Life of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, (Victoria) Vol II
Part 6 out of 6
A month afterwards at Ballater, amidst pouring rain, her Majesty
presented new colours to the 79th regiment, "Royal Scots," of which
her father was colonel when she was born. She spoke a few kind words
to the soldiers, and accepted from them the gift of the old colours,
which are in her keeping.
On the 15th December the Queen and the Princess Beatrice paid a visit
to Lord Beaconsfield at Hughenden, lunched, and remained two hours,
during which the royal visitors planted trees on the lawn.
In consequence of fever in the Isle of Wight her Majesty held her
Christmas at Windsor for the first time since the death of the Prince
On New Year's day, 1877, the Queen was proclaimed Empress of India at
Delhi. Her Majesty opened Parliament on the 8th of February.
In September, when the war between Russia and Turkey was raging, her
Majesty, Princess Beatrice, the Duchess of Roxburgh, &c., spent a week
at Loch Maree Hotel, enjoying the fine Ross-shire scenery, making
daily peaceful excursions, to which such a telegram as told of the
bombardment of Plevna must have been a curious accompaniment.
In February, 1878, the Queen's grandchild, Princess Charlotte of
Prussia, was married at Berlin to the hereditary Prince of Saxe-
Meiningen, at the same time that her cousin, Princess Elizabeth of
Prussia, was married to the hereditary Grand Duke of Oldenburg.
On the 12th June the Queen's cousin, who had been the blind King of
Hanover, died in exile at Paris. His body was brought to England and
was buried in the royal vault below St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
The Queen saw a naval review off Spithead in August. In the end of the
month the Queen, with Princess Beatrice and Prince Leopold, stopped at
Dunbar on the way north in order to pay a visit to the Duke and
Duchess of Roxburgh at Broxmouth. During her Majesty's stay she heard
of the death of Madame Van de Weyer at the New Lodge, and wrote in her
journal, "Another link with the past gone! with my beloved one, with
dearest Uncle Leopold, and with Belgium."
In September a terrible accident occurred in the Thames off Woolwich,
when the _Princess Alice steamboat_ on a pleasure trip was run
down by the _Bywell Castle_, and about six hundred passengers
In the end of the month the Queen had the misfortune to lose her old
and faithful servant Sir Thomas Biddulph, who died at Abergeldie
Mains. When she went to see him in his last illness and took his hand,
he said, "You are very kind to me," to which she answered, pressing
his hand, "You have always been very kind to me."
The Marquis of Lorne had been appointed Governor-General of Canada,
for which he and Princess Louise sailed, arriving at Ottawa on the
23rd of November.
Already the Queen, who was still at Balmoral, had heard of the
disastrous outbreak of diphtheria in the Darmstadt royal family. It
attacked every member in succession, the youngest, Princess Marie, a
child of four years of age, dying on the 16th of November. It was
supposed that the Duchess had caught the infection from having once,
in an abandonment of sorrow for the death of her little daughter,
forgotten the necessary precautions, and rested her head on the Duke's
pillow. Her case was dangerous from the first, and she gave orders
lest she should die, but did not seem to expect death. In her sleep
she was heard to murmur, "Four weeks--Marie--my father." On the
morning before she died she read a letter from her mother. Her last
words when waking from sleep, she took the refreshment offered her,
were, "Now I will again sleep quietly for a longer time." Then she
fell back into the slumber from which she never awoke. She died on the
14th December, exactly four weeks from the death of her child, and
seventeen years from the death of her father. She was thirty-five
years of age. Princess Alice was a woman of rare qualities and
The Prince of Wales and Prince Leopold went to Darmstadt and followed
the funeral from the church to the Rosenhöhe, where all that was
mortal of Princess Alice rests beside the dust of her children. A fine
figure in white marble of the Princess, recumbent, clasping her little
daughter to her breast, has been placed close to the spot as a token
of the loving remembrance of her brothers and sisters. The engraving
represents this beautiful piece of monumental sculpture.
In 1879 the Zulu war broke out. On the 11th of March Princess Louise
of Prussia arrived in England, and on the 13th she was married in St.
George's Chapel, Windsor, in the presence of the Queen and all the
members of the royal family and the bride's father and mother, Prince
and Princess Frederick Charles of Prussia. The bridegroom was
supported by his brothers, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of
Edinburgh. The bride walked between her father and the Crown Prince of
Germany, and was followed by eight noble bridesmaids. The Duke of
Connaught was in his twenty-ninth and Princess Louise of Prussia in
her nineteenth year. Their residence is Bagshot Park.
Twelve days later the Queen left with Princess Beatrice and,
travelling by Cherbourg and Paris, reached Lake Maggiore on the 28th.
Immediately after their arrival the news came of the death, from
diphtheria of one of the Crown Princess of Germany's sons, Prince
Waldemar of Prussia, a fine boy of eleven years of age.
Her Majesty left on the 23rd of April, and returned by Milan, Turin,
Paris, and Cherbourg, to England.
BIRTH OF THE FIRST GREAT-GRANDCHILD--MARRIAGE OF THE DUKE OF ALBANY--
The Queen's first great-grandchild, the child of the Princess of Saxe-
Meiningen, was born on the 12th of May.
On her Majesty's arrival at Balmoral on the 22nd of May she went to
see the granite cross erected to the "dear memory" of Alice, Duchess
of Hesse, by her "sorrowing mother"
The Queen remained at Balmoral till after the 19th of June, when the
melancholy tidings arrived that the Prince Imperial had been killed in
the Zulu war. Her Majesty left on the 20th, and crossed over the Tay
Bridge, which was destroyed in the terrible gale of the 29th December
of the same year.
In 1880 the Queen opened Parliament in person. Her Majesty,
accompanied by Princess Beatrice, left Windsor on the 25th of March
for Baden-Baden and Darmstadt. The Queen was present at the
confirmation of the Princesses Victoria and Elizabeth, and visited the
Rosenhöhe, where their mother was buried.
About the same time the ex-Empress Eugénie embarked at Southampton for
the Cape of Good Hope, that she might see the place where her son fell
on the anniversary of his death.
On the 24th of April the Princess Frederica of Hanover, elder daughter
of the late King, was married to Baron von Pawel-Rammingen, who had
been equerry to her father, in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. The Queen
and several members of the royal family witnessed the ceremony.
In September the Duke of Connaught and his bride were welcomed to
Balmoral, and a visit paid to the cairn erected in their honour when
their healths were drunk with "three times three" in the presence of
the Queen, Princess Beatrice, and the ladies and gentlemen of the
household. Later in the autumn the childless widow, the Empress
Eugénie, stayed for a little time at Abergeldie.
At the close of 1880 Lord Beaconsfield published his last novel of
"Endymion." George Eliot died on the 22nd December, and in 1881 Thomas
Carlyle died, on the 5th of February, in the eighty-sixth year of his
Her Majesty's eldest grandson, Prince William of Prussia, was married
at Berlin on the 27th of February to Princess Augusta Victoria of
Schleswig-Holstein. The bride was the granddaughter of the Queen's
sister, Princess Hohenlohe, and the niece of Prince Christian.
On March 13th the Emperor of Russia was assassinated.
Lord Beaconsfield died on the 19th of April at his house in Curzon
Street. Ten days later the Queen and Princess Beatrice visited
Hughenden while the vault was still open, and placed flowers on the
In June Prince Leopold took his seat in the House of Peers on his
creation as Duke of Albany.
On the 19th of September President Garfield died, after a long
struggle, with the effects of his assassination, when the Queen wrote
to Mrs. Garfield her indignation and pity as she had expressed them to
the widow of President Lincoln.
In 1882 a monument was erected in Hughenden Church to Lord
Beaconsfield "by his grateful and affectionate sovereign and friend,
"VICTORIA R. I.
Kings love him that speaketh right.
PROVERBS xvi 13."
The Queen's speech on the opening of Parliament in 1882 announced the
approaching marriage of the Duke of Albany to Princess Helen of
On the 2nd of March, as her Majesty was entering her carriage at
Windsor station, she was fired at by a man named Roderick Maclean, the
ball passing between her Majesty and Princess Beatrice. The criminal,
who proved to be of respectable antecedents, was arrested and
committed for high treason. He was tried, found not guilty on the plea
of insanity, and sentenced to be confined during her Majesty's
pleasure. Much sympathy and indignation were felt, and addresses were
voted by both Houses of Parliament.
The Queen left with Princess Beatrice, twelve days afterwards, by
Portsmouth, Cherbourg, and Paris for Mentone, where her Majesty stayed
Princess Helen of Waldeck, accompanied by her parents, arrived on the
25th of April. The King and Queen of the Netherlands, the bride's
brother-in-law and sister, came next day, and the marriage was
celebrated on the 27th of April in St. George's Chapel, Windsor,
before the Queen and the royal family. The Duke of Albany was in his
twenty-ninth, and Princess Helen in her twenty-first year. Claremont
was assigned to the young couple as their future residence. Eight days
after the marriage a sad event broke in on the marriage rejoicings;
the bride's sister, Princess William of Wurtemberg, died in childbirth
at the age of twenty-three.
On the 6th of May the Queen, with Princess Beatrice, went in state to
Epping Forest, where they were received by the Lord Mayor, the
Sheriffs, and the Duke of Connaught as ranger of the forest. After an
address the Queen declared the forest dedicated to the people's use.
On the same day Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke were
assassinated in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
Garibaldi died at Caprera on the 2nd of June.
The Egyptian war broke out, and among the officers who sailed with the
troops under Sir Garnet Wolseley in August was the Duke of Connaught.
The Duchess and her little daughter were with the Queen at Balmoral,
where anxious days were spent as mother and wife waited for the news
of battle. Successive telegrams announced that an attack was
determined on, that the army had marched, that fighting was going on,
and that the enemy had been routed with heavy loss at Tel-el-Kebir.
The Queen wrote in her journal "How anxious we felt I need not say,
but we tried not to give way.... I prayed earnestly for my darling
child, and longed for to-morrow to arrive. Read Korner's beautiful,
'_Gebet vor der Schlacht_,' '_Vater ich rufe Dich_,' ('Prayer
before the Battle,' 'Father, I call on Thee'). My beloved husband used
to sing it often...."
At last came the welcome telegram, "A great victory, Duke safe and
well," and a further telegram with details and the concluding
sentence, "Duke of Connaught is well and behaved admirably, leading
his brigade to the attack," and great was the joy and thankfulness.
In the meantime the Duke and Duchess of Albany had been expected on
their first visit after their marriage, and were met at Ballater. When
their healths were drunk with Highland honours, the happy Queen asked
her son to propose another toast "to the victorious army in Egypt"
coupled with the Duke of Connaught's name, and the health was drunk in
the hearing of his proud wife and his unconscious infant in her
In November the Queen reviewed the troops returned from Egypt in St.
James Park, and afterwards distributed war medals to the officers and
On the 4th December her Majesty opened the New Law Courts. She was
received by the judges and the representatives of the Bar. Lord
Chancellor Selborne was raised to the rank of an earl, and knighthood
was conferred on the Governors of the Inns of Court.
The Duke of Connaught, accompanied by the Duchess, went to fill a
military post in India.
We have seen that Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, her Majesty's fourth
and youngest son, who was born on the 7th of April, 1853, had a
delicate childhood and boyhood. He suffered from a tendency to
haemorrhage on the slightest provocation. Ailments in the joints are
apt to accompany such constitutional weakness, and one of Prince
Leopold's knees was affected. As he grew up he was again and again
brought to the brink of the grave by sudden and violent fits of
indisposition. It is hardly necessary to say that the precariousness
of Prince Leopold's health, combined as it was with an amiable
disposition and intellectual gifts, only served to endear him the more
to his family and friends.
The bodily weakness which set the Duke of Albany apart from his elder
brothers and from lads of his age, which prevented his being regularly
trained either as a soldier or a sailor, in the two professions which
have been long held fit for princes, made him peculiarly the home-son
of the Queen, and caused him to be much longer associated with her
than he might otherwise have been, in her daily life and in her public
appearances during the later years of her reign.
It did not follow from this circumstance that Prince Leopold
relinquished an independent career or led an idle life. In 1872, when
he was in his twentieth year, he matriculated at Oxford, where he kept
his terms with credit alike to his original abilities and his
conscientious diligence. His honourable and pleasant connection with
his university remained a strong tie to the end of his short life, and
it was doubtless in relation to Oxford that he came sensibly under the
influence of Mr. Buskin.
On leaving college Prince Leopold continued to lead the quiet yet busy
life of a scholarly and somewhat artistic young man to whom robust
health has been denied. In addition to the many dignities of his rank,
including four orders of knighthood, belonging to the Garter, the
Thistle, the Star of India, and the Order of St. Michael and St.
George, he became a D.O.L. of Oxford in 1876, and in the following
year a bencher of Lincoln's Inn. A less characteristic honour given
him was the rank of a colonel in the army.
It was a marked feature in Prince Leopold's individuality, as it had
been in that of the Prince Consort, that he sought to turn all his
gifts and pursuits to practical use, not only in the interests of
science and art, but in order to improve the condition and increase
the happiness of the Queen his mother's people. His speeches on the
increasing occasions when he took the chair at public meetings in aid
of the objects he had at heart, were remarkable in so young a man, not
only for good taste and for the amount of carefully acquired knowledge
they displayed, but for the spirit of enlightened humanity and
benevolence which breathed through them. Gradually but surely Prince
Leopold's graceful, well-considered, kindly utterances, with which he
was ready whenever his services were required, were making a most
favourable and permanent impression on the public which was too soon
to mourn his loss. The extension of education and of innocent
amusements through all classes, the Kyrle Society for the fostering of
Art among the homeliest surroundings, the higher and more general
cultivation of music, the introduction of lessons in cookery into the
poorest schools; were among the schemes which the Duke of Albany
The Duke's marriage took place, as we have recorded, on the 27th of
April, 1882, and in 1883 a daughter was born to him, who received the
dear and hallowed name of "Alice."
In March, 1884, the Duke of Albany went to Cannes in order to escape
the spring east winds, leaving the Duchess, who was in a delicate
state of health, behind him at Claremont. He appeared to profit by his
stay of a few weeks in the south of France, was unusually well in
health and in excellent spirits, entering generally into the society
of the place. But on the 27th of March, in ascending a stair at the
Cercle Nautique, he slipped and fell, injuring his ailing knee in a
manner in which he had hurt it several times before. He was conveyed
in a carriage to the Villa Nevada, at which he was residing, and no
danger was apprehended, the Duke writing with his own hand to the
Duchess, making light of the accident. During the following night,
however, he was observed to breathe heavily, was found to be in a fit,
and in a few minutes afterwards, early on the morning of the 28th of
March, 1884, he died in the arms of his equerry, Captain Perceval. The
melancholy news was telegraphed to Windsor, and broken to the Queen by
the Master of her Household, Sir Henry Ponsonby. Under the shock and
grief, with which the whole country sympathised, her Majesty's first
and constant thought seems to have been for the young widow at
The Prince of Wales started for Cannes, and accompanied the remains of
his brother to England, the royal yacht _Osborne_ landing them at
Portsmouth. On the arrival of the melancholy cavalcade at Windsor, on
Friday, the 4th of April, the Queen went with her daughters, Princess
Christian and Princess Beatrice, to the railway station to meet the
body of the beloved son who had been the namesake of King Leopold, her
second father, and the living image in character of the husband she
had adored. The coffin was carried by a detachment of the Seaforth
Highlanders through the room in which her Majesty awaited the
procession, and conveyed to the chapel, where a short service was
afterwards held in the presence of the Queen and the near relatives of
the dead, and where the nearest of all, the widowed Duchess, paid one
brief last visit to the bier.
On the following day, Saturday, the 5th of April, towards noon, the
funeral took place, with all the pomp of the late Prince's rank, and
all the sorrow which his untimely end and many virtues might well call
forth. The Prince of Wales, as chief mourner, was supported by the
Crown Prince of Germany, the Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, Prince Christian
of Schleswig-Holstein, Prince Albert Victor of Wales, and the Duke of
Cambridge. The coffin, with its velvet pall nearly hidden by flowers,
was again borne by a party of the Seaforth Highlanders to the solemn
music of Chopin's "Funeral March" and the firing of the minute-guns,
to the principal entrance of St. George's Chapel. Among the same
company that had been assembled when the Duke of Albany had been
married not two years before, were his father-in-law and sister-in-
law, the Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont, and the Queen of Holland.
While the dirge-like music and the booming of the cannon filled the
air, the Queen in deep mourning entered, leaning on the arm of the
Princess of Wales, and followed by Princess Christian, the Princesses
Louise and Beatrice, and Princess Frederica of Hanover, the royal
party being conducted by the Lord Chamberlain to seats near the choir
steps. The Duchess of Albany and the Duchess of Edinburgh were unable,
from the state of their health, to attend the funeral. As the coffin,
every movement of which was regulated by the word of command spoken by
the officer appointed for the duty, passed through the screen and
entered the choir, the Queen and Princesses rose as if to greet him
who came thus for the last time among them. The rest of the company
had remained standing from the moment of the Queen's entrance. The
Dean of Windsor read the Funeral Service. When the choir sang the
anthem, "Blessed are the Departed," the Queen again rose. Lord Brooke,
a young man like the Prince who was gone, who had been with him at
Oxford, was one of the most intimate of his friends, and had been
named one of the executors of his will, threw, with evident emotion,
the handful of earth on the coffin while the Dean recited "Earth to
earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust."
After the singing of the hymn, "Lead kindly light," during which her
Majesty stood, she and the Princesses quitted the chapel. Garter-King-
at-Arms having proclaimed the style and titles of the deceased, the
coffin was lowered into the vault below St. George's Chapel, the
Prince of Wales gazing sadly on its descent. The Queen, with her long
discipline of sorrow, had in the middle of her affliction preserved
her coolness throughout the trying ceremony. Prince Leopold, Duke of
Albany, had almost completed his thirty-first year. The anniversary of
his birthday was on the second day after his funeral.
The Queen has left her mark on the palaces and humbler houses which
have been her homes. In indicating it we have nothing to do with grey
Windsor in its historical glories, or even in its more picturesque
lights. We leave behind the Waterloo Gallery, the Garter-room and the
quaint cottages of the Poor Knights in order to point out the touches
which are the tokens of Queen Victoria's presence. Though she dwelt
here principally in the bright days of her early reign, the chief
signs which she will leave behind her are those of her widowhood and
of the faithful heart which has never forgotten its kindred dead. The
most conspicuous work of the Queen's is the restoration and
rechristening of the Wolsey Chapel. As the Albert Chapel, the
beautiful little building is fall of the thought of him who was once
master here. Its rich mosaics, stained glass, "pictures for eternity"
fretted in marble, scriptural allegories of all the virtues--the very
medallions of his children which surmount these unfading pictures, are
all in his honour. Specially so is the pure white marble figure of the
Prince, represented as a knight in armour, lying sword in hand, his
feet against the hound--the image of loyalty, while round the pedestal
is carved his name and state, and the place of his burial, with the
epitaph which fits him well, "I have fought the good fight, I have
finished my course."
In St. George's Chapel her Majesty has erected five monuments. A
recumbent marble figure on an alabaster sarcophagus is to her father,
who was so fond of the infant daughter whom he left a helpless baby. A
white marble statue, larger than life, in royal robes, is to the man
who took the Duke of Kent's place, Leopold I., King of the Belgians,
of whom his niece could cause to be written with perfect truth "who
was as a father to her, and she was to him as a daughter." This statue
is reared near the well-known monument to the dead King's never
forgotten first wife, Princess Charlotte of Wales. [Footnote: Princess
Alice mentions in one of her published letters that King Leopold had
entertained a wish that he might be buried in England.] The third and
fourth monuments are to the Queen's aunt and cousin, the good Duchess
of Gloucester and the late King of Hanover. The last was executed by
the Queen's nephew, Count Gleichen (Prince Victor Hohenlohe). The
inscription has several pathetic allusions. "Here has come to rest
among his kindred, the royal family of England, George V., the last
King of Hanover." "Receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved." "In
this light he shall see light." The fifth monument has been raised to
a young eastern prince, son of Theodore, King of Abyssinia, who came
to England as a lad and died here "I was a stranger and ye took me in"
is the epitaph.
At the entrance to the fine corridor which runs round two sides of the
quadrangle of the Castle, and forms a matchless in-door promenade, is
Theed's beautiful group of the Queen and the Prince, conceived and
worked out after his death, with the solemn parting of two hearts
tenderly attached as the motive of the whole. The figures are not only
ideally graceful while the likeness in each is carefully preserved,
the expression is beyond praise. The wife clings, in devotion so
perfect that impassioned hope contends with chill despair, to the arm
of the husband who looks down on her whom he loves best, with fond
encouragement and the peace of the blessed already settling on the
stainless brow. The inscription is from Goldsmith's "Deserted
"Allur'd to brighter worlds and led the way,"
It is part of an exquisite passage:--
"And as a bird each fond endearment tries
To tempt its new-fledg'd offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reprov'd each dull delay,
Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way."
The corridor, among its innumerable vases, cabinets, and pictures of
kings and great men--including a fine portrait of Sir Walter Scott--
has a whole series of pictures illustrating, the leading events of her
Majesty's life, from her "First Council," by Wilkie, through her
marriage, the baptisms of the Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales,
the first reception of Louis Philippe, &c., &c., to the Princess
The white drawing-room, said to be a favourite room of her Majesty's,
is not far from her private sitting-room on the south-east side of the
quadrangle which looks out on the Long Walk and Windsor Forest, the
white drawing-room commanding the Home Park.
Going down the stately double avenue of elms called the Long Walk, a
lodge and side walk at no great distance lead to Frogmore, with its
mausoleum half hidden in luxuriant foliage. In the octagonal building,
which forms a cross, and is richly decorated with coloured marbles, is
the famous recumbent figure of the Prince in white marble by Baron
Marochetti. When the Queen's time comes, which her people pray may
still be far distant, she will rest by her husband's side, and a
similar statue to his will mark where she lies. Memorials of Princess
Alice and of her Majesty's dead grandchildren are also here.
The late Duchess of Kent is buried in a separate vault beneath a dome
supported by pillars of polished granite and surrounded by a parapet
with balconies. In the upper chamber, lit from the top by stained
glass, is a statue of the Duchess, by Theed.
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