years, gave the following description of 
her husband at this period : " The Prince was at this time very 




handsome, but very stout, which he entirely grew out of after- 
wards. He was most amiable, natural, unaffceted, and merry — 
full of interest in everything." Baron Stockmar, that judicious 
person whose business it was to attentively scrutinise the 
Prince Albert, had already reported to "Uncle Leopold" that 
he was endowed with the personal characteristics " likely to 
please the sex," and that his mental qualities were also of 
a high order. 



62 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

At the end of a month the Duke of Coburg and his sons 
left Kensington and returned to Germany. The Princess 
parted from each of her cousins with equal affectionateness, 
but we find that Prince Albert is mentioned with special 
tenderness in a letter to her Uncle Leopold. Prince Albert 
too, during his Continental travels, which followed the visit 
to Kensington, collected views of the places which he visited, 
and sent them in an album to the Princess, together with a 
rose gathered from the top of the Rigi. Now a rose is a rose 
the whole world over when passed between man and maid, 
even though it be a dried one from the top of the Rigi. 
Still we are told that there was nothing between Princess 
Victoria and her handsome cousin at this time. It was well 
known that the King did not favour such an alliance for his 
niece, and was disposed to give his help to one of the other 
suitors, for, like " Portia," the young Princess was bewildered 
by the number of Princes who came wooing. There were five 
suitors at this time besides Prince Albert We find a letter 
of the period in which an application is made on behalf of 
Prince Adalbert of Prussia that he might be permitted "to 
place himself on the list of those who pretend to the hand 
of the Princess Victoria." The Duchess of Kent replied that 
such an application must be referred to the King, adding, 
" But if I know my duty to the King, I know also my maternal 
ones, and I am of opinion that the Princess should not marry 
till she is much older." So in the meantime Prince Albert 
was travelling and studying in order to be a fit consort, if 
fortune favoured him, for the Queen of Great Britain ; the 
other five suitors were kept at a distance, and the Princess 
continued to live her happy, quiet life at Kensington Palace. 



THE GIRLHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 65 

On the 2 1 St of August, 1836, the King celebrated his 
seventy-first birthday by a State dinner, at which the Princess 
Victoria occupied a prominent position. Unfortunately it proved 
to be the most terrible ordeal through which the Princess had 
yet passed. The King in his after-dinner speech made this 
cruel thrust at the Duchess of Kent. " I trust in God," he said, 
•* that my life may be spared nine months longer, after which 
period, in event of my death, no regency will take place. I 
shall then have the satisfaction of leaving the royal authority 
to the personal exercise of that young lady " (here the King 
indicated the Princess Victoria, who sat on the opposite side 
of the table), "the heiress-presumptive of the Crown, not in 
the hands of a person now near to me" (here the King turned 
in an angry manner and glanced at the Duchess of Kent, who 
sat at his side). He continued his angry tirade, to the effect 
that he had been insulted by the Duchess having kept away 
her daughter from his Court, and commanded that in future 
the Princess should upon all occasions appear. The Duchess 
of Kent received this brutal outburst with dignified silence, but 
the warm-hearted Princess burst into tears. After dinner the 
Duchess ordered her carriage, and was about to depart with 
her daughter ; but by the intercession of the Good Queen 
Adelaide she was prevailed upon to remain at the Castle 
for the night. 

Nine months later, on the 24th of May, 1837, the Princess 
Victoria attained her legal majority. This, her eighteenth 
birthday, was celebrated with every demonstration of regard 
and attachment by the inhabitants of Kensington. At six 
o'clock the Union Jack was hoisted at the summit of the old 
church on the green opposite the Palace ; while from the 

5 



66 THE PUtSOSAL LIFE OF QVEES VICTORIA 

Palace itself floated a flag of pure white silk, upon which was 
embroidered in letters of blue. ** Victoria.'* Xei'cr had the old 
Court suburb looked gayer. Flags and colours were displa3^ed 
from ever>- house along the High Street, and as early as six 
o'clock in the morning the crowds began to throng into Ken- 
sington Gardens. At sc\'cn o'clock a serenade was performed 
beneath the w-indows of the Princess's room ; and all through 
the day the great worid of London nocked to Kcnangton 
Palace to i>ay congratuUior>- homage to the heiress-apparent, 
who would ere long be i^^^^^ ^^^ ^c King was fast nearing 
his end ; he was, indeed, so ill that their Majesties could not 
take part in the festivities. At n.ght a State ball of unequalled 
splendour was given at St. James's Faiace, and opened by the 
Princess with a quadrille, in which she danced with Lord 
Fitzalan, eldest son of the Earl of Surrey, and grandson of 
the Duke of Norfolk. It was obscnxd by the guests that the 
Princess now took precedence of her mother, occupying the 
chair of State between the dances. During the days which 
followed came congratulatory addresses from the municipal 
authorities throughout the country*, and one from the City of 
London. The King presented his niece with a handsome grand 
piano, and many beautiful and costly presents were sent to her 
from all parts of the empire. Ten days later a Drawing-Room 
was held to celebrate the Princess's majority, and this proved 
to be her last appearance at Couit as the Princess Victoria, 
With her womanhood came also her queenhood. 



THE AIAWE.^ AtOXARUl 



(>7 



66 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

Palace itself floated a flag of pure white silk, upon which was 
embroidered in letters of blue, " Victoria." Never had the old 
Court suburb looked gayer. Flags and colours were displayed 
from every house along the High Street, and as early as six 
o'clock in the morning the crowds began to throng into Ken- 
sington Gardens. At seven o'clock a serenade was performed 
beneath the windows of the Princess's room ; and all through 
the day the great world of London flocked to Kensington 
Palace to pay congratulatory homage to the heiress-apparent, 
who would ere long be Queen, for the King was fast nearing 
his end ; he was, indeed, so ill that their Majesties could not 
take part in the festivities. At night a State ball of unequalled 
splendour was given at St. James's Palace, and opened by the 
Princess with a quadrille, in which she danced with Lord 
Fitzalan, eldest son of the Earl of Surrey, and grandson of 
the Duke of Norfolk. It was observed by the guests that the 
Princess now took precedence of her mother, occupying the 
chair of State between the dances. During the days which 
followed came congratulatory addresses from the municipal 
authorities throughout the country, and one from the City of 
London. The King presented his niece with a handsome grand 
piano, and many beautiful and costly presents were sent to her 
from all parts of the empire. Ten days later a Drawing- Room 
was held to celebrate the Princess's majority, and this proved 
to be her last appearance at Court as the Princess Victoria. 
With her womanhood came also her queenhood. 



THE MAIDEN MONARCH 



67 



Ill 



THE MAIDEN MONARCH 

ON the 17th of June, 1837, it was rumoured in Court circles 
that His Majesty King William IV. was rapidly sinking, 
and that the Archbishop had gone to Windsor to administer 
the last Sacrament. Three days later came the tidings, " The 
King is dead." He expired shortly after two o'clock in the 
morning ; and without loss of time my Lord Archbishop Howley 
and the Chamberlain, Lord Conyngham, left Windsor, and 
took coach for London to announce to the Princess Victoria 
her accession to the throne of the British Empire. The old 
king of seventy-six was succeeded by the maiden of eighteen. 

Driving post haste along the silent roads, in the opening 
dawn of the June morning, the Lord Primate and the Lord 
Chamberlain reached Kensington Palace at five o'clock. All 
was silent, save the singing of the birds, who fittingly were 
the first of living creatures to serenade the Maiden Monarch, 
as eighteen years ago they had welcomed her birth, in the 
same old Palace, with similar song. The lordly messengers 
had much ado to awake the sleeping household. They knocked, 
they rang, they thumped for a considerable time before they 
could rouse the porter at the gates, and they were again kept 
waiting in the courtyard. Finally, after much ringing of bells. 

69 



70 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the attendant of the Princess Victoria appeared, and informed 
their lordships that her royal mistress was in such a sweet sleep 
that she could not venture to disturb her. Then said they : " We 
are come to the Queen on business of State, and even her sleep 
must give way to that." It did ; and, to prove that she did not 

• 

keep them waiting, " in a few minutes she came into the room 
in a loose white nightgown and shawl, her nightcap thrown off, 
and her hair falling upon her shoulders, her feet in slippers, 
tears in her eyes, but perfectly collected and dignified." 

This piquant bit of description, regarding the young Queen's 
appearance, is from Miss Wynn's "Diaries of a Lady of 
Quality " ; and although it is repeated by most biographers of 
Her Majesty, and has been given the dignity of historic record 
by Mr. Justin McCarthy in his " History of Our Own Times," 
it must not be overlooked that Mr. Greville, Clerk of the 
Council, who arrived at the Palace a few hours later, and 
received his information from the Lord Chamberlain, relates 
that, " On the morning of the King's death the Archbishop of 
Canterbury and Lord Conyngham arrived at Kensington at 
five o'clock, and immediately desired to see 'the Queen.' They 
were ushered into an apartment, and in a few minutes the door 
opened, and she came in wrapped in a dressing-gown, and with 
slippers on her naked feet." We are inclined to think that the 
Queen would and did put on her dressing-gown before giving 
audience to the Primate and Chamberlain, although in the 
excitement of the occasion some one may have mistaken it for 
her nightdress. In 1863, when Dean Stanley was on a visit 
to Osborne, he asked Her Majesty if she would give him an 
account of how the news of her accession was conveyed to her, 
which she did in the following words : " It was about 6 a.m. 




that mamma came and called mc, and said ! must go to 
see Lord Conyngham directly— alone. I got up, put on my 
dressing-gown, and went into a room where I found Lord 
Conyngham, who knelt and kissed my hand, and gave me the 
certificate of the King's death. In an hour from that time 
Baron Stockmar came. He had been sent over by King 
Leopold on hearing of the King's dangerous illness. At 2 pm. 
that same day I went to the Council led by my two uncles, llie 
King of Hanover and the Duke of Cambridge." All accounts 



72 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

agree that, immediately the momentous tidings of her accession 
were conveyed to the Queen, she turned to the Primate, and 
said, " I ask your Grace to pray for me." And so was begun, 
with the tears and prayers of a pure young girl, the glorious 
reign of Victoria. 

Immediately after the announcement had been made to the 
Queen of her accession preparations were made at Kensington 
Palace for the holding of her first Council. Many who were 
present at that most memorable Board have recorded their 
testimony to the admirable composure of the young girl 
suddenly called to such a trying ordeal. " Had she been my 
own daughter," said the Duke of Wellington, " I could not have 
wished to see her play her part better " ; and Sir Robert Peel, 
speaking of the Queen's demeanour, said : " There is something 
which art cannot make and which lessons cannot teach ; there 
was that in her demeanour which could only be suggested by a 
high and generous nature." A little incident occurred during 
the administration of the Oath for the security of the Church 
of Scotland which showed that the young Queen was not 
disposed to be overawed by her Ministers. When she had 
occasion to recapitulate the title of an old Act of Parliament in 
which the word " intitulatcd " was used instead of " entitled," 
Lord Melbourne, standing by her side, said, " Entitled, please, 
your Majesty." She turned quickly towards him with a look of 
surprise, and looking again at the paper repeated in a louder 
voice, " An Act intitulatcd." When the Council was over, she 
went to her mother's room, and with deep emotion expressed 
her inability to realise that she really was Queen, and requested 
that she should be left absolutely alone for two hours to think 
over the responsibilities lying before her. 



THE MAIDEN MONARCH 



To the Good Queen Adelaide, who had been to her like a 
second mother, the young Queen showed the most thoughtful 
regard. Almost her first act, after meeting the Council, was to 
write to the sorrowing widow a letter of affectionate condolence, 
which she addressed to " Her Majesty the Queen," delicately 
refusing to remind her aunt that she was no longer entitled to 
that diitinction. When Colonel Wood, who was conducting 
executive business for the Dowager Queen Adelaide, after the 
funeral of the King, represented to Her Majesty that there were 
some little things at Windsor Castle which the Dowager would 
like to retain, she replied, " Oh, Colonel, let the dear Queen have 
them by all means, and anything else in the Castle which she 
may desire." Later on, when the young Queen had removed 
with her Court to Windsor, she noticed that a bed of violets 
which her Aunt Adelaide had cherished were in bloom, and 



74 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

gave directions for the flowers to be gathered and despatched, 
with her love, to the widowed Queen. A very simple act, 
but one which showed that queenhood had not spoiled the 
simple, loving nature of Victoria, 

At ten o'clock, on the morning after her accession, the 
Queen, accompanied by her mother, and attended by a train 
of coaches carrying her lords and ladies, and escorted by 
cavalry, drove to St. James's Palace to be publicly proclaimed. 
All the avenues leading to the Palace were lined with people, 
and prominent in one of the balconies was the striking figure 
of Daniel O'Connell, whose loyalty knew no bounds. While 
the Proclamation was being read, the " little Queen " stood at 
the window of the Presence Chamber, in view of the people, a 
somewhat pathetic figure. She was dressed in deep mourning 
with white cuff's, a white tippet, and a border of white crape, 
under what the " Court Chronicle " calls a " small " black 
bonnet — small for the period of enormous headgear, we may 
add — which was placed far back on her head, showing her 
light hair, simply parted over her forehead in the " pure virginal 
style." She was looking very pale, but retained her composure 
while the routine of the ceremonial was proceeding. When, 
however, the cannon began to thunder, the trumpets sounded, 
the band struck up the National Anthem, and the plaudits of 
the people, crying, " God Save the Queen," rent the air — 



*'She saw no purple shine, 

For tears had dimmed her eyes ; 

She only knew her childhood's flowers 
Were happier pageantries! 

And while the heralds played their parts 
Those million shouts to drown — 



76 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VIC20RIA 

over this change in her attire, hoping that it might not be 
misconstrued as an act of disrespect to the late King, for, she 
added, " I was in black, notwithstanding." When Wilkie was 
painting the picture, he had occasion to remark upon the 
Queen's orderliness. "She appoints a sitting once in two 
days/* he writes, "and she never puts me oflF." The painter's 
courtly enthusiasm also leads him to descant upon the lovely 
form in which the regal power had now appeared. He writes : 
" Her Majesty is an elegant person ; seems to lose nothing of 
her authority, either by her youth or delicacy ; is approached 
with the same awe, and obeyed with the same promptitude, 
as the most commanding of her predecessors." 

On the 13th of July the Queen, accompanied by her mother, 
quitted Kensington, and took up her abode at Buckingham 
Palace. It must have been a period of sad good-byes, for the 
young Queen was quitting the home of her birth and the haunts 
of her childhood, as well as leaving many loyal hearts around 
whom her own had entwined. No one was forgotten in her 
leave-takings ; even a poor sick girl, the daughter of Hillman, 
an old servant of her father's, was made happy by the present 
of a book of Psalms marked with the dates of the days on 
which the Queen had been accustomed to read them, and in 
the book was a marker with a peacock worked on it by her 
own hands. 

It was a great contrast from historic Kensington,, with its 
homely surroundings, to the new grandeur of Buckingham 
Palace ; and we fancy the Queen must have experienced a chill 
of repugnance as she took up her abode there. It is invariably 
spoken of in the journals of the period as the " New Palace at 
Pimlico," for it was not yet quite completed, and workmen 



Sc^ m£ PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

lVincc5S Charlotte with her first-born son, hoped the Queen 
would not rush into the perils of marriage and maternity too 
$oon. and some even thought it might be safer for her to copy 
the example of Elizabeth in abjuring wedlock altogether. The 
)vung folks did not mind so long as she married for love. 
The condition of susceptible young men was indeed tragic. 
Some shot themselves, and some went mad all for love of the 
virgin Queen. One gentleman of position was reduced to 
weeding the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens in the hope 
of obtaining a sight of her, and when the Queen left for 
Buckingham Palace he had his phaeton in readiness, and drove 
in front of her carriage all the way to town. He continued to 
make himself so obtrusive that the authorities were obliged to 
take him in hand. 

Charles Dickens was one of the youths who had a severe 
attack of Queen fever ; happily he recovered, or we should not 
have received anything from his pen beyond the " Pickwick 
Papers." His youthful aberration must have come to the great 
novelist's memory with amusement when, at the climax of his 
fame, he was commanded to lunch with the Queen at Windsor, 
and received from her hands a copy of Her Majesty's "Tour 
in the Highlands," inscribed with the words : " From the 
humblest to the most distinguished author in England" 

Meantime in the New Palace Her Majesty was holding 
countless functions. A gorgeous new throne, upholstered in 
crimson velvet with gold trimmings, had been set up, and the 
gay young Queen tried it, in sportive mood, and said that it 
was "the most comfortable throne she had ever sat upon." 
Deputations from the universities, the corporations, and different 
•odeties throughout the kingdom trooped to Buckingham 



8a THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

uncovered not in presence of peasant or of king. What was to 
be done ? There was no red tape about her youthful majesty, 
and a compromise was made with the sturdy Quakers that as 
the deputation ascended the grand staircase of Buckingham 
Palace the Yeomen of the Guard should lift each man's hat 
for him. Miss Grace Greenwood relates that when she asked 
Joseph Sturge whether his principles permitted him to kiss the 
Queen's hand, he answered, " Oh yes, and found that act of 
homage no hardship, I assure thee. It was a fair, soft, delicate 
little hand." Another unique ceremony performed by the 
Queen was presiding over a Chapter of the Order of the Garter 
for the purpose of bestowing the vacant ribbon on her half- 
brother, the Prince of Leiningen. The occasion was too 
tempting for the gossip-mongers, and a story went the round 
of the papers that the Queen, when arranging her dress for 
the ceremonial, sent for the venerable Field Marshal, the 
Duke of Norfolk, and asked with charming natveti^ " But, 
my Lord Duke, where am I to wear the garter?" His 
Grace was able to assure Her Majesty that it might be worn 
as an armlet, according to the custom adopted by Queen 
Anne. 

On the 17th of July, scarcely a month after her accession, 
the Queen prorogued Parliament in person. It was said that 
the Duchess of Kent and Her Majesty's physician endeavoured 
to persuade her not to undertake such an exciting ordeal. In 
fact, the " old folks " about the young Queen undoubtedly 
showed a disposition to keep her away from great public 
ceremonials, thinking it not "quite nice" for a young maiden 
to be exhibited to a thronging populace. They had counted 
without their host Victoria had made up her mind to be a 



84 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of velvet, trimmed with ermine. The robe was confined at 
the waist and shoulders with a gold cord and tassels. Her 
stomacher was a mass of flashing jewels, and she wore diamond 
bracelets and the armlet of the Garter. On her arrival at the 
House the upper part of her dress was exchanged for the 
parliamentary robes of crimson and ermine. She laughed and 
chatted gaily with her ladies as they robed her, and, preceded 
by the heralds and lords-in-waiting and attended by all the 
great officers of State, entered the House, wearing for the first 
time a diadem upon her brow. She ascended the throne with 
a firm step, and remained standing and smiling as the lords-in- 
waiting completed her attire with the mantle of purple velvet. 
Then in musical accents came the words, " My Lords, be 
seated," and the time-honoured ceremonial began. The reading 
of the Queen's speech was the event of the day. " I never 
heard anything better read in my life than her speech," wrote 
Charles Sumner, who was present ; and the Duke of Sussex, 
when she had finished, wiped his ^y^s as he exclaimed, 
" Beautiful ! beautiful ! " 

As soon as the Queen was settled at Windsor Castle she 
received a visit from her Uncle Leopold, King of the Belgians, 
and his consort Louise, daughter of Louis Philippe. One can 
imagine that the royal hostess spared no pains to fittingly 
entertain the uncle to whose kindness she owed so much in 
childhood. The Queen was her own housekeeper, so far as 
circumstances permitted, and she managed things right royally, 
but never contracted a debt. She arranged dinner-parties, 
had delightful impromptu dances, picnics on Virginia Water, 
organised riding- and driving-parties, and got up little evening 
concerts, at the Castle, at which she frequently sang herself 



86 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICIORIA 

and skirt and a military cap with a deep gold border. From 
Windsor she proceeded to Brighton, took possession of the 
Pavilion, and had a gay time as she took the sea air. She was 
back again in London in November, and on Lord Mayor's Day 
made a State entrance into the City, knighted the Mayor and 
the two Sheriffs (one of whom was Sir Moses Montefiore), 
and dined at the Guildhall. Never had Gog and Magog looked 
down upon a fairer guest than the young Queen in her pink 
and silver brocaded silk gown. A little contretemps happened 
at the dinner. Her Majesty's lace ruffles, having accidentally 
become entangled with her bouquet and fan, which, with her 
smelling-bottle, she had laid on the table beside her plate, were 
the occasion of breaking the wine-glass from which she had 
just drunk the toast of the Lord Mayor and the City of London 
— an accident which caused her some little annoyance. On the 
20th of November the Queen opened her first Parliament, and 
was greeted during her progress to the House by the most 
loyal demonstrations. The question of the Civil List was 
settled during the session, and the sum of ;^385,ooo was voted 
as the annual income for the young sovereign. One of the 
first things which Her Majesty did with her income was to pay 
her father's debts, contracted before she was born. It was 
also said that the Duchess of Kent met with a pleasant surprise 
one morning when she found on her breakfast table receipts 
for all outstanding debts. It must be remembered that the 
Duke of Kent owed his monetary difficulties to his generosity, 
and that his income was inadequate for a royal duke. 

But to turn to the more arduous side of the Queen's life. 
Upon her accession she made her choice in favour of being a 
working Queen rather than a show monarch, and it became the 



88 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

had read it When the Prime Minister apologised for bringing 
so many business despatches, the Queen replied : " My Lord, 
the attention required from me is only a change of occupation. 
I have not hitherto led a life of leisure, for I have not long left 
my lessons." There are many well-known stories about the 
business exactitude of the young sovereign and of her conscien- 
tious scruples; and it is said that Lord Melbourne declared 
that he "would rather manage ten kings than one queen," 
notwithstanding that the courtly Melbourne liked his posi- 
tion of chief adviser to a lovely young Queen vastly. He 
was close upon sixty years of age, cultured, polished, every 
inch a courtier, a man of the world, and a man of honour. 
There is no doubt that he was an old beau and devoted to 
the sex. He had no family of his own, no one to love, and 
he devoted himself to the young Queen with the affection of 
a father. He was the leader of the Whig Party, then in 
power; but even the Tory leaders acknowledged his aptitude 
for the delicate post of adviser to the Maiden Monarch. The 
Duke of Wellington said, " I have no small talk, and Peel has 
no manners, and so the Queen must be left to Melbourne." 
The Prime Minister's attitude to Her Majesty was far from 
obsequious, but it conveyed respectful deference, and was 
winning and sincere. He lived at the Castle, and for the 
Queen's sake accustomed himself to a mode of life which in 
other circumstances would have been an intolerable "bore." 
In the Queen's presence he usually took care only to speak 
the Queen's English, and pruned his speech of all needless 
expletives ; but on one occasion he forgot himself. He was 
sitting in his accustomed place at the Queen's left hand at 
dinner, when the conversation turned upon the recent con- 



90 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

her minister that he might discuss the Com Laws with her 
in private. 

The persons who exercised the chief influence upon the 
Queen at this time were Baron Stockmar, the trusted friend 
of her uncle, King Leopold, who had been despatched by 
him to the British Court to watch over his niece's welfare ; 
the Baroness Lehzen, her former governess, and now her 
private secretary; the beautiful Duchess of Sutherland, her 
favourite lady-in-waiting; and, of course, her mother, the 
Duchess of Kent, who was always her daughter's loved com- 
panion, though she took no part in affairs of State. Still, it 
was to Lord Melbourne that the young Queen always turned 
for advice. The oracular Stockmar, who became such an 
important figure in Court circles after Her Majesty's marriage, 
remained at present in the background. His chief function 
was to watch " how the wind blew " with regard to Prince 
Albert of Coburg, the devoted lover whom the coy young 
Queen was keeping at a distance. In homely phrase, she 
meant "to enjoy herself for a few years before she got 
married" 

The Queen's life at Windsor was regulated with due 
regard for her many duties. She rose at eight, breakfasted 
with her mother — who was so strict in her observance of 
etiquette that she never came to her Queen-daughter's presence 
until she was summoned — then, dressed in her white silk robe 
de c/t/xmbre^ the Queen received Lord Melbourne in her 
boudoir, read the despatches, and transacted State business. 
Later in the morning she gave audience, when necessary, to 
Cabinet Ministers. At two o'clock she rode out, generally at 
full gallop, attended by her numerous suite, and with Lord 



h._ 



92 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

always remained standing in the drawing-room until they made 
their appearance. The evening was spent in music and con- 
versation, varied by quadrille parties ; the Duchess of Kent 
always having her rubber of whist At half-past eleven the 
Queen retired. Her life at Windsor was varied by sojourns 
at Buckingham Palace and at the Pavilion at Brighton. Where- 
ever she was, each hour of the day was mapped out, and she 
spent no idle moments, having the happy faculty for working 
when she worked and playing when she played. If the 
Queen had led a quiet, uneventful girlhood, she certainly made 
up for lost time now, and there was no one in Her Majesty's 
dominions who enjoyed life with its pleasures and gaieties more 
thoroughly. 

And so the months passed swiftly by until in the merry 
month of June all the town was agog for the Coronation. 
Country cousins came flocking in by the thousand. Every hotel 
and lodging-house was filled from garret to basement, and 
there was not a private house without staying-guests. It was 
calculated that there were some five hundred thousand people 
from the provinces in London, in addition to the distinguished 
representatives from every court in Europe, with their retinues. 
On the morning of the 28th, at seventeen minutes past three, 
just as the first streak of dawn appeared in the horizon, a salute 
of twenty-one guns heralded in the auspicious day, and from 
every tower and steeple rang out a joyous peal. The hundreds 
and thousands of the poorer folk who had passed the night in 
the streets looked anxiously at some ominous dark clouds in 
the sky, but after a slight shower they dispersed, and the sun 
shone bright and gloriously. 

At five o'clock the doors of Westminster Abbey were thrown 




^M 



open to the eager crowd of ticket-holders, and the bells of 
St Margaret's clanged and pealed. 

At length the firing of the Park guns announced that the 
royal procession had left the Palace. At the boisterous salute 
the young Queen put her hands to her ears in mock alarm, 
and then chatted merrily with the Duchess of Sutherland, who. 
as Mistress of the Robes, rode in the carriage with her. The 
Queen wore a dress of crimson velvet and ermine richly 
adorned with diamonds and pearls. On her head was a gold 
circlet fixed on to a cap of purple velvet hned with white taffeta 
and turned up with ermine. Eight lovely girls of the highest 
nobility, dressed in white silk, with blush-roses, attended like 
a bevy of fairy nymphs to bear her train. 

Her Majesty's State carriage was drawn by eight cream- 
coloured horses, and the equipages of the foreign ainbassador& 



94 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

were in corresponding magnificence. For length and picturesque 
effect no such procession had ever passed along the streets 
of London. The " old folks " about her had endeavoured to 
persuade the young Queen not to have a public procession ; 
but while she willingly renounced the time-honoured banquet 
at Westminster Hall, she insisted upon coming out amongst 
her people, and chose the most circuitous route to the Abbey. 
Once the traces of her carriage broke, and she sat with perfect 
composure while the damage was repaired ; and when at 
another point the crowd pressed so closely that the equipage 
was brought to a standstill, she gave orders to wait awhile, and 
would not allow her guards to use violence to the people. This 
thoughtfulness had its reward. The coronation of the Maiden 
Monarch was a white day ; not a single fatal accident marred 
its joyousness. The Duchess of Kent's carriage was stopped 
more than once by exuberant citizens, who insisted upon shaking 
hands with her as a token of approval of the manner in which 
she had reared their Queen. Marshal Soult came in for 
vociferous cheering, and Waterloo was forgotten as he and the 
Duke of Wellington shook hands. 

An eye-witness relates that the Queen entered the Abbey 
" gay as a lark and looking like a girl on her birthday." A 
moment of breathless silence preceded her entry ; then from 
choir and organ burst forth the strains of the anlhem, " I was 
glad when they said unto me. Let us go into the house of 
the Lord," as, with her brilliant following, she swept slowly 
along to the centre of the choir. The anthem now gave 
place to a thrilling rendering of " God Save the Queen," with 
trumpet accompaniment. The cannon boomed, but the sound 
was deadened by the tumultuous acclamations within the 



THE MAIDEN MONARCH 95 

Abbey as the Queen reached the Recognition Chair, beside 
the altar. She knelt a few moments in silent prayer. When 
she arose, the Westminster boys seized the golden opportunity, 
and, rising en masse, shouted with one voice, " Victoria, 
Victoria ! Vivat Victoria Regina ! " 

The Archbishop now presented the Queen to the people 
in the quaint formula, "Sirs, I here present unto you Queen 
Victoria, the undoubted Queen of this realm ; wherefore, all 
you who are come this day to do your homage, are you 
willing to do the same?" which was answered from all points 
of the compass, as Her Majesty turned to the north, to the 
south, to the cast, and to the west, by " Long Live Queen 
Victoria," accompanied by the blowing of trumpets and the 
waving of banners. 

The Coronation, with its various ceremonies, civil and 
religious, lasted more than four hours, and throughout the 
Queen played her part with wonderful composure. Care had 
been taken to provide a crown suitable for her small head ; 
but no one had thought about reducing the size of the orb 
which she was required to carry in her tiny hand. "What 
am I to do with it?*' she asked in concern. "Carry it, your 
Majesty," replied Lord John Thynne. "Am I? It is very 
heavy," the Queen answered in a tone of amazement How- 
ever, it was too late for protest, and she obeyed the exigencies 
of the situation. A worse mistake had been made with regard 
to the ruby coronation-ring. The jeweller had made it to fit 
Her Majesty's little finger, whereas the Archbishop declared 
that according to the rubric it must be put upon the larger 
finger, and accordingly forced it into that position. The 
Queen bore her painfully swelling finger with the same 



96 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

heroism that she carried the weighty orb. Afterwards the 
iinger was so much swollen that it had to be bathed in iced 
water before the ring could be drawn off. 

The supreme moment of the ceremony came when the 
crown was placed upon the Queen's head. At the same 
instant the peers and peeresses put on their coronets, the 
bishops their mitres, the heralds their caps, whilst the trumpets 
sounded, the drums beat, the cannon outside fired, the Tower 
guns answered, and the people within and without rent the 
air with shouts of " God Save the Queen ! " After this came 
the ceremony of the Homage, when all the Lords spiritual 
and temporal ascended the steps of the throne, and, taking 
off their coronets, touched the crown on the Queen's head, 
repeated the quaint oath of allegiance, and kissed her hand. 
Formerly it had been the cheek of the monarch which was 
kissed. During the Homage occurred the episode of old Lord 
Rolle, who was so infirm that his effort to ascend the steps 
to the throne resulted in his falling down, but such was his 
loyalty that he again essayed the impossible feat. Then it 
was that the Queen rose from the throne and held out her 
hand to the old man, pityingly as a daughter might have 
done. An old lady, who was present at the Coronation and 
often described the scene to the present writer, when she 
came to this part of the story used to lose all control of 
the aspirates in her excitement, and invariably finished the 
narration with : " And then, my dear, when the sweet young 
Queen rose from her throne, and extended her hand for that 
gouty old lord to kiss, I thought that the (H)Abbey would 
have come down with the cheering." 

It was four o'clock in the afternoon before the Queen 



THE MAIDEN MONARCH 



entered the Stale coach for the return journey. All the way 
back to the Palace she smiled and bowed to the exultant 
crowds, performing her part beautifully to the last, although 
the strain of the day's work would have prostrated most 
young ladies. On entering the Palace court and hearing the 
bark of her favourite dog, she exclaimed, " There's Dash ; I 
must go and give him his bath.*' It is easy to imagine with 
what a sense of relief the young Queen put off her State 
trappings, the ring which had caused her such discomfort, 
and the heavy orb which had made her wrist ache, to have 
a frolic with her pet and a brief rest before she received the 
one hundred guests who composed her dinner-party that 
evening. For several days revelry reigned throughout London, 
and indeed in every place in the country. The poor were 

7 



98 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

feasted, the school-children had holiday, and business was 
forgotten in one loyal burst of enthusiasm. The most notice- 
able feature in the metropolis was the great Coronation Fair 
in Hyde Park, lasting for four days, which the Queen honoured 
with her presence. 



BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED UFE OF 

QUEEN VICTORIA 



99 



IV 

BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED UFE OF QUEEN 

VICTORIA 

WHEN Queen Victoria announced to her Prime 
Minister that she had resolved to marry, Lord 
Melbourne replied, with paternal solicitude : " Your Majesty 
will be much more comfortable, for a woman cannot stand 
alone for any time, in whatever position she may be." 

This was in the autumn of 1839, and the previous six 
months had probably been to the young Queen the most 
unhappy which she had ever experienced, owing to the strifes 
and jealousies of the two great political parties in the country. 
The atmosphere of reserve in which Her Majesty was compelled 
to live was very unnatural for a young girl, and oppressive 
to one of her open, candid disposition. Often she must have 
longed for the companionship of one with whom she could 
be herself, unrestricted by r^al considerations. The happy 
change which her marriage wrought in her isolated position 
is thus expressed by the Queen : " We must all have trials 
and vexations ; but if one's home is happy ^ then the rest is 
comparatively nothing. . . . My happiness at home, the love 
of my husband, his kindness, his advice, his support, and his 
company make up for alL" 

lOI 



I02 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

There were many suitors for the hand of the fair occupant 
of the greatest throne in the world, among them the Prince 
of Orange ; and it is a curious coincidence that a former 
Prince of Orange came a-wooing to the Princess Charlotte. 
After a period of indecision, that royal lady dismissed her 
suitor peremptorily, not, however, without going to the window 
to take a last look at him as he mounted his horse, which 
caused the ladies-in-waiting to think that the Princess was 
about to relent ; but when, after gazing intently at his 
retreating figure, clad in a scarlet uniform surmounted by a 
hat with nodding green plumes, she exclaimed, " How like a 
radish he looks!" it was felt that his fate was finally settled. 
There are not any stories about Queen Victoria either receiving 
or dismissing suitors, the proposals for her hand being made 
officially and rejected in the same manner. The one love 
episode of her life was with her cousin, Prince Albert, second 
son of the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and all the 
world knows of its happy fulfilment. 

When a small boy, Prince Albert was often promised by 
his nurse, as a reward for good behaviour, that he should 
marry his cousin, the Princess Victoria. Such a union had 
been designed by fond relatives when the children were yet 
in their cradles, and became the darling hope of Grandmamma 
of Coburg and Uncle Leopold, and was favoured by the 
Queen's mother, the Duchess of Kent, though it was by no 
means popular with King William IV. and the royal dukes. 
A visit was paid by Prince Albert to the Duchess ol Kent, 
at Kensington Palace, in 1836, and he then made a favourable 
impression upon the Princess Victoria. The cousins rode, 
sangi played, danced, and walked together, and enjoyed each 



i^^^^^^^^^^l 


1 


^L ™X OOEI* IN WEDUING DBISS. 





BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED LIFE 105 

other's society after the usual manner of a youth and maiden 
at the impressionable age of seventeen. We have heard of 
little love tokens exchanged, but it is not generally known 
that a ring — a small enamel with a tiny diamond in the 
centre — was given by the Prince to his pretty cousin during 
this visit. This early gift from her lover has always been 
worn by the Queen, together with her engagement-ring, a 
beautiful emerald serpent, above her wedding-ring, which, we 
believe, has never been taken off since her wedding-day. 
One of her ladies tells the story that, when a sculptor was 
modelling Her Majesty's hand, she was in an agony lest 
the ring should come off with the plaster, which she would 
have regarded as a bad omen. 

After the return of the Prince to Germany, letters occa- 
sionally passed between him and the Princess Victoria ; but 
after her accession to the throne even these cousinly epistles 
ceased. In reply to the wish expressed by her Uncle Leopold 
that a formal betrothal with Prince Albert should take place, 
the young Queen said that she wished the affair to be con- 
sidered as broken off, and that for four years she could not 
think of marriage. Not that her feelings towards the Prince 
had really changed, for Her Majesty says that, " from her 
girlhood, she had never thought of marrying any one else." 
It was the Prince's youth which stood in the way. Girl 
though she was, the Queen had plenty of sound common 
sense, and she shrewdly suspected that, though the people 
were romantically loyal to a young maiden, their lawful 
sovereign, they might not be very enthusiastic about a 
consort who was only a youth of eighteen. Moreover, the 
Queen had her part to learn, for she had determined to be a 



io6 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ruling monarch, and it seemed better that she should be 
unfettered by new ties during her apprenticeship in statecraft 
In short, Her Majesty found queenhood enough for the 
present, without the addition of wifehood and motherhood. 

But when, in after years, she realised the burden of a 
crown, and the value of the wise head beside her own, and 
the comfort of a loving husband's help, she greatly regretted 
that her marriage had not taken place earlier, and with 
characteristic candour Her Majesty has expressed the indigna- 
tion which she feels against herself at having kept the Prince 
waiting. The excuse which the Queen makes is that the 
sudden change from the secluded life at Kensington to the 
independence of her position as Queen Regnant, at the age 
of eighteen, put all ideas of marriage out of her mind. " A 
worse school for a young girl," she adds, "or one more 
detrimental to all natural feelings and affections, cannot well 
be imagined, than the position of a queen at eighteen, without 
experience and without a husband to guide and support her. 
This the Queen can state from painful experience, and she 
thanks God that none of her dear daughters are exposed to 
such danger." 

It was a few months after her coronation that the Queen 
realised the words, " Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." 
Party jealousy now began to make her its victim, the Tories 
growing jealous of the Whig influences which surrounded the 
sovereign. The Queen's father had been a staunch Whig ; 
her mother sympathised with his views, as did also her uncle, 
King Leopold ; the Whigs were in power at the time of the 
Queen's accession, and her chief friend, adviser, and political 
tutor was the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. It was said 



BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED LIFE 107 

that the Tories, in order to destroy the Whig influences about 
the Queen, plotted the fall of Melbourne by hatching a Court 
scandal. There was in attendance upon the Duchess of 
Kent a beautiful and accomplished woman, the Lady Flora 
Hastings, and rumours were set afloat that the behaviour of 
this lady was such as to render her continuance about the 
person of the Queen's mother a scandal. Things were repre- 
sented to Her Majesty in such a light as to leave her no 
option but to banish Lady Flora from Court. The Marchioness 
of Hastings then demanded an investigation into the charges 
made, which resulted in the complete vindication of her 
daughter's character. Lady Flora, in writing an account of 
the affair to an uncle in Brussels, states that the Duchess of 
Kent treated her with great tenderness after the explosion 
of the scandal, and that the Queen expressed her regret 
'* handsomely, with tears in her eyes." However, a few months 
later the unfortunate lady died. It was alleged by many 
that Lady Flora had died of a broken heart, and scurrilous 
letters were addressed to the Queen's private secretary and 
confidante, the Baroness Lehzen, accusing her of having 
plotted the downfall of Lady Flora. Capital was made out 
of the aff'air by the Tories, and it was argued that Lord 
Melbourne was responsible for having allowed such a scandal 
to creep into the Court of the young Queen. Shortly after- 
wards, upon a narrow Government majority, Lord Melbourne 
resigned office. 

Her Majesty was in the greatest griel, both concerning 
the case of Lady Flora Hastings and at the resignation of the 
Melbourne Ministry. She kept her private apartments for a 
day, and was in deep sorrow. To part with the Prime 



io8 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Minister seemed like losing her only friend and adviser ; still, 
she must face the exigencies of her position, and accordingly 
the news went through the town that " the Queen had sent 
for the Duke." In the popular mind of those days England 
had but one Duke, and that was the hero of Waterloo. 
Wellington, however, declined to form a ministry, and the 
Queen on his advice sent for Sir Robert PeeL Her Majesty 
was naYvely frank with Sir Robert, and told him that it was 
a grief to her to part with her late Government; still, she 
was prepared to do her duty as a monarch. All went well 
until it was intimated that the Ladies of the Royal House- 
hold must be replaced by others favourable to the party now 
in power ; then the woman arose within her, and the Queen 
distinctly refused to part with her loved and valued friends, 
foremost among whom was the Mistress of the Robes, the 
beautiful Duchess of Sutherland, for whose splendid qualities 
the Queen had the greatest admiration. The Duchess was a 
daughter of the noble Howard family, and the wife of a 
Scotch duke. Her interests in the literary and philanthropic 
movements of the day, and in all that affected the well-being 
and advancement of women, are well known, and while she 
reigned at Stafford House it was a centre of the forward 
social movements of the day. It was in her drawing-room 
that Harriet Beecher-Stowe pleaded the cause of the slave. 
We do not wonder that the Queen did not like losing the 
attendance of such a truly noble Duchess, nor of Lady 
Normanby, the Duchess of Bedford, and the other ladies ; 
but it was, we believe, unconstitutional for her to refuse the 
wishes of her Ministers. Writing of the affair to Lord 
Melbourne she said: "They wanted to deprive me of my 



no THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

Wellington and Sir Robert Peel could get no further con- 
cession from Her Majesty than, "You may take my Lords, 
but not my Ladies." 

Her Majesty was beginning to find that standing alone 
was not a very pleasant thing, and when, in the autumn of 
1839, Prince Albert, accompanied by his brother, Prince 
Ernest, paid a visit to Windsor Castle, her views about 
marrying underwent a change. The Prince was now greatly 
improved by foreign travel, and had developed into a strikingly 
handsome man, with graceful, winning manners. A graphic 
sketch of Prince Albert at this period was written by an 
English gentleman resident at Gotha : "His Serene Highness 
Prince Albert is a fine young man ; his complexion is clear ; 
his eyts greyish blue, exceedingly expressive; his features 
are regular, the forehead expanding nobly, and giving the 
notion of intellectual power. His hair is brown, parted on 
the side of the head in the modem fashion. He wears 
mustachios, which add much to the manliness of his counte- 
nance, and he has also whiskers. He is exceedingly erect in his 
person, and is said to excel in all the martial exercises of the 
military profession, and to be exceedingly au fait in the more 
elegant exercises of the drawing-room, the saloon, and the 
ball-room." He was three months younger than the Queen, 
having been bom August, 1819, at Rosenau, the summer 
residence of his father, the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg- 
Gotha. An unhappy estrangement took place between his 
parents when he was a little fellow of five, and he never 
again saw the beautiful mother whom he was said to resemble, 
and for whose memory he entertained the deepest affection. 
She died murmuring the names " Ernest I " " Albert I " — the 



BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED LIFE iii 

two boys, whom in her last moments she longed to clasp in 
her arms. The young Princes were carefully trained by 
their father, and watched with loving solicitude by their two 
grandmothers. Prince Albert pursued his studies at the 
University of Bonn, and became an accomplished student 
in literature and the fine arts. He was thoughtful, reserved, 
and dignified beyond his years, and a veritable Galahad in 
all the moral virtues; it seemed to every one that he was 
just the man to make the young Queen happy. 

When the Prince came to Windsor in 1839, he was un- 
doubtedly a little touched in his dignity, and had resolved to 
tell the Queen, like a man, that he was not going to be played 
with ; she must make up her mind to a formal betrothal or 
consider the affair at an end. His mind, however, was soon 
set at rest. " On the second day after our arrival," he wrote 
home to a college friend, "the most friendly demonstrations 
were directed towards me, and two days later I was secretly 
called to a private audience, in which the Queen offered me 
her hand and heart. I think," he adds, " that I shall be very 
happy, for Victoria possesses all the qualities which make 
a home happy, and seems to be attached to me with her 
whole heart." 

Her Majesty's superior rank made it imperative that the 
proposal of marriage should come from her, and it is variously 
reported how she made it. There is a story that she tentatively 
asked the Prince such leading questions as, " How did he like 
England ? " " Would he like to make it his home ? " But the 
Prince says that the Queen declared her feeling for him in a 
" genuine outburst of love and affection," with which he was 
** quite enchanted and carried away." The proposal was made 



xia THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

on the morning of the isth of October, 1839. The Prince 
had been out hunting early with his brother, and immediately 
after his return the Queen summoned him to her boudoir and 
made the interesting communication. The happiness of the 
young pair seems to have been beyond expression, and we 
find both of them writing ecstatic letters to their near relations ; 
the Queen dwelling upon the great sacrifice which the Prince 
was making in leaving his country to share her life, and he 
in his turn feeling all unworthy of the love which was shown 
hinL Uncle Leopold and the worthy Baron Stockmar were 
delighted at the news, and both the Duchess of Kent and 
Lord Melbourne were pleased also. Beyond these and a 
favoured few the engagement was not made known until after 
Prince Albert had returned home. 

For a whole month the lovers courted in secret. The Queen 
took her first holiday from Lord Melbourne's political instruc- 
tions, and enjoyed a merry time, galloping about the Park in 
the day with the handsome Prince at her side, and having 
delightful little dances and festivities in the evening. She 
reviewed the troops in the Home Park, dressed in her Windsor 
uniform and cap, and mounted on her old charger " Leopold," 
having the Prince in his green uniform of the Coburg troops 
on her right hand. It rained and was piercingly cold, but 
what did that matter when " dearest Albert " settled her cape 
"so comfortably" for her? 

The gay, happy time came to an end all too soon. The 
Prince and his brother returned home, and the Queen, according 
to the gossip of the time, gave herself up to a sweet melancholy, 
and would sing only German songs ; and in sympathy with 
the royal lovers young ladies warbled " I caught her tear at 



BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED LIFE 113 

parting," which became the popular song of the day. The 
royal lovers corresponded daily, and the miscarriage of one 
of the letters was the occasion of an amusing incident. The 
Queen was sitting one morning at Windsor Castle in conversa- 
tion with Lord Melbourne, when word was brought that a 
young man had called 
demanding to see 
ihc Queen on private 



-,-^ , V 



^i^ 



1S1:. 



business. Her Majesty of course declined to see the stranger [ 
but finding that he would not go away unheard, Lord Melbourne 
went to inquire what he wanted. He refused to say at first, 
but, further pressed, admitted that he had a packet which he 
must place in no one's hands but those of the Queen. Finally 
he was brought to the royal presence, and drawing forth from 
his breast a mysterious package he delivered it to Her Majesty, 
who on opening it found that it was a letter from Prince Albert, 
which had been omitted by mistake from the royal letter-bag, 



114 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and which the postal authorities had sent by special mes- 
senger. The young man received a suitable reward, and was 
commended for his fidelity to his trust 

In the midst of her new-found happiness the Queen had 
important business to perform ; first the Privy Council was 
summoned, and she declared to these solemn old gentlemen, 
some eighty in number, that it was her intention to marry 
Prince Albert of Saxe-Cobuig and Gotha. The reading of 
the formal declaration only occupied a few minutes, and Her 
Majesty says that she was very nervous, and saw nothing save 
Lord Melbourne looking at her with tears in his eyes, and 
upon her wrist the medallion of her "beloved Albert," which 
seemed to give her courage. Next came a more trying ordeal 
still, the announcement of her approaching marriage in a speech 
from the throne, in the House of Lords. She did it with the 
utmost dignity, and in those clear musical tones so peculiar 
to her. Both were doubtless "nervous occasions," but the 
Queen confided to the Duchess of Gloucester that neither 
of them was half so trying as " having to propose to Albert'* 
The troubles were not as yet over, and it seemed that the 
course of true love was not in this case to run smooth. There 
was heated discussion both in and out of Parliament regarding 
the allowance to be given to the Prince. The original proposal 
of ;f 50,000 a year was voted down to ;f 30,000, and the discussion 
concerning it was in the worst possible taste ; when Mr. Hume 
told Lord John Russell that he "must know the danger of 
setting a young man down in London with so much money 
in his pockets," the House, instead of calling him to order, 
roared with laughter. Then came the matter of the Prince's 
precedency. The Queen wished a clause put in the Naturalisa* 



ii6 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

visiting continental sovereigns. The Queen's sentiments were 
very creditable to her womanly feelings, and we do not wonder 
that she was highly indignant at the action of Parliament, 
for was not the Prince to be regarded, not only as the Queen's 
husband, but as the father of our kings to be? The nation 
practically insulted itself when it refused him royal status. 

With manly independence Prince Albert refused all the 
titles which his future wife might have conferred upon him, 
and never displayed the least resentment at the recent squabbles 
over his income and precedence. " While I possess your love," 
he wrote -to the Queen, "they cannot make me unhappy." 

The Queen's wedding was a grand and beautiful pageant. 
It took place on the loth of February, 1840, in the Royal 
Chapel of St James, before an assembly second only in 
magnificence to that which had witnessed her coronation in 
Westminster Abbey. The royal bride was pale, but looked 
very sweet in her magnificent bridal robe of Honiton lace 
over white satin trimmed with the time-honoured orange 
blossoms. The train was of white satin trimmed with the same 
flowers, and borne by two pages of honour. Her veil was 
comparatively short, being only one yard and a half square, 
and was worn flowing back from the wreath over her shoulders, 
leaving her face uncovered. She wore a necklace and ear- 
rings of diamonds, and the armlet of the Garter. The satin 
for the dress was manufactured at Spitalfields, and the Honiton 
lace was made by two hundred poor lace-workers in the 
vills^e of Beer, near to Honiton, the Queen sending Miss 
Bidney from London to superintend the work. The joy of 
these poor women at being employed, expressly by the 
Queen's command, to make her bridal lace was unbounded ; 



fiS THE tEJcSOKAL UFE OF QUEES nCTORIA 

Royal. First dcmn the grand staircase of the Palace came 
the bridegroom^ looking very handsome in his uniform with 
the collar of the Garter, suimoont e d b>' two white rosettes, 
carrying a Prayer Book bound in green velvet in his hand. 
He was accompanied by his &ther, the Duke of Saxe-Cobuig 
and his brother, Prince Ernest, and as he passed to his carriage 
was saluted by the household wiA the same honours given 
to royal personages. When he entered the chapel, the organ 
played ♦'See the Conquering Hero Comes." He was the 
man who among all the princes of Europe had secured Victoria, 
Queen of England, for his bride. After an interval Her 
Majesty the Queen, escorted by her Lord Chamberlain, came 
fiwcc{iing slowly down the grand staircase in her snowy satin 
and lace, graciously acknowledging the obeisances made and 
looking very lovely. It was observed that for this occasion 
■he had laid aside her crown, and only a i^Teath of orange 
blossoms rested upon her brow. She was accompanied by 
Ilcr Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, wearing a white 
satin drcHs embroidered in silver, and by the Duchess of 
Sutherland, Mistress of the Robes, who wore a superb dress 
of pink moir<5, embroidered in sea-weed and shell pattern 
At the Chapel Royal twelve bridesmaids, young and fair, 
dressed in white, with wreaths of pale roses, were ready to 
attend her to the altar. She was given away by her uncle 
Ot SusseXi of whom a wag of the time said, "The Duke of 
SlUiex ii always ready to give away what does not belong 

to him.'* 

The marriage service was conducted according to the rubric 

«f tfM Church of England, the Archbishop having dutifully 

Md ^ioa Her Majesty beforehand, to know if the promise 



120 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

I thee endow," it was observed by some that the bride gave 
him an arch smile. He took the wedding-ring from his own 
finger to hand it to the Archbishop, and when it was placed 
upon the Queen's slender finger volleys of cannon mingled 
with the pealing and the clanging of the marriage bells. 
Unfortunately " Queen's weather/' which has since become pro- 
verbial, did not prevail ; but the rain did not damp the loyalty 
of the people, and the streets were thronged with cheering 
multitudes to greet the young Queen and the husband of 
her choice. As Prince Albert led his wife from the altar 
he held her hand in a position which prominently displayed 
the wedding-ring. It is said that the Queen's look of confi- 
dence and comfort at the Prince as they walked away together 
as man and wife was very pleasing to see. It was such a new 
thing for her to have an equal companion, friend, and husband, 
a young heart against which she could rest her own. Few 
bridegrooms show to advantage at the wedding ceremony ; but 
the quiet dignity and stately simplicity of bearing shown by 
the Prince filled every one with admiration. After the marriage 
register had been signed in the royal attestation book, placed 
upon a golden table, the wedding party returned to Buckingham 
Palace to a dijeuner. The great feature of the table was the 
gigantic wedding cake — three hundred pounds in weight, three 
yards in circumference, and fourteen inches in depth, which took 
four men to carry it. The ornamentation was superb. On the 
top was Britannia blessing the royal couple, and amongst other 
figures was a cupid writing in a volume spread upon his knees, 
' lOth February, 1840." 

The brief honeymoon of three days was spent at Royal 
Windsor, where the Prince was seen driving his wife about. 



BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED LIFE 



^^ 



tfte-A-Ute, in a pony phaeton. The day after her marriage the 
Queen wrote to Baron Stockmar, " There cannot exist a purer, 
dearer, nobler being in the world than the Prince." Happy 
Queen ! that in the years which followed she never had occa- 
sion to modify her young bride's enthusiasm. A Royal Idyll 
had indeed begun such as this country had never looked 
upon before. 

As a memento of the occasion Her Majesty presented 
each of the officiating clergy with a handsomely bound volume 
containing a suitable inscription, and to each of the bridesmaids 
she gave a brooch in the form of a bird, the body being formed 
of turquoises, the eyes of rubies, the beak of a diamond, the 
claws of pure gold, resting upon pearls of great size and value. 



laa THE PERSONAL LIFS OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

In accordance also with an early English custom, she ordered 
a number of wedding-rings to be made, with her portrait 
et^raved in the centre and surrounded by true lovers' knots, 
to send as gifts to her special friends. We wonder that this 
pretty custom of olden times has not had a modern revival. 

On the 14th of February the Queen and the Prince returned 
with the Court to Buckingham Palace, the roads along the 
route being lined with enthusiastic crowds exhibiting white 
favours. Next day Her Majesty held a levee, and was 
conducted to her seat by her husband, who took his stand 
beside her, a position which he ever afterwards retained at all 
State functions. When in the autumn the Queen prort^ed 
Parliament in person, the Prince accompanied her, and sat 
on the seat of honour beside the throne. By this act Her 
Majesty settled the question of her husband's precedency, and 
the Duke of Wellington said afterwards, with an inward 
chuckle : " I told you that was the best way to settle the 
dispute — let the Queen place the Prince where she thinks fit" 
My lords and gentlemen were of course powerless to oppose 
the action of a young bride, and a Queen to boot, who would 
insist upon having her husband at her side. 

In the height of the brilliant season which succeeded the 
royal marriage, London was startled on the evening of the 
loth of June by the report of the attempted assassination 
of the Queen. She was driving with Prince Albert up 
Constitution Hill when a young man named Oxford presented 
a pistol and fired directly at her. The Prince rose in conster- 
nation to shield his wife, and meantime the miscreant fired 
again, and was this time seized by the bystanders. Her 
Majesty displayed the Utmost courage, rising in her seat to 



1 24 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

cheers. Previous to this Prince Albert had presided at a 
great public meeting in Exeter Hall for the Abolition of the 
Slave Trade, and made an excellent speech in English, which 
he had rehearsed to the Queen in the morning. One can 
imagine how proud she was that his first public effort was in 
so good a cause, for it was one which had been of deep interest 
to her since those early days when she had listened to slave 
stories from the lips of Wilberforce on the Ramsgate sands. 
The sweet Quakeress, Caroline Fox, was there to beam ap- 
proval upon the Prince, whom she thought "a very beautiful 
young man." 

Society was soon thrown into a state of interested ex- 
pectancy, as the journals spoke of the Queen as looking less 
blooming than usual, and the last Drawing-Room of the season 
was held by Her Majesty sitting; her dainty white-slippered 
feet resting on a gold brocaded cushion. Early in November 
elaborate preparations were made at Buckingham Palace for 
the approaching accouchement of the Queen, and there on 
the 2 1 St of the month at 1.40 p.m. a little Princess Royal 
was born. The Prince was a little disappointed that it was a 
girl ; but the Queen said, " Never mind, the next one shall be 
a boy," adding the hope that she might have as many children 
as her grandmother. Queen Charlotte. The next day there 
was a scare in the Palace by reason of the discovery of a 
disreputable little urchin, known to fame as " the boy Jones," 
under a sofa in a room next to that of the Queen. He 
audaciously acknowledged to having listened with interest to 
Her Majesty conversing with Prince Albert Being too young 
for punishment he was sent to a House of Correction. 

The devotion of Prince Albert during his wife's seclusion 




was an example to all husbands. The Queen has recorded 
ihat he was content to sit by her side in a darkened room, 
to read to her and write for her. No one but himself ever 
lifted her from her bed to the sofa, and he always helped to 
wheel her on her bed or sofa into the next room. For this 
purpose he would come instantly from any part of the house. 
His care for her was like that of a mother ; " nor could there," 
adds the Queen, "be a kinder or more judicious nurse." A 
month after her confinement Her Majesty was keeping 
Christmas at Windsor in right merry style, and a Christmas 
tree was set up to please the baby, and there were trees also 
for the Household — a pretty custom first introduced into this 
country by Prince Albert. The stately Castle had never wit- 
nessed such homely gaiety in royal personages before. On the 
lOth of February, the first anniversary of the Wedding Day, the 
Princess Royal received her mother's name, and several others 



126 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

besides, with befitting ceremonial in the throne-room of 
Buckingham Palace. In the following November, on Lord 
Mayor's Day, the Queen was as good as her word, and 
presented her husband with a son, and the nation with a 
Prince of Wales. 

The following amusing incident, in connection with the 
framing of the bulletin announcing the royal birth, occurred 
After the usual statement the bulletin ran thus : " Her Majesty 
and the Prince are perfectly well." When this was shown to 
the Queen by Prince Albert, previous to its publication, she 
said, with a laugh, "My dear, this will never do." "Why 
not?" asked the Prince. "Because," replied the Queen, "it 
conveys the idea that you were confined alsa" Prince Albert 
was a little dumbfounded, but the bulletin was altered to, 
"Her Majesty and the infant Prince are perfectly well." 

There was another merry Christmas at Windsor, and this 
year there were two pairs of little eyes to view the Christmas 
tree. The christening of the heir to the throne was a very 
imposing ceremony, and took place on the 25th of January, 
1842, in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. The King of Prussia 
came to stand as chief sponsor. The infant Prince was named 
Albert after his father, and Edward after his grandfather, the 
Duke of Kent. At the conclusion of the ceremony the over- 
joyed father requested that the Hallelujah Chorus might be 
sung. Immediately afterwards the Queen held a chapter of 
the Order of the Garter, and appointed the illustrious god- 
father a Knight Companion, herself buckling the Garter round 
his knee. 

The yedr 1842 was a memorable one in the Queen's life 
for many things. In June she took her first trip by rail, 



BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED LIFE 127 

returning from Windsor by the Great Western Railway to 
Paddington, the famous engineer, Brunei, driving the engine. 
There was a royal saloon provided, and crimson carpets were 
laid from the Queen's carriage to the train. The journey 
occupied twenty-five minutes, and Her Majesty was received 
by a large assembly, with great applause, when she reached 
the terminus, although wiseacres probably shook their heads 
and wondered that the royal lady had not more sense than 
to trust herself to such an infernal machine. In this year two 
attempts were made upon the Queen's life ; the first by John 
Francis, who fired a pistol at her when she was driving down 
Constitution Hill. It appears that he had held a pistol in 
a threatening attitude the day before, and the Queen, with 
her usual bravery, determined to drive out again and let him 
do his worst, rather than have the uncertainty of another 
attack hanging over her. She would not allow her ladies to 
accompany her, which occasioned much surprise at the time ; 
but, upon returning home, she said to Miss Liddell, one of 
the maids of honour : " I dare say, Georgy, you were surprised 
at not driving with me this afternoon, but the fact was that, 
as we returned from church yesterday, a man presented a 
pistol at the carris^e window, which flashed in the pan ; we 
were so taken by surprise that he had time to escape ; so I 
knew what was hanging over me, and I was determined to 
expose no life but my own." Francis was tried and sentenced 
to death, but was reprieved at the Queen's request. The 
next attempt on her life was made by a hunchback, John 
Bean, who levelled a pistol at Her Majesty when she was 
driving to the Chapel Royal ; fortunately it did not go off. 
The London season of 1842 was marked by two functions 



128 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of great splendour. First came what was called at the time 
the Queen's Masque ; though it has descended into history 
as the Plants^enet Ball. The entertainment took place at 
Buckingham Palace, and was a magnificent historical picture 
arranged and planned by Her Majesty. The chief feature was 

the assemblage and meeting of the Courts of Edward and 
Fhilippa with Anne of Brittany, after which quadrilles were 
danced by representatives of all nationalities, succeeded by 
a general dance in which all -were blended. In the Highland 
set the present Duke of Ai^U, then the young Marquis of 
Lome, took a spirited part Her Majesty, as Queen Fhilippa, 
wore a magnificent dress of the period in blue and gold 
brocade trimmed with fur, and having a stomacher literally 
blazing with jewels, the cost of which was estimated at ;f 60,000. 
It was on view in Hanover Square previous to the day of 
the ball, and two hundred and fifty carriages stood at one 
time crowded with ladies waiting their turn to get a sight 
of the lovely and magnificent robe. A fortnight later came 
the famous ball held at Covent Garden for the relief of the 
Spitalfields weavers, which was attended by the Queen and 
Frince Albert in state. These and other minor festivities 
which followed were planned by the Queen with a view to 
stimulating trade ; but her motives were misunderstood and 
much called in question at the time, and there were papers 
which printed the cost of the Court pageants in one column, 
and gave the list of those who were dying from starvation 
in another. 

In the autumn of 1842 the Queen paid her first visit to 
Scotland, accompanied by the Frince. She travelled by water, 
and was received at Granton Fier by the Duke of Buccleuch, 



BBTROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED LIFE 




driving through Edinburgh to Dalkeith Palace. The new 
experiences of the first visit paid outside her native land 
delighted the Queen, and found very graphic expression in 
her Highland Journal. Nothing escaped her quick eyes ; the 
many-storied houses of the Old Town, the aged crones 
standing at the doors in their white mutches, the bare-footed 
lads and lassies, the fish-wives in their short petticoats, with 
the " caller herrin', fresh drawn frae the Forth " in krcels 
upon their backs, and all the sights of the historic town were 
quickly noted down. Her Majesty took oatmeal porridge 
to her breakfast, tried the " Finnan baddies," and pronounced 
the homely Scottish fare excellent. She held a reception 
at Holyrood Palace, and a lev^ at Dalkeith House, visited 
Lord Kosebery (grandfather of the present Earl) at Dalmeny, 



130 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and journeyed farther north to the Highlands, visiting all 
the places of interest en route. Scott was constantly in her 
hand, and she delighted to verify the places and scenes of 
which he wrote. Never probably had the Queen so enjoyed 
a holiday. She roamed about the lochs and glens, made 
friends with the old women in the cottages, and enjoyed 
a freedom which was absolutely new to her. Great was her 
amusement to see the astonishment of one old woman, when 
told that the young lady to whom she had given flowers from 
her garden was the Queen. The ancient dame rubbed up her 
best English, and endeavoured to make Her Majesty under- 
stand that she was richt welcome to Scotland. There were 
torchlight dances, and reels and strathspeys for the enter- 
tainment of the royal visitors, with all of which the Queen 
was greatly pleased, and at the close of the tour she confessed 
to having become quite fond of hearing the bagpipes. 

Everywhere she was received with enthusiasm, and many 
are the stories told of the criticisms, full of pawky humour, 
offered by the crowd. A gentleman in Edinburgh said to 
his farm-servant, " Well, John, did you see the Queen ? " 
" Troth did I that, sir. I was terrible 'feared afore she came 
forrit — my heart was maist in my mouth, but when she did 
come forrit, I was na feared at a' ; I just lookit at her, and 
she lookit at me, an' she bowed her heid at me, an' I bowed 
my heid at her. She's a raal fine leddie, wi'oot a bit o' 
pride aboot her at a'." The Queen quitted Scotland on the 
iSth of September, after staying a fortnight "As the fair 
shores* of Scotland receded more and more from our view," she 
writes in her journal, " we felt quite sad that this very pleasant 
and interesting tour was over ; but we shall never forget it." 



BETROTHAL AND EARLY MARRIED LIFE 131 

After their return home, the Queen and the Prince took 
their two little children on a visit to the Duke of Wellington 
at Walmer Castle, to get the sea air. The following spring 
sweet little Princess Alice was added to the royal nursery, 
and the Queen was now beginning to feel great responsibility 
about the training and education of her rapidly increasing 
family. " It is hard," she once said, " that I cannot always 
hear my children say their prayers." The duty of overlooking 
the management of the nursery, which the Queen would 
gladly have undertaken herself, if her position had permitted 
it, was delegated to Lady Lyttelton, one of the Ladies of the 
Bedchamber. The royal nursery became a very lively place, 
and many amusing stories are told by Lady Bloomfield, 
a lady-in-waiting, about the precocity of the Princess Royal. 
Whilst they were out driving one day, the Queen called her 
" Missy," which she often did. The Princess took no notice 
the first time ; but the next she looked up very indignantly, 
and said to her mother, " Tm not Missy, I'm the Princess 
Royal." On another occasion, the Queen was talking to one 
of her ladies, and not taking any notice of the little Princess, 
who suddenly exclaimed : " There's a cat under the trees " — 
fertile imagination on her part — but, having succeeded in 
drawing attention, she quietly said : " Cat come out to look 
at the Queen, I suppose." 

And so the early married life of Queen Victoria glided 
peacefully by, rich in the love of husband and children ; and 
though storms might threaten the political horizon, as yet 
there was no shadow on the home. 



HOME AND COURT LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 



nz 



V 

HOME AND COURT LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

BY the year 1844 people were ceasing to speak of the 
" young Queen," for although Her Majesty was young 
in years, being only twenty-five, she was now a comely 
matron with four children — two boys and two girls — Prince 
Alfred having in this year succeeded little Princess Alice. It 
was to convey the tidings of Prince Alfred's birth from 
Windsor to London that the electric telegraph was first used 
to announce such an event. 

The home life at Royal Windsor was, indeed, an example 
to the nation, and afforded the best object-lesson ever given 
as to the possibility of a woman combining public and 
political work with the duties of a wife and mother. We 
are indebted to a gentleman-at-arms for information regarding 
the Queen's mode of spending her day. Her Majesty rose 
at 6.30 in summer and 7.30 in winter. After making her 
toilet and attending morning service with the household, in 
the chapel, she breakfasted upon coffee, bread-and-butter, 
eggs or cold meat, then took a walk with her husband in 
the gardens and inspected th Home Farm. She was fond 
of seeing the poultry fed, and did not disdain to give the 
poor pigs a look. Then there were the aviary, studs, 

135 



136 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

aquarium, and the pet animals to be visited; the favourite 
dogs bounded by her side with delight as she moved about, 
and the pigeons came out to perch on her shoulders and 
on Prince Albert's hat. Returning to the Castle, the royal 
mother inspected the nurseries and saw the older children at 
their studies ; and having satisfied herself that everything was 
en regie, she glanced through the Times and Morning Post, 
after which she received the Master of the Household in the 
library, discussed the domestic arrangements for the day, 
received his report upon letters and applications addressed to 
her, and gave commands regarding the guests to be invited 
to the Castle. These usually arrived in time to dine, remained 
all next day, and returned home on the third, the three days 
being called days of " Rest," " Reception," and " Departure." 

It may here be stated that in the first years of her 
married life the Queen made great alterations in the arrange- 
ment of the menage at Windsor. A Master of the House- 
hold was appointed to perform the duties which had hitherto 
belonged to three State officials, who were rarely on the 
premises to discharge their functions. So bad had been the 
regulations that if a pane of glass was broken in the scullery 
window, it took many weeks before the repair could be 
effected, owing to the difficulty of finding out whose duty it 
was to attend to it. A gentleman who had occasion to attend 
at the Castle related to the present writer that one morning 
he saw the Queen enter the dining-room and ring the bell 
several times before she could get any one to attend to her 
requirements. There was no one even to show guests to 
their bedrooms, which on one occasion led to an amusing 
incident. M. Guizot was a guest at the Palace, and upon 



138 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

before he had advanced many steps into the room he 
discovered that a lady was seated before the toilet table with 
a maid brushing her hair. The abashed gentleman made a 
hasty retreat, and was fortunate when he returned to the 
bewildering corridors to find a guide who took him to his 
own room. The incident had almost passed from his mind, 
when the following evening he was reminded of it by a 
laughing allusion made by the Queen. M. Guizot then 
discovered that it was Her Majesty's dressing-room he had 
entered. Hitherto the unused bread had been wasted in the 
royal kitchens, but the Queen now directed that it should 
be sent to the inmates of the almshouses within the burgh 
of Windsor; and many other reforms were instituted by the 
royal housekeeper and her methodical husband. 

But to return to her manner of portioning out her day. 
Having so far disposed of the household matters, the Queen 
turned her attention to affairs of State. At eleven o'clock 
the despatch boxes were opened, and their contents discussed 
with the principal secretaries of State, when necessary, or 
perused with the Prince. In the Foreign Secretary's box 
were all the recent correspondence with foreign powers and 
the drafts of the proposed replies for the Queen's considera- 
tion, and like minutiae were observed in the despatches of 
the War, Admiralty, and Home departments. After this 
business had been transacted. Her Majesty received visitors 
" invited " or " commanded " — artists, publishers, foreigners 
with special introductions, people with presents for the 
aviary, and tradesmen with novelties to exhibit. At two o'clock 
came luncheon, at which the Queen ate and drank heartily 
after her morning's work, and was ready to enjoy several 



HOME AND COURT LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 139 

hours' riding or driving in the afternoon, accompanied by 
the Prince, the Duchess of Kent, and often by one or 
other of the children. Whenever the Queen was staying at 
Windsor her mother occupied Frogmore House, quite near, 
and invariably dined with her daughter. On returning from 
driving the Queen and Prince spent some time in private. 
Sometimes they amused themselves with drawing etchings 
upon copper of their children or pet animals, which were 
printed at their private press. One of the most interesting 
of these was an etching by the Queen of the Princess Royal 
as a baby in long clothes, gazing at a parrot in a cage 
placed to arrest her attention. At one time Mr., afterwards 
Sir, George Hayter attended at Windsor Castle to give 
the Queen and the Prince instruction in etching. 

Dinner, which took place at eight o'clock, was a stately 
affair, served by servants in scarlet and powder, while a military 
band played in an ante-room. The conversation took place 
in subdued whispers, except when the Queen addressed a guest. 
Politics were by her desire never discussed, and the gentlemen 
remained behind over their wine only for a very short time. 
An anecdote of the Queen's perfect courtesy as a hostess may 
here be mentioned. A certain nobleman, who was an abstainer, 
was dining with the Queen, and was asked by a royal Duchess 
present to drink wine with her. Upon his polite refusal the 
Duchess laughingly appealed to Her Majesty to use her 
authority over her water-drinking guest ; but the Queen replied 
with a smile : " There is no compulsion at my table." Not 
infrequently she would have what one of her ladies termed a 
" tite-d'tite dinner," alone with her husband. 

After the ceremonious dinner was over, the Queen chatted 



140 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

with the ladies and gentlemen in the drawing-room, unless 
there were special guests to claim her attention, in a charmingly 
free-and-easy manner. In her gay moods she was the life of 
the company, and we catch glimpses of her seizing hold of an 
astonished lady and whirling her round in a polka, or dancing 
a reel, a recent accomplishment which she had learned in the 
Highlands. Music played an important feature in the evening's 
entertainment, and the Queen would sing duets with her ladies, 
and did not disdain to act as accompanist. On one occasion 
Jenny Lind was singing before the Queen, and was put to 
considerable annoyance by the vagaries of the Court musi- 
cian. Her Majesty's quick car detected what was wrong, 
and advancing to the piano, she said, " I will accompany 
Miss Lind," which she did to perfection. Prince Albert also 
shared his wife's taste for music, and was a composer and an 
accomplished player upon the organ, which he considered the 
finest instrument for expressing the feelings. The prominent 
place given to music in the royal household exercised an 
immense influence over the life of the people, and these little 
impromptu concerts at Windsor Castle were the precursors of 
the musical evenings which became fashionable in society, 
and which gradually extended to the humbler homes of the 
land. 

Mendelssohn was more than once an honoured guest at 
Windsor, and his letters give some charming accounts of the 
skill and enthusiasm of the Queen and Prince Albert in his 
own beloved art. The great composer thought very highly 
of the Queen's singing, more highly in fact than he deemed 
it good taste to admit in her presence ; it was only after her 
Majesty's modest confession that she felt too nervous to take 



HOME AND COURT LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 141 




a long G properly, that Mendelssohn praised her heartily and 
with a clear conscience. It was owing to the efforts of the 
Queen and Prince Albert that the Castle band was brought to 
such perfection, and the wind largely superseded by stringed 
instruments. On one occasion, when some special music had to 
be practised, the bandmaster commanded a Sunday rehearsal, 
at which two German players, who were Methodists, refused 
to comply on conscientious grounds. The affair came to the 



142 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Queen's ears, and she settled it immediately, saying, " I will 
have no more Sunday rehearsals." 

And so we find the evenings at the Court being spent in 
music, little dances, conversation, and round games. " Patience " 
was a favourite game with the Prince, and Vingt-et-un was 
sometimes played, and "Follow my leader," and there was 
spinning of counters, asking of riddles, and playing tricks with 
stuffed mice — in short, a quiet evening at Windsor was very 
like an old-fashioned party in ordinary life, even to grand- 
mamma having her rubber of whist The Queen could get 
amusement out ot very trifling things, and never seemed bored, 
or complained of ennui \ the secret of it being that she was 
never idle. When one of her former maids of honour, then 
an ambassador's wife, told the Empress of Russia that she had 
received a letter from Queen Victoria, the Empress exclaimed, 
" What ! in her own handwriting? Is it possible that the Queen 
finds time to write letters?" 

Another trait in the Queen's character was her cheerfulness ; 
in fact, when she started to laugh she found it difficult to stop, 
and her laugh was no company laugh, but thoroughly hearty. 
Mr. Gibson, R.A., tells a story that when Her Majesty was 
sitting to him, he asked permission to measure her mouth. 
" Oh, certainly," replied the Queen, " if I can only keep it still 
and not laugh." The proposal was so unexpected and droll that 
it was some time before the Queen could compose herself; 
directly she closed her mouth she burst out laughing again. 
The same sculptor describes a little conjugal episode which 
occurred when he was to model the Queen in evening dress. 
She came into the room accompanied by the Prince, who, like 
a fond young husband, had his arm round his wife's neck, 



144 ^^^ PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

little peacock, and told the Queen, to her amusement, that 
her place was " first rate." Charles Kean acted as Her Majesty's 
Master of the Revels, and under his superintendence her 
friends the " poor players " gave many celebrated performances 
at the Castle. In those days the "boards" were trod by 
Macready, Phelps, and the Kembles, and Rachel and Grisi 
were the stars of the operatic stage. It was the Queen who 
first invited Jenny Lind to sing in this country, she having heard 
her in Coburg in '45, and when " Jenny " made her memorable 
triumph at Covent Garden it was the Queen's bouquet which 
was the first to be cast at the feet of the singer. In those 
bright, happy days Victoria stood in the forefront of the national 
life. She patronised all that was best in literature, art, and 
the drama, and gave her sympathy and help to the philan- 
thropies of the time. Theatres which aimed at royal patronage 
were obliged to conform to the Queen's taste, and gradually 
the coarse survivals of a ruder time were swept from the stage. 
Society took its cue from her, and the Court became as pure 
as a good woman could make it. 

The Queen undoubtedly loved the gaieties ot town in the 
early years of her reign ; but as the little ones began to 
cluster about her knees, she longed for the quietude of 
country life, drawn to it also by her thoughtful, studious 
husband. We find her running away in the height of the 
season to enjoy a quiet time with her husband and children 
amidst the flowery glades of Claremont. On one of these 
occasions " Vicky " and " Bertie " came to the Queen's room 
to wish her many happy returns of her birthday, dressed 
Tyrolese fashion, and looking such sweet little foreigners that 
their mother hardly knew them. This little surprise was 



HOME AND COURT LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 14; 



-r 





planned by the Prince and the Duchess of Kent, and alTords 
a pleasing glimpse into the home life of the royal pair. 

Her Majesty was no stickler for extreme Court etiquette 



146 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

when It caused actual discomfort to others. It had been the 
custom for the sovereign to hold drawing-rooms seated upon 
the throne, thus obliging those presented to mount the steps 
to kiss hands, and then retire backwards — no easy task with 
a voluminous train behind. To lessen the difficulties of the 
ladies, the Queen received them at the foot of the throne, 
and permitted them, after retiring a few steps backwards, to 
take their trains over their arms and resume their natural 
walk. 

The same consideration was shown by the Queen to her 
maids of honour; no weary standing on tired feet, no hours 
of reading aloud, of which poor Miss Burney complained in 
the days of old Queen Charlotte, and certainly the ladies did 
not get their ears boxed for misdemeanour, a not uncommon 
thing in the "good old times." Her Majesty treated her 
ladies as friends ; they sang and played with her, accom- 
panied her upon horseback or in the carriage, and appear to 
have had few actual duties beyond these, and handing the 
Queen her bouquet at dinner. She addressed them by their 
Christian names, and when they returned to residence received 
them with a kiss and inquiries regarding the home circle 
which they had just left One thing the Queen did rigidly 
exact, and that was punctuality. 

Those who have been about Her Majesty invariably speak 
of the charm of her conversation and presence. Lady 
Bloomfield, writing of a musical evening at Windsor, says : 
*'I enjoy nothing so much as seeing the Queen in that nice 
quiet way, and I often wish that those who don't know Her 
Majesty could see how kind and generous she is when she is 
perfectly at her ease and able to throw off the restraint and 



HOME AND COURT LIFE OF QUEEN VICTOR/A 147 

rorm which must and ought to be observed when she is in 
public" The Baroness Bunsen writes to her son in the same 
strain after lunching with the Queen at StaUord House: 
"The Queen looked well and charming, and I could not help 
the same reflection that 1 have often made before, that she 
is the only piece of female royalty I ever saw who was abo 
a creature such as God Almighty has created. Her smile is 
a real iiniU, her grace is natural, although it has received a 



■f* 



high polish from cultivation- 
there is nothing artificial about 
her." In evidence of the de- 
light which this lady felt in 
dining with the Queen, she 
relates that in spite of a severe 
cold, which inconvenienced her to the extent of necessitating 
the use of six handkerchiefs during the morning, she availed 
herself of the privilege of dining with the Queen in the 
evening. We fancy in former reigns a bad cold would have 
been welcomed as a convenient excuse for not obeying the 
royal command. Fortunately for the Baroness, it was the time 
when ladies carried their mouchoirs in dainty little bags, so 
she was not limited in her supply. 



148 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

Lady Lyttclton, the second daughter of Earl Spencer, 
who had been lady-in-waiting since the Queen's accession, 
had, as we have seen, been entrusted by Her Majesty with 
the charge of the royal children. She was a kind, motherly 
lady, admirably fitted for this important office, which she held 
for eight years. The royal mother, however, remained herself 
the chief authority in nursery matters, and supervised every 
detail of the children's training. In drawing up some rules 
for their education, she said : " The greatest maxim of all ts — 
that the children should be brought up as simply as possible, 
and in as domestic a way as possible; that, not interfering 
with their lessons, they should be as much as possible with 
their parents, and learn to place their greatest confidence in 
them in all things. . . . Religious training is best given to 
a child at its mother's knee." Apropos of the latter, there is 
a story of that brilliantly clever child, the Princess Royal. 
The Queen was reading the Bible with her little daughter, 
and came to the passage, " God created man in His own image, 
in the image of God created He him," upon which " Vicky," 
who had a sense ol beauty and fitness, exclaimed, "But, 
mamma, surely not Dr. Pratorious?" This gentleman was 
secretary to Prince Albert, and by no means good-looking. 

When the children were young, all goods purchased for 
their wear were submitted to the Queen, and it was at her 
command that only the plainest fare was sent to the nursery, 
"quite poor living — only a bit of roast meat and perhaps a 
plain pudding," one of the servants told Baron Bunsen, adding 
that the Queen would have made " an admirable poor man's 
wife." As the Princesses grew older, they were taught to take 
care of their clothes, even to that old-maidish custom of rolling 



150 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

was the delight of the Court and of the people ; but her mother 
had to exercise severe discipline to keep her in order. For 
example, when Dr. Brown, of Windsor, entered the service 
of Prince Albert, the little princesses, hearing their father 
address him as *^ Brown," used the same form of speech. 
The Queen corrected them, and told them to say " Dr. Brown." 
All obeyed except " Vicky," who was threatened with " bed " 
if she transgressed again. Next morning, when the Doctor 
presented himself to the royal family, the young Princess, 
looking straight at him, said, " Good morning, Brown ! " Then, 
seeing the eyes of her mother fixed upon her, she rose and, 
with a curtsey, continued, "and good night. Brown, for I am 
going to bed," and she walked resolutely away to her punish- 
ment This was the same young lady who, at three years 
old, motioned away her governess. Lady Lyttelton, with, 
" N^approches pas moi^ moi ne veut pas vousr 

When quite young, the children were taken by their royal 
parents to see a review of the Guards in honour of the Prince 
of Wales's birthday. The troops marched past the royal family, 
presenting arms, and afterwards fired a/^« de joie. This rather 
frightened the Princess Royal, and when the band struck up 
"God Save the Queen," fearing that there was going to be 
another volley, she put her hands to her ears, and shocked her 
mother dreadfully. The repartee of the little Princess would 
have been " delicious " if some one had whispered in her car 
that her own mamma had done the same thing when the 
cannon thundered on her coronation day. 

Thus early the royal children were made accustomed to 
pageants, and we find that on the occasion just referred to the 
Prince of Wales and tiny Princess Alice stood throughout the 



iS2 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

A notable figure in the Queen's married life was that trusted 
friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar, who for seventeen years 
moved quietly in the background of the Court. He was an 
army physician who became attached to the suite of Prince 
Leopold, the Queen's uncle, and was with him at Ciaremont 
when his young wife, the Princess Charlotte, died. Later on he 
accompanied Prince Leopold when he became King of Belgium. 
Upon the Queen's accession. Uncle Leopold despatched the 
trusted Stockmar to England to watch over the welfare 
of his niece. It was not, however, until after the Queen's 
marriage that he became a permanent figure in her house- 
hold. What "the Duke" was to the nation, "the Baron" 
became to the Court, and the wags dubbed him the " Old 
Original." He ^was a man of sterling qualities ; upright, 
sagacious, with a vast amount of knowledge of the world, and 
was equally useful beside a sick-bed or at a writing-table. 
In the royal nursery he was a perfect oracle, and is reported 
to have said, "The nursery gives me more trouble than the 
government of a kingdom would do." Under his judicious 
management the delicate little Princess Royal became so fat 
and well that he was able to write of her, "She is as round 
as a barrel," and the Queen said in one of her letters, 
"Pussy's cheeks are on the point of bursting." The queer 
old German Baron was a kind of fairy godfather to the little 
folks ; it was to his room they ran with their latest toy, or 
when they wanted a story. The Princess Royal, however, 
was his favourite, her smart wit delighting him vastly. 

The Baron was, as might be expected, a privileged person. 
He was permitted to sit at Her Majesty's dinner table in 
trousers, while other old gentlemen shivered in "shorts." 



HOME AND COURT LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 153 

Immediately the meal was over he would be seen walking 
off to his own room without ceremony. He never sacrificed 
his comfort to etiquette. When the spring came, he suddenly 
disappeared, without any adieux ; then would follow letters 
of regret from his royal master and mistress, and, after 

spending a few months 

with his wife and 

Mmily in his native 

-.^ Coburg, the Baron 

would return to Wind- 





sor as mysteriously as he had disappeared, and resume his 
rdU of chief adviser and general referee, 

The Queen had now what she called "a home of her 
own," in contradistinction to the royal palaces, having 
purchased the beautiful estate of Osborne, in the Isle of 
Wight, and built herself there a marine residence at a cost 
of j^200,ooo. The grounds were artistically laid out under 
the direction of that most skilled of landscape gardeners, 
Prince Albert. The original estate was added to, until now, 
as a coachman in the island will tell you, the Queen can 



IS4 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

drive for twelve miles without going outside her own domain. 
The house-warming at Osborne took place in September, 
1846, when a maid of honour threw an old slipper for good 
luck as the Queen entered her new abode, and at the 
Prince's suggestion an appropriate German hymn was sung, 
beginning : 

"God bless our going out, nor less 
Our coming in." 

Later on, to celebrate one ol the Queen's birthdays, the 
Swiss Cottage was erected in the grounds for the use of the 
children. There the boys learned carpentering, under their 
father's direction, and the princesses studied culinary arts in 
a model kitchen and dairy, entertained their parents to 
repasts prepared with their own hands, and made dishes for 
the poor. The Cottage also contained a museum of natural 
history, the contents being largely collected by the royal 
children. In front were the gardens, one for each child, 
which they tended themselves, under the direction of a 
gardener, who instructed them not only in flower culture, but 
in the rearing of fruit and vegetables. Few children have, 
indeed, been taught more thoroughly how to use their hands 
than the Queen's family. Her Majesty and the Prince were 
charmed with their beautiful retreat, with the woods sloping 
down to the blue sea, and in summer evenings they walked 
in the plantation to listen to the nightingales, which grew so 
familiar with the Prince that they would answer his whistle. 
The entire building and laying out of the Osborne estate was 
not completed until 185 1, the portion known as the Pavilion 
being occupied meantime. 




The year 1S45 was famous for another of the Queen's 
Bals Masque. The period chosen was between 1740 and 1750, 
and the prevailing feature of powdered wigs gave it the name 
of the Powder Ball. The time was not one at which the dress 
was very becoming, and when the royal fiat went forth ladies 
were horrified at the idea of wearing powdered toupees, 
pomatumed curls, and wide-spreading hoops. The costume was 
arranged, however, to look as becoming as possible, and the 
ladies became reconciled to it when they discovered that 
powdered hair made the complexion look more brilliant, and 
that if the hoop disguised the figure the stomacher displayed 
it. Half the great houses in London were turned into 
milliners' shops, and filled with stuffs, patterns, and drawings 
of costumes. Society dames studied the family portraits of 



156 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the period, and the grandmothers* heirlooms were in great 
requisition. The Queen, dressed as the Lady of the Feast, 
wore a magnificent brocade covered with point lace drawn 
from the hoards of her grandmother. Queen Charlotte ; while 
Prince Albert looked bravely in a scarlet velvet coat and 
gold waistcoat They opened the ball with a polonaise, and 
closed it with Sir Roger de Coverley. It would take a long 
list to mention the celebrities and beauties who graced the 
occasion. The Duke of Wellington was there in a marshal's 
uniform of the period, which hung so loosely about his spare 
limbs as to render him almost unrecognisable. It was said 
that no one would have known him but for his nose. He 
walked about with his lovely daughter-in-law, the Marchioness 
of Douro, who wore a brocade trimmed with lace flounces 
which had once belonged to the vestment of a pope. Miss 
Burdett-Coutts, the banker's heiress, was then just coming into 
society, and the jewels she wore at the ball were the talk of 
the town for many weeks afterwards, prominent amongst them 
being a necklace which had belonged to Marie Antoinette. 

In 1848 the Prince leased Balmoral Castle as a hunting- 
box, and the royal pair had then their Island and Highland 
homes (the present Castle was not built until some years 
later). Old Balmoral was a pretty little grey castle in the 
Old Scottish style, situated amongst the picturesque mountain 
scenery of the valley of the Dee. It was originally a farm- 
house, and had gradually grown into palatial appearance, 
although at the time when the Queen first lived there it was 
little larger than an ordinary gentleman's house. It was 
surrounded by primitive huts, with the peat smoke issuing 
from holes in the roofs— a solitary, picturesque, and peaceful 



158 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

on a plaid slung between two Highlanders, had " scratch " 
meals in wayside inns, and accompanied her husband on his 
deer-stalking expeditions, remaining out sometimes for nine 
hours at a time. She was fond of sketching amongst the 
hills, and one day had an amusing encounter with a herd 
laddie, who found that his flock were timid at the sight of 
her upon the sheep track. 

"Gang out of the road, lady, and let the sheep gang 
by," he cried. Finding that his appeal produced no effect, he 
shouted yet louder, " I say, gang back, will you, and let the 
sheep pass ! " 

"Do you know, boy, whom you are speaking to?" asked 
the Queen's attendant. 

" I dinna know, and I dinna care," replied the exasperated 
lad; "that's the sheep's road, and she has no business to 
stand there." 

" But it is the Queen," was the reply. 
" Well," replied the astonished boy, " why don't she put on 
clothes so that folks would know her?" 

A Minister of State was always in attendance when the 
Queen was at Balmoral, and we fear that some of those 
stately gentlemen rubbed their eyes and could not believe 
their senses when they beheld the Monarch of the British 
Empire and her illustrious Consort living like small gentle- 
folk, in a small house, with small rooms, and having only a 
few attendants. The Clerk of the Council, who accompanied 
Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister, to Balmoral, exclaimed 
in horror, "There are no soldiers, and the whole guard of 
the sovereign and the royal family is a single policeman" 
adding further that the Queen was to be seen running in 




and out of the house all day long, and visiting the old 
women in the cottages unattended. Worse still, Lord 
Palraerston found the Queen sallying forth for a walk in the 
midst of heavy rain with a great hood over her bonnet, con- 
cealing all the features except her eyes; and poor Lord John 
Russell, after dining for the first time at Balmoral, actually 
saw the dining-room cleared for the Queen and Prince to 
take lessons in reels and strathspeys from a Highland dancing- 
master, to the tune of a fiddle. The royal children, too, clad 
in kilts and tartans, wandered by the hillside, paddled in the 
burn, played with the cottage children, and on Sundays 
accompanied their parents to the little Presbyterian church 
of Crathie on the other side the Dee. One wonders that 
society did not refuse to attend the next Drawing-Room, and 
that the Bench of Bishops did not travel express to Balmoral ! 
Never has the Queen shown herself greater than when she 
ha.s put aside the trappings of royalty and stood forth in 
the grandeur on her own womanhood. Victoria of England 
is great enough to be herself. 



i6o THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

It would seem, indeed, that the Queen was safer at 
Balmoral, guarded by one policeman, than in London, for in 
May, 1849, Her Majesty was again fired at when driving 
along Constitution Hill, this time by a mad Irishman, 
William Hamilton, and one can sympathise with the indig- 
nant words of Lord Shaftesbury (then Lord Ashley) when he 
said, "While the profligate George IV. passed through a life 
of selfishness and sin without a single troved attempt to take 
it, this mild and virtuous young woman has four times 
already been exposed to imminent peril." But the good 
man thanked God that the Queen and her husband were 
what they were, with a moral Court, domestic virtues, and 
some public activity in philanthropic things. Nothing daunted 
by this attack, in the August following the Queen paid her 
first visit ta Ireland, accompanied by the Prince and four of 
the children. She landed at the Cove of Cork, which hence- 
forth became Queenstown. All sorts of dreadful things had 
been prophesied, but nothing could exceed the loyalty and 
enthusiasm shown by the people. From one of the triumphal 
arches a live dove, sweet emblem of peace, fluttered into the 
Queen's lap, and a stout old lady in Dublin exclaimed, 
**0 Queen dear! make one of them dear children Prince 
Patrick, and all Ireland will die for you." The hint was not 
forgotten; when on the ist of May, 1850, the Queen's seventh 
child was born, he received the name of Arthur Patrick Albert. 

It is noticeable that at this period of the Queen's life she 
began to take active interest in social questions and in the 
condition of the working people. We find that she and 
the Prince sent for Lord Ashley, and asked his advice as to 
what they could do to ameliorate the condition of the work- 




ing classes, and they entered most sympathetically into his 
schemes for the better housing of the poor, and his humane 
legislation on behalf of the women and children employed in 
mines. The keen anxiety felt by the Queen to promote 
peaceful industry and the brotherhood of man, the world 
over, had an outcome in that memorable Peace Festival, 
when all nationalities displayed their products and industries 
— the Great Exhibition of 1851. Wc are used to exhibitions 
no^^', but this one was counted a marvel, and even to-day old 



i6i THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

people refer to it as an epoch in their lives. " It was when 
I was in London in '51, you know, my dear," they will say. 
The Exhibition was opened by Her Majesty at nine 
o'clock on the morning of the ist of May, 1851. There 
were thirty-four thousand people in the building, and nearly 
a million on the line of route; but instead of the riots and 
disturbances prophesied as the result of this vast gathering of 
all nationalities, the Queen was rejoiced to hear that, like her 
coronation, it was a white day — not one accident or police 
case. One who was present at the opening has told the writer 
that never had the Queen looked so radiantly happy as she 
did when she entered the beautiful Palace of Crystal, leaning 
on the arm of her handsome husband, to whose untiring efforts 
this great and unique enterprise was due. She wore a pink 
silk poplin, of Irish manufacture, trimmed with white lace, 
and upon her head a tiara of diamonds, with white ostrich 
feathers drooping gracefully on either side. The Prince of 
Wales, then a little fellow of nine, held her hand, while the 
Princess Royal, dressed in white with a wreath of roses, held 
that of her father, and the people said how like she was to 
her mother when she was young. It was, indeed, a complete 
and beautiful triumph, and the Queen speaks of it as being 
the prvHidcst and happiest day of her life 



THE LATER MARRIED LIFE OF QUEEA VICTORIA 



•63 



VI 

THE LATER MARRIED LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

THE Exhibition year of 1851, which marked an epoch 
in the history of the nation, marked also the meridian 
of Queen Victoria's married life. There seemed to be scarcely 
a cloud upon her horizon. She rejoiced in the beautiful 
children who clustered at her knee, and in the husband who, 
after eleven years of wedded life, was more than ever her 
beau idM of all that was noble, good, and true ; and it was 
her further happiness to find that the country was beginning 
to appreciate him too. The overwhelming success of the 
Great Exhibition, Prince Albert's own creation, silenced for 
the present his detractors, and Ministers were now eager to 
tell the Queen that it was a wonderful conception, and that 
the Prince was a very remarkable man, to which Her Majesty 
was apt to reply in effect, if not in words, " Didn't I tell 
you so ? " Shortly after her engagement she had told Lord 
Melbourne that the Prince was perfection, and the old man 
smiled at a girl-bride's enthusiasm ; but the day came when 
he wrote to the Queen : " You said when you were going to 
be married that he [the Prince] was perfection, which I 
thought a little exaggerated then ; but really I think now 
that it is in some degree realised." 

Such happiness and content was naturally reflected in the 

165 



1 66 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Queen's appearance at this period. Her face, which in her 
girlhood was bright and pretty, had taken a more enduring 
charm in its softened, thoughtful expression, and those who 
were about her speak of the spiritual serenity of her counte- 
nance and the lovableness of her disposition. Baron Stockmar, 
who had watched her long and critically, said : " The Queen 
improves greatly. She makes daily advances in discernment 
and experience ; the candour, the love of truth, the fairness, 
the considcrateness with which she judges men and things 
are truly delightful, and the ingenuous self-knowledge with 
which she speaks about herself is simply charming." For 
fourteen years she had wielded the greatest sceptre in the 
world, and the experience thus gained was showing itself in 
her mastery of the duties and responsibilities of her position. 
The young Queen who had resented the downfall of the 
Melbourne Ministry because it removed loved friends from 
her side had learned to regard such changes from the con- 
stitutional standpoint, and not from private feeling. Landseer, 
who had many opportunities of judging, told Caroline Fox 
that he thought the Queen's intellect superior to any woman's 
in Europe. Her memory was so remarkable that he had 
heard her recall "the exact words of speeches made years 
before, which the speakers had themselves forgotten." The 
Queen had now developed into a sagacious stateswoman with 
whom Cabinet Ministers had to reckon. 

Her Court was at once the purest and one of the most 
splendid in Europe, and the season which followed the open- 
ing of the Great Exhibition was the most brilliant of any 
since the Queen's accession ; the town literally swarmed with 
distinguished people from all parts of the world. The two 



i68 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

fair hair was plaited with pearls beneath a crown of diamonds. 
It might be described as a "gentlemen's night," for they 
took the palm for smart dresses ; gay cavaliers were they 
all, with love-locks, collars and cuffs of Honiton lace, and 
such a profusion of ribbons as had never been seen before. 
They wore them hanging in bunches like a Highlander's 
philibeg, and even their shirt sleeves were bound and orna- 
mented with ribbons. Of course " the Duke " was there, but 
he drew the line at love-locks, and wore his own scanty grey 
hair, which made him a marked figure in the crowd with flowing 
curls. It is interesting to note that Mr. Gladstone figured 
as Sir Lcoline Jenkins, Judge in the High Court of Admiralty, 
and wore "a black velvet coat turned up with blue satin, 
ruffles and collar of old point lace, black breeches and stock- 
ings, and shoes with spreading bows." 

About a month later came the ball at the Guildhall 
given by the Mayor and Corporation to the Queen in celebra- 
tion of the Great Exhibition. Her Majesty drove from 
Buckingham Palace through dense crowds of people, literally 
shouting in every tongue, and to see her return more than 
a million people waited in the streets until three o'clock in 
the morning. The ball itself was the most amusing affair 
possible, many of the guests not having the least idea of 
Court, or even of ordinary good behaviour. A nobleman 
who was present relates that the ladies passed the Queen at 
a run, and then returned to stare at her. Some of the gentle- 
men passed with their arms round the ladies' waists, and 
others holding them by the hand at arm's length, as if going 
to dance a minuet. But when one man kissed his hand to 
the Queen, her risibility could stand no more, and she went 



LATER MARRIED LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORJA 169 



'^ 



»'^ 



off into one of those uncoiitroliablc fits of laughter for which 
Her Majesty is rather famous, and doubtless the Lord Mayor's 
guests thought this the best part of the entertainment. 

In accordance with the spirit of peace and goodwill to all 
men with which the Queen and Prince Albert had initiated 
the Exhibition, religious, philanthropic, and scientific institu- 
tions received a marked share of attention. A monster meeting 
on behalf of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 
in Foreign Parts was held, at which Prince Albert presided, 
and made a remarkably fine speech ; and he was also active 
on behalf of the British Association. At length there came 
a lull in the routs, meetings, and festivities — town was out of 
town, for the Queen had left for the Highlands, 



170 7 HE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

It was on this occasion that Her Majesty first travelled 
by the Great Northern Railway. She halted at Peterborough 
to receive her " kind, good master," Bishop Davys. Canon 
Davys, the son of the Bishop, has told the present writer that 
Her Majesty never visited his father at Peterborough Palace, 
as some writers allege, knowing the simple life which he led ; 
but she never failed to invite him to meet her at the station 
when she passed through Peterborough on her way to Scotland. 
She always received her old tutor in the royal saloon carriage 
like a valued friend, and would show him her children, and 
talk over their futures with him. Canon Davys attended as 
chaplain on such occasions, and he well remembers the Queen 
bringing forward Prince Alfred (the present Duke of Saxe- 
Coburg), and saying, " We are going to make this boy a 
sailor." Proceeding to Edinburgh, the Queen passed a night 
at Holyrood Palace. It may not be generally known that 
Her Majesty has always shown a sympathetic interest in the 
fate of Mary Queen of Scots, and this her first sojourn in the 
Palace so intimately connected with her was full of romantic 
interest, and she told Sir Archibald Alison that she was glad 
that she was descended from Mary Stuart and not from 
Elizabeth Tudor. From Holyrood the royal party proceeded to 
Balmoral, which had now been purchased by Prince Albert, he 
having previously rented it. Here the autumn was passed by the 
Queen in that free, simple manner which she loved — walking, 
driving, riding, sketching, and visiting the cottagers. At first 
the simple Scotch folk were a little disconcerted by the royal 
visits ; but when one of the old women expressed her nervous- 
ness to the Queen, Her Majesty replied that she hoped that 
they would not allow any feeling of that kind to trouble them 



THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QVEEN VICTORIA 



as she was just a woman like themselves, The following story 
will illustrate the feeling which speedily grew up between the 
Queen and her poorer neighbours. A man from Balmoral was 
being examined as a witness before the jury, when the presiding 
judge spoke rather sharply to him. " Just allow me to tak' 
time, my lord," said the man ; " I'm no accustomed to sic a 
company " ; adding to the bystanders, after he left the witness- 
box, " The Queen has been to my hut, and she speaks pleasantly 
and draws pretty pictures for the bairns. I would far rather 
speak to the Queen than to yon chap in the big wig," 

After leaving the Highlands the Queen paid her first visit 
to Liverpool and Manchester. The festivities at Liverpool 



172 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VIC TORI A 

were marred by a steady downpour ; but at Manchester the 
weather was more propitious, and an interesting demonstration 
took place in Peel Park, where eighty thousand school children, 
belonging to the various religious denominations, were assembled. 
The " canny " Manchester folk had hit on the right thing to 
please the Queen's motherly heart. Her look of delight as she 
gazed at the children, ranged tier above tier, fourteen deep, was 
long remembered by the people. Continuing her journey to 
London, the Queen paid a farewell visit to the Exhibition, 
where she found Mary Kerlynack, the plucky old woman who 
walked all the way from her native Cornwall to see the wonder, 
still hovering about the doors, and appeared ready to cry 
when the Queen looked* at her. The Exhibition was closed on 
the I Sth of October, the twelfth anniversary of Her Majesty's 
betrothal to Prince Albert. Its success had exceeded the most 
sanguine expectations ; yet a feeling of sadness seemed to be 
in the heart of the Queen and of the nation, a half-conscious 
foreboding that this Peace Festival was to be the herald of a 
darker instead of a brighter time, for already the war-clouds 
were gathering which burst in the Crimean war. 

While the Queen was staying at Balmoral in the autumn of 
1852 she received a pleasant surprise in the shape of a legacy 
of ;£'2 50,000, left to her by Mr. John Camden Neale, a man of 
penurious habits, who had accumulated this large sum by 
denying himself the necessaries of life. When one of Mr. 
Neale's executors came to Balmoral to make the communication, 
the Queen laughingly said that she " could not think what had 
led the old gentleman to do it," and at first she refused to accept 
the legacy. Finding subsequently that there were no relations 
to inherit, she decided to take the money, first increasing 



LATER MARRIED LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 175 

Mr. Neale's bequest to his executors oi £\qo to ;f 1,000. She 
also provided for his old housekeeper, for whom he had made no 
provision, although she had been with him for twenty-six years. 
It was while still in Scotland that the Queen received the 
news of the death of the Duke of Wellington, which filled her 
with grief. " One cannot think of the country without the 
Duke, our immortal hero," she said. A curious coincidence 
occurred on the morning when the Queen received the tidings. 
She was out walking, and suddenly missed the watch given 
her by the Duke, which she always wore. Later in the 
morning a servant returned to the Queen, who was sketching 
at the Glassalt Shiel, to say that the watch was all right at the 
Castle, but at the same time handing Lord Derby's telegram 
giving the news of the Duke's death. Her Majesty returned 
to town to witness the funeral procession, which was the most 
remarkable death pageant of her reign. It took place on the 
l8th of November, 1852, and passed to St. Paul's through 
streets draped in black ; a " masquerade in ink," Dickens 
rather flippantly called it. Duty to the Crown had always 
been the mainspring of Wellington's life, and his devotion to 
the Queen, over whom he had watched with a fatherly pride 
from her earliest years, was quite romantic. 

On the 7th of April, 1853, the Queens eighth child and 
fourth son was born at Buckingham Palace, and received, 
among others, the name of Leopold, after her beloved uncle, 
the King of the Belgians. Only three weeks before this event 
an alarming fire had broken out at Windsor Castle close to 
the white drawing-room, where the Queen and Prince were 
sitting; but Her Majesty displayed her usual intrepidity, and 
received no harm. A few months after her confinement, she 



176 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

had her family " down with the measles," and suflfered a slight 
attack herself. Happily all quickly recovered, and in the 
succeeding August the royal party visited Ireland to open the 
Exhibition of Art and Industry at Dublin. 

In the autumn of 1853 the Queen was considerably 
" worried ** by a revival of the charges of " foreign influence " 
directed against her husband. War was now imminent with 
Russia, and the popular feeling was in its favour ; still, there 
was hesitation and dissension in the Cabinet, and this was 
attributed to the influence " behind the throne." The feeling 
displayed drew from the Queen a letter to Lord Aberdeen, 
in which she said that the Prince was one and the same with 
herself, and that attacks upon him were the same as attacks 
upon the throne. When Parliament met in January, 1854, 
the calumnies against the Prince were refuted in both Houses, 
and for the first time the right of the Prince to advise the 
sovereign — his wife— was officially accepted. Shortly after 
this dark cloud had been lifted, the Queen kept the fourteenth 
anniversary of her marriage at Windsor, when the royal 
children performed a Masque of the Seasons, which the 
Baroness Bunsen, who was present, describes as being a 
wonderfully pretty sight. Spring was represented by Princess 
Alice, Summer by the Princess Royal, Autumn by Prince 
Alfred, and Winter by the Prince of Wales. A separate 
tableau was given for each season, and the children recited 
suitable verses from Thomson's " Seasons." As a finale, all 
the seasons stood in a group while the little Princess Helena, 
dressed as Britannia, pronounced a blessing on their parents. 

The Queen's elder children were now entering upon their 
teens, and it was a conscientious duty with her that they should 



178 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

randum, that "she should have great reverence for God and 
rch'gion, but that she should have the feeling of devotion and 
love which our heavenly Father encourages His earthly 
children to have for Him, and not one of fear and trembling ; 
and that the thoughts of death and an after life should not 
be represented in an alarming and forbidding view, and that 
she should be made to know as yet no difference of creeds, and 
not think that she can only pray on her knees, or that those 
who do not kneel are less fervent and devout in their prayers." 
Her Majesty, indeed, kept the religious instruction of her 
children largely in her own hands. A story is told that 
when the Archdeacon of London was catechising the young 
Princes he said, " Your governess deserves great credit for 
instructing you so thoroughly." At which the boys piped up, 
**Oh, but it is mamma who teaches us our Catechism." It 
is not perhaps generally known that the Queen occasionally 
taught a Bible-class for the children of those in attendance at 
Buckingham Palace, and that, it having come to her knowledge 
that the children of the servants and attendants at the Palace 
were without the means for ordinary instruction, she com- 
manded that a school should be started for them in Palace 
Street, Pimlico, and herself showed the greatest interest in its 
management. 

Her Majesty encouraged her own boys to choose their 
profession when they were quite young, and had them educated 
in accordance with their choice, excepting of course the Prince 
of Wales, who was born to wear the purple, and had no option 
in the matter. His training and education were, however, 
a conscientious study with his parents, who placed him suc- 
cessively under the care of Mr. Birch and Mr. Gibbs, and 



i8o THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

tutors was quite touching. Lady Canning writes from Windsor 
Castle in June, 1852 : "Mr. Birch [the tutor] left yesterday. It 
has been a terrible sorrow to the Prince of Wales, who has 
done no end of touching things since he heard that he was to 
lose him, three weeks ago. He is such an affectionate, dear 
little boy ; his little notes and presents, which Mr. Birch used 
to find on his pillow, were really too moving." 

Prince Alfred early expressed his wish to be a sailor, 
and he was sent from home at twelve years of age to pursue 
his studies in a separate establishment, at the Royal Lodge, 
Windsor Park, under the care of Lieutenant Cowell, a young 
officer of engineers, afterwards Sir John Cowell, K.C.B., Master 
of Her Majesty's Household ; later on, the sailor-Prince 
had an establishment at Alverbank, near Portsmouth, for the 
greater convenience of his naval studies. Prince Arthur 
decided to be a soldier, and began his training when nine 
years of age, under Captain Elphinstone, of the Engineers, 
afterwards Sir Howard Elphinstone. Thus the education of 
the three elder Princes was settled. 

Great grief was felt by the Queen and Prince Albert 
when, in 185 1, Lady Lyttelton retired from the post of 
governess to the royal children. She was succeeded by Lady 
Caroline Barrington, sister of Earl Grey, who held the im- 
portant position for twenty-four years, and was greatly beloved 
by the young Princesses. The Princess Royal became very 
remarkable as a girl as she had been clever as a child, and 
the constant companionship of her scholarly father developed 
her natural intellect to an astonishing degree. She was more 
of a woman at fifteen than most girls are at twenty. Princess 
Alice inherited her mother's affectionate nature and musical 



LATER MARRIED LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA i8i 

voice, and we find on festive occasions in the royal house- 
hold that "Alice" did the recitations and speechifying. 

A girl of such strong personality as the Princess Royal 
needed the curb occasionally, and how promptly the royal 
mother applied it is illustrated by the following story. 
When about thirteen years old the Princess accompanied 
her mother to a military review, and seemed disposed, as she 
sat in the carriage, to be a little coquettish with some of 
the young officers of the escort. The Queen gave her some 
warning looks without avail, and presently the young Princess 
dangled her handkerchief over the side of the carriage 
and dropped it — evidently for the purpose. There was an 
immediate rush of young officers to pick it up ; but the royal 
mother bid the gentlemen desist from their gallant intention, 
and turning to poor unfortunate " Vicky," said in a stern 
voice, " Now, my daughter, pick up your handkerchief your- 
self." There was no help for it ; the footman let down the 
steps, and the young Princess did her mother's bidding, with 
flaming cheeks and a saucy toss of the head, though. Another 
time it was " Princey " who received a wholesome lesson. 
He was riding in company with his father, and for once forgot 
his usual politeness, and neglected to acknowledge the salute 
of a passer-by. Prince Albert observing it said, " Now, my son, 
go back and return that man's bow," which he accordingly 
did. One might go on multiplying these stories, but suffi- 
cient has been said to show that the Queen's children were 
taught respectful obedience to their parents and elders in a 
manner not common to-day. 

It always seems to have been the fate of English queens 
to have one important war. Queen Elizabeth fought the 



182 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Spaniard and vanquished the Armada, Mary had her disastrous 
war with the French and lost Calais, Queen Anne's reign was 
famous foi the victories of Marlborough, and Victoria had 
the Crimean war. It was on the 28th of February, 1854, that 
Her Majesty signed a formal declaration of war with Russia.' 
In doing so si e acted from the strongest sense of duty. The 
nation had maie up its mind that Russian aggressions in the 
East must be checked, and the war-cry in the country was too 
strong to be disregarded. It is quite evident that the Queen 
and Prince Consort would have avoided the contest if they 
could have found an honourable means of doing so. In reply 
to the King of Prussia, who wrote at the eleventh hour urging 
peace, the Queen sent a letter full of patriotic spirit, and ending 
with the famous quotation : 

" Beware of entrance to a quarrel ; but being in, 
Bear it, that the opposer may beware of thee." 

For the next two years her life was passed in consuming 
anxiety regarding this campaign. First she bid God-speed to 
her gallant troops as they started for the seat of war; then 
came the farewell to the magnificent war fleet as it sailed for 
the Baltic under command of Sir Charles Napier, and the 
launching and christening of the Royal Albert^ a monster iron- 
clad sent to the Crimea with reinforcements after tlie battle 
of Inkermann. With throbbing heart the Queen received the 
tidings of the battles of Alva, Inkermann, Balaclava, and the 
Charge of the Light Brigade ; and as the cry of the widow 
and orphan began to be heard in the land, she and the 
Prince felt that something must be done to aid the dis- 
tressed. In October, 1854, the Patriotic Fund, headed by 



THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

30 guineas apiece. The Queen and her ladies spent much of 
their time in knitting and sewing garments for the soldiers 
and preparing bandages, while " Vicky " and " Alice," with all 
the enthusiasm of young girls, longed and even planned to 
go out and join Florence Nightingale and her noble band of 
nurses at Scutari. In fact, the sympathy and enthusiasm of 
the royal children were stirred to the highest pitch, and we 
find one of the young Princes saying to Lord Cardigan, when 
he returned to Windsor to visit Her Majesty, " Do hurry back 
and take Sebastopol, or else it will kill mamma." 

Frequent letters were written by the Queen to the seat of 
war, expressing concern at the gross mismanagement of the 
commissariat in the early part of the campaign, and vehemently 
urging that every effort should be made to save the brave 
men from privation. During a war debate in Parliament in 
January, 1855, Mr. Augustus Stafford thrilled his hearers by 
telling them that he had seen a wounded man in the hospital, 
after hearing one of the Queen's sympathetic letters read, 
propose her health in a glass of bark and quinine. "It is a 
bitter cup for a loyal toast," said Mr. Stafford, to which the 
man replied, " Yes ; and but for the words of the Queen I 
could not have got it down." In opening Parliament during 
this period of national sorrow, for the first time the Queen's 
silvery accents failed her, and the speech from the throne was 
read by her in broken accents and with tears streaming down 
her face. " It was a sight never to be forgotten," says one 
who was present, " for the whole assembly was convulsed with 
grief ; there was scarcely one present who had not the loss of 
a dear one to mourn." When the melancholy contingents of 
wounded began to return home, the Queen constantly visited 



1 86 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

past her with gaunt forms, pallid faces, and maimed and disabled 
bodies ; but it was beautiful to see how the faces of the men 
brightened as she spoke kind and grateful words to them. 
An amusing story is told by the Earl of Malmesbury of the 
"density" of the Minister for War, Lord Panmure, on this 
occasion. " Was the Queen touched ? " asked a lady of him, 
referring to the pathetic spectacle. " Bless my soul, no I " was 
the reply ; " she had a brass railing before her, and no one 
could touch her." "Was she moved, I mean?" persisted the 
lady. " Moved ! " answered Lord Panmure ; " she had no 
occasion to move." The sequel to this lack of intelligence 
on the part of the Minister of War may be found in the fact 
that the Queen's quick eyes had detected many flaws in the 
management of the military hospitals during her visits, and 
she had addressed remonstrances to Lord Panmure on the 
subject It was owing to the Queen's efforts that, after the 
war, the beautiful military hospital at Netley was built. 

In connection with the distribution of the Crimean war 
medals, a story is told of an old lady who kept the Swiss 
Cottage on the Duke of Bedford's estate at Endsleigh. When 
Her Majesty was paying a visit to the Cottage, the old lady 
thought, " Now's my chance," and plucking up heart she said, 
" Please, your Majesty, ma'am, I had a son, a faithful subject 
of your Majesty, and he was killed in your wars out in the 
Crimea, and I wants his medal." " And you shall have it," 
replied the Queen, with a soft voice and melting eye, as she 
took the old woman's hand. 

The friendly alliance entered into between France and 
England during the Crimean war was the occasion of an 
interchange of visits between the sovereigns. The Emperor 



LATER MARRIED LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 187 

Napoleon, with his lovely young Empress Eugenie, visited 
Windsor in April, 1855, and a few months later the Queen 
and Prince Albert returned the visit, taking the Prince of 
Wales and the Princess Royal along with them. A series of 
brilliant entertainments took place in Paris, and the friendship 
between the Queen and the amiable and lovely Eugenie, 
which has lasted until the present time, was begun. Often 
one fancies that the two royal widows must sadly talk together 
of those bright, happy times. The two children enjoyed their 
visit to Paris immensely, and the Prince of Wales conceived 
the brilliant idea that he and his sister might remain behind 
and continue the festivities after the departure of their 
parents. The Empress made the usual reply which hostesses 
give to importunate juveniles — that their "papa and mamma 
would not be able to spare them," to which " Bertie " replied, 
" Oh, they can do without us ; there are six more at home." 

Shortly after the return of the Queen from France, the joy 
bells rang through the land that at length Sebastopol had 
fallen, and the war was practically at an end. 

The years 1856-57 were spent largely by the Queen amongst 
the returning warriors. It was a season of military reviews 
and decorations, and the enthusiasm of the troops at Aldershot, 
as Her Majesty rode down the lines on her chestnut charger 
in the uniform of a field marshal, draped below the waist 
with a dark blue skirt, was unbounded ; and when on another 
occasion she delivered a stirring speech to the soldiers from 
her carriage, the scene of excitement beggars description— 
" bearskins and shakos were thrown into the air, dragoons 
waved their sabres, and shouts rang all down the lines." The 
Queen showed her appreciation of Miss Nightingale's noble 



|88 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

work by inviting her to Balmoral immediately after she had 
settled in the newly built castle. On the 26th of June, 1857, 
came the crowning act of the Queen in the Crimean period, 
when she distributed the Victoria Crosses, a badge for valour 
specially struck at this time, in Hyde Park to those who had 
performed special acts of bravery during the war. It was at 
this time of wide distribution of honours that Her Majesty 
conferred upon her noble husband the title of Prince Consort 
Her Majesty's ninth, and youngest, child, the Princess 
Beatrice, was born on the 14th of April, 1857, and no sooner 
does one cease to record this, the last birth in the royal 
househoh], than it becomes the pleasing duty to start with the 
weddings. One of the first acts of the Queen, when she 
had recovered from her confinement, was to announce to 
Parliament the formal betrothal of her daughter, the Princess 
Royal, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia, eldest son of 
the Prince and Princess of Prussia, and direct heir to the 
throne. Prince Fritz had visited Windsor during the Great 
Exhibition in 1851, and had greatly admired the young 
Princess at that time. When he returned in 1855, he found 
her "woman grown," though only fifteen years of age, and as 
they rode together one day among the hills of Balmoral, he 
declared his love by presenting the " Rose of England " with 
a spray of white heather. The Queen and Prince Albert gave 
their consent to the betrothal on condition that it was regarded, 
for the present, as a private family matter, the extreme youth 
of the Princess rendering anything more public undesirable, 
and the Queen felt that the marriage should not take place 
until her daughter had attained her seventeenth year. The 
two years which intervened before the Princess's marriage 



I go THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the marriage of her daughter the Queen addressed a beautiful 
letter to Sir Colin Campbell, the hero of Lucknow, and a 
pathetic picture of the " Relief of Lucknow " was one of the 
last pieces of work done by the Princess Royal before her 
marriage. 

This, the first wedding in the Queen's family, was attended 
with all the little home touches which makes Her Majesty's 
life so charming. She and the Prince themselves arranged 
the bride's presents to be viewed by their friends. The 
details of the marriage ceremony were identical with those 
of the Queen's own wedding. She calls it the " second most 
eventful day" in her life, and said that she felt as if she 
were "being married over again herself." The very youthful 
bride looked charming in her white silk and orange blossoms, 
with the famous myrtle in her bouquet, a shoot of which, 
planted at Osborne, has grown into a tree which supplies the 
royal brides of the present time. The marriage was cele- 
brated, like the Queen's, at the Chapel Royal, St James's 
Palace, and took place on the 2Sth of January, 1858. A pretty 
little scene was enacted when, as the bride advanced to the 
altar, the bridegroom knelt to kiss her hand. Unlike her 
royal mother, the young Princess had to leave home and 
kindred for a foreign land, and the parting, after the brief 
honeymoon at Windsor, was a heart-breaking one for all. 
The Princess had said to her mother, "I think it will kill 
me to say good-bye to papa " ; and when the time came for 
her to sail for Germany, the poor young bride — clever, wilful, 
independent "Vicky" of the old days — was quite broken 
down. The Queen did not trust herself to see her daughter 
oflF, and those who saw the Prince Consort's white, rigid face 



193 THB PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

saying, " I mean no harm, but I always say just what I 
think, not what is fut" (fit). The Queen's comment on the 
incident was : " Dear old lady, she is such a pleasant person." 
Her Majesty dislikes, above everything, cringing servility, and 
delights in those honest, candid people who say what they 
think, not what is fuL 

In the following August the Queen and Prince Consort 
visited their daughter in her new home, and the Queen was 
rejoiced to find her " quite the old Vicky still " ; but in taking 
leave of her after a pleasant stay in Germany, the royal 
mother felt sad that it was impossible for her to return again 
to the young Princess at that critical time when "every 
other mother goes to her child." On the 27th of January, 
1859, the Princess Frederick William was confined of a son, 
the present Emperor William, and Her Majesty found herself 
at thirty-nine with the ancient dignity of "grandmamma" 
conferred upon her. In the September of i860 the Queen 
and Prince spent some time in Coburg, and were visited by 
"Vicky" and "Fritz" and the wonderful "baby William," 
who was duly brought to grandmamma's room every morning, 
and was pronounced "such a darling." 

But the time has come when the shadow of death encom- 
passed the life of our beloved Queen. Her mother, the 
Duchess of Kent, had been for some time in declining health, 
and in March of 1861 the Queen was summoned to Frog- 
more, and found her in a dying condition. She passed 
peacefully away, solaced by the daughter whom she had 
reared with unsurpassed love and care, and to whom her 
death came as the first great grief in life. "What a blessed 
end ! " the Queen writes in her diary ; " her gentle spirit at 




rest, her sufferings over ! But I — I, wretched child — who had 
lost the mother I so tenderly loved, from whom for these 
forty-one years I had never been parted except for a few 
weeks — what was my case? My childhood — everything seemed 
to crowd upon me at once. I seemed to have Hved through 
a life, to have become old I" The Queen was much depressed 
in the months which followed, despite the loving sympathy 
of her husband and children ; and indeed she had not 
recovered her spirits when ten months later came a loss 
which made all others seem trivial. For the last ten years 
the health of the Prince Consort had been unsatisfactory; the 



194 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

great mental strain which he underwent in organising the 
Exhibition of 1851, followed by the hard work and con- 
stant anxiety attendant on the Crimean war and the Indian 
Mutiny, had weakened his constitution, and when in December 
of 1 86 1 he was seized with an attack of typhoid fever, he 
had no strength to resist the disease. The agonised suspense 
of his wife during the fortnight which followed his seizure 
was in proportion to the absorbing and passionate love she had 
borne him throughout the twenty-one years of their wedded 
life. When hope was abandoned, and the doctors could no 
longer conceal their fears from her, the Queen writes : " I 
went to my room, and felt as if my heart must break." 
Then came a change in the Prince's condition, and the wife's 
heart beat fast with hope ; but it was only for a few hours. 
As the day advanced it became evident that the Prince was 
sinking. Bending over him the Queen whispered, "'Tis your 
own little wife," and he turned his head and kissed her. 
After ten o'clock, on the fatal 14th of December, came the 
end, and the great and good Prince, who had worn, through 
good report and ill, "the white flower of a blameless life," 
passed to his reward, and the Crown was left indeed a 
"lonely splendour." 



THE WIDOWED MONARCH 



'95 



VII 

THE WIDOWED MONARCH 

QUEEN VICTORIA kneeling at the death-bed of her 
"dear lord and master," as she ever called the Prince 
Consort, will remain one of the most pathetic scenes in 
the history of this country. Queen she remained to the end, in 
spite of her woman's anguish. When the last sigh was 
heaved, and the spirit of her beloved had fled, she gently 
loosed the hand which she had held as he passed through 
the valley of the shadow of death, saw the lids closed over 
the eyes which to the last had turned their love-light upon 
her, rose from the bedside, thanked the physicians for their 
skill and attention, spoke some soothing words to her orphaned 
children sobbing around the bed, and, walking from the room 
calm and erect, sought the solitude of her chamber, and 
went through her Gethsemane alone. 

Away in the city the great bell of St. Paul's tolled the 
sad tidings through the midnight air, and next morning — 
Sunday — it seemed that a pall had fallen over the land, and 
there was scarce a dry eye in the churches when the Prince 
Consort's name was significantly omitted from the Litany, 
and the ministers impressively paused in the prayer for "the 
fatherless children and widows, and all that are desolate and 

197 



198 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

oppressed." To many, indeed, this was the first intimation 
of the great loss which the monarch and the country had 
sustained. As the awestruck worshippers dispersed they 
gathered in little knots, and spoke in whispers of the grief- 
stricken wife at Royal Windsor, recalled her joy-days, when, 
gay as a lark, she had entered the Abbey on her coronation 
day, or walked from the altar a proud and happy bride, and 
again had hung with a mother's love over the cradle of her 
little ones ; and now, in the heyday of life and happiness 
she was a widowed Queen, more desolate by reason of her 
exalted position than any woman in the land, similarly 
bereft. That angel of comfort. Princess Alice, whose lovely 
character all the world reveres, was the support of her mother 
in this time of sorrow. She was aided in her ministrations 
by Lady Augusta Bruce (afterwards the wife of Dean Stanley), 
who had been the beloved friend and attendant of the 
Duchess of Kent in her last years; and by that other dear 
friend of the Queen, the Duchess of Sutherland, herself but 
lately a widow, who was specially summoned by her 
royal mistress to stay with her at this time of bereavement 
Anxious days and nights were passed by these devoted ladies 
in the Queen's room, for the reaction from the enforced 
restraint had been so great that Her Majesty was completely 
prostrated, and her pulse became so weak at one time that 
death appeared imminent It is scarcely realised to-day how 
near the country was to a double tragedy, and when the 
tidings were flashed through the land that at last the Queen 
had obtained some hours' sleep it seemed like the joy-bells 
succeeding the funeral peal. The feelings of the people were 
beautifully expressed by Mrs. Crosland in her poem : 



THE WIDOWED MONARCH 







"Sleep, tor the night is round thee spread, 
Thou daughter of a line of kings ; 
Sleep, widowed Queen, while angels' wiuga 
Make canopy above thy head I 

Steep, while a mitliou piaj-ers rise up 

To Him who knew all earthly sorrow, 

Tliat day by day each soft to-morrow 
May melt the biller from thy cup." 

When the first agony of her grief was over, the Queen 
summoned her children around her, and told ihein that, 
though she felt crushed by her loss, she knew what her 
position demanded, and asked them to help her in fulfilling 
her duty to the country and to them. Little Prince Leopold, 



«00 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

the delicate one of the Queen's bairns, who was at this time 
at Cannes for his health, when told that his father was dead,, 
cried piteously, " Do take me to my mamma " ; and that old- 
fashioned little tot, Baby Beatrice, would climb on her mother's 
knee to look at ''mamma's sad cap." Fearing the worst 
consequences should Her Majesty have another relapse, the 
physicians were urgent that she should leave Windsor before 
the funeral took place ; but the Queen cried bitterly at the 
suggestion, saying that her subjects never left their homes 
or the remains of their dear ones at such times, and why 
should she. It was only when Princess Alice represented to 
her that the younger children might suffer if they remained in 
the fever-tainted Castle that she consented to go with them 
to Osborne. Before leaving she drove to Frogmore, where 
only ten months before she had laid to rest her devoted 
mother, and walking round the gardens on the arm of Princess 
Alice, chose a bright sunny spot to bury her dead. The 
same feeling which led the Queen to create homes of her 
own, apart from the royal palaces, prompted her to have 
a family burying-placc. With a truly democratic spirit. Her 
Majesty preserves her own individuality, and declines to be 
considered a mere royalty, whose affairs are to be regulated 
by the State, and whose body must lie in a cold and dreary 
royal vault, along with kings and queens for whom she cares 
nothing at all. When the sad time comes, our greatest 
monarch will probably lie with her mother and husband in 
the beautiful God's acre of her own choosing. The funeral 
of the Prince Consort took place, with the honours befitting^ 
so great and good a Prince, on the 2^rd of December, 1861,. 
the cofKn being temporarily placed at the entrance to St» 



202 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

green moss and violets, made by the Queen and Princess 
Alice. The unmistakable reality of the sorrow at the funeral 
was very striking, and was manifested, not only by the heart- 
broken sobs of the young Princes, but by the tears of veteran 
statesmen and ambassadors mingling with those who were of 
royal kin. Though there can be no doubt that the Prince had 
won for himself a place in the hearts of those present, one 
feels that the tears flowed as much in sympathy for her who 
sorrowed as for him who was gone. In reading the letters 
and memoirs of courtiers of this period, it is evident that 
they felt that the Queen had well-nigh received her death- 
blow ; all speak of her calm, pathetic sorl-ow being heart- 
breaking to witness. Amongst others. Lord Shaftesbury writes 
at this time: "The desolation of the, Queen's heart and life, 
the death-blow to her happiness on earth ! God in His 
mercy sustain and comfort ! The disruption of domestic 
existence, unprecedented in royal history, the painful with- 
drawal of a prop, the removal of a counsellor, a friend in 
all public and private aff'airs, the sorrows she has, the troubles 
that await her — all rend my heart as though the suffering 
were my own." 

Her Majesty spent the first three months of her widow- 
hood in absolute retirement at Osborne, where she was 
greatly comforted by her beloved half-sister, the Princess 
Hohenlohe, who had hastened from Germany to her side. 
The Princess told Dean Stanley that the Queen found "her 
only comfort in the belief that her husband's spirit was close 
beside her — for he had promised her that it should be so " ; 
and she further related that the Queen would go each morn- 
ing to visit the cows on the Prince's model farm, because 



KH THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VIC20RIA 

Consort's plans, which- the Queen would not have put on 
one side, for a prolonged tour in the East, accompanied by 
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (Dean of Westminster). The Queen's 
ddest daughter was bound by the ties of her German home, 
and It was therefore upon Princess Alice that everything 
devolved during those first terrible week3. The nation has 
never foi^otten the tact and judgment in dealing with 
MInbters and officials, in the Queen's place, shown by this 
young girl of eighteen, and her remarkable conduct called 
forth a special article in the Times, 

The advocates of modem funeral reform might complain 
that Her Majesty was too punctilious in her outward signs 
of mourning ; but, as she once playfully said to Lord 
Melbourne in her young days, " What is the use of being 
a queen if you cannot do as you like ? " It is said that she 
refused to sign a Commission because the paper was not 
bordered with black ; and we know that for at least eight 
years after the Prince Consort's death the royal servants wore 
a band of crape upon the left arm, while in her own attire 
Her Majesty has never, throughout the succeeding years of her 
widowhood, worn any but mourning colours. So complete 
was her isolation during her retirement at Osborne that she 
dined alone save for one of the royal children, who took it 
in turns to be with her, the other members of the family 
and the visitors, even her uncle Leopold, dining separately. 
At her command the late Prince's apartments at Windsor, 
Osborne, and Balmoral were closed, and remain to-day exactly 
as they were at his death. His favourite horse, Guy 
Mannering, was turned out to a life of ease in Bushey Park, 
the saddle never again being placed upon his back ; while the 



THE WIDOWED MONARCH lOS 



memory of his favourite dog, Eos, which predeceased him, was 
preserved on the Prince's tomb, where the faithful greyhound 
is sculptured at his master's feet. This dog accompanied the 
Prince when he came to be married ; and his brother, Duke 
Ernest, tells the story that as he and Prince Albert passed 
through a little German town on their way to England in 1839, 
the country people came out to see them, and Prince Albert for 
a "lark" put his little black greyhound up at the carriage 
window for the people to stare at, while he and his brother, 
convulsed with laughter, crouched down in the bottom of the 
carriage out of sight Not only were the Prince's rooms 
preserved in the state in which he left them — a custom which 
the Queen follows with all her nearest departed relatives — but 
her own boudoir at Windsor Castle is kept in the same state 
to-day as it was whrti the Prince Consort died. On the door 
is inscribed, " Every article in this room my lamented husband 
selected for me in the twenty-fourth year of my reign." In 



jo6 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

this rcx)m the Queen's bridal wreath and the first bouquet 
which the Prince presented to her lie withered in a glass case. 

She wasted no time in idle tears, and a simple little incident 
occurred at the time which showed that some of Her Majesty's 
old interest in life was returning. When out driving in the 
neighbourhood of Windsor one afternoon, she was attracted 
by a poor Italian vendor of images, and ordering the carriage 
to be stopped, astonished the man by buying up a large portion 
of his stock-in-trade; but still greater must have been his 
surprise when it transpired that neither the Queen nor her 
suite had sufficient cash to pay for the purchases. However, 
matters were eventually arranged to the perfect satisfaction of 
the man with the images, who doubtless ever afterwards dubbed 
himself, " By Appointment" 

Nowhere has the Queen such a sense of quiet and home- 
liness as at Balmoral, where, amongst her faithful Highlanders, 
she lives on terms of mutual aid and sympathy which recall 
the Scottish laird among his clansmen, and it would seem 
that, like Sir Walter Scott, she cannot live a year without a 
sight of the heather. Up to the time of her bereavement she 
had only stayed there in the autumn, when the Prince was 
deer-stalking ; but the year after his death she began the custom, 
since continued, of spending her own birthday in May, and 
that of the Prince in August, in the Highland home endeared 
to her by so many memories of the dead. The first visit paid 
by the Queen when she went there in the spring of 1862 was 
to an old cottager, who like herself had lately lost her husband, 
and the two widows, so differently placed in life, mingled their 

tears together. The old woman apologised for indulging her 
grief; but the Queen told her that she "was so thankful to 



THE WIDOWED MONARCH 107 



cry with some one who knew exactly how she felt." Her 
Mitjcsty is always a Scotchwoman when she is at her Highland 
home, and during this time of sorrow, in characteristic Scotch 
fashion, the first thing she did was to send for the minister. 
It was to the Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod that she appealed 
for religious guidance, and deeply grateful was she for his 
faithful coun.sel. When he pointed out to her the duty of 
resignation to the divine Will, she received his admonitions 
very sweetly, and sent him a touching letter of thanks. Dr. 
Macleod afterwards wrote : " I am never tempted to conceal 
any conviction from the Queen, for I feel she sympathises with 
what is true, and likes the speaker to utter the truth exactly 
as he believes it." Her Majesty was first attracted by Dr. 
Macleod's preaching in 1854, when he was officiating at Crathic 



2o8 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTOEIA 

Church, and the references in his prayer to herself and her 
children gave her, as she sa3rs, a ** lump in her throat* Later 
in the day Her Majesty and Prince Albert were taking dieir 
usual evening stroll, when they encountered the minister sittiDB 
on a block of granite in quiet meditation. The Queen at oooe 
advanced towards him and thanked him for his sermon, and 
the conversation which followed was the beginning of a friend- 
ship which ended only with Dr. Macleod's death. He was 
constantly at Balmoral during the Queen's early widowlMX>d ; 
in fact, it would seem that Her Majesty could hardly get on 
without him. She asked not only his spiritual guidance, but 
made him her confidant in matters relating to the training of 
her children, as she perpetually felt the responsibility of being 
a widow with a large family. "No one," she said, "ever 
reassured and comforted me about my children like Dr. Mac- 
leod." At times he turned entertainer for Her Majesty, and 
would read Burns and Scott to her as she sat spinning. In 
this homely occupation the Queen is proficient, having taken 
her first lessons from an old woman at Balmoral, who for 
many years had in her possession flax spun by Her Majesty, 
until it was begged away thread by thread by enterprising 
tourists. The Queen has an interesting collection of spinning- 
wheels, and has sent specimens of her work to exhibitions. 
It is interesting to find from Dr. Macleod that her favourite 
poem from Burns was, " A man's a man for a' that" This, 
however, is but further evidence of Her Majesty's democratic 
sentiments, which are very evident, notwithstanding her imperial 
spirit, which brooks no encroachment upon her authority as a 
constitutional sovereign. 

In the course of his talks with the Queen, Dr Macleod 




I 



told her of an old Scotchwoman, \vho had lost her husbaml 
and several children, and had had many sorrows, but when 
asked how she could bear them said : " When he was taen, 
it made sic a hole in my heart that a' other sorrows gang 
lichtty through." " So will it ever be with me," was the Queen's 
remark when she heard the story. One imagines that there 
was something of the feeling that one loss more could make 
her loneliness little greater, in the Queen's consenting to part 
with her beloved daughter Princess Alice, who had been 
betrothed to Prince Louis of Hesse before her father's death, 
and whose marriage and removal to Germany took place in 
the July following. I'ainful indeed is the contrast between 
the marriages of the Queen's two eldest daughters : the one 
a joyous repetition of the gay ceremonies which attended her 
own brid'il, and the second performed privately at Osborne 



210 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

in a scene of partial mourning, when everybody cried, even to 
the Archbishop. The sweet young Princess, whom her father 
called " the beauty of the family," looked pathetically lovely 
in her dress of crystalline silk, trimmed with Honiton flounces 
made from a design chosen by the Prince Consort She was 
given away by her paternal uncle, Duke Ernest of Coburg, 
the Queen sitting in deep mourning in the background of the 
bridal party. There was no wedding breakfast, but after the 
ceremony the young couple lunched privately with the Queen 
and "Baby," as Princess Beatrice was yet called. This was 
indeed the " sad marriage " in the royal family. 

The following month Her Majesty was again at Balmoral, 
where she erected the Cairn to the Prince Consort on the 
Craig Lowrigan. " I and my poor six orphans," she writes, 
''all placed stones on it, and our initials, as well as those of 
the three absent ones." Below the inscription is the beautiful 
motto from the Apocrypha chosen by the Princess Royal : 

"He being made perfect in a short time fulfilled a long time; 
For his soul pleased the Lord. 
Therefore hastened He to take him away from among the wicked." 

During the first years of her widowhood the Queen could not 
bear to listen to music, still less to take part in its performance, 
which had hitherto been such a delight to her; neither did 
she feel able to amuse herself with her favourite pastime of 
sketching. Mr. Leitch, the artist, who was drawing-master 
to the Queen and royal family for twenty-two years, describes 
in a letter to his mother the sadly altered life at Balmoral 
at this period. He writes : " The Queen is still the kind, 
good, gracious lady that she always was; but I need hardly 



THE WIDOWED MONARCH 



tell you that there is a change, indeed the whole place is 
changed. Everything very quiet and still. How different from 
my first visit here — the joyous bustle in the morning when 
the Prince went out; the Highland ponies and the dogs; the 
gillies and the pipers coming home ; the Queen and her ladies 
going out to meet them ; and the merry time afterwards ; the 
torchlight sword dances on the green, and the ser^'ants' ball 
closing." In the following autumn Her Majesty was persuaded 
to resume sketching, and Mr. Leilch gives a graphic account of 
an outdoor drawing-party. The Queen set out on her High- 
land pony led by John Brown, Lady Jane Churchill, one 
of the ladies-in-waiting to whom the Queen was specially 
attached during this period of loneliness, walking alongside 
the pony, the Princess Louise and Mr. Leitch trudging along 



312 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the road together after them. When the place selected for 
sketching was reached, the Queen seated herself in the^ middle 
of the country road, with a rough stone from the Dee as 
a rest for her paint-box, Lady Churchill holding an umbrella 
to shade the Queen's eyes. Princess Louise sat on a stone 
a little farther away, while Mr. Leitch attended the party 
as instructor, and John Brown looked after the pony. The 
country folk stared in astonishment as they passed by, and 
Her Majesty heartily enjoyed the fun, and seemed to revive 
a little of her lost animation. She sketched for two hours, 
and then remarked how quickly time passed when she was 
drawing, and expressed her determination to do more of it. 
So in her second loneliness the Queen found consolation in 
the use of pencil and brush, as she had done in her rather 
dull and monotonous childhood. 

At the marriage of the Prince of Wales with the Princess 
Alexandra of Denmark in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, on 
the loth of March, 1863, the Queen sat apart in her grief, 
unable to mingle in the gay festivity. It was after the birth 
of a son to the young couple in January, 1864, that she gave 
the first sign of returning interest in public life, and com- 
manded that in honour of the event her birthday in the 
succeeding May should be celebrated in London with the 
trooping of the colours and general festivities, which had been 
suspended since the death of the Prince Consort. The people 
were, however, disappointed in the hope that Her Majesty 
was going to resume her old place in society, and indeed 
the charming manner in which her son's wife was taking her 
place seemed to render it unnecessary, especially when the 
Queen was already overburdened with governmental work, the 



214 ^HE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

wonderfully made that her friends declined to taste it, 
she said philosophically, " Never mind ; I will give it to 
the donkey, as Dean Stanley is not here," the little 
Princess being aware that the Dean had neither taste nor 
smell, and was therefore an undiscriminating person regarding 
pasties. The Princess Louise had the reputation of being 
the best cook among the royal children, and we find her 
coming to the rescue on one of the Queen's Highland 
expeditions, when the luggage had broken down on the way, 
and making her mother some delicious coffee. The story 
comes from Balmoral that Princesses Helena and Louise 
called one day, as was customary for them, to ask one of the 
cottage children to come and play with them ; the mother 
replied that her daughter must finish baking some oatcakes 
first "Oh, we'll help," volunteered the Princess Louise, and 
not being able to lay her hands on the cutter, she seized 
the teapot lid in her anxiety to get the business over, and 
succeeded in getting the unfortunate cakes into such a sticky, 
misshapen mess that the guid wife promptly despatched 
her daughter with her over-officious visitors and finished the 
baking herself. 

An amusing incident is told of the Queen's third son, 
Prince Arthur, when he was at the Ranger's Lodge, Blackheath, 
pursuing his military studies. His sister's former governess. 
Miss Hillyard, was staying for her health in the neighbour- 
hood, and each morning he was in the habit of walking to 
her house to inquire how she was, and in doing so passed 
by the apple-stall of an old Irishwoman, named Kitty, who 
from his cadet's dress took him for a private in the artillery. 
One day she asked a policeman if he could tell her who 



2i6 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

had at length been admitted to Parliament. At noon the 
streets recalled the palmy days of the Queen's wedded life ; 
crowds of spectators lined the route to Westminster, and a 
long line of carriages filled with ladies in full-dress stretched 
from Pall Mall to the Peers' entrance. Before the appearance 
of Her Majesty, the Princess of Wales, looking lovely in a 
white tulle dress trimmed with black lace, was conducted to 
a seat on the woolsack, facing the throne, whereon was spread 
the State robes which the Queen had no heart to wear. It 
wa§ a moment of thrilling and pathetic interest when Her 
Majesty entered, dressed in a robe of deep violet velvet, 
trimmed with ermine, and wearing a white lace cap, d la 
Marie Stuart, with a gauze veil flowing behind ; her dress, 
indeed, gave her a remarkable likeness to the unfortunate 
Queen of Scots. She was accompanied by the Princesses 
Helena and Louise, dressed in half-mourning costumes, and 
escorted to her seat by the Prince of Wales. She sat with 
downcast eyes, looking very grave and sad, while the speech 
from the throne, which in happier days had been delivered 
by her with such rare elocutionary power, was read by the 
Lord Chamberlain. One feels that the occasion was a little 
trying for Princess Helena, as the formal announcement was 
made of her approaching marriage with Prince Christian of 
Schleswig-Holstein. 

In the March following the Queen reviewed the troops 
at Aldershot, and both this and the opening of Parliament by 
her gave the greatest pleasure, not only to the nation, but to 
the Queen's own family, and Princess Alice wrote to tell her 
mother how happy she was that she had made " the great 
effort." ** How trying," she says, " the visit to Aldershot must 



2HE WIDOtVED MONARCH 



have been ; but it is so wise and kind of you to go. I cannot 
think of it without tears in my eyes. Formerly that was one 
of the greatest pleasures of my girlhood, and you and darliny 
papa looked so handsome together." During the same year 
the Queen attended two weddings, that of the Princess Mary 
of Cambridge and the Duke of Teck, which took place at 
Kew on the oth of June, 1866, and that of the Princess Helena 
and Prince Christian, which was celebrated at Windsor on the 
following sth of July, the Queen giving away the bride. At 
the close of this year the growing discontent of the people 
that Her Majesty sliowed no disposition to resume her old 
place in Court functions was made the occasion of public 
demonstration at a meeting at St. James's Hall, in support 



2i8 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

of the enfranchisement of the working classes, when Mr. 
Ayrton, M.P., condemned the Queen's retirement in strong 
terms. This brought John Bright to his feet, who warmly 
vindicated Her Majesty from Mr. Ayrton's charge that she 
had neglected her duty to society. " I am not accustomed," 
said Mr. Bright, "to stand up in defence of those who are the 
possessors of crowns, but I feel that there has been a great 
injustice done to the Queen, and I venture to say this, that 
a woman — be she the queen of a great realm or the wife of 
one of your labouring men — who can keep alive in her heart 
a great sorrow for the lost object of her life and affection, is 
not at all likely to be wanting in a great and generous 
sympathy with you." As the great orator ceased, a remark- 
able ovation took place, the entire audience rising and singing 
" God Save the Queen " with every demonstration of love and 
loyalty. When two years later the name of John Bright was 
submitted to Her Majesty for a seat in Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet, 
she expressed her pleasure, saying that she was under the 
greatest obligation to him for the many kind words he had 
spoken of her, and despatched a special messengef to tell 
Mr. Bright that if it was more agreeable to his feelings as a 
Quaker to omit the ceremony of kneeling and kissing hands, 
he was at liberty to do so, of which permission Mr. Bright 
availed himself The Princess Royal was present during his 
reception at Windsor, and told him that both herself and all 
the members of the royal family were greatly indebted to 
him for the way in which he had spoken of their mother. 
Mr. Bright has recorded his estimate of the Queen's character 
to the effect that she was the " most absolutely straightforward 
and truthful person " he had ever known. 



VICTORIA, QUEEN AND EMPRESS 



919 



VIII 

VICTORIA, QUEEN AND EMPRESS 

FAR away in sunny India was enacted, on the ist of 
January, 1877, a scene the most brilliant and unique 
of any connected with the glorious reign of Victoria. At the 
Imperial Camp, outside the walls of Delhi, where the Mutiny 
had raged the fiercest. Her Majesty was proclaimed Empress 
of India. On a throne of Oriental splendour, above which was 
the portrait of the Empress, sat Lord Lytton, her Viceroy ; 
the Governors, Lieutenants, State officials and the Maharajahs, 
Rajahs, Nabobs, and Princes, with their glittering retinuqs 
grouped around him. Behind rose the vast amphitheatre, filled 
with foreign ambassadors and notables, around was the concourse 
of spectators and a brilliant array of fifteen thousand troops, 
while to complete the gorgeous scene the whole assemblage was 
surrounded by an unbroken chain of elephants decked with 
gay trappings. After the Proclamation had been made with all 
the pomp of heraldry, the Viceroy presented to each of the 
feudatory Princes the Empress's gift, a magnificent standard, 
made by Messrs. Elkington, after a design chosen by Her 
Majesty. The standards were oramented with the sacred 
water lily of India, spreading palms of the East, and the rose 

of England, it being the desire of the Empress to indicate 

221 



222 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

that as the rose and lily intertwined beneath the spreading 
palm, so was the welfare of India to become one with that 
of her older dominions ; and the motto, " Heaven's light our 
guide," illustrated the spirit in which she desired to govern 
the enormous empire of which she ever fondly speaks as " a 
bright jewel in her crown." Most noticeable in the brilliant 
gathering was the Begum of Bhopal, a lady Knight of the 
Most Noble Order of Queen Victoria. There was nothing 
to be seen of the lady save a bundle of floating azure silk^ 
which indicated that she was inside, and upon the place where 
the left shoulder was supposed to be was emblazoned the 
shield of the Star of India. Much cheap wit was expended 
after Her Majesty's accession on the rise of the "royal sex," 
and it was said that the young Queen intended to establish 
an Order of Female Knighthood. The prophecy of the scoffer 
seemed to have been more than fulfilled in the figure of this 
Hindoo lady wearing the Order of the Star of India. Though 
she was not valiant enough to show her face, yet her presence 
was a good omen for that emancipation of the women of her 
country from the seclusion of the Zenana which is fittingly 
distinguishing the reign of the British Empress. On the day 
of the Proclamation at Delhi, the Queen conferred the Grand 
Cross of India upon the Duke of Connaught, and when in iS/g* 
she became a great-grandmother, by the birth of a daughter 
to the Princess of Saxe-Meiningen (Princess Charlotte of 
Prussia), she celebrated her ancient dignity by investing twelve 
noble ladies of her Court with the Imperial Order of the Crown 
of India. 

The keenest interest has always been shown by the Queen 
in the condition of Hindoo women. It was with heartfelt 



VICTORIA, QUEEN AND EMPRESS 225 

thankfulness that she saw the barbarous suttee abolished, and 
it was her influence which inspired the rapid spread of Zenana 
work. In July, i88i,shc received at Windsor Miss Beilby, a 
medical missionary from India; and after listening to her 
account of the sufferings of Hindoo women, in time of illness, 
for need of doctors, the Queen turned to her ladies and said, 
" We had no idea that things were as bad as this." Miss Beilby 
then took from a locket which she wore round her neck a 
folded piece of paper containing a message to Her Majesty 
from the Maharanee of Poonah. " The women of India suffer 
when they are sick," was the burden of the dark-eyed Queen's 
appeal. The Empress returned her a message of sympathy and 
help, and to the women of our own land the Queen said, 
" We desire it to be generally known that we sympathise 
with every effort made to relieve the suffering state of the 
women of India"; and when Lord Dufferin went out as 
Governor-General, she commissioned Lady Dufferin to establish 
a permanent fund for providing qualified women doctors for 
work in India. Her Majesty continues to take the greatest 
interest in this work, and is in constant communication with 
the Viceroy's wife regarding its further organisation and 
extension. 

No opportunity is lost by Her Majesty to show her 
interest in her Indian Empire, and doubtless had the Prince 
Consort been spared she would have made a progress through 
the country. This was done in her stead by the Prince of Wales 
in 1875-6, and it was while he was making the tour that Lord 
Beaconsfield introduced the Royal Titles Bill into Parliament, 
conferring upon the Queen the title of Empress of India, a 
distinction regarded by John Bull as superfluous to a Crown 

15 



236 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the most distinguished in the world ; but Her Majesty 
personally desired it, not, as gossip affirmed, because of the 
advent at Court of her second son's imperial bride, but as a 
means of binding her Indian subjects to her in a closer 
manner. It is said that she showed more interest in the 
Indian Court of the Colonial Exhibition, 1886, than in any 
other, and at each of her visits chatted freely with the native 
workmen. When the Indian delegates to the Exhibition first 
saw their Empress, a homely-looking lady in a black silk 
gown, they expressed disappointment, having expected to see 
her decked out in the pomp and. circumstance of a mighty 
potentate. " But, after all," said they, " what a great power 
the Queen must wield when she can command such an array 
of illustrious personages to attend upon her, while she appears 
as the most simple of all the Court." Of late years Her 
Majesty has had Indian servants in native dress as personal 
attendants ; she is also an assiduous student of Hindustani, 
being able to speak and write in that language ; and her 
favourite State jewel is the priceless Koh-i-noor, about which 
hangs a tale. When it came into the possession of the East 
India Company, in 1850, it was handed at a Board meeting 
to John Lawrence (afterwards Lord Lawrence, the Viceroy) 
for safe keeping. The precious diamond was laid amongst 
folds of linen in a small box, and Lord Lawrence slipped 
it into his waistcoat pocket, and forgot all about it until 
some days later it was suggested that he should forward it 
to the Queen. One can imagine his consternation when he 
rushed to his house to sec if it was to be found. " Have 
you seen a small box in one of my waistcoat pockets?" he 
asked breathlessly of his servant. " Yes, sahib," was the reply. 



228 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

It is always kept at Windsor, a facsimile being in the royal 
crown at the Tower. 

An interesting event in the Queen's family circle took 
place in February, 1871, when at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, 
she gave away her clever, handsome daughter Princess Louise 
to the heir of the Argyles. The Queen has constantly testified 
her regard for the old Scottish nobility by visiting their 
castles. She stayed for the first time as tl.e guest of the 
Duke of Argyle at Invcrary in 1847, and this interesting note 
about her future son-in-law occurs in her " Journal " : " The 
pipers walked before the carriage, and the Highlanders on 
either side as we approached the house. Outside stood the 
Marquis of Lornc, just two years old, a dear, white, fat little 
fellow with reddish hair, but very delicate features, like both 
his father and mother; he is such a merry, independent little 
child." In the years which followed. Her Majesty had other 
opportunities for observing Lord Lome ; but before she con- 
sented to the betrothal of her daughter she consulted " the 
minister," and was assured by Dr. Macleod that he had a high 
opinion of the young Marquis. A gentleman who saw the 
festivities at the home-coming of the newly wedded pair to 
Inverary has told the present writer that the bride's dancing 
at the Tenants' Ball made quite a sensation — she " footed it " 
in the reels and strathspeys in a way which did credit to the 
wife of a Highland chief. Three years later came the marriage 
of Prince Alfred to the Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, at 
St Petersburg, which was the first and only wedding in her 
family at which the Queen was not present ; but she com- 
missioned her dear friends Dean Stanley and his wife, Lady 
Augusta, to convey her maternal greetings and little private 



VICTORIA, QUEEN AND EMPRESS 229 

gifts to the bride, and was most anxious that her Russian 
daughter-in-law should wear myrtle in her bridal attire. Myrtle 
is the German marriage emblem, and Her Majesty is most 
particular that all the royal brides shall wear it along with 
their orange blossoms. 

During this period the hand of death was laid on many 
of the Quccn*s loved ones. Her uncle Leopold, good old Baron 
Stockmar, and her beloved half-sister the Princess Hohenlohe, 
had all passed away, and the life of her eldest son had hung 
by a thread in December, 1871, but the greatest loss of all 
came with the death of Princess Alice. The pathetic story 
of the Princess's devoted nursing of her husband and little 
ones when they were attacked with diphtheria at Darmstadt 
is well remembered, and when she succumbed to the disease 
herself it was felt than she would never rally. Princess 
Christian says that her sister Alice had never really recovered 
from the fearful shock she received in 1873, when her little 
boy Fritz fell from a top window, and was dashed to the 
ground before the eyes of his agonised mother. Visits to the 
Queen at Osborne or Balmoral would revive her spirits and 
bring back the roses to her cheeks, but only for a time. The 
end came on the anniversary of her father's death, the fatal 
14th of December, 1878. Almost the last thing she did was 
to read a letter from her mother, which Sir William Jenner, 
who had been despatched by the Queen, had brought It 
seemed as though her spirit had been lingering for this message 
from home, and laying it beside her she said, " Now I will fall 
asleep " ; but it was the sleep of death upon which she entered. 
Her last request to her husband was that the dear old English 
flag might be placed upon her coffin, and she hoped that the 



230 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

people of her adopted country would not mind. The life of 
Princess Alice had been singularly beautiful, and like that 
of her elder sister, the Empress Frederick, full of high 
endeavour on behalf of her sex. It was a consolation to the 
Queen to gather the motherless children from Darmstadt 
around her at Osborne, where they completed their con- 
valescence, and in the early spring she took one of those 
Continental trips from which she always receives much benefit. 
This year she travelled incognita as the Countess of Balmoral, 
and spent a month at the Villa Clara, charmingly situated 
at Baveno, near Lake Maggiore, where she made informal 
excursions in the district, accompanied by Princess Beatrice. 

The Egyptian campaign of 1882 was a period of great 
anxiety to the Queen, and recalled the days of the Crimean 
war. She received the news of the victory of Tel-el-Kebir 
when at Balmoral, and ordered a bonfire to be lighted on 
Craig Gowan, as had been done at the fall of Sebastopol 
twenty-one years before. In the earlier war she regretted 
she had not a son old enough for service ; but now with the 
tidings of Tcl-cl-Kcbir came Sir Garnet Wolseley's telegram 
that hor soldier-son, ihc Duke of Connaught, had "behaved 
admirably, leading his brigade to the attack." His young wife, 
Princess Louise of Prussia, to whom he had been married 
in March, 1879, was staying at Balmoral at the time; and 
the Queen, with characteristic impulse, hastened with the 
telegram to her daughter-in-law's room, and, embracing her, 
wept together with her for joy that their beloved one was 
safe and so much praised. On the same auspicious day Her 
Majesty welcomed home her youngest son, the Duke of 
Albany, with his bride. Princess Helen of VValdeck ; and the 



232 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

visited after her husband's death, and she was greatly touched 
by a dying soldier lifting his eyes to her and saying, " I 
thank God that He has allowed me to live long enough to 
see your Majesty with my own eyes." During another visit 
she talked with a man who had been shot through the lungs 
at Lucknow. It was the Queen's custom after going the 
round of the wards to visit the married quarters for the 
accommodation of the wives and children of the patients in 
the hospital, and the women received an agreeable surprise 
when the Queen looked in upon them in the midst of their 
household occupations. After the Egyptian campaign she 
delighted the inmates by the gift of five knitted quilts, one 
being entirely her own work, and it bore the royal crown and 
the initials ** V. R." in the corner ; another was knitted by 
Princess Beatrice, and marked with her initials ; while the 
remaining three were worked by ladies of the Court, a border 
being added to each by the Queen's own hands. We fancy 
there must have been some difficulty at Netley in deciding 
who was to have the honour of sleeping under the Queen's 
quilt At this time Her Majesty testified her regard for the 
noble band of nurses by establishing the Order of the Red 
Cross for Ladies. The installation took place at Windsor, 
when the Princess of Wales and Princess Beatrice were the 
first names enrolled, and ten lady nurses received the honour 
for their services in the Zulu and Egyptian campaigns. 

We cannot pass away from this period of the Queen's life 
without a reference to her literary activities and the delight she 
took in the society of men of letters, as evinced by the fact 
that her most frequent visitors were Dean Stanley, Sir Arthur 
Helps, and Sir Theodore Martin. Sir Arthur Helps edited 



234 ^^^ PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

a very pretty young lady, and clever too, as I found out in 
talking to her afterwards. The Queen came softly forward, 
a kindly smile on her face, gently shook hands with all the 
three women, gently acknowledged with a nod the silent 
bows of us male monsters ; and directly in her presence every 
one was at ease again. She is a comely little lady, with a pair 
of kind, clear, and intelligent grey eyes; still looks almost 
young (in spite of one broad wrinkle which shows on each 
cheek occasionally) ; is still plump ; has a fine, low voice, soft ; 
indeed, her whole manner is melodiously perfect. It is 
impossible to imagine a politer little woman ; nothing the least 
imperious; all gentle, all sincere, looking unembarrassing — 
rather attractive, even ; makes you feel, too (if you have any 
sense in you), that she is Queen." On this occasion Robert 
Browning, Sir Charles Lycll, and Grote the historian were 
present ; and with each the Queen had her little say, and made 
inquiries as to the work upon which they were engaged. A 
year later Dickens was commanded to Windsor, and he was 
most struck by the simple naivete of the Qucen*s manner and 
her acquaintance with literature. The works of George Eliot 
were a constant source of pleasure to her ; and it need hardly 
be said that she admired the author of " Idylls of the King," 
the dedication of which remains the most beautiful tribute to 
her husband's memory. She paid a visit to Tennyson at 
Freshwater, as she did to Lord Beaconsfield at Hughenden, 
although she appreciated the latter more as a statesman 
than as a litterateur. She sent her three sons to attend his 
funeral, and a wreath of primroses was laid upon the coffin 
with the inscription, *' His favourite flowers, from Osborne ; a 
tribute of affection from Queen Victoria." In short. Her 



VICTORIA, QUEEN AND EMPRESS 235 

Majesty prides herself upon having personally known most 
of the famous authors of her reign, from Wordsworth to 
Tennyson, and she is not without appreciation for the rising 
school. 

Simple confidence in her readers is shown in her High- 
land Journals, in which the little incidents of her family life 
in Scotland are so frankly told. Apart from the interest 
attaching to the royal author, the books arc of value for the 
graphic sketches which they contain of Highland life and 
scenery. Whether it be a christening, a wedding, a burial, or 
a sheep-clipping, the celebration of the Sacrament at Crathie 
Church, a torchlight dance, or the festival of Hallowe'en, it 
is described as it passed before the writer's eyes, and leaves 
upon the reader an impression lasting and vivid. Specially 
interesting is the author's description of Scott's country and 
Abbotsford, where she had tea in the room in which the 
novelist died, and lingered about the study where he wrote. 
When requested that she should inscribe her name in his 
journal, she replied that "it would be a presumption for her 
to do so," but finally yielded to the wish of those present. 
Equally entertaining is her account of Prince Charlie's 
country, through which, curiously enough, she was conducted 
by Cameron of Lochiel, whose great-grand-uncle was the real 
moving cause of the rebellion of '45 to dethrone Her 
Majesty's great-great-grandfather. " Yes," she writes, " I feel 
a sort of reverence in going over these scenes in this most 
beautiful country, which I am proud to call my own, where 
there was such devoted loyalty to the family of my ancestors 
— for Stuart blood is in my veins, and I am now their repre- 
sentative, and the people are as devoted and loyal to me as 



236 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

they were to that unhappy race." The demand for the 
Queen's " Highland Journal " was enormous. It is said that 
the circulating libraries ordered it by the ton, and the press 
swarmed with reviews, which the royal author read with 
great interest, although we fancy the spice of the experience 
was lost by the previous overlooking of the reviews by the 
ladies-in-waiting. The proceeds of the sales were devoted to 
establishing bursaries, male and female, in the parish school 
of Crathie and the Queen's Schools at Girnock. The dedica- 
tion of the second volume, " More Leaves," by the Queen to 
her " Loyal Highlanders, and especially to her devoted 
personal attendant and faithful friend, John Brown," was the 
cause of much comment. This instance of a mighty queen 
and empress dedicating her book to a servant is unique in 
literature ; but Her Majesty regards a faithful servant as an 
honoured friend, and one of the most beautiful traits in her 
character is that she never forgets those who serve her. 
Honest John was as plain-spoken as he was faithful, and the 
story is told in Deeside that one day, when the Queen was 
out, she desired to sketch, and asked for a table to be 
borrowed from a neighbouring cottage. There was great 
difficulty in finding one of the right height ; table after table 
was returned, and the eager people were in despair at not being 
able to suit the royal requirements. At length John Brown 
seized hold of the most likely one of the discarded tables, and 
setting it down before his royal mistress, said with irresistible 
logic, "They canna mak' one on purpose for you," at which 
the Queen laughed, and settled down to her sketching. Brown 
had his eye, too, on his mistress's appearance, and did she 
come out in a warm comfortable garment a little antiquated 




in cut, he would remark, " What's that you've got on the 
day?" Despite his brusqueness, the faithful fellow would 
have stood between the Queen and a buUct any day, and 
indeed anxiety for her safety caused his death. During the 
years 18S1-2 attempts had been made upon the Queen's life 
on two occasions, and she was feeling nervous with regard 
to the Fenian outrages, when a great scare was created in 
Windsor by Lady Florence Dixie declaring that she had 
been attacked by Fenians in the grounds of her house, not 
far from the Castle. So anxious was Her Majesty that she 
sent John Brown to explore the shrubberies of Lady Florence 
Dixie's house, and in doing so he took a chill, which resulted in 
his death, on the 27th of March, 1 883, after three days' illness, 



238 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

His royal mistress gave orders that his body should be con- 
veyed to his native Highlands for burial. The grave can be 
seen by the visitor to Crathie churchyard, along with that of 
Francic Clark, who succeeded Brown as Her Majesty's personal 
attendant, and died a short time ago. Inside the church a 
monument was erected to his memory by "his grateful and 
affectionate sovereign and friend, Victoria R.I.," with the 
inscription, ** Kings love him that speaketh right" Apropos 
of the Queen's kindness to her servants, a story was lately 
told the writer by a gentleman acquainted with the girl to 
whom it relates. She was one of the housemaids at Balmoral, 
and the Queen, chancing to meet her on the staircase one 
day, saw that she had been crying, and asked the reason of 
her grief. Seeing that the girl was reluctant to speak, Her 
Majesty commanded her to come to her private sitting-room, 
and there tell her what was the matter. The girl reluctantly 
explained that she had received notice to leave because she 
objected to attending the Established Kirk along with the 
rest of the Balmoral servants. Upon hearing this, the Queen 
sent for the head of her household, and desired that the 
housemaid in question should have her notice withdrawn, 
and that in future no one in her service should be persecuted 
on account of their religious views. 

The death of John Brown came at a time when the Queen 
was suffering severely from a fall on one of the staircases at 
Windsor Castle, which sprained her knees and crippled her 
for several weeks ; and in the following year, before she had 
recovered her health and spirits, she was smitten by a still 
heavier blow in the death of her youngest son. Prince Leopold, 
suddenly at Cannes, whither he had gone for a change. 



240 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

and hasten to comfort the young widow at Claremont, whose 
delicate condition rendered the shock of the tidings more 
serious. The Empress Eugenie, who was staying near Osborne, 
came to the Queen to offer consolation, and after spending 
some hours with her was able to report that Her Majesty was 
greatly relieved by being able to talk over her loss with one 
who knew what bereavement was. Some years before the 
positions had been reversed, and it was the Queen who had 
comforted the Empress, first, after the death of the exiled 
Emperor, and again when her only son met such a terrible 
death in the Zulu war of 1879. Prince Leopold, like his 
father, had premonitions of death. " He would talk to me 
about death," writes one who was with him a few days before 
he died, *' and said he would like a military funeral." I asked, 
"Why, sir, do you talk in this melancholy manner?" As he 
was about to answer he was called away, and said, " I'll tell 
you later." I never saw him again, but he finished his answer 
to me, to another lady, and said : " For two nights now 
Princess Alice has appeared to me in my dreams, and says 
she is quite happy, and that she wants me to come and 
join her." The body of the Prince was brought from Cannes 
and interred at St. George's, Windsor. 

In 1885, the year following Prince Leopold's death, came 
the last marriage in the Queen's family, that of " Baby " 
Beatrice, who had now for fourteen years been her mother's 
devoted attendant, to the late Prince Henry of Battenberg. 
Princess Beatrice, having been so much with grown-up people 
when a child, was a little quaint in her ways, and several 
stories are told of her funny little speeches. When a little lady 
of six she found it very difficult to get proper respect shown 



24i THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

from Osborne at the little ivy-clad village church of Whipping- 
ham. Only semi-State was observed. The bride wore her 
mother's Honiton lace and veil, and was attended by her ten 
young nieces in white tulle frocks. Little children strewed 
flowers and decked the wayside with homely tributes of 
affection, and the whole scene was an ideally perfect village 
wedding. It was arranged that the bride should continue to 
live Ivith her mother as Princess in waiting. The marriage 
proved one of great happiness, and in her new son-in-law 
Her Majesty found one who joined with his wife in unselfish 
ministrations to her comfort. His untimely death was a real 
personal loss, as well as grief to the Queen. 

Although it had long been apparent that Her Majesty 
would never again resume her old place in society, she had 
during the past ten years officiated at a number of public 
ceremonials, and had held occasional drawing-rooms, as well 
as now and again rc-opening Parliament, and in May of 1886 
she opened the Colonial and Indian Exhibition at South 
Kensington. This notable ceremony, which vividly recalled 
to her the Exhibition of '51, seemed like a gathering together 
of the representatives from all parts of her mighty empire as 
a prelude to the celebration of her jubilee in the following 
year. In the May preceding Jubilee Day, the Queen visited 
the East End to open the People's Palace. The route, seven 
miles long, was decorated in gay and characteristic style by 
the East Enders, and it was noticed that the Queen eyed 
the quaint, humorous devices with great pleasure, and at the 
opening ceremony at the Palace bowed and smiled at the 
references made to herself, in the speeches, in a delightfully 
informal manner. On the way back she visited the Lord 



244 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of questions about East London and the state of labour at 

the docks, and then told him how she dealt with her cottagers 

at Balmoral, and about the schools she had established. " I 

could hardly realise," added this gentleman, "that I was 

talking with the Queen ; she dismissed me filled with a vivid 

perception of her fine, royal courtesy, as well as her personal 

knowledge of and concern for the needy in her realm." In 

times of special distress in East London, the Queen has 

privately forwarded money for distribution. Another clergyman 

relates that when he was a boy in the Isle of Wight he saw 

the Queen coming out of a cottage where she had been to 

visit a sick person, and heard one workman say to another, " I 

like the Queen, Bill. I like having somebody to look up to " ; 

and his companion replied, "Yes, and she is so good too." 

There have been three royal jubilees in the history of this 

country, but not one in any way comparable to the jubilee 

of the 2 1 St of June, 1887, when the whole land, together with 

the distant colonies and every quarter of the globe where 

the British flag waves, rang with the voice of jubilation that 

the great woman who had ennobled the crown was spared 

in health and strength to celebrate the fiftieth year of her 
reign. It was a thrilling moment when, in the blaze of the 

glorious June sunshine, the Queen drove out through the gates 

of Buckingham Palace on her way to Westminster Abbey, 

just as she had done fifty years before on her coronation day. 

But the bright young girl was now a grey-haired woman who 

had seen much sorrow and battled with many difficulties. 

Still, there was a gleam of triumph in her face, for were there 

not sons and daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren 

rising up to call her blessed, while the shouts of the multitudes 



VICTORIA, QUEEN AND EMPRESS 245 

which rent the air testified that throughout these fifty years 
she had retained the love and loyalty of her people? The 
scene in the Abbey was brilliant, as had been that earlier 
scene ; but there was a hush of reverence over the assembly, 
for the monarch had come to publicly give thanks to Almighty 
God that she had been spared to see that day. At the end 
of the service the numerous members of her family were to 
personally offer their congratulations. The Lord Chamberlain 
had arranged it in correct style, but the Queen waived cere- 
mony, and drawing each one in turn for a motherly embrace, 
turned the grand pageant into a happy family reunion. Fitting 
close, next day, to the festivities which had reigned everywhere 
throughout the country, was the monster school treat in Hyde 
Park, where thirty thousand school children of London were 
entertained. In the cool of the summer evening the Queen 
drove down the ranks and viewed the little ones ; then the 
Prince of Wales brought to her carriage Florence Dunn, who 
had not missed an attendance at school for six years, and the 
Queen smiled down at the little champion, and, handing her 
the jubilee mug, said, " I am pleased to give you this memorial 
of my jubilee, dear child " ; and this characteristic act closed 
the great celebration. It was an interesting coincidence that 
the minister of a country parish who had preached a sermon on 
the Queen's coronation also preached one on her jubilee ; and 
still more wonderful was the case of an old lady in the town 
of Chipping Sodbury who had been present at George III.'s 
jubilee, and came out hale and hearty to help in the local 
celebration of Queen Victoria's, wearing the same bonnet, 
a Leghorn of coal-scuttle shape, which she had worn at the 
former jubilee. 



246 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

After a few days' rest at Windsor, Her Majesty came to 
town again, and on the 30th of June opened the HoUoway 
College for Women, thus testifying her interest in the advance 
of that higher education amongst women which, along with 
their improved legal and social status, has fittingly marked 
her reign. In the;, spring succeeding her jubilee, the Queen 
spent some weeks in Florence, always a favourite resort 
with her, as it had been with the Prince Consort. She was 
to be seen each morning, in the park adjacent to her villa, 
taking an airing in her donkey chair, and later in the day 
driving through the country districts, visiting the churches, 
and interesting herself in the life of the people. For one 
brief day she dropped her incognita and drove in public with 
her suite, and it seemed as though all Florence swarmed 
into the streets to greet her. The Queen did this to show 
her gratitude to the people for respecting her desire for 
privacy. She was fond of chatting with the country folk 
and one morning seeing two little girls gathering violets ii 
a field near her villa, entered into conversation with them, 
and presented each of them with a jubilee sovereign, at 
which they rushed home to tell their mothers that the 
"Regina d'Inghilterra had given them a gilt medal with her 
likeness on it." On her way back from Florence the Queen 
visited her dying son-in-law, the Emperor Frederick, at 
Charlottcnburg, a visit inexpressibly sad ; but Her Majesty 
was not only able to comfort her daughter and cheer the 
dying Emperor— she acted as a peacemaker in the friction at 
Court caused by the Empress Frederick favouring the marriage 
of her daughter. Princess Victoria, with Prince Alexander 
of Battenberg. The Queen persuaded her daughter to drop 



248 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Of late years her life has flowed on in the same steady, 
even course, with little jaunts to the Continent, visits to the 
Highlands, Christmas spent in good old English style at 
Osborne, and the discharge of occasional public Court 
functions in London ; but wherever she may be her hand is 
at the helm, and telegraph and telephone messengers and 
despatch-boxes keep her hourly informed of everything 
which transpires even in the remotest part of her vast 
dominions. Her naturally robust constitution is preserved by 
the simplicity of her mode of life, spent largely in the open 
air, and her mind is kept bright and fresh by the interest 
she takes in the doings of the younger members of her 
extensive family circle. One hears much of Grand Old Men 
in these days ; but who amongst them can say that he has 
been at his present post for sixty long years without one 
single day "off"? In all love and loyalty we would say 
that the Grand Old Woman upon the throne has "beaten 
the record." Her day is not done yet, therefore the time for 
a risumi of her glorious reign has not arrived ; but when 
the tale comes to be fully told, we know that there does not 
exist in the annals of this or any land a period so fraught 
with moral and material greatness as the reign of VICTORIA, 
Queen and Empress. 



PERSONAL TASTES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF 

QUEEN VICTORIA 



249 



IX 



PERSONAL TASTES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF 

QUEEN VICTORIA 

WHEN the women of Great Britain were subscribing 
their Jubilee gift to the Queen, a colony of Japanese 
women at Knightsbridge added their contributions with this 
characteristic wish : " Truly she must be a great * Lady King ' ; 
may she live on an unshaken throne yet another fifty years, 
and after that the perpetual bliss ! " Nearly ten years have 
rolled by since that memorable year of loyal enthusiasm, and 
our " Lady King " is with us still, venerated and beloved by 
all sections of the community at home and throughout her 
vast colonial dominions, as well as among the swarthy 
millions of India, who, though they have never seen her face, 
yet regard her as their Empress-Mother. She is honoured 
in the Courts of Europe as no English monarch has been 
before. It seems, indeed, that the Continent is rapidly coming 
under the sphere of British influence through the alliances 
made by the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren 
of Queen Victoria. When Russian ministers propose any 
course of procedure likely to upset the peace of Europe and 
bring England into the fray, the young Czar and Czarina 
promptly reply, " It must not be ; we cannot have Grand- 
mamma worried." The autocrat of all the Germans is not 

2SI 



252 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

quite so considerate, perhaps ; but if there is any one who 
can curb his impetuosity, and put the drag upon his ambition, 
it also is Grandmamma of England. 

In America, where royalty is at a discount, and friction 
still shows itself in relations with the mother country, the 
influence of our " Lady King " is not unfelt American citizens 
still remember the hearty greetings which Queen Victoria 
sent to President Buchanan, forty years ago, along the lines 
of the newly laid Atlantic cable ; such felicitations, however, 
were enough to make her grandfather. His Majesty King 
George III., turn in his grave. Neither can America forget 
the words of womanly sympathy and feeling which the Queen 
addressed to the wife of its murdered President, James Garfield. 
Upon that American citizen, the great philanthropist, George 
Pcabody, she would gladly have conferred the Grand Cross 
of the Order of the Bath, but he declined all such honours. 
When asked what he would accept, he replied, " A letter from 
the Queen of England, which I may carry across the Atlantic 
and deposit as a memorial of one of her most faithful sons."* 
It should be a bond of union between the two countries that 
in the Peabody Institute in the United States the miniature 
of Queen Victoria, which she sent to Mr. Peabody along 
with her letter, is deposited in a vault of famous relics side 
by side with a cane which belonged to Benjamin Franklin. 
It was owing to the tact of the Queen and Prince Consort 
in the wording of that famous despatch on the Trent affair, 
at the outbreak of the Civil War in America, that peace was 
preserved between England and the United States. Her 
Majesty has ever been more ready to try the power of moral 
suasion than of force, and only within the last year we have 



254 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

his attitude to England over the rebellion and raid in the 
Transvaal. 

Her Majesty has now sat upon the throne of this country 
for a longer period than any of her predecessors. The glories 
of the sixty years of her reign, and the unexampled prosperity 
which the country has enjoyed under her beneficent rule, are 
for the historian to tell ; but when one pauses to study the 
personal character of the Queen, and the attributes which have 
made her beloved at home and revered abroad, they are to 
be summed up in one simple phrase — she is a good woman. 
Not faultless, certainly ; the charming wilfulness of the child 
has a survival in maturer age. Strong and passionate in 
her attachments, the Queen could be, in her young days, 
quick and hasty even with those whom she loved best ; but 
shallowness is no part of her nature, neither does she harbour 
resentment. Absolute truthfulness and sincerity are the 
qualities which dominate her character, and also gratitude 
towards those who have served her faithfully, be they great 
Ministers of State or humble servants. It is a part of the 
nobleness of her disposition that she does not assume that 
she has a right to special attention because of her high position. 
One frequently meets in her diaries with expressions of pleasure 
at kindness shown to her when visiting at the houses of her 
subjects, as though it were something unmerited. Among 
the many touching incidents of her gratitude to those who 
had been her faithful friends was the visit paid by her to 
Sir John Biddulph when he lay dying at Abergeldie Mains. 
" You have been very kind to me, your Majesty," said the 
dying man. "No," replied the Queen, as she pressed his 
hand, " it is you who have been very kind to meP 



PERSONAL TASTES AND CHARACTERISTICS 255 

An utter detestation of shams is another of Her Majesty's 
characteristics, shown by the fact that those who have obtained 
her greatest confidence have been honest, even to bluntness. 
She likes to get at the root and reality of things, and the time- 
server stands no chance before her keen scrutiny. Her fondness 
for her faithful Highlanders has become almost a proverb, and 
she is never so happy as when talking with the old folks at 
Balmoral without form or ceremony, and much of her love 
for her Scottish home may be attributed to the fact that there 
she can throw off the restraints of royalty more thoroughly than 
in any other place. She is an exemplary landowner, and has 
erected schools, model cottages, established a free library, and 
provided a trained sick nurse for the tenants at Balmoral. To 
her cottagers at Osborne she is also ever the friend in time of 
need ; and when she erected alms-houses on her estate for the 
use of poor old women, she retained one tiny room for herself, 
thus, as it were, becoming an alms-woman herself and keeping 
her poorer neighbours company. In matters of religion the 
Queen has shown herself singularly free from prejudice. At 
Balmoral she has always worshipped according to the simple 
style of the Scottish Church and partaken of its rites in 
communion, while she chose for her chief spiritual guides 
Dr. Norman Macleod and Principal Tulloch. In England the 
service in her private chapels is the simplest form of the 
Episcopalian Church, and her close friendship with Dean 
Stanley would point to the fact that she inclines to the broader 
school of thought, and thinks more of deeds than of creeds. 
She has ever set a good example in Sabbath observance ; and 
many years ago, when it came to her knowledge that trades- 
people were employed to bring provisions to Buckingham 



256 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Palace on Sunday morning, she at once ordered that no eatables 
were to be brought into the Palace on Sunday. 

The Queen is fond of quoting the saying of Schopenhauer, 
" If it were not for the honest faces of dogs, we should forget 
the very existence of sincerity " ; and from her childhood to the 
present time she has always had dogs about her. Her earliest 
favourite, "Dash," a black-and-tan spaniel, was her constant 
companion when, as the Princess Victoria, she took her morning 
walk in Kensington Gardens, and his joyous bark was the first 
welcome she received on her return to Buckingham Palace from 
her coronation. " Looty," a lovely silken, long-haired dog 
brought by a British officer from China, was a later favourite. 
When the Summer Palace at Pekin was burning, this little dog 
was discovered curled up amongst soft shawls and rugs in one 
of the wardrobes, and the officer who rescued him and brought 
him to England as a present to the Queen gave him the 
significant name of " Looty." A picture of him by Mr. F. W 
Reyl was exhibited in the Royal Academy many years ago. 
Her Majesty has a special fondness for collies, and among these 
faithful animals " Noble *' and " Sharp " were for many years 
chief favourites, and always travelled with her to and from 
Balmoral. "* Noble,'" she writes in her diary, "is the most 
biddable dog I ever saw. He will hold a piece of cake in his 
mouth without eating it, until he may. If he thinks we are not 
pleased with him, he puts out his paws and begs in such an 
affectionate way." A beautiful collie named " Darnley II." has 
been for many years Her Majesty's chief pet He has a special 
" cottage " of his own, apart from the kennels of the other d(^[s. 
In their beautiful homes in the grounds of Windsor Castle are 
to be seen skyes, collies, pugs, and dachs, in great variety ; but 




ihe Queen's particular pride are her Italian " Spitzes," a breed of 
beautiful buff-coloured dogs which she was the first to introduce 
into this country. " Marco," with his lovely white coat and 
almost human intelligence, is another chief favourite with his 
royal mistress. It would be a mistake to suppo;ie that these 
pets are unduly pampered, for the Queen believes that plain 
living induces high thinking in dogs as well as in human 
beings. 

Her Majesty has been one of the most accomplished horse- 
women of her time, and her ponies have an almost equal share 
of attention with her dogs. There is " Jessie," which was her 
favourite riding mare for twenty-five years, and carried her 
through many a Highland expedition; then there arc her two 
Shetland ponies, and " Flora " and " Alma," presented by King 
Victor Emmanuel, and a grey Arab, a present from the Thakore 
of Morvi. The royal mews at Windsor cover an extent of four 

'7 



258 THU PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

acres, and have accommodation for one hundred horses. The 
harness-horses are nearly all of them grey, and those for the 
broughams are dark chestnut. But specially proud is the 
Queen of her twelve cream-coloured horses, which I have been 
privileged to sec in the mews at Buckingham Palace, looking 
very beautiful indeed with their long, silky tails nearly touching 
the ground. Their ancestors took the girl Queen, nearly sixty 
years ago, to her coronation, and the stock is always kept up for 
Her Majesty's use on State occasions. 

An amusing little favourite of the Queen was " Picco," which 
she used to drive in a pony-carriage some years ago. He was a 
Sardinian pony, presented by the King of that country, and 
was only forty-four inches high. That charming naturalist 
Frank Buckland has given an amusing account of his attempts 
to sketch this fussy, nervous little fellow, who was highly 
indignant at having his measurements taken. The Queen was 
greally diverted by the account of her pet's behaviour, for she 
is fond of studying the characters of the animals about her, and 
likes them to have their pictures taken. Bushey Park is used 
as a kind of home of rest for the pet horses who are no longer 
fit for active service. There " Picco " was sent to end his days, 
and, as a useful lesson in humility, he had " Alderney," a 
costermonger's rescued victim, given him for a companion. 
One day, when the Queen was driving in the Isle of Wight, 
she saw a costermonger savagely beating a beautiful white 
pony, and, stopping her carriage, she offered to buy the ill-used 
animal, in order to save him from his life of misery. She 
gave him the name of " Alderney," and promoted him to a 
life of ease in Bushey Park, where he doubtless entertained 
his aristocratic friend " Picco " with the doings of costerland. 



26o THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

shady glades at Osborne, and has accompanied Her Majesty 
to the Highlands and to Florence and the Riviera. 

The Queen's love for the brute creation does not limit itself 
to those animals who have the good fortune to be her pets. 
She has been a warm supporter of those societies which labour 
to ameliorate the sufTerings of animals, and views the modem 
thirst for scientific discovery by means of vivisection with 
apprehension. In a letter sent at her command by Sir Thomas 
Biddulph, in 1872, to Lord Harrowby, then President of the 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, this passage 
occurs : " The Queen hears and reads with horror of the 
sufferings which the brute creation often undergo from the 
thoughtlessness of the ignorant, and, she fears, also, sometimes 
from experiments in the pursuit of science. For the removal of 
the former the Queen trusts much to the progress of education, 
and, in regard to the pursuit of science, she hopes that the 
entire advantage of those anaesthetic discoveries from which 
man has derived so much benefit himself in the alleviation of 
suffering may be freely extended to the lower animals." Her 
Majesty is a great sympathiser with that branch of the Society^s 
work which aims at educating the children in the board schools 
to a sense of kindness to dumb animals by means of prizes 
given for essays upon the subject. 

The Queen's anxiety to protect lambs from what she con- 
ceived to be premature killing resulted in rather an amusing 
^asco some years ago. She had been reading gloomy articles in 
the newspapers about the decrease of English sheep, and she 
immediately attributed it to the excessive slaughter of very 
young lambs, and gave orders that no lamb was to be used in 
the royal household. The price of the meat at once fell to 



PERSONAL TASTES AND CHARACTERISTICS 261 

fourpencc a pound, and it became necessary to explain to the 
Queen that the consumption of lamb was not the cause of the 
trouble, it was a question of breeding, and she then withdrew 
her mandate. This little incident is but one of many which 
serve to show her anxiety to promote the public good by her 
example. Many years ago, before county councils existed 
for the supervision of public amusements, the Queen made her 
influence felt in Birmingham. At a fete in Aston Park a 
woman who had been forced to walk on a rotten tight-rope was 
dashed to pieces in a shocking manner. Such was the callous- 
ness of the committee that they permitted the festivities to 
proceed in spite of the dreadful occurrence. A few days later 
the Mayor of Birmingham was the astonished recipient of a 
letter from the Queen's Secretary, to this effect : " Her Majesty 
cannot refrain from making known her personal feelings of 
horror that one of her subjects — a female — should have been 
sacrificed to the gratification of the demoralising taste, unfortu- 
nately prevalent, for exhibitions attended with the greatest 
danger to the performers. If any proof were wanting that 
such exhibitions are demoralising, it would be found in the 
decision arrived at to continue the festivities, the hilarity, and 
the sports of the occasion after an event so melancholy. The 
Queen trusts that the Mayor, in common with the townspeople 
of Birmingham, will use his influence to prevent in future the 
degradation by such exhibitions of the park which she and the 
beloved Prince Consort opened for the rational recreation of 
the people." 

In the early days ol railway travelling the Queen, who, with 
characteristic fearlessness, had been one of the first to trust 
to the "steam demon," was very active in bringing pressure 



262 THE PERSONAL LIFE OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

to bear upon the railway companies to induce them to take 
greater precaution for the protection of passengers. It was she 
who, in conjunction with the Prince Consort, put an end in this 
country to the barbarous custom of duelling. Recently, when 
standing on Wimbledon Common looking at the spot where the 
last duel in this country was fought, an old man came up to me 
who had himself been a witness of the scene, and he described 
it in quaint and graphic language. " I shall never forget,*' he 
said, " my feelings as a lad when I saw the man who had been 
shot lying with his dead, upturned face upon the turf, and Lord 
Cardigan, who had shot him, hurrying away with his friends. 
Ah, well ! the Queen put an end to that sort of thing ; she's done 
a few good things in the course of her time." 

To-day, now that legislation has become so much more 
humanitarian in its scope than it was forty or fifty years ago, 
one is apt to lose sight of the immense influence of royal 
example. In the good old days the chief restraint on social 
customs was fashion. As was the Court, so were the people. 
Probably no English monarch has done more for the purification 
of society and for the elevation of a simple domestic life than 
Victoria. If great ladies to-day prefer to spend their leisure 
hours in the support of pet philanthropies instead of the excite- 
ment of lotteries, was it not the Queen who set the vogue by 
associating her great name with schemes of beneficence ? She 
was a visitor in the wards of our great hospitals long before 
ladies of birth and social position took up such work to any 
extent. That philanthropy is to-day fashionable is due to a 
wave of influence coming from the throne and permeating all 
classes of society. All the Queen's daughters, and indeed 
daughters-in-law also, are women who delight in good works ; 



364 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

a position in the country than did the insignificant husband of 
Qjecn Anne. 

Another of Her Majesty's characteri<:ttcs which has in- 
fluenced the national life of her own sex is the Queen's love of 
fresh air and outdoor exercise. There is a connection between 
our venerated sovereign taking her breakfast in a tent on the 
lawn and spending many hours of each day driving, whalcvcr 
the weather may be, and the fine, healthy, well-developed 
girl of the period swinging her tennis racket, playing hockey, 
and boating and cycling. When the Queen was young such 
things were not, and the mammas of that time were probably 
shocked when they first heard, fifty and more years ago, 
of Her Majesty going deer-stalking with her husband for 
nine hours at a stretch, undertaking perilous mountain 
expeditions, and walking about in the wilds of Balmoral 
with a hood drawn over her bonnet to protect her face from 
the rain. She was fond, too, of taking an early walk before 
breakfast ; and on one occasion, when paying a visit to Blair 
Athole, she set out alone early one morning before any one 
was about, and wandered so far — beguiled by the fresh 
autumn air— thnt she lost her way, and was obliged to 
appeal to some reapers whom she saw working in a field 
to show her the way back. She always encouraged her 
daughters to take plenty of outdoor exercise, and they 
were expert skaters at a time when the pastime was an 
uncommon one for ladies. Princess Alice was a particularly 
graceful skater, and after her marriage found that she was 
nearly the only lady in Darmstadt who could skate. 

The Queen gave her countenance to ladies riding the 
tricycle at a very early stage of the introduction of that 



PERSONAL TASTES AND CHARACTERISTICS 26^; 




i66 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

at those who were in the learner's stage, and had not 
mastered the mystery of maintaining the balance. That 
latest innovation in the way of vehicles — the motor-car— is 
regarded by the Queen with special interest, for when she 
was a girl there was an effort made to introduce coaches 
run by steam on to the roads, but the pubhc did not take 
to the idea of these horseless carriages, and so they dropped 
out of existence, and " Jarvey " won the day. On at least 
one occasion Her Majesty rode in one : it was when she 
was about twelve years of age. With her mother, the 
Duchess of Kent, she had been to visit His Majesty King 
Geoi^e IV. at the Royal Lodge, and they made the return 
journey from Windsor to London in a steam coach. There 
is an old man still living at Windsor who is not a little 
proud that he can recall the occasion. 

In her attitude to modern inventions the Queen has 
hitherto shown herself ready to accept new ideas, but it Is 
said that she does not take to the electric light, and will not 
have it introduced into the royal palaces. At Balmoral she 
has the rooms lighted by candles, and burns wood fires, as 
she finds this old-fashioned style cosier, and it reminds her 
of her young days. The Queen first adopted gas in 1854, 
when it was used to light the new ball-room at Buckingham 
Palace on the occasion of the first visit of Napoleon and 
the Empress Eugiinic to this country. The ceiling of the 
room was decorated in various colours to enable Her Majesty 
to form an idea of the effect of the new illuminant. She 
and the Prince Consort were so pleased with it that they 
shortly afterwards introduced it into Windsor Castle. 
Probably the Queen thinks that to have witnessed one 



266 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of each of her children. One might say that Her Majesty 
has a passion for having memorials of her domestic joys 
and sorrows, and she is most punctilious in the observance 
of anniversaries. She keeps her own birthday, and has a 
birthday cake like other people, and is keenly appreciative of 
the presents which are sent to her by every member of her 
family, even to the youngest branches. The Prince Consort's 
birthday is also observed, and his health drunk in silence^ 

Since her great bereavement her mind has naturally dwelt 
much on death observances, and she has herself drawn up a 
complete code of directions for the arrangement of royal 
funerals and layings out Different shrouds are directed to 
be used for the male and female members of the family, 
also for the married and unmarried ; and female members 
of the royal family abroad are to be represented by one 
of their own sex. When the Duchess of Cambridge died 
in 1889, the Queen insisted that the funeral should be in 
semi-State, although the ^ed Duchess had herself desired 
to be buried quite privately. She was one of the few left 
who had known the Queen in the heyday of her youth and 
had really loved and cared for her, and Her Majesty was 
determined that her much-revered aunt should be buried 
with the observances due to her high birth as well as to 
her excellent character. The apartments used by deceased 
royalties in the Queen's palaces and houses are kept locked 
up. Those of Princess Charlotte at Claremont have been 
preserved as she left them for more than seventy years. 
Prince Albert's private rooms at Windsor, Osborne, and 
Balmoral, and the Duchess of Kent's at Frog more, also 
I undisturbed, and the Queen has testified her special 



a/Q THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Prince Imperial at the hands of the Zulus, and the im- 
possibility there was of preserving his body for the Empress 
to take a last look at it, the Queen so far relaxed her regu- 
lations as to permit the various accessories for embalming 
being taken out when one of the royal family undertook 
foreign service. The wisdom of this arrangement has been 
sadly seen in the case of Prince Henry of Battcnberg. 

Her Majesty is a little behind the spirit of the times 
In regard to regulations for mourning. She advocates 
absolute retirement for a time in the case of bereaved 
people, and the most lugubrious signs of outward mourning. 
It would seem, also, that she does not favour the re-marriage 
of widows, judging from the significant fact that not one 
of the royal widows, be she young or be she middle-aged, 
has been provided with a second husband. In the case 
of widowers Her Majesty's strictures are not so severe. 

She has instituted several changes with regard to royal 
weddings. She herself set the example of being married 
in the morning, royal marriages having formerly been 
celebrated in an evening. It was not customary in former 
reigns for royalties to retire for a honeymoon ; His Majesty 
King George III. remained at St James's and held levees 
immediately after his marriage. The Queen and Prince 
Albert had a brief honeymoon of two days at Windsor ; 
then the Duchess of Kent and all the Court came flocking 
down to escort the royal pair back to a round of functions 
and festivities in London. Even that very young bride 
the Princess Royal had, like her mother, only two days 
of absolute retirement. Since that the royal honeymoons 
have been gradually increasing in length, and the latest 



27a THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Lord Beaconsfield, "and that is the Queen." He took the 

first opportunity of asking the question. " The Duca di ? " 

replied Her Majesty. "Oh yes, I remember perfectly," and 
she forthwith gave a full history of his family. Prime 
Ministers of modem times have sometimes found the Queen's 
remarkable memory a little embarrassing, as in discussion on 
political questions she will confront them with the views of 
Peel or Palmerston, or with the advice given her by Lord 
Melbourne in the first year of her reign ; and it is reported that 
Lord Salisbury was once driven to delicately hint that there 
was a difference between the state of affairs in '37 and '87. 

Her Majesty has always been very strict with regard to 
regulations for Court dress. All ladies, of whatever age, are 
required to appear in bodices with low necks and short sleeves. 
Plumes must always be worn standing erect from the back of 
the head ; no modification is permitted. When a lady who 
formerly reigned as a society beauty and is now a theatrical star 
was to be presented, she arranged her Court head-dress in quite 
an artistic manner, pinning down the feathers upon her lovely 
hair in a most becoming manner. All went well until she 
passed before the Court functionary preparatory to making 
the entree ; then she was ordered to remove the pins, as no 
lady was permitted to enter the Presence except with her 
plumes erect. 

It had always been the practice to forbid the attendance 
at drawing-rooms of ladies divorced, even though it was for no 
fault of their own ; but the Queen, with her admirable sense of 
justice, came to the conclusion that this was scarcely fair, and 
decided that a lady of blameless life ought not to be excluded 
from Court by reason of her husband's misdeeds. The matter 



274 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

To one so fond of outdoor life and the beauties of nature as 
Her Majesty, flowers are naturally a special delight, and she 
prefers to see them growing rather than when used for indoor 
decoration. In the grounds at Osborne there is a flower-bed 
specially planted for the Queen's pleasure with pinks and 
carnations, as she is very fond of these old-fashioned flowers, 
and frequently takes tea on a spot near to the bed. During her 
drives from Osborne to Newport she had noticed the lovely 
gardens and houses belonging to Mr. Nunn, the famous manu- 
facturer of the lace called by his name, and one day expressed a 
wish to see over them. Ever afterwards a basket of Mr. Nunn's 
choicest blooms was sent daily to the Queen when she was at 
Osborne, and the gift gave her the greatest pleasure. At the 
time of the Jubilee a loyal gentleman suggested the wearing of 
the Queen's favourite flower as a badge, and wrote to Sir Henry 
Ponsonby to inquire what it was. Her Majesty replied that in 
summer she perferred the rose to any other flower. Probably it 
is the sweet and delicate odour of the national flower as 'well as 
its beauty which pleases, the Queen, as she greatly dislikes 
strong perfumes. 

Speaking of scents, one is reminded that Her Majesty had 
such a dislike to the smell of cigars and tobacco that smoking 
was for many years prohibited in Windsor Castle, a restriction 
in which the Prince Consort fully concurred. Cards requesting 
that gentlemen would not smoke were neatly framed and hung 
in the rooms of the lords-in-waiting and equerries of the royal 
suite, and the servants and workpeople were forbidden to smoke 
inside the Castle. No such rigid restriction exists to-day, which 
is attributed to the influence of John Brown, who liked his pipe, 
and, being as canny as he was faithful, persuaded the Queen 



PERSONAL 2ASTES AND CHARACTERISTICS 275 

that a little tobacco smoke was ** no a bad thing to have about 
a hoose." 

Previous to the death of the Prince Consort the Queen was 
devoted to music, and spent a great deal of time both in singing 
and playing. They were both most anxious to see music more 
universal in the homes of the people, and strongly advocated 
its being taught in the public schools— a fact which may be 
interesting to those engaged in controversy to-day regarding 
the use of pianos in the board schools. Since the death of the 
Prince she has scarcely played at all, but she remains to the 
present time one of the kindest patrons of singers and musicians, 
who count a command to perform before the Queen a personal 
pleasure, as she is so appreciative, and will talk with them of 
the great ** stars " whom she has listened to in the days gone by 
Sketching was the Queen's favourite recreation as a child, and 
so it remains to-day. She is particularly prcud of her art 
collection at Windsor, and, when there, does not let many weeks 
go by without taking a look round the Royal Library, which 
contains one of the finest collections of engravings and speci- 
mens of old masters, both English and foreign. But her 
unrivalled collection of miniatures is her particular pride, and 
she boasts sometimes that she had but one rival in the 
country, and that was his Scottish majesty, the late Duke 
of Buccleuch. 

The Queen will live in history as the most enlightened and 
consistent of constitutional monarchs, as well as being revered 
as a great and noble woman. Those who have been privileged 
to enjoy her friendship all speak of the beautiful blending of 
naiveti and kindness with great personal dignity which render 
her so charming in private life. As a ruler she is wise, judicious 



276 THE PERSONAL LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and sagacious, and above everything distinguished by a high 
sense of duty. Reverence deep and lasting lives for her in 
the hearts of the people, and in concluding this story of her 
personal life one can but echo those beautiful lines of Mrs. 
Crosland : 

"Victoria! writ large in lines of light, 

The name through coming ages will remain 
In foremost rank with those great few that blight 
Ne'er tarnished, shining on without a stain.*' 



Printed by HaatU^ Watton^ d* Viney^ Ld,^ London and jlyftsbtuy. 



THE PERSONAL LIFE 

OF 

QUEEN VICTORIA. 

EXTRACTS FROM NOTICES OF THE PRESS. 

" The volume should meet the wishes of a large public in these days 
of diamond jubilees." — Times. 

** The book is liberally illustrated, well printed, and handsomely 
bound. For a ladies' library there could be nothing of its kind more 
suitable, and even men, whose interest lies chiefly with the public and 
wider aspects of the Queen's life, will find many parts of it attractive." 
— Standard. 

** The writer has been at great pains to collect her material, some of 
which is from new sources, and she has utilised the information to good 
purpose Her style, which is clear and flowing, renders her book easy 
reading." — Globe. 

** Altogether a very attractive personal biography." — Pall Mall Gazette. 

" Mrs. Tooley, in addition to the ordinary sources of information, 
has been favoured with many special anecdotes and particulars of 
incidents in the Queen's career. This gives her book a distinct value. 
It is very pleasantly written, and contains many interesting illustrations." 
— Westminster Gazette. 

"In dealing with the personal side of the Queen's life, as distinct 
from that aspect of it which has to do with Her Majesty's public 
career, Mrs. Tooley has been ennabled, apparently by persons moving 
in Court circles, to add largely to the store of pleasant anecdotes and 
incidents. " — Scotsman, 

" Written with fine taste and delicate reserve, the biography presents 
the Queen in such a manner as to enhance the affection with which 
all her subjects regard her. The illustrations are numerous and 
admirable, and the book is handsomely bound in red buckram." — 
Independent. 

** Among the many biographies which have been published in recent 
years, there is none which presents a more charming picture of Her 
Majesty's home and personal life. . . . The story, which is throughout 
concise and connected, is told in simple and direct language." — 
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" One of the most popular books of the present season. ... A more 
charming or acceptable gift-book it would be impossible to find." — 
Court Journal. 

"An important addition to the many biographies that have been 
written about Her Majesty. . . . Mrs. Tooley has accomplished her 
task in a manner which holds the reader's attention from beginning to 
end" — Queen. 



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