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Title: His Most Gracious Majesty King Edward VII
Author: Lowndes, Marie Belloc
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



HIS MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY KING EDWARD VII.

[Illustration: THE KING

_From the Painting by Archibald Stuart Wortley, published by Henry
Graves and Co._]



                       HIS MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY
                           KING EDWARD VII.

                                  BY
                          MRS. BELLOC-LOWNDES

                               AUTHOR OF
                   ‘THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE MARQUISE’

                              ILLUSTRATED

                                London

                            GRANT RICHARDS
                9 HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C.

                                 1901



PREFACE


_This book, originally published as a Life of the Prince of Wales, has
now been much enlarged and brought up to the latest date, including His
Majesty’s Accession and the events which followed. Fresh illustrations
have also been added. It is believed that no previous attempt has
been made to present a connected account of the Kings life, although
isolated portions of His Majesty’s manifold activities have been
treated of by various writers. Thus the author of the present work
acknowledges considerable indebtedness to the Honble. Mrs. Grey’s
“Journal of a Visit to Egypt, Constantinople, the Crimea, Greece,
etc., in the Suite of the Prince and Princess of Wales”; to Sir W. H.
Russell’s delightful volumes on their Majesties’ tour in the East and
the King’s tour in India (from which two illustrations are reproduced);
and to Sir H. C. Burdett’s “Prince, Princess, and People,” which deals
mainly with the philanthropic work of the King and Queen. A large
number of memoirs have also been consulted, including those of the
Prince Consort, the Duchess of Teck, Baron Stockmar, Archbishop Magee,
Archbishop Benson, Dean Stanley, and Canon Kingsley._



CONTENTS


                                                                     PAGE

                               CHAPTER I

    AN APPRECIATION                                                     1

                              CHAPTER II

    BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS                                               5

                              CHAPTER III

    THE KING’S BOYHOOD                                                 22

                              CHAPTER IV

    OXFORD, CAMBRIDGE, AND THE CURRAGH                                 34

                               CHAPTER V

    THE KING’S VISIT TO CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES                   43

                              CHAPTER VI

    DEATH OF THE PRINCE CONSORT--TOUR IN THE EAST                      55

                              CHAPTER VII

    THE WEDDING OF KING EDWARD AND QUEEN ALEXANDRA                     63

                             CHAPTER VIII

    EARLY MARRIED LIFE                                                 83

                              CHAPTER IX

    THEIR MAJESTIES’ TOUR IN EGYPT AND THE MEDITERRANEAN              103

                               CHAPTER X

    THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR--THE KING’S ILLNESS                       125

                              CHAPTER XI

    1873-1875                                                         136

                              CHAPTER XII

    THE KING’S TOUR IN INDIA                                          143

                             CHAPTER XIII

    QUIET YEARS OF PUBLIC WORK, 1876-1887--VISIT TO IRELAND--QUEEN
    VICTORIA’S GOLDEN JUBILEE                                         159

                              CHAPTER XIV

    SILVER WEDDING OF KING EDWARD AND QUEEN ALEXANDRA--ENGAGEMENT
    AND MARRIAGE OF PRINCESS LOUISE                                   171

                              CHAPTER XV

    THE BACCARAT CASE--BIRTH OF LADY ALEXANDRA DUFF--THE KING’S
    FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY--ILLNESS OF PRINCE GEORGE                       179

                              CHAPTER XVI

    THE DUKE OF CLARENCE AND AVONDALE                                 184

                             CHAPTER XVII

    THE HOUSING OF THE WORKING CLASSES--MARRIAGE OF PRINCE
    GEORGE--THE DIAMOND JUBILEE--DEATH OF THE DUCHESS OF TECK         200

                             CHAPTER XVIII

    LATER YEARS--A SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO THE KING--GRADUAL
    RECOVERY--THE ATTEMPT ON THE KING’S LIFE                          220

                              CHAPTER XIX

    THE KING AS A COUNTRY SQUIRE                                      235

                              CHAPTER XX

    THE KING IN LONDON                                                251

                              CHAPTER XXI

    THE KING AND STATE POLICY                                         262

                             CHAPTER XXII

    THE KING AND THE SERVICES                                         268

                             CHAPTER XXIII

    THE KING AND FREEMASONRY                                          279

                             CHAPTER XXIV

    THE KING AS A PHILANTHROPIST                                      287

                              CHAPTER XXV

    THE KING AS A SPORTSMAN                                           296

                             CHAPTER XXVI

    THE DEATH OF QUEEN VICTORIA--THE KING’S ACCESSION                 310



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                    PAGE

    The King. From the Painting by Mr. A. Stuart Wortley   _Frontispiece_

    The King at Homburg                                               xvi

    The Christening of King Edward VII.                                 9

    Queen Victoria, the Empress Frederick, and King Edward VII.        11

    King Edward VII.                                                   13

    King Edward VII. at the Age of Three                               15

    The King in 1847                                                   17

    The Landing of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their
        Children at Aberdeen                                           19

    The King and the Empress Frederick as Children                     21

    The Rev. Henry Mildred Birch, the King’s First Tutor               25

    Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their Children                  27

    The King at the Age of Eight, and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg
        and Gotha at the Age of Five                                   29

    Sketching at Loch Laggan--Queen Victoria with King Edward
        and the Empress Frederick                                      31

    Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.                                32

    The King in 1859                                                   35

    Christ Church, Oxford                                              38

    Trinity College, Cambridge                                         39

    The King in 1861                                                   41

    The Tour in Canada and the United States, 1860                     43

    The Fifth Duke of Newcastle, K.G.                                  44

    The King’s Landing at Montreal                                     46

    The King laying the Last Stone of the Victoria Bridge over
        the St. Lawrence                                               47

    The Grand Ball given at the Academy of Music, New York             52

    Dean Stanley                                                       58

    The King’s Reception by Said Pacha, Viceroy of Egypt, at Cairo     59

    The King about the Time of his Marriage                            62

    Queen Alexandra                                                    65

    The King on Coming of Age                                          67

    Queen Alexandra in 1863                                            69

    Queen Alexandra                                                    71

    The Marriage of the King and Queen                                 75

    A Contemporary Design for the Royal Wedding                        78

    On the Wedding Day                                                 81

    Queen Alexandra at the Time of her Marriage                        82

    Queen Alexandra in 1863                                            86

    Queen Alexandra in 1864                                            89

    Queen Alexandra with the Baby Prince Albert Victor                 91

    King Edward, Queen Alexandra, and Prince Albert Victor             93

    Queen Victoria with Prince Albert Victor                           95

    King Edward at the Age of Twenty-Three                             99

    Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra, and Princess Christian           101

    Queen Alexandra about the Year 1865                               102

    Thanksgiving Day, 1872: The Scene at Temple Bar                   132

    Thanksgiving Day, 1872: The Procession up Ludgate Hill            134

    Queen Alexandra and her Sister, the Empress Alexander of Russia,
        in 1873                                                       137

    Queen Victoria, with the Princes Albert Victor and George,
        and their sister, Princess Victoria                           139

    The King’s Indian Tour, 1875                                      143

    Embarkation on Board the _Serapis_ at Brindisi                    147

    The King’s Visit to the Cawnpore Memorial                         153

    The King in 1876                                                  157

    The King in 1879                                                  161

    The King in 1882                                                  164

    Queen Alexandra in her Robes as Doctor of Music                   169

    The Duchess of Fife, Princess Victoria, and Princess Charles
        of Denmark                                                    175

    The Duke of Fife                                                  177

    The Duke of Clarence and Avondale                                 185

    Queen Alexandra                                                   193

    King Edward and Queen Alexandra, with the Duchess of Fife and
        Lady Alexandra Duff                                           201

    Queen Victoria and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York      205

    The King in the Undress Uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet        210

    The King as Grand Master of the Knights-Hospitallers of Malta,
        at the Duchess of Devonshire’s Ball                           213

    The Duke of Cornwall and York in his Robes as a Knight of
        St. Patrick                                                   215

    The Duchess of Cornwall and York                                  217

    The Duke of Connaught, the late Duke of Saxe-Coburg, the German
    Emperor, King Edward VII., Queen Victoria, and the Empress
    Frederick                                                         223

    The King with the Ladies Duff                                     229

    Sandringham from the Grounds                                      235

    The Norwich Gate at Sandringham                                   238

    The East Front, Sandringham                                       239

    Queen Alexandra’s Dairy at Sandringham                            241

    Queen Alexandra at Sandringham                                    245

    The Kennels, Sandringham                                          248

    Queen Alexandra with her Favourite Dogs                           250

    Marlborough House from the South-West                             252

    Marlborough House: the Drawing-Room                               254

    Garden Party at Marlborough House, July 1881                      257

    Marlborough House: the Salon                                      259

    The King as Admiral of the Fleet                                  269

    The King as Colonel of the 10th Hussars                           273

    The King and the Duke of Connaught                                277

    Sir Francis Knollys                                               292

    Mr. John Porter and Mr. Richard Marsh, the King’s Past and
        Present Trainers, and John Watts, his Jockey                  296

    The Egerton House Training Stables, Newmarket                     297

    The King’s Derby, 1896                                            299

    The King as a Sportsman in 1876                                   305

    The _Britannia_                                                   307

    The King as a Yachtsman                                           308

[Illustration: THE KING

_From a Photograph by T. H. Voigt, Hamburg v.d.H._]



CHAPTER I

AN APPRECIATION


On the Sunday following that eventful 9th of November on which His
Most Gracious Majesty King Edward VII. first saw the light, the Rev.
Sydney Smith preached at St. Paul’s, and made the following interesting
addition to the Bidding Prayer:--

“We pray also for that infant of the Royal race whom in Thy good
providence Thou hast given us for our future King. We beseech Thee so
to mould his heart and fashion his spirit that he may be a blessing and
not an evil to the land of his birth. May he grow in favour with man
by leaving to its own force and direction the energy of a free people.
May he grow in favour with God by holding the faith in Christ fervently
and feelingly, without feebleness, without fanaticism, without folly.
As he will be the first man in these realms, so may he be the best,
disdaining to hide bad actions by high station, and endeavouring always
by the example of a strict and moral life to repay those gifts which a
loyal people are so willing to spare from their own necessities to a
good King.”

It must be remembered that this prayer was uttered in 1841, and some of
the phrases which the great wit used reflect rather the Holland House
view of the monarchy entertained at that time. Nevertheless, the prayer
is noteworthy because in spirit, if not in the letter, it has been so
completely answered. The manner of King Edward’s accession exhibits to
a contemplative mind the eternal contrast between East and West. In an
Oriental State a new Sovereign is as a rule unknown even in his outward
appearance to his subjects, and is generally tossed up on to the throne
by the angry waves of some palace intrigue of which he himself knows
nothing. But it is the peculiar happiness of the British people that,
in the midst of their bitter grief at the loss of Queen Victoria,
there came to them the swift thought that one whom they had known and
approved from his youth up was her successor, and would assuredly walk
in her footsteps.

The accession of a Prince so universally beloved to the throne of his
ancestors amid the deeply-felt joy of a great and free people is an
inspiring spectacle. Perhaps, however, it is not fully realised how
much King Edward, in the years of his public life as Prince of Wales,
shared in the duties of the British Crown. The following pages will,
it is hoped, show how completely His Majesty and his lamented mother
agreed in their conception of the position of ruler of the British
Empire. It is known that the death of the Prince Consort drew even
closer the ties of affection which subsisted between the late Sovereign
and her eldest son, and it would seem as if King Edward from that day
forward had set both his parents before himself as exemplars, and had
endeavoured to approve himself to his future subjects as a worthy
son, not only of Victoria the Wise but also of Albert the Good. It is
certainly significant how many of the qualities of both his parents His
Majesty possesses.

In those admirable messages to his people, and to India and the
Colonies, as well as to his Navy and Army, the King wrote absolutely as
his mother would have wished him to write. There is in these documents
the same keen personal sympathy, the same human touch, so notable
in all Her late Majesty’s letters to her people, the same unerring
perception, the same insight which demonstrated how completely the
heart of the monarch was beating in unison with that of his people.

Although the British people realised and appreciated the Prince
Consort’s great qualities some time before his death, it is,
nevertheless, true to say that they never came to regard him with
quite the same feeling of affection as that in which other members of
the Royal Family were held. This was in no sense the fault of Prince
Albert, but is rather attributable to that national prejudice against
everything and everybody not originally and completely British which
was especially strong in the middle years of the nineteenth century.
Certainly we have become more cosmopolitan since those days; we have
come to see that the manners and customs of foreign nations are not
perhaps always so absurd as our forefathers, at any rate, supposed, and
may even in some few respects be worthy of adoption and imitation.

In this salutary process of national illumination King Edward VII.
undoubtedly played a considerable part. From the beginning of his
public career he endeared himself to his future subjects by his natural
_bonhomie_, his tact, and a certain indefinable touch of human sympathy
which characterised all his actions and speeches. He was therefore able
to carry on and to develop with extraordinary success his father’s
work in promoting, not only the higher pursuits of science and art,
but also the more immediately practical application of scientific
principles to industries and manufactures. Few people realise how much
England’s industrial prosperity was advanced both by the father and the
son, and how much greater that prosperity would have been if Prince
Albert’s foresight had been better understood and appreciated by his
contemporaries.

Prince Albert will also ever be remembered with gratitude by the
British people for the unremitting care which he devoted to the
education of all his children, and especially to that of his eldest
son. Of course the seed must be sown in good ground, and we know that
the ground was good; the effect of that early education is seen in
the admirable tact with which King Edward filled a most difficult
and delicate position for many years. This position was rendered
additionally onerous by the sometimes ridiculous, sometimes malevolent,
stories which used to be circulated about his private affairs. It is
one of the great penalties of Royalty that practically no reply can
be made to the voice of calumny and detraction. The increase of the
means of communication, and the growth of the newspaper press, have
tended to heighten the glare of publicity in which Royalty is compelled
to live. But this bright light of publicity does not at all resemble
that dry light of reason which Bacon regarded as so essential to the
investigations of science; its rays are refracted and distorted by
ignorance and clumsiness, if not by actual malevolence. Mr. Balfour’s
quiet announcement in the House of Commons soon after the King’s
Accession, that on the resettlement of the Civil List no question of
debts will arise for consideration--as was the case, for instance,
on the Accession of George IV.--is an impressive reply to rumours
regrettably current of late years.

It must have required no common discipline and self-control to bear
such penalties as those, inflicted by the tongue of scandal, and at the
same time to exercise that invariable discretion in reference to the
great interests of State which we all admired so much in His Majesty
when he was Prince of Wales. We should all regard as extraordinary,
were it not that we have become so used to it, the way in which His
Majesty contrived over so many years to be in politics and yet not
of them; to educate himself in State affairs, while preserving that
rigorous impartiality which our constitutional monarchy demands from
the Heir to the throne. The sentiments with which he takes up his
great task as King, not only of the United Kingdom but also of our
vast Colonial Empire beyond the seas, added to the great dependency of
India, is significantly shown in a sentence which His Majesty uttered
in a speech long ago--that his great wish was that every man born in
the Colonies should feel himself as English as if he had been born in
Kent or Sussex.



CHAPTER II

BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS


King Edward VII. was born on 9th November 1841, at Buckingham Palace.
The Duke of Wellington, who was in the Palace at the time, is said to
have asked the nurse, Mrs. Lily, “Is it a boy?” “It’s a _Prince_, your
Grace,” answered the justly offended woman.

The news was received with great enthusiasm throughout the country, and
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had thousands of letters and telegrams
of congratulation not only through official sources at home and abroad
but from many of Her Majesty’s humblest subjects all over the world.
_Punch_ celebrated the event in some verses beginning--

    Huzza! we’ve a little Prince at last,
        A roaring Royal boy;
    And all day long the booming bells
        Have rung their peals of joy.

    And the little park guns have blazed away,
        And made a tremendous noise,
    Whilst the air has been filled since eleven o’clock
        With the shouts of little boys.

At the moment of his birth the eldest son of the Sovereign became Duke
of Cornwall. This dukedom was the first created in England. It was
created by King Edward III. by charter, wherein his son, Edward the
Black Prince, was declared Duke of Cornwall, to hold to himself and his
heirs, Kings of England, and to their first-born sons; and it is in
virtue of that charter that the eldest son of the Sovereign is by law
acknowledged Duke of Cornwall the instant he is born.

At the same time King Edward III. granted by patent certain provision
for the support of the dukedom, including the Stannaries, in Cornwall,
together with the coinage of tin, and various lands, manors, and
tenements, some of which lay outside the county of Cornwall, but were
nevertheless deemed to be part of the duchy. From these rents and
royalties King Edward VII. derived, when he was Duke of Cornwall, a
revenue of about £60,000 a year.

The little prince also became at his birth Duke of Rothesay, Earl of
Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Great Steward of
Scotland (by act of the Scottish Parliament in 1469), but he was not
born Prince of Wales. King George IV. was only a week old when he was
created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester by letters patent, but King
Edward VII. had to wait nearly a month--till 4th December 1841--for
these dignities.

The picturesque origin of the title of Prince of Wales is well
known--how King Edward I. promised the turbulent Welsh barons to
appoint them a prince of their own, one who was born in Wales and
could not speak a word of English, and on whose life and conversation
there was no stain at all. Having engaged the consent of the barons
beforehand, he showed them his infant son, Prince Edward, who had been
born in Carnarvon Castle but a few days before, and who was thereupon
acclaimed as the first Prince of Wales. The dignity thus became
established as personal, not hereditary, which could be granted or
withheld at the pleasure of the Sovereign.

The Earldom of Chester was an early creation which was annexed to the
Crown for ever by letters patent in the thirty-first year of King Henry
III., when Prince Edward, his eldest son, was immediately granted the
dignity. Edward the Black Prince received the Earldom of Chester when
he was only three years old, before he was created Duke of Cornwall.

Queen Victoria’s recovery was rapid, as will be seen from the following
entry in Her Majesty’s _Journal_ on 21st November, the birthday of the
Empress Frederick (Princess Royal of England):--

“Albert brought in dearest little Pussy [the Princess Royal] in such
a smart white merino dress trimmed with blue, which Mama [the Duchess
of Kent] had given her, and a pretty cap, and placed her on my bed,
seating himself next to her, and she was very dear and good. And as my
precious, invaluable Albert sat there, and our little Love between us,
I felt quite moved with happiness and gratitude to God.”

A little less than a month after the birth of her eldest son, Queen
Victoria wrote to her uncle, Leopold I., King of the Belgians:--

“I wonder very much who my little boy will be like. You will understand
_how_ fervent are my prayers, and I am sure everybody’s must be, to see
him resemble his Father in _every, every_ respect, both in body and
mind.”

Christmas with its Christmas tree brought a new fund of delight to the
Royal parents. “To think,” wrote the Queen in her _Journal_, “that we
have two children now, and one who enjoys the sight already, is like
a dream!” Prince Albert also wrote to his father:--“To-day I have two
children of my own to give presents to, who, they know not why, are
full of happy wonder at the German Christmas tree and its radiant
candles.”

The christening of the Prince of Wales took place on 25th January
1842, in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, for although Royal baptisms had
hitherto been celebrated within the Palace, both the Queen and Prince
Albert felt it to be more in harmony with the religious sentiments
of the country that the future King should be christened within a
consecrated building.

As can be easily understood, the choice of sponsors for the Prince
of Wales was a matter of considerable delicacy. Finally the King of
Prussia was asked to undertake the office, and Baron Stockmar gives
the following interesting account of how His Majesty brushed aside the
intrigues which were immediately set on foot:--

“Politicians, as their habit is, attached an exaggerated political
importance to the affair. The King, who foresaw this, wrote to
Metternich, and in a manner asked for his advice. The answer was
evasive; and on this the King determined not to give himself any
concern about the political intrigues which were set on foot against
the journey. Certain it is, that the Russians, Austrians, and even the
French, in the person of Bresson (their Ambassador at Berlin) manœuvred
against it. They were backed up by a Court party, who were persuaded
that the King would avail himself of the opportunity to promote,
along with Bunsen and the Archbishop of Canterbury, his pet idea of
Anglicanizing the Prussian Church. When the King’s decision to go
became known, Bresson begged that he would at least go through France,
and give the Royal Family a meeting; but this was declined.”

The King of Prussia arrived on the 22nd, and was met by Prince Albert
at Greenwich and conducted to Windsor.

King Edward’s other sponsors were his step-grandmother, the Duchess of
Saxe-Coburg, represented by the Duchess of Kent; the Duke of Cambridge;
the young Duchess of Saxe-Coburg (Queen Victoria’s sister-in-law),
represented by the Duchess of Cambridge; Princess Sophia, represented
by the Princess Augusta of Cambridge; and Prince Ferdinand of
Saxe-Coburg.

Nothing was omitted to make the Prince of Wales’s christening a
magnificent and impressive ceremony. There was a full choral service,
and a special anthem had been composed by Mr. (afterwards Sir) George
Elvey for the occasion. When Prince Albert was told of this, and asked
when it should be sung, he answered, “Not at all. No anthem. If the
service ends by an anthem, we shall all go out criticising the music.
We will have something we all know--something in which we can all
join--something devotional. The Hallelujah Chorus; we shall all join
in that, with our hearts.” The Hallelujah Chorus ended the ceremony
accordingly.

[Illustration: THE CHRISTENING OF KING EDWARD VII.

_From the Painting by Sir George Hayter_]

“It is impossible,” wrote Queen Victoria in her _Journal_, “to describe
how beautiful and imposing the effect of the whole scene was in the
fine old chapel, with the banners, the music, and the light shining on
the altar.” It was significant of the young Queen’s native simplicity
that the Prince was only christened Albert, after his father, and
Edward, after his grandfather, the Duke of Kent.

Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert soon showed that they were
determined to allow nothing like publicity to come near their
nurseries, and the public obtained but few glimpses of the Prince of
Wales as a child. Prince Albert’s intimate friend and adviser, Baron
Stockmar, wrote a year after his birth to one of his friends:--

“The Prince, although a little plagued with his teeth, is strong upon
his legs, with a calm, clear, bright expression of face.” Before he was
eighteen months old His Royal Highness had already sat for his portrait
several times.

King Edward VII. was barely four months old when Baron Stockmar drew
up a very long memorandum on the education of the Royal children. In
this document he laid down that the beginning of education must be
directed to the regulation of the child’s natural instincts, to give
them the right direction, and above all to keep the mind pure. “This,”
he went on, “is only to be effected by placing about children only
those who are good and pure, who will teach not only by precept but by
living example, for children are close observers, and prone to imitate
whatever they see or hear, whether good or evil.” In the frankest
manner the shrewd old German physician proceeded to point out that
the irregularities of three of George III.’s sons--George IV., the
Duke of York, and William IV.--had weakened the respect and influence
of Royalty in this country, although the nation ultimately forgave
them, because, “whatever the faults of those Princes were, _they were
considered by the public as true English faults_”; whereas the faults
of some of their brothers, who had been brought up on the Continent,
though not at all worse, were not condoned, owing to the power of
national prejudice.

[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA, THE EMPRESS FREDERICK, AND KING EDWARD
VII.

_From the Painting by S. Cousins, A.R.A._]

The conclusion at which Baron Stockmar consequently arrived was, “that
the education of the Royal infants ought to be from its earliest
beginning _a truly moral and a truly English one_.” It ought therefore
to be entrusted from the beginning only to persons who were themselves
morally good, intelligent, well informed, and experienced, who should
enjoy the full and implicit confidence of the Royal parents. The Baron
did not mince matters with regard to “the malignant insinuations,
cavillings, and calumnies of ignorant or intriguing people, who are
more or less to be found at every Court, and who invariably try to
destroy the parents’ confidence in the tutor.”

These principles commended themselves to Queen Victoria and Prince
Albert, and Her Majesty wrote the following interesting letter to Lord
Melbourne on the subject:--

                                “WINDSOR CASTLE, _24th March 1842_.

    “We are much occupied in considering the future management of
    our nursery establishment, and naturally find considerable
    difficulties in it. As one of the Queen’s kindest and most
    impartial friends, the Queen wishes to have Lord Melbourne’s
    opinion upon it. The present system will not do, and must be
    changed; and now how it is to be arranged is the great question
    and difficulty.… Stockmar says, and very justly, that our
    occupations prevent us from managing these affairs as much
    our own selves as other parents can, and therefore that we
    must have some one in whom to place _implicit confidence_. He
    says, a lady of rank and title with a sub-governess would be
    the best. But where to find a person so situated, fit for the
    place, and, if fit, one who will consent to shut herself up in
    the nursery, and entirely from society, as she must, if she is
    _really_ to superintend the whole, and not accept the office,
    as in my case, Princess Charlotte’s, and my aunts’, merely for
    title, which would be only a source of annoyance and dispute?

    “My fear is, that even if such a woman were to be found, she
    would consider herself not as only responsible to the Prince
    and Queen, but more to the country, and nation, and public, and
    I feel she ought to be responsible only to _us_, and _we_ to
    the country and nation. A person of less high rank, the Queen
    thinks, would be less likely to do that, but would wish to be
    responsible only to the parents. Naturally, too, we are anxious
    to have the education as simple and domestic as possible. Then
    again, a person of lower rank is less likely to be looked up
    to and obeyed, than one of some name and rank. What does Lord
    Melbourne think?”

[Illustration: KING EDWARD VII.

_From an old Print published in 1843_]

In his reply Lord Melbourne fully concurred in Baron Stockmar’s
suggestion that a lady of rank should be appointed, and the choice
of the Royal parents fell upon Lady Lyttelton, who had been a
lady-in-waiting from 1838, and who appeared to possess the precise
qualifications which the post demanded. The daughter of George John,
second Earl Spencer, and his wife Lavinia, daughter of the first Earl
of Lucan, she was born in 1787, married, in 1813, William Henry,
afterwards third Lord Lyttelton, and died in 1870. Lady Lyttelton
was installed as governess to the Royal children in April 1842, and
discharged her duties with equal ability and devotion. Early in 1851
she laid down her office. Her young charges parted from her with sad
hearts and tearful eyes, as Sir Theodore Martin records in the _Life
of the Prince Consort_, while from the Queen and Prince Albert she
received marked proofs of the deep gratitude which they felt for all
that she had done.

In 1846 King Edward accompanied his parents on two yachting excursions,
in August and September, on board the Royal yacht _Victoria and
Albert_. Writing in her _Journal_ on 2nd September, Queen Victoria
says, with a pretty touch of maternal pride:--

“After passing the Alderney Race it became quite smooth; and then
Bertie put on his sailor’s dress, which was beautifully made by the man
on board who makes for our sailors. When he appeared, the officers and
sailors, who were all assembled on deck to see him, cheered, and seemed
delighted with him.”

Then, when the yacht arrived at Mounts Bay, Cornwall, Her Majesty
records on 5th September that “when Bertie showed himself the people
shouted ‘Three cheers for the Duke of Cornwall.’”

Again, at Falmouth, on 7th September, the Queen says:--

“The Corporation of Penryn were on board, and very anxious to see
‘The Duke of Cornwall,’ so I stepped out of the pavilion on deck with
Bertie, and Lord Palmerston told them that that was ‘The Duke of
Cornwall’; and the old Mayor of Penryn said that ‘he hoped he would
grow up a blessing to his parents and to his country.’”

At Sunny Corner, just below Truro, the whole population “cheered, and
were enchanted when Bertie was held up for them to see. It was a very
pretty, gratifying sight.”

Princess Mary of Cambridge, afterwards the much-loved and lamented
Duchess of Teck, gives a delightful picture of the Royal children in a
letter written in 1847 to Miss Draper, her governess. Princess Mary was
then about fourteen, and King Edward was rather more than five years
old:--

“We paid a visit to the Queen at Windsor on New Year’s Eve, and left
there on the 2nd. The Queen gave me a bracelet with her hair, and was
very kind to me. The little Royal children are sweet darlings; the
Princess Royal is my pet, because she is remarkably clever. The Prince
of Wales is a very pretty boy, but he does not talk as much as his
sister. Little Alfred, the fourth child, is a beautiful fatty, with
lovely hair. Alice is rather older than him; she is very modest and
quiet, but very good-natured. Helena, the baby, is a very fine child,
and very healthy, which, however, they all are.”

[Illustration: KING EDWARD VII. AT THE AGE OF THREE

_From the Painting by W. Hensel, in the possession of the German
Emperor_]

In August 1847, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, with the Queen’s
half-brother, the Prince of Leiningen, went for a tour round the
west coast of Scotland, taking with them their two eldest children,
the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal. This is notable as King
Edward’s first visit to Scotland, for he was too young to accompany his
parents on their first tour in Scotland in 1842; while when the Queen
and Prince Albert visited Blair-Atholl in 1844 they only took with
them the little Princess Royal.

Of this tour round the west coast of Scotland we obtain some delightful
details in the late Queen’s _Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the
Highlands_. The Royal party started from Osborne in the Royal yacht
_Victoria and Albert_, and they took the opportunity, after leaving
Dartmouth, of visiting the Scilly Islands. The Queen writes:--

“Albert (who, as well as Charles, has not been unwell, while I suffered
very much) went with Charles and Bertie to see one of the islands.
The children recover from their sea-sickness directly.” By “Charles,”
it should be explained, is meant the Prince of Leiningen. Naturally,
when the Royal yacht arrived in Welsh waters, there was the greatest
enthusiasm among the inhabitants at the sight of their little Prince.
It must be remembered that at that time practically nothing was known
by the general public about the Royal children, for their parents
had very wisely resolved that they should as far as possible enjoy a
natural, happy childhood, that being the best possible preparation for
the public life that awaited them. However, evidently no harm was done
by the notice which was taken of the Royal children on this tour. At
Milford Haven their loving mother writes:--

“Numbers of boats came out, with Welshwomen in their curious
high-crowned men’s hats, and Bertie was much cheered, for the people
seemed greatly pleased to see the ‘Prince of Wales.’” Then again at
Rothesay, when the yacht had passed up the Clyde:--

“The children enjoy everything extremely, and bear the novelty and
excitement wonderfully. The people cheered the ‘Duke of Rothesay’ very
much, and also called for a cheer for the ‘Princess of Great Britain.’
Everywhere the good Highlanders are very enthusiastic.”

With regard to her son’s title of Duke of Rothesay, Queen Victoria
appends the following interesting note:--

“A title belonging to the eldest son of the Sovereign of Scotland, and
therefore held by the Prince of Wales as eldest son of the Queen, the
representative of the ancient Kings of Scotland.”

[Illustration: THE KING IN 1847

_From the Painting by Winterhalter_]

At Inveraray, which was next visited, the little Prince first met his
future brother-in-law, the Marquis of Lorne, whom the Queen describes,
in words which have often been quoted but will bear repetition, as
“just two years old, a dear, white, fat, fair little fellow with
reddish hair, but very delicate features, like both his father and
mother: he is such a merry, independent little child. He had a black
velvet dress and jacket, with a ‘sporran,’ scarf, and Highland bonnet.”

Naturally a good deal of interest was taken in the little Prince of
Wales by those who had an opportunity of seeing him. When the great
geologist, Sir Charles Lyell, went to Balmoral, the Queen’s eldest
son, “a pleasing, lively boy,” gave him an account of the conjuring of
Anderson, the “Wizard of the North,” who had just then shown the Court
some marvellous tricks. Said the Prince in an awestruck tone:--

“He cut to pieces Mamma’s pocket-handkerchief, then darned it and
ironed it so that it was as entire as ever; he then fired a pistol,
and caused five or six watches to go through Gibbs’s head; but Papa
knows how all these things are done, and had the watches really gone
through Gibbs’s head he could hardly have looked so well, though he was
confounded.”

Gibbs, it should be mentioned, was a footman.

The late Archbishop Benson, before he went up to Cambridge, was tutor
to the sons of Mr. Wicksted, then tenant of Abergeldie Castle. Writing
to his mother on 15th September 1848, young Mr. Benson gives the
following interesting description of a glimpse which he had of the King
as a little boy:--

“The Prince of Wales is a fair little lad, rather of slender make, with
a good head and a remarkably quiet and thinking face, above his years
in intelligence I should think. The sailor portrait of him is a good
one, but does not express the thought that there is on his little brow.
Prince Alfred is a fair, chubby little lad, with a quiet look, but
quite the Guelph face, which does not appear in the Prince of Wales.”

[Illustration: THE LANDING OF QUEEN VICTORIA, PRINCE ALBERT, AND THEIR
CHILDREN AT ABERDEEN

_From a Painting by Cleland_]

In September 1848 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert established
themselves with their six children at Balmoral, and Her Majesty
records her first impressions of the place which was to be for so
many years her much-loved Northern home. After describing her own and
Prince Albert’s rooms, she says, “Opposite, down a few steps, are the
children’s and Miss Hildyard’s three rooms.” Only a few days later
we hear of the little Prince of Wales going out with his parents for
a “drive” in the Balloch Buie. “We then mounted our ponies, Bertie
riding Grant’s pony on the deer-saddle, and being led by a gillie,
Grant walking by his side.” Grant, it should be explained, was head
keeper, and much trusted by the Queen and Prince Albert, and for him
was built a pretty lodge called Croft, a mile from Balmoral. “We
scrambled up an almost perpendicular place to where there was a little
_box_, made of hurdles and interwoven with branches of fir and heather,
about five feet in height. There we seated ourselves with Bertie.” It
can readily be imagined with what excitement the little Prince waited
for nearly an hour till his father obtained a shot. The Queen records
how her son helped her over the rough ground until they all gathered
round the magnificent “Royal” which had fallen to Prince Albert’s gun.

The life at Balmoral was as far as possible shorn of Royal state, and
was much the same, no doubt, as that which was led under many another
hospitable roof-tree in the country round about. Queen Victoria
devoted herself to her husband and children. Thus she records, on 11th
September 1849, “The morning was very fine. I heard the children repeat
some poetry in German.”

The life at Windsor Castle was scarcely less simple. Writing to an
intimate friend, the late Duchess of Teck thus describes a dramatic
performance at the Castle in January 1849, in which King Edward
appeared, in spite of an accident which he had had a few days before:--


“Last Wednesday we went to Windsor Castle to remain till Friday. The
visit went off very well indeed. The Queen and the children are looking
very well, and the latter much grown. The poor little Prince of Wales
has disfigured his face by falling on an iron-barred gate, and the
bridge of his nose and both his eyes are quite black and bruised, but
fortunately no bones were broken. The first evening we danced till
twelve o’clock. Next day, … dinner was very early, and at eight o’clock
the Play began. ‘Used Up’ and ‘Box and Cox’ were chosen for that night,
and I was much pleased at seeing two very amusing pieces. They were
very well acted, and we all laughed a great deal. The Theatre was well
arranged, and the decorations and lamps quite wonderfully managed. It
was put up in the Rubens-room, which is separated from the Garter-room
by one small room where the Private Band stood. In the Garter-room was
the Buffet, and in the centre hung one of the beautiful chandeliers
from the pavilion at Brighton. The four elder children appeared at the
Play, and the two boys wore their ‘kilts.’ The two little girls had on
white lace gowns, over white satin, with pink bows and sashes. Princess
Royal wears her hair in a very becoming manner, all twisted up into a
large curl, which is tucked into a dark blue or black silk net, which
keeps it all very tidy and neat.”

[Illustration: THE KING AND THE EMPRESS FREDERICK AS CHILDREN

_From the Painting by Sir W. C. Ross, A.R.A._]



CHAPTER III

THE KING’S BOYHOOD


In view of all that has been said in the last chapter to show how
anxiously Queen Victoria and Prince Albert considered the education of
the future King of England, it is amusing to record that the latter
was quite five years old before it occurred to the public to take an
interest in the question. It was then that a pamphlet was published,
entitled _Who should educate the Prince of Wales?_ This contribution to
the subject was carefully read by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and
Baron Stockmar drew up another long memorandum, dealing this time with
the question of the Prince’s education alone. He was fully sensible of
the importance of the subject.

“On the choice of the principles on which the Prince of Wales shall be
educated,” he wrote, “will in all probability depend whether the future
Sovereign of England shall reign in harmony with, or in opposition
to, the prevailing opinions of his people. The importance of the
selection of principles is increased by the consideration that opinion
in Europe is at this moment obviously in a state of transition, and
that by the time the Prince shall ascend the throne many of the maxims
of government and institutions of society now in the ascendancy will,
according to present probabilities, have either entirely passed away,
or be on the very verge of change.”

After enlarging on this topic, the Baron lays down that the great and
leading question is--whether the education of the Prince should be
one which will prepare him for approaching events, or one which will
stamp, perhaps indelibly, an impression of the sacred character of
all existing institutions on his youthful mind, and teach him that to
resist change is to serve at once the cause of God and of his country.
Baron Stockmar recommends the former course, but he utters the warning
that:--

“The education of the Prince should, however, nowise tend to make
him a demagogue or a moral enthusiast, but a man of calm, profound,
comprehensive understanding, imbued with a deep conviction of the
indispensable necessity of practical morality to the welfare of both
Sovereign and people. The proper duty of the Sovereign in this country
is not to take the lead in change, but to act as a balance-wheel on
the movements of the social body. When the whole nation, or a large
majority of it, advances, the King should not stand still; but when
the movement is too partial, irregular, or over-rapid, the royal power
may with advantage be interposed to restore the equilibrium. Above all
attainments, the Prince should be trained to freedom of thought and a
firm reliance on the inherent power of sound principles, political,
moral, and religious, to sustain themselves and produce practical good
when left in possession of a fair field of development.”

As regards the religious faith in which the future King was to be
brought up, the law prescribed that of the Church of England, and
Baron Stockmar therefore does not discuss that point, but he does
put a question arising out of it, which naturally seemed in that
year--1846--more difficult than it would seem nowadays. The Baron asks
in effect whether the Prince should be made acquainted with the changes
then going on in public opinion in regard to matters of faith, and the
important influence on the minds of educated men which the discoveries
of science were likely to exert in the future? Without suggesting a
definite answer to his own question, the Baron goes on to say:--

“The Prince should early be taught that thrones and social order have a
stable foundation in the moral and intellectual faculties of man; that
by addressing his public exertions to the cultivation of these powers
in his people, and by taking their dictates as the constant guides of
his own conduct, he will promote the solidity of his empire and the
prosperity of his subjects. In one word, he should be taught that God,
in the constitution of the mind and in the arrangement of creation,
has already legislated for men, both as individuals and as nations;
that the laws of morality, which he has written in their nature, are
the foundations on which, and on which alone, their prosperity can be
reared; and that the human legislator and sovereign have no higher duty
than to discover and carry into execution these enactments of Divine
legislation.”

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert also consulted the Bishop of Oxford
(Dr. Wilberforce) and Sir James Clark, both of whom recorded their
views in long and carefully considered papers, in which they came to
conclusions substantially the same as those of Baron Stockmar. On these
principles, therefore, King Edward VII. was educated, namely, that the
best way to build up a noble and princely character was to bring it
into intelligent sympathy with the best movements of the age.

After some further discussion Prince Albert opened negotiations with
Mr. Henry Birch, afterwards rector of Prestwich, near Manchester, the
gentleman who was ultimately entrusted with the responsible position
of tutor to the future ruler of the British Empire. This young man had
been educated at Eton, where he had been captain of the school and
obtained the Newcastle medal. He had taken high honours at Cambridge,
and had then gone back to Eton as an assistant master.

The Prince Consort had an interview with Mr. Birch in August 1848, and
says in a letter to Lord Morpeth, “The impression he has left upon me
is a very favourable one, and I can imagine that children will easily
attach themselves to him.” Writing to his stepmother, the Dowager
Duchess of Gotha, in April 1849, Prince Albert observed:--

“Bertie will be given over in a few weeks into the hands of a tutor,
whom we have found in a Mr. Birch, a young, good-looking, amiable
man, who was a tutor at Eton, and who not only himself took the
highest honours at Cambridge, but whose pupils have also won especial
distinction. It is an important step, and God’s blessing be upon it,
for upon the good education of Princes, and especially of those who are
destined to govern, the welfare of the world in these days very greatly
depends.”

[Illustration: THE REV. HENRY MILDRED BIRCH, THE KING’S FIRST TUTOR

_Photograph by Eastham, Manchester_]

During the years 1848 to 1850 a Mr. George Bartley, well known at that
time as an actor, was engaged to read at Buckingham Palace translations
of the _Antigone_ and the trilogy of _Œdipus_. Queen Victoria was
so much pleased with the ability which Mr. Bartley showed that she
engaged him to give lessons in elocution to her eldest son, who
certainly profited by them, to judge by the ability which His Majesty
afterwards showed as a public speaker.

In the summer of 1849 King Edward VII. visited Ireland for the first
time. He landed with his parents at Queenstown, and received a splendid
welcome, which probably laid the foundation of his hearty sympathy
with and liking for the Irish character. Queen Victoria, after vividly
describing the enthusiasm with which the Royal visitors were greeted at
Dublin, Cork, and elsewhere, writes in her _Journal_ on 12th August:--

“I intend to create Bertie ‘Earl of Dublin,’ as a compliment to the
town and country; he has no Irish title, though he is _born_ with
several Scotch ones (belonging to the heirs to the Scotch throne, and
which we have inherited from James VI. of Scotland and I. of England);
and this was one of my father’s titles.”

Accordingly the Prince of Wales was soon afterwards gazetted Earl of
Dublin, but in the peerage of the United Kingdom, not, as had been done
in the case of the Duke of Kent, in the peerage of Ireland.

It is a curious fact that King Edward visited Ireland, and, as we have
seen, Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland, and made an excellent impression
upon the “Celtic fringe” before he was brought before the public notice
of his future English subjects.

He made his first official appearance in London on 30th October 1849.
It had been arranged that Queen Victoria was to be present at the
opening of the Coal Exchange, but she was not able to go as she was
suffering from chicken-pox. Accordingly it was arranged that the
Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales should represent their Royal
mother.

“Puss and the boy,” as the Queen called them, went with their father
in State from Westminster to the city in the Royal barge rowed by
twenty-six watermen. All London turned out to meet the gallant little
Prince and his pretty sister. Lady Lyttelton, in a letter to Mrs.
Gladstone, gives a charming account of the event, and tells how the
Prince Consort was careful to put the future King forward. Some city
dignitary addressed the young Prince as “the pledge and promise of a
long race of Kings,” and, says Lady Lyttelton, “poor Princey did not
seem to guess at all what he meant.” In honour of the Royal children
a great many quaint old city customs were revived, including a swan
barge, and both the King and the Empress Frederick seem to have
retained a very delightful recollection of their first sight of the
City.

[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA, PRINCE ALBERT, AND THEIR CHILDREN

_From the Painting by Winterhalter_]

It must have been about this time that Miss Alcott, the author of
_Little Women_, paid a visit to London, and sent home to her family the
following description of the Prince:--

“A yellow-haired laddie, very like his mother. Fanny, W., and I nodded
and waved as he passed, and he openly winked his boyish eye at us, for
Fanny with her yellow curls and wild waving looked rather rowdy, and
the poor little Prince wanted some fun.”

Two years later the King was present at the opening of the Great
Exhibition of 1851, and in the following year Mr. Birch retired from
his responsible post, greatly to the sorrow of his young pupil, who was
a most affectionate and open-hearted little boy.

In June 1852 Viscountess Canning wrote from Windsor Castle:--

“Mr. Birch 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.”

As was natural, there were many discussions as to who should become
the Prince’s next tutor. On the recommendation of Sir James Stephen,
Mr. Frederick W. Gibbs was appointed. He remained in his responsible
position till 1858, and was rarely separated from his Royal pupil
during those seven years.

But although so much attention was devoted to the education and mental
training of the King, he spent a very happy and unclouded childhood;
and, like all his brothers and sisters, he retained the happiest
memories of the youthful days spent by him at Balmoral, Osborne, and
Windsor.

The Baroness Bunsen in her _Memoirs_ gives a charming account of a
Masque devised by the Royal children in honour of the anniversary of
the Queen and the Prince Consort’s marriage. King Edward, then twelve
years old, represented Winter. He wore a cloak covered with imitation
icicles, and recited some passages from Thomson’s _Seasons_. Princess
Alice was Spring, scattering flowers; the Princess Royal, Summer;
Prince Alfred, Autumn; while Princess Helena, in the _rôle_ of St.
Helena, the mother of Constantine, who was, according to tradition, a
native of Britain, called down Heaven’s benedictions on her much-loved
parents.

Shortly before this pretty scene took place, King Edward had made his
first appearance in the House of Lords, sitting beside his Royal mother
upon the Throne. It was on this occasion that the addresses of the two
Houses in answer to the Queen’s Message announcing the beginning of
hostilities in the Crimean War were presented, and there is no doubt
that the sad and terrible months that followed made a deep and lasting
impression on the King’s mind. He took the most vivid interest in the
fortune of the war, and in March 1855 went with his parents to the
Military Hospital at Chatham, where a large number of the wounded had
recently arrived from the East.

[Illustration: THE KING AT THE AGE OF EIGHT, AND THE DUKE OF
SAXE-COBURG AND GOTHA AT THE AGE OF FIVE

_From the Painting by F. Winterhalter_]

The popular concern was exhibited in many ingenious and touching ways.
An exhibition was held at Burlington House in aid of the Patriotic
Fund, and all the Royal children who were old enough sent drawings and
paintings, the King’s exhibit obtaining the very considerable sum of 55
guineas.

The worst of the terrible struggle was over by the time King Edward and
the Empress Frederick accompanied their parents to Paris in August of
the same year. The visit was in many ways historically eventful. Queen
Victoria was the first British Sovereign to enter Paris since the days
of Henry VI., and the Royal Party received a truly splendid welcome.
The young Prince and his sister, however, were not allowed to be
idle, and, though they shared to a great extent in the entertainments
organised in honour of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort, their
headquarters remained the whole time in the charming country palace of
St. Cloud, and after sightseeing in Paris all day, they were always
driven back there each evening. It is undoubtedly to the impression
left by this visit that the King owes his strong affection and liking
for France and the French people. When present at a splendid review,
held in honour of Queen Victoria, he attracted quite as much attention
as any of his elders, for he was dressed in full Highland costume, and
remained in the carriage with his mother and the Empress, while the
Emperor and Prince Consort were on horseback.

The British Royal party remained in France eight days. The last gala
given in their honour was a splendid ball at Versailles, and on this
occasion both the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal were allowed
to be present, and sat down to supper with the Emperor and Empress. A
dance had not been given at Versailles since the days of Louis XVI.

One of the most pleasing traits in Napoleon III.’s character was
his great liking for children. As was natural, he paid considerable
attention to his youthful guests, who both became much attached to
him; and later, when he was living at Chislehurst a broken-hearted
exile, King Edward never lost an opportunity of paying him respectful
and kindly attentions. Indeed, the King enjoyed his first Continental
holiday so heartily that he begged the Empress to get leave for his
sister and himself to stay a little longer after his parents were gone
home. When with some embarrassment she replied that Queen Victoria and
the Prince Consort would not be able to do without their two children,
he exclaimed, “Not do without us! don’t fancy that, for there are six
more of us at home, and they don’t want _us_”; but it need hardly be
added that this naïve exclamation did not have the desired effect, and
the young people duly returned home with their parents.

[Illustration: SKETCHING AT LOCH LAGGAN--QUEEN VICTORIA WITH KING
EDWARD AND THE EMPRESS FREDERICK

_From the Painting by Landseer, published in 1858_]

A few days later, the Prince Consort, writing to Baron Stockmar,
observed: “You will be pleased to hear how well both the children
behaved. They made themselves general favourites, especially the Prince
of Wales, _qui est si gentil_.” And on the same topic Prince Albert
wrote to the Duchess of Kent: “I am bound to praise the children
greatly. They behaved extremely well and pleased everybody. The task
was no easy one for them, but they discharged it without embarrassment
and with natural simplicity.”

[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA AND KING EDWARD VII.

_After the Painting by Thorburn_]

When the King was fourteen he started on an _incognito_ walking tour in
the West of England with Mr. Gibbs and Colonel Cavendish. His father
wrote to Baron Stockmar: “Bertie’s tour has hitherto gone off well
and seems to interest him greatly.” Then followed a short time spent
in Germany, as to which Prince Albert wrote to Baron Stockmar on 26th
July, 1857: “Bertie set out to-day at noon for Königswinter--he will
take a week to get there. Of the young people only Lord Derby’s son
will go with him in the first instance; Wood, Cadogan, and Gladstone
will follow.”

This visit of the Prince of Wales to Königswinter was for purposes of
study, and he had with him General Grey, Colonel (afterwards General)
H. Ponsonby his domestic tutor, Mr. Gibbs his classical tutor, the
Rev. Charles Tarver (afterwards Canon of Chester), and Dr. Armstrong.
During the Prince’s stay at Königswinter Mr. W. Gladstone, Mr. Charles
Wood (now Lord Halifax), the present Lord Cadogan, and the present Lord
Derby, then Mr. Frederick Stanley, were with him as companions. It
may be conveniently recorded here that in 1858, when Mr. F. W. Gibbs
retired, Mr. Tarver was appointed the Prince’s Director of Studies
and Chaplain, in which capacity he accompanied him to Rome, Spain,
and Portugal, and then went with him to Edinburgh, remaining with
the Prince till the autumn of 1859, when his education ceased to be
conducted at home.

The King was confirmed in 1858, and the Prince Consort, writing to
Baron Stockmar on 2nd April, gives an interesting account of the
ceremony:--

“They were all three [Lords Palmerston, John Russell, and Derby]
yesterday at the confirmation of the Prince of Wales, which went off
with great solemnity, and, I hope, with an abiding impression on
his mind. The previous day, his examination took place before the
Archbishop and ourselves. Wellesley prolonged it to a full hour, and
Bertie acquitted himself _extremely well_.”

The day following his confirmation the King received the sacrament with
his father and mother, and here may be fittingly ended the story of His
Majesty’s boyhood.



CHAPTER IV

OXFORD, CAMBRIDGE, AND THE CURRAGH


King Edward had now emerged from boyhood, and his loving parents set
themselves to make the arrangements suitable for his growing years.
What these arrangements were will be clear from the following passages
in the Prince Consort’s letter to Baron Stockmar of 2nd April 1858:--

“Next week he [the Prince of Wales] is to make a run for fourteen days
to the South of Ireland with Mr. Gibbs, Captain de Ros, and Dr. Minter,
by way of recreation. When he returns to London he is to take up his
residence at the White Lodge in Richmond Park, so as to be away from
the world and devote himself exclusively to study and prepare for a
military examination. As companions for him we have appointed three
very distinguished young men of from twenty-three to twenty-six years
of age, who are to occupy in monthly rotation a kind of equerry’s
place about him, and from whose more intimate intercourse I anticipate
no small benefit to Bertie. They are Lord Valletort, the eldest son
of Lord Mount Edgcumbe, who has been much on the Continent, is a
thoroughly good, moral, and accomplished man, draws well and plays, and
never was at a public school, but passed his youth in attendance on his
invalid father; Major Teesdale, of the Artillery, who distinguished
himself greatly at Kars, where he was aide-de-camp and factotum of Sir
Fenwick Williams; Major Lindsay, of the Scots Fusilier Guards, who
received the Victoria Cross for Alma and Inkermann (as Teesdale did for
Kars), where he carried the colours of the regiment, and by his courage
drew upon himself the attention of the whole Army. He is studious in
his habits, lives little with the other young officers, is fond of
study, familiar with French, and especially so with Italian, spent a
portion of his youth in Italy, won the first prize last week under the
regimental adjutant for the new rifle drill, and resigned his excellent
post as aide-de-camp of Sir James Simpson, that he might be able to
work as lieutenant in the trenches.

[Illustration: THE KING IN 1859

_From a Painting by G. Richmond_]

“Besides these three, only Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Tarver will go with him
to Richmond. As future governor, when Gibbs retires at the beginning
of next year, I have as yet been able to think of no one as likely to
suit, except Colonel Bruce, Lord Elgin’s brother, and his military
secretary in Canada, who now commands one of the battalions of
Grenadier Guards, and lives much with his mother in Paris. He has all
the amiability of his sister, with great mildness of expression, and is
full of ability.”

Of these early companions of the King, Lord Valletort succeeded to the
Earldom of Mount Edgcumbe in 1861, Major Teesdale was afterwards well
known as Sir Christopher Teesdale, while Major Lindsay was appointed
extra equerry to the Prince of Wales in 1874, and was created Lord
Wantage of Lockinge in 1885.

While the Prince of Wales was at White Lodge, where the suite of rooms
which he occupied still bears his name, he saw much of his relations
at Cambridge Cottage; he often rowed up from Richmond or Mortlake, and
mooring his boat alongside the landing-stage at Brentford Ferry, would
get out and take a stroll in the gardens with his aunt and cousin. The
first dinner-party the Prince attended was at the Cottage on Kew Green.

By Queen Victoria’s special desire, Charles Kingsley about this time
delivered a series of lectures on history to her eldest son, and the
Prince remained fondly attached to the famous author of _Westward
Ho_, who, till his death, was an honoured guest at Sandringham and at
Marlborough House.

On 9th November of the same year the King attained his eighteenth
year, and became legally heir to the Crown. Queen Victoria wrote him a
letter announcing his emancipation from parental control, and he was so
deeply touched by its perusal that he brought it to General Wellesley
with tears in his eyes, and we have the impartial testimony of Charles
Greville as to the character of the epistle, which was, says the famous
diarist, “one of the most admirable letters that ever was penned.” On
the same day he became a Colonel in the Army (unattached), and received
the Garter, while Colonel Bruce became his governor.

Exactly a month after his birthday, the King started on a Continental
tour, travelling more or less _incognito_ as Lord Renfrew. He was
accompanied by Mr. Tarver, who had just been appointed his chaplain
and director of studies. The King stayed some time in Rome and visited
the Pope, but on 29th April 1859 the Prince Consort wrote to Baron
Stockmar: “We have sent orders to the Prince of Wales to leave Rome
and to repair to Gibraltar.” For it was very properly considered, that
owing to the Franco-Italian and Austrian imbroglio, it was far better
that the heir to the British throne should be well out of the way of
international dissensions.

The King reached Gibraltar on 7th May, and visited the south of
Spain and Lisbon, returning home in the middle of the next month;
and then, after having seen something of the world, he again took up
a very serious course of study, this time at Edinburgh. Meanwhile
the education and training of the Heir-Apparent was being watched
very carefully by the British public, and a good many people began
to consider that their future King was being over-educated; indeed
_Punch_, in some lines entitled “A Prince at High Pressure,”
undoubtedly summed up the popular feeling, not only describing the
past, but prophesying, with a great deal of shrewd insight, the future
course of the Prince of Wales’s studies:--

    To the south from the north, from the shores of the Forth,
      Where at hands Presbyterian pure science is quaffed,
    The Prince, in a trice, is whipped to the Isis,
      Where Oxford keeps springs mediæval on draught.

    Dipped in grey Oxford mixture (lest _that_ prove a fixture),
      The poor lad’s to be plunged in less orthodox Cam.,
    Where dynamics and statics, and pure mathematics,
      Will be piled on his brain’s awful cargo of cram.

But the Prince seems to have borne his course of study very well,
and after his son had been in Edinburgh some three months the Prince
Consort wrote to Baron Stockmar:--

“In Edinburgh I had an Educational Conference with all the persons who
were taking part in the education of the Prince of Wales. They all
speak highly of him, and he seems to have shown zeal and goodwill.
Dr. Lyon Playfair is giving him lectures on chemistry in relation
to manufactures, and at the close of each special course he visits
the appropriate manufactory with him, so as to explain its practical
application. Dr. Schmitz (the Director of the High School of Edinburgh,
a German) gives him lectures on Roman history. Italian, German, and
French are advanced at the same time; and three times a week the
Prince exercises with the 16th Hussars, who are stationed in the city.
Mr. Fisher, who is to be the tutor for Oxford, was also in Holyrood.
Law and history are to be the subjects on which he is to prepare the
Prince.”

[Illustration: CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD]

The young Prince spent a delightful holiday in the Highlands, and
made an expedition up Ben Muichdhui, one of the highest mountains in
Scotland. Then, on 9th November, his nineteenth birthday was celebrated
with the whole of his family, for the Princess Royal had arrived from
Berlin in order to spend the day with her brother.

The King was at that time very fond of the writings of Sir Walter
Scott. He has always been a reader of fiction, French, English, and
German, and as a youth he was studious and eager to learn.

On leaving Scotland he went up to Oxford, being admitted a member
of Christ Church. The Prince seems to have thoroughly enjoyed his
life as an undergraduate. He joined freely in the social life of the
University, and took part in all the sports, frequently hunting with
the South Oxfordshire Hounds. Nor did he neglect his books, for we find
the Prince Consort writing to Baron Stockmar on 8th December 1859 to
say that, “The Prince of Wales is working hard at Oxford.”

[Illustration: TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE]

It seems more convenient here to abandon the strictly chronological
arrangement, and to leave the Prince’s visit to Canada and the United
States, which followed immediately, to be described in a separate
chapter, passing on at once to his life at Cambridge.

Early in 1861 the King became an undergraduate member of Trinity
College, Cambridge. Curiously enough, Dr. Whewell, at that time Master
of Trinity, did not think it necessary to make a formal entry of the
Royal undergraduate, but in 1883, when visiting Cambridge in order to
enter his son, the late Duke of Clarence, as a student of Trinity, the
King expressed the opinion that it was a pity that his own entry had
not been properly filled up, and he offered to fill in the blank spaces
if the book was brought to him. Accordingly the record may now be found
at its proper place in the King’s own handwriting. His entry is as
follows:--

      _Date of Entry._           _Rank._               _Name._
    January 18th, 1861.         Nobleman.           Albert Edward
                                                   Prince of Wales.

  _Father’s Christian Name._  _Native Place._         _County._
          Albert.                 London.             Middlesex.

         _School._                _Age._               _Tutor._
       Private Tutor.          November 9th,   Admitted by order of the
                                   1841.       Seniority, Mr. Mathison
                                                   being his tutor.

The entry immediately preceding the King’s name is that of the Hon. J.
W. Strutt (now Lord Rayleigh), in connection with which the following
amusing story is told. A visitor to the library (where the book is
kept) having expressed her doubts as to the King’s intellectual
abilities, the librarian showed her the entry, and said: “You may be
right in what you say, madam, but allow me to inform you that the
Prince comes next to a former Senior Wrangler.” The lady’s astonishment
may be imagined, she being of course ignorant that mere coincidence was
the cause of the juxtaposition of the two names.

The position of the Prince of Wales in the University was very much
that of an ordinary undergraduate, except in one point--that he was,
by special favour, allowed to live with his governor, Colonel the
Hon. Robert Bruce, about three miles away from Cambridge, in a little
village called Madingley.

Charles Kingsley at the Prince Consort’s request gave some private
lectures to the Prince of Wales. The class was formed of eleven
undergraduates, and after the Prince settled at Madingley, he rode
three times a week to Mr. Kingsley’s house, twice attending with the
class, and once to go through a _résumé_ of the week’s work alone; and,
according to the great writer’s biographer, the tutor much appreciated
the attention, courtesy, and intelligence of his Royal pupil, whose
kindness to him then and in after-life made him not only the Prince’s
loyal but his most attached servant.

[Illustration: THE KING IN 1861

_Photograph by Silvy_]

The King certainly enjoyed his life at Cambridge. All sorts of stories,
perhaps more or less apocryphal, used to be told as to his University
career. He was not allowed quite as much freedom as the ordinary
undergraduate, and Colonel Bruce had strict orders never to allow him
to make any long journeys unaccompanied. On one occasion the King made
up his mind that he would like to pay an _incognito_ visit to London,
and he succeeded in evading the vigilance of those whose duty it was to
attend him. His absence, however, was discovered before he could reach
town, and to his surprise and mortification he was met at the terminus
by the stationmaster and by two of the royal servants who had been sent
from Buckingham Palace for that purpose.

Shortly after his marriage the King took his bride to visit Cambridge,
and after the usual reception, the Royal pair drove to Madingley, to
view the King’s former residence. On reaching one of the streets on the
borders of the town it was found to be barricaded, it being thought
that the carriage would proceed by another route. “This is the way I
always came,” said the King, “and this is the way I wish to go now.”
Forthwith the sightseers were removed and the barricade broken down,
but the King signified his intention of returning by the other road so
that the spectators might not be disappointed.

The King remained more or less constantly at Cambridge all the winter
of 1861, and it was arranged that during the long vacation he was to go
on military duty at the Curragh.

While the King was quartered there, Queen Victoria, the Prince Consort,
and the young Princesses paid a short visit to Ireland in order to see
him in his new character of soldier. On 26th August Her Majesty wrote
in her diary:--

“At a little before 3 we went to Bertie’s hut, which is in fact
Sir George Brown’s. It is very comfortable--a nice little bedroom,
sitting-room, drawing-room, and good-sized dining-room, where we
lunched with our whole party. Colonel Percy commands the Guards, and
Bertie is placed specially under him. I spoke to him, and thanked him
for treating Bertie as he did, just like any other officer, for I know
that he keeps him up to his work in a way, as General Bruce told me,
that no one else has done; and yet Bertie likes him very much.”

On the following day, which was a Sunday, the Prince Consort,
accompanied by the Prince of Wales and Prince Alfred, went with Lord
Carlisle to inspect the Dublin prisons.

Prince Albert spent his last birthday, 26th August 1861, with his
son in Ireland, and the Prince of Wales accompanied his parents and
sisters to Killarney, where they had a very enthusiastic welcome. They
travelled on the Prince Consort’s birthday. On the 29th Queen Victoria
and Prince Albert, with their younger children, left Ireland, and
writing to Baron Stockmar on 6th September the Prince Consort said:
“The Prince of Wales has acquitted himself extremely well in the Camp,
and looks forward with pleasure to his visit to the manœuvres on the
Rhine.”



CHAPTER V

THE KING’S VISIT TO CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES


[Illustration: THE TOUR IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES, 1860]

During the Crimean war, Canada, stirred, as were all the British
colonies, by the direful stress of the mother country, levied and
equipped a regiment of infantry for service in the field with the
regular British troops--an interesting precedent for what was to
happen in the Boer war nearly half a century later. In return for
their demonstration of loyalty, the Canadians dispatched a cordial
invitation to Queen Victoria to visit her American possessions; but it
was considered undesirable that Her Majesty should be exposed to the
fatigues and the risks of so long a journey.

Queen Victoria was then asked to appoint one of her sons
Governor-General of the Dominion, but the extreme youth of all the
Princes made that quite out of the question. Her Majesty, nevertheless,
formally promised that when the Prince of Wales was old enough he
should visit Canada in her stead. When the Prince was well on in his
eighteenth year his parents decided that it was time for this promise
to be fulfilled, the more so that it would enable the great railway
bridge across the St. Lawrence at Montreal to be opened, and the
foundation-stone of the Parliament buildings at Ottawa to be laid, by a
Prince of the Blood.

[Illustration: THE FIFTH DUKE OF NEWCASTLE, K.G.]

The Prince Consort, with the care and forethought which always
distinguished him in such matters, made a most careful choice of those
who were to accompany his young son. Both Queen Victoria and he felt
the greatest confidence in the Duke of Newcastle, the grandfather of
the present peer, and with him Prince Albert arranged all the details
of the Prince’s Canadian visit. The careful and kindly father forgot
nothing that might be needed. Not only did he take special pains to
secure that the young Prince should learn something of the history,
customs, and prejudices of the Canadian people, but he supplied the
Duke with memoranda which might be found useful in drawing up the
answers to be made to the addresses which were certain to be presented
to the Prince of Wales during his progress through the Dominion. The
best proof of the Prince Consort’s wisdom is to be found in the fact
that every one of these notes afterwards turned out to be simply
invaluable, owing to the peculiar aptness with which they had been
framed to suit the circumstances of each locality where an address was
likely to be received.

When it became known on the American Continent that the Prince of Wales
was really coming to Canada, the President of the United States, Mr.
Buchanan, wrote to Queen Victoria explaining how cordial a welcome the
Prince of Wales would receive at Washington should he extend his visit
to the United States.

Her Majesty returned a cordial answer, informing Mr. Buchanan, and
through him the American people, that the Prince would return home
through America, and that it would give him great pleasure to have
an opportunity of testifying to the President in person the kindly
feelings which animated the British nation towards America. At the same
time the American people were told that the future British Sovereign
would, from the moment of his leaving British soil, drop all Royal
state, and that he would simply travel as “Lord Renfrew.” In this again
Her Majesty showed her great wisdom, for it would have been extremely
awkward for the Prince of Wales, the descendant of King George III., to
have visited the American Republic in his quality as Heir-Apparent to
the British Throne.

After a pleasant but uneventful voyage on board the frigate _Hero_,
escorted by H.M.S. _Ariadne_, the Prince of Wales first stepped on
Transatlantic soil at St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, the
oldest British colony, on 24th July 1860. The morning was rainy, but
the moment His Royal Highness landed the sun shone out, bursting
through the clouds, and this was considered by those present to be a
very happy omen.

On that day the Prince may be said to have really had his first glimpse
of that round of official duties to which he seemed to take naturally,
and in which he was destined to become so expert.

After the Governor of Newfoundland had been formally presented to the
Prince, the Royal party, which comprised, in addition to His Royal
Highness, the Duke of Newcastle, General Bruce, and Major Teesdale,
went straight to Government House, where the Prince held a reception,
and listened to a considerable number of addresses. The day did not end
till the next morning, for in the evening a grand ball was given by Sir
Alexander Bannerman, and King Edward won all hearts by mixing freely
with the company, and dancing, not only with the ladies belonging to
the Government and official circles, but with the wives and daughters
of the fishermen. It was noticed that the Prince was quite remarkably
like the portraits of his Royal mother on the British coins, and he
displayed, not only in Newfoundland but also during the many fatiguing
days that followed, the extraordinary tact and admirable breeding which
have continually year after year increased the affection with which he
is regarded by the British people.

[Illustration: THE KING’S LANDING AT MONTREAL

_From a contemporary picture in the “Illustrated London News”_]

The wife of the then Archdeacon of St. John’s, in an interesting
letter home, puts on record the impression produced by the King in
Newfoundland:--

“His appearance is very much in his favour, and his youth and royal
dignified manners and bearing seem to have touched all hearts, for
there is scarcely a man or woman who can speak of him without tears.
The rough fishermen and their wives are quite wild about him, and we
hear of nothing but their admiration. Their most frequent exclamation
is, ‘God bless his pretty face and send him a good wife.’”

[Illustration: THE KING LAYING THE LAST STONE OF THE VICTORIA BRIDGE
OVER THE ST. LAWRENCE

_From the “Illustrated London News”_]

At Halifax, the news that his sister, the Princess Frederick of
Prussia, had given birth to a little daughter met him, and he hastened
to write home his affectionate congratulations on the event.

The Prince’s tour through Canada may be said to have been one long
triumphal procession. It was marred by no unpleasant incident, in
spite of the fact that at Kingston and Toronto the Orangemen tried
to induce the Prince to pass under arches decorated with their party
symbols and mottoes. Thanks, however, to the Duke of Newcastle’s tact
and firmness, the attempt failed, and the incident merely served to
illustrate the young Prince’s freedom from party bias. Everywhere the
Royal visitor produced the happiest impressions, and, thanks to his
youth, he was able to endure considerable fatigue without apparently
being any the worse for it.

In America “Lord Renfrew’s” arrival was awaited with the utmost
impatience, and while travelling over the Dominion His Royal Highness
was surrounded by American reporters. Indeed, it is said that the
Prince of Wales’s visit to Canada formed the first occasion on which
press telegrams were used to any lavish extent. One enterprising
journalist used to transmit to his paper long chapters from the Gospel
according to St. Matthew and from the Book of Revelation in order to
monopolise the wires while he was gathering material for his daily
report of the Royal journey. At a great ball given in Quebec the Prince
tripped and fell with his partner--the article recording this event was
headed _Honi soit qui mal y pense_.

The Royal visit to Montreal is still remembered in Canada. The Prince
and his suite arrived there on 25th August, and the Prince, after
opening a local exhibition, inaugurating a bridge, holding a review,
and attending some native games, danced all night with the greatest
spirit, even singing with the band when it struck up his favourite air.

Many little stories were told of the King’s good-nature and affability.
Hearing by accident that an old sailor who had served with Nelson on
board the _Trafalgar_ had been court-martialled, the Prince begged him
off, and asked that he might be restored to his rank in the service.

The Canadian Government provided a number of riding-horses in order
that the King might see Niagara Falls from several points of view, and
he has since often declared that this was one of the finest sights he
ever saw in his life. Next day, in the presence of the Royal party
and of thousands of spectators, Canadian and American, the famous
rope-walker, Blondin, crossed Niagara river upon a rope, walking upon
stilts, and carrying a man on his back. After the ordeal was over,
Blondin had the honour of being presented to the Prince. The latter,
with much emotion, exclaimed, “Thank God, it is all over!” and begged
him earnestly not to attempt the feat again, but the famous rope-walker
assured His Royal Highness that there was no danger whatever, and
offered to carry him across on his back if he would go, but the Prince
briefly declined! The Prince seems to have been quite fascinated by
the marvellous Falls. On 17th September he insisted on riding over on
American ground for a farewell view of Niagara.

The Prince of Wales formally crossed from Canadian territory to the
States on the night of 20th September, making his appearance on
Republican soil, as had been arranged, as Lord Renfrew. At Hamilton,
the last place in Canada where he halted, the Prince made a speech, in
the course of which he observed:

“My duties as Representative of the Queen cease this day, but in
a private capacity I am about to visit before I return home that
remarkable land which claims with us a common ancestry, and in whose
extraordinary progress every Englishman feels a common interest.”

Great as had been the enthusiasm in Canada, it may be said to have been
nothing to the _furore_ of excitement produced in America by the Prince
of Wales’s visit. At Detroit the crowds were so dense that the Royal
party could not get to their hotel through the main streets, and had
to be smuggled in at a side entrance. The whole city was illuminated;
every craft on the river had hung out lamps; and, as one individual
aptly put it, “there could not have been greater curiosity to see him
if the distinguished visitor had been George Washington come to life
again.”

Over 50,000 people came out to meet His Royal Highness at Chicago,
then a village of unfinished streets, but there, for the first time,
the Prince broke down from sheer fatigue, and the Duke of Newcastle
decided that it would be better to break the trip from Chicago to St.
Louis by stopping at a quiet village, famed even then for the good
sport to be obtained in its neighbourhood. It was therefore arranged
that His Royal Highness should have a day’s shooting at Dwight’s
Station, and fourteen brace of quails and four rabbits fell to the
Prince’s gun.

A rather absurd incident marred the complete pleasure of the day. As
the Royal party approached a farm-house an unmistakably British settler
appeared at the door and invited every one _excepting the Duke of
Newcastle_ to enter. “Not you, Newcastle,” he shouted; “I have been a
tenant of yours, and have sworn that you shall never set a foot on my
land.” Accordingly the party passed on, and the farmer, though revenged
on his old landlord, had to forego the honour of entertaining Royalty
under his roof.

But, notwithstanding this awkward incident, the King seems to have
thoroughly enjoyed his little respite from official functions. At one
moment, when he was out on the prairie, he and his companions desired
to smoke, but nobody had a light. At last a single match was found, but
no one volunteered to strike it. Lots were drawn with blades of the
prairie grass, and the King drew the shortest blade. The others held
their coats and hats round him whilst he lighted the match, and he once
said that he never felt so nervous before or since.

On 30th October “Lord Renfrew” reached Washington, and Lord Lyons, the
British Minister, introduced him to President James Buchanan, and Miss
Harriet Lane, the latter’s niece and housekeeper. The Prince stayed
at the White House, and President Buchanan, though he could not spare
his Royal guest a certain number of _levées_ and receptions, did his
best to make his visit to the official centre of the American Republic
pleasant. During these five days there occurred a most interesting
event--the visit of His Royal Highness to Mount Vernon and the tomb of
Washington. A representative of the _Times_ gave the following eloquent
account of the scene:--

“Before this humble tomb the Prince, the President, and all the party
stood uncovered. It is easy moralising on this visit, for there
is something grandly suggestive of historical retribution in the
reverential awe of the Prince of Wales, the great-grandson of George
III., standing bareheaded at the foot of the coffin of Washington. For
a few moments the party stood mute and motionless, and the Prince then
proceeded to plant a chestnut by the side of the tomb. It seemed, when
the Royal youth closed in the earth around the little germ, that he
was burying the last faint trace of discord between us and our great
brethren in the West.”

Doubtless the Prince enjoyed these new experiences a good deal more
than did his guides, philosophers, and friends. Political feeling
ran high, and the pro-slavery leaders were very anxious to influence
public sentiment in Great Britain. They formed the project of taking
the Prince of Wales through the South to see slavery under its
pleasantest aspect as a paternal institution. After a good deal of
discussion between the Duke of Newcastle and Lord Lyons, it was felt
better to accept the invitation of some representative Southerners,
and accordingly the Prince went a short tour to Richmond; but it may
be added that a great slave sale which had been widely advertised was
postponed so as not to offend British susceptibilities. The Prince
does not seem to have been at all impressed by the slave cities, and
he flatly refused to leave his carriage to visit the negro quarters at
Haxhall’s plantation, and so he returned to Washington, having shown a
good deal more common sense than had those about him.

The day that the Prince left Washington for Richmond, President
Buchanan wrote a charming letter to the Queen, in which he said,
speaking of his guest: “In our domestic circle he has won all hearts.
His free and ingenuous intercourse with myself evinced both a kind
heart and a good understanding.”

From Washington the Prince proceeded to Philadelphia, and there, for
the first time, His Royal Highness heard Adelina Patti. He was so
greatly charmed with her marvellous voice and winning personality,
that he begged that she might be presented to him.

The Prince’s feelings must have been strangely mixed when he stood
in Independence Hall, but he does not appear to have revealed them
by making any remark, and after staying a few days in Philadelphia
he started for New York, where he received a splendid welcome from
Father Knickerbocker, being met at the station by the Mayor, and driven
through Broadway to the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Half a million spectators
saw him arrive, and so great was the anxiety to see Queen Victoria’s
eldest son at close quarters, that there was no structure in New York
large enough to contain those who thought that they had--and who no
doubt had--a right to meet the Prince of Wales at a social function.

[Illustration: THE GRAND BALL GIVEN AT THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC, NEW YORK

_From the “Illustrated London News”_]

At last a building was found capable of containing 6000 people;
but, looking to the question of “crinolines and comfort,” it was
reluctantly decided that not more than 3000 cards of invitation,
admitting to the ball and to the supper to follow, should be sent
out. Fortunately most of the 3000 guests were important people, and
therefore too old to dance. They represented, in both senses of the
word, the solid element in New York society, for, as they crowded
round the Prince, the floor gave way, and it is a wonder that no
serious accident took place. This splendid entertainment, which took
place in the old Academy of Music, is still remembered by many elderly
Americans. The Prince showed his tact and good taste by frequently
changing his partner. For the supper, a special service of china and
glass had been manufactured, the Prince’s motto, _Ich Dien_, being
emblazoned on every piece.

During the five days that the Prince remained in New York, he was
the guest of the Mayor and of the Corporation. He seems to have most
enjoyed a parade of the Volunteer Fire Department in his honour. There
were 6000 firemen in uniform, and all, save those in charge of the
ropes and tillers, bore torches. It was a magnificent spectacle, and
the Prince, as he looked at the brilliant display in Madison Square,
cried repeatedly, “This is for me, this is all for me!” with unaffected
glee.

From New York the Prince went on to Albany and Boston, and at the
latter place Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Emerson, and a number
of other notable Americans were presented to him. He visited Harvard
College, spent an hour at Mount Auburn, where he planted two trees, and
drove out to Bunker’s Hill.

Portland was the last place visited by the Prince in the United States,
and on 20th October the Royal party set sail for home on board the
_Hero_, which was escorted by the _Ariadne_, the _Nile_, and the
_Styx_. The voyage home was not as uneventful as had been the voyage
out. So anxious were they at Court about the fate of the _Hero_, that
two ships of war were sent in search of the frigate and her escort.
At last, to every one’s great relief, the _Hero_ was sighted, and it
was ascertained that a sudden storm had driven the boat back from the
British coast, and the Royal party had been reduced to salt fare, with
only a week’s provisions in store.

On 9th November the Prince Consort put in his diary: “Bertie’s
birthday. Unfortunately he is still absent, neither do we hear anything
from him.” Great, therefore, was the joy of the Queen and Prince
Albert when, on 15th November, they received a telegram from Plymouth
announcing the safe arrival of their son. That same evening the Prince
of Wales arrived at Windsor Castle, being greeted with the warmest
affection by his family and friends.

Queen Victoria showed the most vivid interest in all her eldest son’s
many and varied adventures. Both Her Majesty and the Prince Consort
were very much gratified by the way in which the Duke of Newcastle had
performed his arduous and delicate task, and, after some consultation,
it was decided that the Queen should publicly mark her satisfaction by
conferring upon the Duke the Order of the Garter.



CHAPTER VI

DEATH OF THE PRINCE CONSORT--TOUR IN THE EAST


King Edward’s visit to Germany in the autumn of 1861 is explained by
Sir Theodore Martin, in his _Life of the Prince Consort_, to have been
made with another object in view besides that of seeing the military
manœuvres in the Rhenish Provinces. It had been arranged that he was
to make the acquaintance of the Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who
was then on a visit to Germany, with a view to a marriage, should the
meeting result in a mutual attachment.

In spite, however, of every precaution to ensure secrecy, until at
least the inclinations of the principal parties should have been
ascertained, the project leaked out, and even before they met, it was
actually canvassed, much to the Prince Consort’s annoyance, in the
Continental papers. From these it soon found its way into the English
journals, where it met with general approval; but as the meeting, which
took place at Speier and Heidelberg on the 24th and 25th of September,
ended with the happiest results, no harm was done, though in other
circumstances it might have been extremely painful.

“We hear nothing but excellent accounts of the Princess Alexandra,”
Prince Albert notes in his diary on the 30th of September, and he adds,
with evident satisfaction, that “the young people seem to have taken a
warm liking for each other.” On 6th October the Prince Consort, writing
to the King of Prussia, says: “Bertie has come back in raptures with
his excursion to the manœuvres, and cannot speak sufficiently highly
of your kindness to himself, and to all the English officers.” About a
week later the Prince Consort was able to write to Baron Stockmar: “The
Prince of Wales leaves to-morrow for Cambridge. He came back greatly
pleased with his interview with the Princess of Holstein at Speier.…
His present wish, after his time at the University is up, which it
will be at Christmas, is to travel; and we have gladly assented to his
proposal to visit the Holy Land. This, under existing circumstances,
is the most useful tour he can make, and will occupy him till early in
June.”

The Prince Consort that same autumn went specially to London in order
to inspect the alterations that were being made at Marlborough House,
which was then being actively prepared as a residence for the Prince of
Wales; and on the 9th Queen Victoria wrote in her diary: “This is our
dear Bertie’s twentieth birthday. I pray God to assist our efforts to
make him turn out well.… All our people in and out of the house came in
to dinner. Bertie led me in by Albert’s wish, and I sat between him and
Albert.”

Prince Albert paid a hurried visit on 28th November to Cambridge in
order to visit the Prince of Wales. The weather was cold and stormy,
and he returned to Windsor with a heavy cold.

The next few days were spent by both the Prince Consort and Queen
Victoria in considerable anxiety. The seizure of the _Trent_ aroused
a great deal of bitter public feeling, and the fact that America was
convulsed by civil war did not make the position of Great Britain more
easy. The Government adopted a very resolute attitude, and the Prince
Consort, instead of allowing himself to be nursed through his feverish
attack, spent some hours in composing and writing a draft, on the
burning question of the day, to Lord Russell.

The story of those sad days is well known. As time went on, Prince
Albert grew slightly worse rather than better, but no real danger was
apprehended by those nearest and dearest to him, and Queen Victoria
would not hear of having the Prince of Wales summoned, until at last
Princess Alice, who behaved with extraordinary fortitude and marvellous
self-possession, felt that she must send for her eldest brother on
her own responsibility. She accordingly did so, and King Edward was
always, up to the day of her death, very grateful to her for her prompt
action, because it enabled him to arrive in time to be present at his
much-loved father’s death-bed. Although she was herself overwhelmed
with bitter grief, it was to the Princess Alice that all turned,
for Queen Victoria was so completely overcome that nothing could be
referred to her, and it was finally arranged that the Prince of Wales
and the Princesses Alice and Helena should accompany their mother to
Osborne, where she had consented very reluctantly to go.

The Prince of Wales returned immediately, in order to complete the
arrangements for the funeral, and to receive his uncle the Duke of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, his brother-in-law the Crown Prince of Prussia
(afterwards the Emperor Frederick), and the other foreign mourners who
were to take part in the last sad ceremony.

The funeral took place on 23rd December, the service being held in St.
George’s Chapel, Windsor. The chief mourner was, of course, the Prince
of Wales, who was supported, in the absence of Prince Alfred (Duke of
Edinburgh), by Prince Arthur. All those present were deeply moved by
the grief of the two young princes. They both hid their faces, and
after the coffin had been lowered into the vault the Prince of Wales
advanced to take a last look and stood for one moment looking down;
then, his fortitude deserting him, he burst into a flood of tears, and
was led away by the Lord Chamberlain.

Sad indeed were the days that followed. The effect of the Prince
Consort’s death on King Edward’s affectionate and sensitive nature was
terrible, and those about the Court felt that something must be done to
rouse him from his grief.

[Illustration: DEAN STANLEY

_From a Photograph by the Stereoscopic Co._]

As we have already seen, the Prince Consort, not long before his death,
had assented to his eldest son’s proposal of making a tour in the Holy
Land, and it had also been his earnest wish that His Royal Highness
should on that occasion be accompanied by the Rev. Arthur Penrhyn
Stanley, who had himself already taken a journey to Jerusalem. And
so, when the tour was decided upon as a means of rousing the Prince
of Wales from his stupor of grief, Queen Victoria made up her mind
that she would be guided by her late Consort’s wishes, and General
Bruce was commanded to write to Dr. Stanley, but not till he reached
Osborne was he actually asked whether he would consent to undertake the
responsibility.

[Illustration: THE KING’S RECEPTION BY SAID PACHA, VICEROY OF EGYPT, AT
CAIRO

_From the “Illustrated London News”_]

Dr. Stanley, though he regarded the proposal with reluctance and
misgiving, for he could not bear to leave his aged mother, to whom he
was most tenderly devoted, consented to do as Her Majesty wished. It
was ultimately arranged that he should meet the Prince at Alexandria,
ascend the Nile with him, and accompany him, not only through the Holy
Land, but on the Egyptian portion of the expedition.

On 28th February King Edward, accompanied by General Bruce, Major
Teesdale, Captain Keppel, and a small suite, was joined by Dr. Stanley,
the party at once proceeding to Cairo. “The Prince,” wrote General
Bruce to his sister, “takes great delight in the new world on which
he has entered, and Dr. Stanley is a great acquisition.” They visited
the Pyramids together, and then resumed their voyage, the Prince
characteristically persuading Dr. Stanley to read _East Lynne_, a
book which had greatly struck his imagination. When recording the
circumstance, Dr. Stanley adds:--

“It is impossible not to like him, and to be constantly with him brings
out his astonishing memory of names and persons.… I am more and more
struck by the amiable and endearing qualities of the Prince.… His Royal
Highness had himself laid down a rule that there was to be no shooting
to-day (Sunday), and though he was sorely tempted, as we passed flocks
of cranes and geese seated on the bank in the most inviting crowds, he
rigidly conformed to it; a crocodile was allowed to be a legitimate
exception, but none appeared. He sat alone on the deck with me, talking
in the frankest manner, for an hour in the afternoon, and made the
most reasonable and proper remarks on the due observance of Sunday in
England.”

A sad event which occurred in March was destined to draw closer
together the ties which were now binding His Royal Highness and his
chaplain, for on 23rd March the news was broken to Dr. Stanley that his
mother was dead. The Prince of Wales showed the kindest and most tender
consideration for his bereaved travelling companion, and was much
gratified that Dr. Stanley very wisely made up his mind to continue the
journey instead of hurrying home at once.

A few days later the Royal party reached Palestine, and it is
interesting to note that this was the first time that the heir to the
English throne, since the days of Edward I. and Eleanor, had visited
the Holy City. King Edward landed at Jaffa on 31st March, and both on
his entrance into the Holy Land and during his approach to Jerusalem
he followed in the footsteps of Richard Cœur de Lion and Edward I. The
cavalcade, escorted by a troop of Turkish cavalry, climbed the Pass
of Bethhoron, catching their first glimpse of Jerusalem from the spot
where Richard is recorded to have hidden his face in his shield, with
the words, “Ah, Lord God, if I am not thought worthy to win back the
Holy Sepulchre, I am not worthy to see it!”

The King, accompanied by Dr. Stanley, carefully explored Jerusalem
and its neighbourhood, riding over the hills of Judæa to Bethlehem,
walking through the famous groves of Jericho, and staying some time at
Bethany.

“Late in the afternoon,” writes Dr. Stanley, “we reached Bethany. I
then took my place close beside the Prince. Every one else fell back
by design or accident, and at the head of the cavalcade we moved on
towards the famous view. This was the one half-hour which, throughout
the journey, I had determined to have alone with the Prince, and I
succeeded.”

During Dr. Stanley’s previous journey to the Holy Land he had not been
permitted to visit the closely-guarded cave of Machpelah, but on this
occasion, thanks to the diplomacy of General Bruce, not only the King,
but also his chaplain, were allowed to set foot within the sacred
precincts. Even to Royal personages the Mosque of Hebron had remained
absolutely barred for nearly seven hundred years, and on the present
occasion the Turkish official in charge declared that “for no one but
for the eldest son of the Queen of England would he have allowed the
gate to be opened; indeed, the Princes of any other nation should have
passed over his body before doing so.”

King Edward, with his usual thoughtfulness, had made Dr. Stanley’s
entrance with himself a condition of his going in at all, and when the
latter went up to the King to thank him and to say that but for him he
would never have had this great opportunity, the young man answered
with touching and almost reproachful simplicity, “High station, you
see, sir, has, after all, some merits, some advantages.” “Yes, sir,”
replied Dr. Stanley, “and I hope that you will always make as good a
use of it.”

On the party’s return to Jerusalem, they witnessed the Samaritan
Passover, and Easter Sunday, 20th April, was spent by the shores of
Lake Tiberias.

During the journey from Tiberias to Damascus King Edward and his
escort lived in tents, an experience which he seems to have thoroughly
enjoyed. From Damascus the party turned westward, reaching Beyrout on
6th May, and after visiting Tyre and Sidon they proceeded to Tripoli.
On 13th May the King left the shores of Syria, visiting on his
homeward journey Patmos, Ephesus, Smyrna, Constantinople, Athens, and
Malta.

[Illustration: THE KING ABOUT THE TIME OF HIS MARRIAGE

_From Photographs by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde_]

It was very characteristic of King Edward’s readiness to take any
trouble to please those dear to him that wherever he went he collected
a number of flowers or leaves from every famous spot. These, after
having been carefully dried by him, were sent to his sister, the
Princess Royal, afterwards the Empress Frederick, who had a particular
taste for such memorials.

It was very soon after his return from the East that the King played
for the first time an important part in a family gathering--the wedding
of his favourite sister, Princess Alice, to Prince Louis of Hesse. The
bride was given away by her uncle, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,
but the young Prince of Wales acted as master of the house during the
quiet week which preceded the ceremony.



CHAPTER VII

THE WEDDING OF KING EDWARD AND QUEEN ALEXANDRA


As is very generally known, the marriage of King Edward to Princess
Alexandra of Denmark was brought about in quite a romantic fashion. It
is said that long before His Majesty saw his future wife he was very
much attracted by a glimpse of her photograph, shown him by one of his
friends.

A more authoritative story of a photograph is told in the memoir of
the late Duchess of Teck. The meeting at Heidelberg in September 1861,
already referred to, took place when the Danish Princess and her father
were on their way to join one of those famous family gatherings at
Rumpenheim, and the Duchess of Teck’s biographer writes:--

“As soon as the Princess arrived at the Hessian Palace, her cousins
were most anxious to hear all about the meeting, and much excitement
followed when Princess Alexandra, producing a photograph from her
pocket, laughingly exclaimed, ‘I have got him here!’”

It is certain that though many Princesses had been spoken of in
connection with the Prince, and at one time negotiations were actually
impending with a view to his engagement to the daughter of a German
Royal House, all such schemes were instantly abandoned after he had
seen the beautiful Danish Princess.

Another meeting is said to have taken place in the Cathedral of Worms
during this eventful tour in 1861. The Prince, accompanied by his tutor
and equerry, had gone to examine the frescoes, and when wandering
through the beautiful old Cathedral they met Prince Christian of
Denmark and his daughter intent on the same object.

Later, after the Prince Consort’s death, during a short visit which
he paid to his cousin, the King of the Belgians, the Heir-Apparent
again met Princess Alexandra, and it is said that King Leopold had a
considerable share in arranging the preliminaries of the marriage, for
it was while the Prince and Princess were both staying at Laeken that
Queen Victoria’s formal consent to her son’s making a Danish alliance
was granted.

The formal betrothal took place on 9th September 1862, but even then
what had occurred was only known to a comparatively small circle
of friends and relations, for it was not till the eve of His Royal
Highness’s coming of age that his engagement was formally announced in
the _London Gazette_, and so made known to the whole British Empire.

The announcement roused the greatest enthusiasm, for deep as had been
the public sympathy with Her Majesty, a widowed Court could not but
cast a very real gloom, not only over society, but over all those
directly and indirectly interested in the sumptuary trades and the wide
distribution of wealth. It was universally felt that the marriage of
the Heir-Apparent would inaugurate a new era of prosperity, and scarce
a dissenting voice was raised to oppose the Grant voted by the House of
Commons for the Royal couple.

On the proposal of Lord Palmerston, it was decided that the Prince of
Wales should receive from the country an income of £40,000 a year, with
an added £10,000 a year to be specially set apart for the Princess.
And so it came to pass that the Heir-Apparent and his bride began
housekeeping with an income of somewhat over £100,000 a year, for,
owing to the Prince Consort’s foresight and good sense, out of the
savings made during his son’s long minority, Sandringham, of which the
initial cost was £220,000, had been purchased.

Unlike most Royal engagements, that of the Prince and Princess of Wales
lasted nearly six months, but active preparations for the wedding did
not begin till the official announcement had been made.

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA

_From a Photograph in the possession of the King of Denmark, taken on
1st December 1862_]

Although Princess Alexandra had visited England as a child in order to
make the acquaintance of her great-aunt, the Duchess of Cambridge, it
was at Laeken that she was presented to her future mother-in-law, Queen
Victoria, who was then paying a visit _incognito_ to King Leopold.
Later on, the young Princess, accompanied by her father, paid Queen
Victoria an informal visit at Osborne. She did not on this occasion
come to London or take part in any public function, but rumours of her
beauty and of her charm of manner had become rife, and as the wedding
day, which had been fixed for 10th March, approached, the public
interest and excitement were strung to the highest pitch. It was felt
that Denmark’s loss was Britain’s gain, and Alfred Tennyson, the Poet
Laureate, voiced most happily the universal feeling in his fine lines:

    Clash, ye bells, in the merry March air!
    Flash, ye cities, in rivers of fire!
        And welcome her, welcome the land’s desire,
                                  Alexandra.

With what feelings the event was regarded among King Edward’s near
relatives may be estimated from the following characteristically
warm-hearted references in the diary of the late Duchess of Teck, whose
mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, was the bride’s great-aunt:--

“_Brighton, November 9._--The Prince of Wales--God bless him!--attains
his majority (21) to-day. After luncheon we watched anxiously for the
expected and longed-for arrival of dear Christian, who was on his way
back to Copenhagen, having established Alix at Osborne. At half-past
three we had the happiness of welcoming him, and for upwards of three
hours sat talking over the _Verlobung_ [betrothal] of Alix and Bertie.
We had much to hear and discuss, and while fully sharing his happiness
at the marriage we could enter into his feelings at leaving Alix thus
for the first time. We dined at eight o’clock, a party of five, and
toasted our dear Prince in champagne.

“_Cambridge Cottage, November 21._--… We reached Windsor Castle about
twelve, and were shown into our old Lancaster Tower rooms, where we
were presently joined by darling Alix,--too overjoyed at the meeting to
speak!--dear Alice and Louis; after a while Alix took me to her room.…
I then returned to the others, and we went with Alice to see her rooms
in the Devil’s Tower, where Louis was being _sketched_; here the poor
dear Queen joined us and remained with us for some time. We lunched
without Her Majesty, and Beatrice came in afterwards.… Went into Alix’s
room again and played to her _en souvenir de Rumpenheim_, afterwards
accompanying her into all the state-rooms, Mama, Alice, Louis, and
Helena being also of the party. On our return Mama and I were summoned
to the Queen’s Closet, and had a nice little talk with her, ending with
tea. We were hurried off shortly before five, Alix, Alice, and the
others rushing after us to bid us good-bye.”

[Illustration: THE KING ON COMING OF AGE

_From an Engraving published by Henry Graves and Co._]

Even the humblest of His Majesty’s subjects usually finds a good
deal to do in the weeks that precede his marriage, and it will be
easily understood that the high station of the future King rather
augmented than diminished these engrossing occupations. He had to
receive and suitably acknowledge countless addresses of congratulation
from individuals, corporations, and other public bodies; he had to
superintend the extensive alterations which were still being carried
out at Marlborough House; he had to pass in review the innumerable
details of the various elaborate functions which were to mark the
occasion of his marriage; and last but not least it was considered
desirable that he should now go through the somewhat trying ceremony of
taking his seat in the House of Lords.

Nearly three-quarters of a century had elapsed since the Heir-Apparent
to the British Crown had taken the oath and his seat as a Peer of
the Realm. It was on 5th February 1863, within a few weeks of his
marriage, that King Edward went through this historic ceremony, and
it is a curious fact that the business before the House of Lords on
that occasion was an Address from the Crown to the British Parliament
announcing the Prince’s approaching marriage. It is also noteworthy
that soon after the ceremony the two chief dignitaries of the English
Church, the new Archbishops of Canterbury and York, also took the oaths
and their seats upon the Episcopal benches of the House.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Mary and a brilliant array of
Peeresses and ladies from the various foreign Embassies and Legations
were present at the ceremony, which was invested with a great deal
of pomp and solemnity. After prayers had been read by the Bishop of
Worcester, a procession emerged from the Prince’s Chamber, and advanced
slowly up the floor of the House. First came the Usher of the Black
Rod, followed immediately by the Garter King of Arms, attired in his
robes. Then came the Prince of Wales, preceded by an equerry, bearing
his coronet on an embroidered crimson cushion. His Royal Highness
was also accompanied by the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Argyll,
the Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain, and Lord Edward Howard, who
represented the infant Duke of Norfolk, Hereditary Earl Marshal.

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA IN 1863

_From the Painting by Madame Jerichau, published by Henry Graves and
Co._]

The Prince wore the scarlet and ermine robes of a Duke over the uniform
of a General. He also wore the Order of the Garter, the Order of the
Golden Fleece, and the Order of the Star of India. As he entered the
House, the Peers rose in a body, the Lord Chancellor alone remaining
seated and covered with his official hat. His Royal Highness then
advanced to the Woolsack, and placed his patent of peerage and writ of
summons in the hands of the Chancellor. The oaths were administered to
him at the table by the Clerk of Parliament, the titles under which the
Prince was sworn being those of Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester, Earl
of Carrick, Duke of Rothesay, and Lord of the Isles.

After the roll had been signed the procession moved on, and His Royal
Highness, on reaching the right-hand side of the Throne, took his seat
upon the Chair of State specially appropriated on State occasions to
the Prince of Wales. While thus seated he placed on his head the cocked
hat worn by general officers in full dress. The Prince and the other
Peers finally left the House, retiring by the entrance at the right of
the Throne in the same order as they had entered.

About an hour later His Royal Highness re-entered the House dressed
in ordinary afternoon costume, and took his seat on one of the
cross-benches, thereby formally dissociating himself from either
political party. The Prince remained almost throughout the entire
debate. When leaving he shook hands with the Earl of Derby and a number
of other Peers whom he recognised.

As is well known, the only votes which King Edward has ever given in
the House of Lords have been in favour of the Bill for legalising
marriage with a deceased wife’s sister, but he is a constant visitor
at the Houses of Parliament when anything of special interest is going
on, and there is no doubt that he takes the keenest interest in the
political questions of the day.

As regards the Deceased Wife’s Sister Bill, it is well known that the
King and the Bench of Bishops hold opposite opinions, and there is a
curious allusion to this in the _Life_ of the late Archbishop Benson.
The Archbishop went to a great garden party given by Queen Victoria in
July 1896, and thus describes it in his diary:--

“The Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace was of 4000 persons.…
The Prince, after glancing my way several times, came up, holding out
his hand _as if_ diffidently, and saying, ‘Will you shake hands with
me?’ I said, ‘Vicisti, sir.’ He said, ‘What?’ But on my saying again,
‘Vicisti,’ he laughed very heartily in his own way.” It should be
explained that the Prince and the Duke of York had just voted in the
House of Lords in favour of the Deceased Wife’s Sister Bill, the third
reading of which was passed.

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA

_From a Photograph by Mayall in 1863_]

The Danish people were extremely pleased at the marriage their
Princess was making, and so determined were they that she should not
go dowerless, that 100,000 kroner, known as “the People’s Dowry,” were
presented to her, and countless presents, many of them of the humblest
description, poured in upon her from all over the sea-girt kingdom.
By the Princess’s own wish, 3000 thalers were distributed among six
Danish brides belonging to the poorer classes during the year of Her
Royal Highness’s marriage. The fact became known, and naturally greatly
added to Her Royal Highness’s popularity, and from the day she left
Copenhagen to that on which she landed on British soil, the journey of
Prince Christian and his family, for Princess Alexandra was accompanied
by her father and mother, and brothers and sisters, was nothing short
of a triumphal progress.

The Royal _cortège_ left Denmark on 26th February, reaching Cologne on
2nd March. There the Prince of Wales’s _fiancée_ received the first
greetings of her future husband’s people, the British residents. The
whole party were also royally entertained at Brussels by the Count of
Flanders; and at Flushing they found a squadron of British men-of-war
to escort the Royal yacht _Victoria and Albert_.

On the morning of 7th March the Danish Royal Family first saw the
white cliffs of Old England, and at twenty minutes past eleven,
the Royal yacht, which had steamed slowly up the river amid craft
splendidly decorated with flags and flowers, anchored opposite the
pier at Gravesend. A moment later the Prince of Wales, accompanied by
a numerous suite, and attired in a blue frock-coat and gray trousers,
stepped on board. As His Royal Highness reached the deck Princess
Alexandra advanced to the door of the State cabin to meet him, and,
to the great delight of the assembled crowds ashore and afloat, the
Prince, walking quickly towards his bride, took her by the hand and
kissed her most affectionately.

Then followed the procession through London; every street, from the
humblest portions of the East End to the great West End thoroughfares,
was lavishly decorated, and the Prince and Princess accepted addresses
presented by the Corporation and many other London public bodies.

The Princess of Wales gave some special sittings for a medal which
was struck to commemorate her public entry into the City of London,
and it remains one of the finest examples of Wyon’s art. The reverse
represents the Princess Alexandra, led by the Prince of Wales, and
attended by Hymen, being welcomed by the City of London, who is
accompanied by Peace and Plenty, the latter carrying the diamond
necklace and earrings which the City offered to the Princess as a
wedding present. In the background is the triumphal arch erected
by the Corporation at London Bridge, where Her Royal Highness first
entered the City precincts. The medals were struck only in bronze, and
were presented to Queen Victoria, King Edward, and Queen Alexandra, all
the members of the Royal family, the Royal and distinguished guests who
were asked to the wedding, and the members of the Corporation of the
City of London.

The poor young Princess must have been glad when that long day came to
an end, for the Royal train from Paddington to Windsor did not start
till a quarter past five, and thus from early morning till late in the
afternoon the future Queen had been compelled to remain the cynosure
of all eyes. It is an interesting fact that the engine which took the
Princess to Windsor was driven by the Earl of Caithness, then the best
known amateur locomotive engineer of the day.

As may easily be imagined, the Royal borough was determined not to be
outdone by London in the matter of a bridal welcome. The Eton boys
presented an address signed by the whole 800; and then came the arrival
at the Castle, where Queen Victoria, surrounded by all her children and
a large number of Royal visitors, received her future daughter-in-law.
Then followed two days of almost complete rest for the Princess.

King Edward, in addition to the multifarious duties which beset even
humble individuals when they are about to enter the holy estate, was
also compelled to hold his first _levée_ within a few days of his
wedding. Over a thousand gentlemen had the honour of being presented to
him, the presentations, by Queen Victoria’s pleasure, being considered
as equal to presentations to Her Majesty. The _levée_, which was held
in St. James’s Palace, was also attended by about seventeen hundred of
the nobility and gentry, all anxious to do honour to the Heir-Apparent,
who was, it need hardly be added, attended by a brilliant Court.

The Prince and the British Royal Family had not been idle during the
period of the engagement. His Royal Highness himself ordered and
examined the designs for all the gifts about to be presented by him
to his bride, and to her family whom he specially wished to honour.
His first present to her, the engagement ring, has since served as
keeper for the Princess’s wedding ring. It is a very beautiful example
of the jeweller’s art, being set with six precious stones--a beryl,
an emerald, a ruby, a turquoise, a jacinth, and a second emerald, the
initials of the six gems spelling the Prince’s family name, “Bertie.”
His Royal Highness’s gifts also included a complete set of diamonds and
pearls, comprising diadem, necklace, stomacher, and bracelet; also a
very beautiful waist-clasp, formed of two large turquoises inlaid with
Arabic characters, and mounted in gold.

Queen Victoria presented her daughter-in-law with a set of opals and
diamonds exactly similar in form to that designed for Princess Alice by
the Prince Consort. Her Majesty also gave the Prince a centre-piece,
which was presented to him in the name of the Prince Consort and of
herself. This fine piece of work had been designed by the Prince
Consort as a gift to his son. It has a group at the base showing Edward
I. presenting his heir to the Welsh chieftains, and round the base are
portraits of six Princes of Wales. Queen Victoria, whose thoughtful
care was shown in this as in many other matters, gave the Prince and
his bride a great deal of valuable plate as well.

The London jewellers had certainly cause for rejoicing over the Royal
marriage, for the Prince, not content with presenting his bride-elect
with a number of other very costly gifts, also showered gems on all
his own and her relations. Neither were his friends forgotten. He
ordered twenty breast-pins, heart-shaped, encircled by brilliants,
with the initials of himself and the Princess traced in rubies,
diamonds, and emeralds occupying the centre of each heart. These were
distributed to his brothers and to a number of his intimates. To his
future mother-in-law, Princess Christian of Denmark, the Prince gave a
beautiful bracelet, containing a miniature of himself; also a diamond,
ruby, and emerald brooch, inscribed with the date of the marriage,
and containing miniature portraits of himself and the Princess. An
exactly similar jewel was presented by Princess Alexandra to the Queen.

[Illustration: THE MARRIAGE OF THE KING AND QUEEN

_From a Painting by W. P. Frith, R.A. published by Henry Graves and
Co._]

In order efficiently to conduct the Royal wedding in St. George’s
Chapel at Windsor, it became necessary to build proper apartments for
the accommodation of the bride and bridegroom on their arrival, and for
the Lord Chamberlain to marshal the processions without any danger of
a hitch. With this object the Board of Works built an immense Gothic
hall, opening out of the west door of the Chapel, and surrounded by
apartments appropriated to the use of the Royal Family. Facing the
Chapel, the two rooms upon the right were assigned to the bridegroom,
and those on the left to the bride.

The marriage of King Edward and Queen Alexandra was the first Royal
marriage which had been celebrated in St. George’s Chapel since that
of Henry I. in 1122. The day was kept as a public holiday throughout
the country, and the attention of the whole kingdom was concentrated
on Windsor. The ceremony took place on 10th March 1863, at 12 o’clock.
The total number of persons admitted to the Chapel did not exceed 900
ladies and gentlemen, exclusive of the Guards and of the attendants on
duty.

The scene will never be forgotten by those who had the privilege
of being present. It was an extraordinarily magnificent pageant,
heralds and trumpeters in coats of cloth of gold adding greatly to the
brilliancy and pomp.

Queen Victoria surveyed the scene from the Royal closet, which, placed
on the north side of the Communion Table, is really a small room in
the body of the Castle with a window opening into the Chapel. Her
Majesty was clad in deep black, even to her gloves, and she wore a
close-fitting widow’s cap, but in deference to the occasion she had
consented to put on the broad blue riband of the Order of the Garter
with the glittering star, and this was specially noticed by the few
persons who, from the body of the Chapel, caught a glimpse of their
beloved Sovereign.

The bridegroom, as in duty bound, arrived some time before the bride.
He was supported by his uncle, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and
his brother-in-law, the Crown Prince of Prussia, and wore the uniform
of a British General, the Collar of the Garter, the Order of the Star
of India, and the rich flowing purple velvet mantle of a Knight of the
Garter. His supporters also wore the robes of the Garter, and the three
were naturally the centre of interest till the arrival of the bride,
who came in upon the stroke of half-past twelve.

[Illustration: A CONTEMPORARY DESIGN FOR THE ROYAL WEDDING]

Princess Alexandra, who was given away by her father, wore, according
to the notions of that day, a very beautiful and splendid wedding
dress. It consisted of a white satin skirt, trimmed with garlands of
orange blossom and puffings of tulle and Honiton lace, the bodice being
draped with the same lace, while the train of silver moire antique
was covered with nosegays of orange blossom and puffings of tulle. In
addition to the necklace, earrings, and brooch presented to Her Royal
Highness by the bridegroom, she wore the _rivière_ of diamonds given
by the Corporation of London, and three bracelets, presented to her
respectively by Queen Victoria, the ladies of Leeds, and the ladies of
Manchester. On her beautiful hair, which was very simply dressed, lay a
wreath of orange blossoms covered by a veil of Honiton lace.

The bridal bouquet was composed of orange blossoms, white rosebuds,
orchids, and sprigs of myrtle, the latter being taken from the same
bush as that from which the myrtle used in the Princess Royal’s bridal
bouquet was cut.

As the Princess moved slowly up the Chapel her train was carried by
eight bridesmaids, Lady Victoria Scott, Lady Victoria Howard, Lady
Agneta Yorke, Lady Feodora Wellesley, Lady Diana Beauclerk, Lady
Georgina Hamilton, Lady Alma Bruce, and Lady Helena Hare. They each
wore dresses of white tulle over white glacé silk, trimmed with blush
roses, shamrocks, and white heather, with wreaths to correspond, and
each also wore a locket presented to her by the Prince of Wales,
composed of coral and diamonds, signifying the red and white which
are the colours of Denmark, while in the centre of each was a crystal
cipher forming the letters “A. E. A.” twined together in a monogram
designed by Princess Alice.

It is an interesting fact that all these ladies are still living, or
were until quite lately, and many of them became Queen Alexandra’s
personal friends. Even now Her Majesty occasionally wears the splendid
diamond and enamelled bracelet, made in eight compartments, each
containing a miniature of one of the Royal bridesmaids, which was their
gift to her on the occasion of the marriage.

The ceremony itself did not last very long. The Prince is recorded to
have answered his “I will” right manfully, but the Princess’s answers
were almost inaudible. As soon as the Prince of Wales and the Princess
Alexandra were man and wife, they turned to the congregation hand in
hand, bowing low to the Queen, who, in returning the salutation, made a
gesture of blessing rather than of ceremonious acknowledgment.

The late Bishop Wilberforce thus describes the scene in the Chapel:--

“The wedding was certainly the most moving sight I ever saw. The Queen,
above all, looking down, added such a wonderful chord of feeling to all
the lighter notes of joyfulness and show. Every one behaved quite at
their best. The Princess of Wales, calm, feeling, self-possessed; the
Prince with more depth of manner than ever before.”

Dr. Norman Macleod wrote:--

“I returned home and went back to the marriage on the 10th of March.…
I got behind Kingsley, Stanley, Birch, and in a famous place, being in
front of the Royal pair. We saw better than any except the clergy. It
was a gorgeous sight, yet somehow did not excite me. I suppose I am
past this.

“Two things struck me much. One was the whole of the Royal Princesses
weeping, though concealing their tears with their bouquets, as they
saw their brother, who was to them but their ‘Bertie,’ and their dead
father’s son, standing alone waiting for his bride. The other was
the Queen’s expression as she raised her eyes to Heaven, while her
husband’s Chorale was sung. She seemed to be with him alone before the
throne of God.”

Mr. W. P. Frith, who had been commissioned to execute a painting of
the Royal marriage for Queen Victoria, was accommodated with a special
corner for himself and his sketch-book, and later, all those who had
taken part in the historic pageant sat to him for portraits with the
most excellent result.

On their return to the Castle a few moments later the bride and
bridegroom were met by Queen Victoria and conducted to the Green
Drawing-Room, where the formal attestation of the marriage took place.

[Illustration: ON THE WEDDING DAY

_From a Photograph by Mayall_]

It may be added that among those present at the marriage and afterwards
at the wedding breakfast were the Rev. H. M. Birch and the Rev. C. F.
Tarver, the Prince’s tutors, and when lunch was over these gentlemen
were informed that their old pupil sent them a souvenir of himself, of
which he desired their acceptance. This souvenir proved to be in each
case a copy of the Holy Scriptures, handsomely bound, and containing an
inscription in His Royal Highness’s own handwriting.

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA AT THE TIME OF HER MARRIAGE

_From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins_]

The wedding breakfast, which was served in St. George’s Hall, was very
sumptuous, but out of respect to the Queen’s recent bereavement there
were not many speeches--a circumstance which probably did not greatly
disappoint either the bride or the bridegroom. While the marriage was
actually in progress the King of Denmark was entertaining both the
rich and poor in his kingdom right royally, and it must have been a
pleasant thought for the Princess to know that her marriage was filling
with gladness innumerable multitudes both of her own people and of her
husband’s future subjects.

At four o’clock the Prince and Princess took their departure for
Osborne, where a very short honeymoon was spent. On their return home,
which in this case meant Windsor, it was noticed that the lovely bride
looked the very picture of happiness. The streets of Windsor were
decorated with flags, and the Royal borough looked as gay as it did on
the wedding day.

After the marriage the Liturgy of the Church of England was officially
altered by the introduction of the name of the Princess of Wales
into the Prayer for the Royal Family. The Scottish Church was also
officially instructed to pray for “Her Most Sacred Majesty Queen
Victoria, Albert Edward Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, and all
the Royal Family.”



CHAPTER VIII

EARLY MARRIED LIFE


At the outset of their married life King Edward and Queen Alexandra
were called upon to perform the public duties of the Sovereign, which,
since the Prince Consort’s death, had in some measure necessarily
developed upon the Duke of Cambridge and his family. The late Duchess
of Teck’s biographer records that Society did its utmost to give the
beautiful young bride a right royal welcome. A memorable event of
the London season was the Guards’ ball in honour of the Prince and
Princess of Wales, held in the picture galleries of the International
Exhibition. The decorations were unusually magnificent, and Queen
Victoria graciously lent some splendid plate from Buckingham Palace.
Many members of the aristocracy, too, placed at the disposal of the
Duke of Cambridge, as head of the Committee, their collections of gold
and silver plate, the contributions being valued at £2,000,000. The
guests, limited in number to 1400, began to arrive at nine o’clock, and
soon after ten the ball was opened by a royal quadrille, in which eight
couples took part, the Duke of Cambridge dancing with the Princess of
Wales, and the Prince of Wales with Princess Mary (afterwards Duchess
of Teck). The Prince and Princess of Wales showed their appreciation of
the entertainment which their soldier hosts had provided by remaining
almost till dawn.

One of the first public appearances made by King Edward after his
marriage was at the Royal Academy dinner, where he made an excellent
short speech, greatly impressing those who were present by his modesty
and good sense. Sir Charles Eastlake was then President of the Royal
Academy, and Lady Eastlake gives this amusing account of the affair in
her reminiscences:--

“All went perfectly well at the Royal Academy dinner. My husband was
quite enchanted with the Prince of Wales, and with his natural manners
and simplicity. The Prince hesitated in the middle of his speech, so
that everybody thought it was all up with him; but he persisted in
thinking till he recovered the thread, and then went on well. The very
manner in which he did this was natural and graceful. He was so moved
when mentioning his father that it was feared he would break down.
After the speech the Prince turned to my husband and told him he was
quite provoked with himself. ‘I knew it quite by heart in the morning’;
but he evidently had no vanity, for he laughed at his own ‘stupidity,’
and immediately recovered his spirits. ‘Hesse’ was next the Prince, who
chaffed him from time to time, and told him he would have to sing a
song.”

William Makepeace Thackeray was among the other speakers at the Academy
dinner, which was very shortly before the famous novelist’s lamented
death. At the anniversary of the Royal Literary Fund some months later
King Edward made some graceful and appropriate allusions to the great
writer whom the Empire had lost. He spoke with evident feeling of the
fact that Thackeray had been the life of the Fund, always ready to open
his purse for the relief of literary men struggling with pecuniary
difficulties.

This spring was a very busy time for both King Edward and Queen
Alexandra. On 8th June they were sumptuously entertained by the
Lord Mayor at the Guildhall, when the Prince took up the freedom of
the City, to which he was entitled by patrimony. The entertainments
included a great ball, which the Princess opened, dancing a quadrille
with the Lord Mayor, while the Prince had the Lady Mayoress for his
partner.

A week later the Royal couple attended “Commem.” at Oxford. They
received a splendid welcome both from the University authorities and
the undergraduates. The honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law was
conferred on King Edward in the Sheldonian Theatre, where the wildest
uproar prevailed, till amid a sudden lull of perfect silence Queen
Alexandra entered with Dr. Liddell, the then Dean of Christ Church.
Scarcely had she traversed half the distance to her seat when a cheer
loud and deep arose, and seemed to shake the theatre to its foundation,
to the evident gratification of her Royal husband.

After the ceremony was over their Royal Highnesses escaped from all
their friends and entertainers and took the opportunity of going over
what had been the Prince’s rooms as an undergraduate. That same evening
a ball was given in the Prince’s honour in the Corn Exchange by the
Apollo Lodge of Freemasons.

Shortly after their visit to Oxford the Prince and Princess celebrated
their house-warming at Marlborough House by an evening party and a
ball. During the summer months they spent some time at Sandringham in
the original house, which at that time stood in an isolated park, and
which was afterwards pulled down and superseded by the present very
much larger and more comfortable mansion. There can be no doubt that
Queen Alexandra’s strong affection for her country home is based on the
tender recollections of her early married life. It is a significant
fact that when the new Sandringham House was built, she begged that
her boudoir in the new mansion might be arranged so as to be an exact
reproduction of her boudoir in the old house.

Among the very first visitors entertained at Sandringham by the Royal
bride and bridegroom was Dr. Stanley, who spent Easter Sunday with them
there.

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA IN 1863

_From the Painting by Lauchert, published by Colnaghi_]

“On the evening of Easter Eve,” he writes, “the Princess came to
me in a corner of the drawing-room with her Prayer Book, and I went
through the Communion Service with her, explaining the peculiarities
and the likenesses and differences to and from the Danish Service.
She was most simple and fascinating.… My visit to Sandringham gave me
intense pleasure. I was there for three days. I read the whole Service,
preached, then gave the first English Sacrament to this ‘angel in the
Palace.’ I saw a great deal of her, and can truly say that she is as
charming and beautiful a creature as ever passed through a fairy tale.”

Much satisfaction was felt by the nation when the interesting fact
became known that Queen Victoria hoped to welcome the first of her
British grandchildren in the month of March. One Friday evening, early
in January, shortly after Queen Alexandra, who was staying, had been
skating on Virginia Water, near Windsor, her eldest child appeared
so unexpectedly that for a while the Royal baby had to be wrapped in
cotton wool, for all the beautiful layette which was in course of
preparation was at Marlborough House.

The rejoicings over the event, both in this country and in Denmark,
were naturally very great, more especially when it became known that
the Royal infant was none the worse for his early arrival. Among
the two Royal families most immediately concerned the interest and
excitement were intense. Princess Alice wrote to Queen Victoria on
9th January 1864, “I was aghast on receiving Bertie’s telegram this
morning announcing the birth of their little son.” But this feeling
of trepidation quickly gave place to one of relief when the bulletins
announced the steady progress of both mother and babe, and soon the
British public saw many charming photographs and portraits of Queen
Alexandra in her new _rôle_ of mother. At the time of the birth of
the Duke of Clarence Queen Alexandra was not yet twenty, but, like
Queen Victoria, she seems to have been wholly absorbed in her maternal
duties, and at any moment she would joyfully give up attending a State
function or ball in order to spend an hour in her nursery.

It need hardly be said that the first portion of the Prince and
Princess’s married life was overshadowed by the war between Denmark
and Prussia. The young Princess was naturally strongly patriotic in
her sympathies. At breakfast one morning a foolish equerry read out
a telegram which announced a success of the Austro-Prussian forces,
whereupon Her Royal Highness burst into tears, and the Prince, it is
said, thoroughly lost his temper for once, and rated his equerry as
soundly as his ancestor, King Henry VIII., might have done. An amusing
story went the round of the clubs about this time. It was said that a
Royal visitor at Windsor asked Princess Beatrice what she would like
for a present. The child stood in doubt, and begged the Princess of
Wales to advise her. The result of a whispered conversation between the
two was that the little Princess declared aloud that she would like to
have Bismarck’s head on a charger!

In July 1864 the Prince laid the foundation-stone of the new West
Wing of the London Hospital. He was accompanied by the Princess. This
was one of the first occasions on which King Edward showed his great
interest in hospital management. The fact that there was a separate
ward for the Jews aroused his keen interest. In the same month King
Edward and his Consort went to the Fourth of June at Eton, and also
stayed at Goodwood for the races. In the middle of August they went to
the Highlands, visiting Stirling Castle on the way. They spent some
weeks at Abergeldie, entertaining a great deal. Dr. Norman Macleod
stayed with them there. It was during this stay in Scotland that the
Prince and Princess first became intimate with the family of their
future son-in-law, and the Countess of Fife, his mother, gave a great
picnic in their honour.

That autumn they went from Dundee to Denmark, being accompanied by
their baby, now nearly a year old. This was King Edward’s first visit
to his wife’s home. They received a most enthusiastic welcome, and
were splendidly entertained. At Bernsdorf, where the Royal party spent
several days, a number of shooting parties were organised in honour of
the Prince, who, certainly for the first time in his life, was invited
to shoot foxes. He bagged two, and some of the teeth of the animals
were set as breast-pins for him.

From Elsinore the Prince and Princess went in their yacht to Stockholm
in order to pay a visit to the King and Queen of Sweden. In Sweden also
the Prince was invited to take part in several hunting expeditions. One
odd bag resulted in ten foxes, six hares, and seventeen stags.

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA IN 1864

_From the Painting by Lauchert, published by Henry Graves and Co._]

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA WITH THE BABY PRINCE ALBERT VICTOR

_Photograph in 1864 by Vernon Heath, published by McQueen_]

After sending Prince Albert Victor home with Countess de Grey, the
Royal couple travelled back _via_ Germany and Belgium, visiting on the
way Prince and Princess Louis of Hesse at Darmstadt, and making a short
stay at Brussels. Then they came home for the rest of the autumn to
Sandringham, where Queen Alexandra spent her twentieth birthday.

The year 1865 proved an eventful one to both King Edward and his
wife. King Edward paid his first State visit to Ireland, opening the
International Exhibition of Dublin on 9th May, and a little less than a
month later Prince George of Wales was born at Marlborough House.

Although there have at various times been more or less serious fires
in Royal residences, Sandringham, for instance, having been almost
destroyed by a conflagration within the last few years, the King has
only once been really in a fire, and this was just a month after his
second son’s birth. The fire began in the floor then styled the nursery
floor, and after Queen Alexandra had been moved to another part of the
house with her two children, King Edward set to work with the utmost
energy to check the flames. It need hardly be said that very soon the
whole of London seemed to be congregated in Pall Mall and St. James’s
Park. At first it could not be made out where the fire was coming from,
and the King helped to rip up the whole of the nursery floor before
the mischief could be traced, and while doing so he nearly had a bad
accident, for he fell some distance through the rafters.

At last, however, the fire was got under, and it was found that
comparatively little harm had been done. Then for the first time it
occurred to some one to ask if Marlborough House was insured. Strangely
enough this very important precaution had not been taken. Now, however,
both Marlborough House and Sandringham are insured to their full value.

King Edward from childhood has always shown the keenest interest
in firemen and fires. During many years of his life he used to be
informed whenever a really big blaze was signalled, and he has attended
_incognito_ most of the great London fires during the last thirty years.

[Illustration: KING EDWARD, QUEEN ALEXANDRA, AND PRINCE ALBERT VICTOR

_Photograph in 1864 by Vernon Heath, published by McQueen_]

About this time the King visited the gigantic steamship _Great
Eastern_, off Sheerness, in order to see the Atlantic telegraph cable,
which had just been completed. He was received by a number of prominent
engineers, and while he was present the last section of the cable was
being wound into the tanks on board the _Great Eastern_ from the vessel
alongside which had brought it from the works at Greenwich. A message
was sent through one of the coils, the length of which was equivalent
to the distance from Sheerness to Valentia. The signals transmitted,
“God Save the Queen,” were received at the other end of the coil in
the course of a few seconds, a fact which, commonplace as it may now
seem, struck the onlookers in the year 1865 with amazement. The King
visited every portion of the huge ship, and accepted specimen pieces of
portions of the cable in various stages of manufacture.

In that same year, that is two years after her marriage, Queen
Alexandra performed her first public act by opening the Cambridge
School of Art. It was in 1865 also that the King attended his first
public dinner as President of the Royal Literary Fund, and on this
occasion he toasted the ladies in the following graceful words:--“In
the presence of a society accustomed to cultivating with such success
the flowers of literature, it would be unpardonable to forget the
flowers of society.”

During that summer the Prince and Princess visited Cornwall, and went
down the Botallack tin mine, near St. Just, the depth of which is about
200 fathoms. The bottom level of the mine extends horizontally about
half a mile beneath the sea. A part of this mine then belonged to the
Prince as Duke of Cornwall. During the same tour he visited Land’s End.
The day was exceptionally clear and fine, and the Prince lingered for
some time among the grim rocks which form the western-most point of
England.

All this time Queen Victoria was living in the strictest retirement,
and the great shadow of the Prince Consort’s death had thrown scarcely
less gloom over the life of his eldest son. King Edward mourned deeply
for his father, and it is significant that he never lost an opportunity
of testifying in his public speeches to the high purpose and noble
aims which had distinguished Prince Albert’s life. To the cost of the
mausoleum at Frogmore the King contributed from his private purse no
less a sum than £10,000. At the end of 1865 he sustained another severe
blow in the death of Lord Palmerston, whom he had honoured with his
special friendship, and whom he had been accustomed to consult in his
private affairs.

Not till February 1866 did Queen Victoria consent to open Parliament
again in person. She was accompanied by the Prince of Wales and two of
her daughters, the Princess of Wales being accommodated with a seat on
the Woolsack facing the Throne.

[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA WITH PRINCE ALBERT VICTOR

_Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde_]

It was in this year, when the Austro-German war was going on, that
King Edward established special telegraphic communication between
Marlborough House and the seat of war. Like his lamented mother, he
is a shrewd observer of foreign politics, and now that he is called
upon to reign, he will be, as she was, the greatest help to the
Foreign Minister of the day. He has since kept up in every important
war the practice of securing the earliest possible telegraphic
information, notably in the Franco-Prussian, the Russo-Turkish, and the
Greco-Turkish wars, but most of all in the Boer war.

In the summer of 1866 the King laid the foundation-stone of the new
building of the British and Foreign Bible Society, when he was received
by the venerable Earl of Shaftesbury, President of the Society, the
Lord Mayor, the Archbishop of York, and the Bishop of Winchester.

In his speech the King recalled the fact that only sixty-three years
previously Mr. Wilberforce had met with a few friends in a small room
in a dingy counting-house and had established the Bible Society, while
in the interval the Society had already spent six millions of money
in the furtherance of its objects, and that it had contributed to
the translation of the Bible into two hundred and eighty different
languages and dialects. The King further said:--

“I have an hereditary claim to be here on this occasion. My
grandfather, the Duke of Kent, warmly advocated the claims of the
Society, and it is gratifying to me to reflect that the two modern
versions of the Scriptures more widely circulated than any others--the
German and English--were both in their origin connected with my family.
The translation of Martin Luther was executed under the protection
of the Elector of Saxony, the collateral ancestor of my lamented
father; whilst that of William Tyndale--the foundation of the present
Authorised English Version--was introduced with the sanction of the
Royal predecessor of my mother, the Queen who first desired that ‘the
Bible shall have free course through all Christendom, but especially in
my own realm.’ It is my hope and trust that, under the Divine guidance,
the wider diffusion and a deeper study of the Scriptures will, in this
as in every age, be at once the surest guarantee of the progress and
liberty of mind, and the means of multiplying in the present form the
consolations of our holy religion.”

In the autumn following, King Edward and Queen Alexandra, accompanied
by their two sons, visited the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland at
Dunrobin. At that time the most northern point of railway communication
was at Ardgay, and thence the King and Queen had to drive a distance of
twenty-five miles before they could reach Dunrobin Castle. All along
the route they received a most enthusiastic welcome. They arrived at
night at the Castle, and were received in Royal Highland style. Among
those asked to meet them were the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of
Saxe-Weimar, and many members of the leading Scotch nobility. The King
reviewed the Sutherland Volunteers in the grounds of the Castle, and
later, on the same day, the Duke of Sutherland announced that it was
the wish of the King that the whole of the corps should adopt the kilt
as their uniform, His Majesty having a preference for the national
costume.

Shortly after their return from Scotland the King and Queen had the
pleasure of entertaining the Queen of Denmark and her two younger
children, and they spent some time at Sandringham with Queen
Alexandra, while the King went to Russia in order to be present at
the marriage of his sister-in-law, Princess Dagmar, to the then
Cesarewitch. It was quite late in the year, and it was considered that
the cold in St. Petersburg would be too severe for Queen Alexandra to
accompany her husband. The King, who attended the Imperial marriage
in his official capacity, was accompanied by a considerable suite,
including Lord Frederick Paulet, Viscount Hamilton, the Marquis of
Blandford, and Major Teesdale. On his arrival at St. Petersburg he was
met at the railway terminus by the Emperor of Russia, the Cesarewitch,
and the Grand Dukes; and he was given splendid quarters at the
Hermitage Palace.

King Edward has always been known to have a great liking for Russia and
the Russian people, and he is himself very popular in St. Petersburg.
After the Imperial marriage he visited Moscow, being accompanied by
the Crown Prince of Denmark. The Princes went over the Kremlin, and
the King paid a call on the Metropolitan Archbishop, the highest
dignitary of the Russian Church. The aged ecclesiastic received him in
a perfectly plain cell. They conversed for a quarter of an hour, and as
the King took his leave, the Metropolitan gave him his blessing, and
with the assistance of his monks accompanied his Royal visitor to the
door.

The year 1867 was, if not very eventful, an anxious one, for both
before and after the birth of Princess Louise, now the Duchess of
Fife, on 20th February, Queen Alexandra suffered from acute rheumatism
and inflammation of a knee-joint. Her illness caused so much anxiety
at the Danish Court that her father and mother came over and spent
some time in London. King Edward was most devoted in his attentions
to the invalid, and actually had his bureau moved into her sick-room
in order that he might not be separated from her in her convalescence
even by the imperious demands of his enormous correspondence. Happily
Queen Alexandra grew quite strong again, but the serious nature of her
illness may be judged from the fact that she was not able to drive out
until 9th July. Naturally for the rest of that year the King and Queen
lived very quietly and went about as little as possible.

Five years after their marriage the King and Queen paid a visit to
Ireland, and their reception was marked by a very genuine demonstration
of cordiality and even of enthusiasm. On arriving in Kingstown Harbour
Queen Alexandra was presented, as Queen Victoria had been in 1849,
with a white dove, emblematic of the affection and goodwill which she
was supposed to be bringing to the distressful country. King Edward,
with his usual tact, declared it to be his wish that no troops should
be present in the streets of Dublin. Entire reliance was accordingly
placed on the loyalty and hospitable spirit of the people, and, in
spite of many doleful prognostications to the contrary, the Royal visit
was successful from every point of view.

It has often been asserted that King Edward is fonder of the Emerald
Isle than is any other member of his family; he certainly numbers
several Irishmen among his closest friends. Although he thoroughly
enjoyed his visit, this one week in 1868 was one of the most tiring
ever spent by the King. Like his younger son, twenty-nine years later,
the King was installed with great pomp as a Knight of the Order of St.
Patrick, on which occasion he used the sword worn by King George IV.
The King also unveiled with much ceremony a statue of Edmund Burke.
The _Times_ described the exertions entailed by the Royal visit in the
following vivid passage:--

“There were presentations and receptions, and receiving and answering
addresses, processions, walking, riding and driving, in morning and
evening, military, academic, and medieval attire. The Prince had to
breakfast, lunch, dine, and sup, with more or less publicity, every
twenty-four hours. He had to go twice to races, with fifty or a hundred
thousand people about him; to review a small army and make a tour in
the Wicklow mountains, of course everywhere receiving addresses under
canopies and dining in State under galleries full of spectators. He
visited and inspected institutions, colleges, universities, academies,
libraries, and cattle shows. He had to take a very active part in
assemblies of from several hundred to several thousand dancers, and
always to select for his partners the most important personages.… He
had to listen to many speeches sufficiently to know when and what to
answer. He had to examine with respectful interest, pictures, books,
antiquities, relics, manuscripts, specimens, bones, fossils, prize
beasts, and works of Irish art. He had never to be unequal to the
occasion, however different from the last, or however like the last,
and whatever his disadvantage as to the novelty or dulness of the
matter and the scene.”

[Illustration: KING EDWARD AT THE AGE OF TWENTY-THREE

_From a Painting by Weigall, published by Henry Graves and Co._]

Some amusing incidents happened. A loyal Irish girl, determined to
have a good look at her future King and Queen, defied all rails and
barriers, and, mounted on horseback, dashed through the crowd of
sightseers and galloped past the Royal visitors, exclaiming, “Oh, thank
you all, I have seen them and shall go home happy now.” King Edward,
with a smile, raised his hat, which was certainly the most sensible
thing he could have done in the circumstances.

The King has always shown great interest in Ireland and Irish matters,
so much so that it has been more than once whispered that he is a Home
Ruler. He gave his warm support and help to a fund for the relief of
distress in Ireland, and more recently, during the annual Show of the
Royal Agricultural Society, he took the opportunity to receive and
entertain at Sandringham no fewer than three hundred and fifty Irish
tenant-farmers.

On their way back from Dublin the Prince and Princess of Wales visited
North Wales, and on landing at Holyhead they passed along the pier
through a double line of aged Welshwomen, who were all wearing the tall
hat and national dress of the Principality. At Carnarvon the Prince
inaugurated some new waterworks, and after this ceremony the Royal
party proceeded to the famous castle, where they were presented with an
address from the Council of the National Eisteddfod. The Prince replied
in a neat little speech, in which he observed that he and the Princess
received the address with peculiar satisfaction on the anniversary of
the birth, on 25th April 1284, and in the very birthplace, of the first
Prince of Wales, “Edward of Carnarvon,” the son of Edward I.

King Edward’s fourth child, the Princess Victoria, was born on 6th
July, and after a quiet summer spent at Sandringham the King and Queen,
attended by a small suite, left Marlborough House in November for a
long Continental tour, which extended over some months and enabled them
to renew old ties and make new friendships. They spent a few days
in Paris, and paid a visit to the Emperor and Empress of the French
at Compiègne, where, during a stag hunt organised in honour of King
Edward, an accident happened which might easily have cost him his life.
As he was galloping along one of the grassy drives of the forest, a
stag rushed from one of the cross-paths and knocked him and his horse
completely over. Fortunately he was not hurt, though much bruised and
shaken. Without alarming those about him, he again mounted and went on
hunting to the end of the day. At this house-party the King and Queen
had as fellow-guests Marshal Bazaine, Count von Moltke, and a number of
other notable people destined to make history.

[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA, QUEEN ALEXANDRA, AND PRINCESS CHRISTIAN

_Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde_]

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA ABOUT THE YEAR 1865

_From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins_]

Queen Alexandra’s birthday, 1st December, was spent in Denmark. After
a short stay there the travellers went to Berlin, where a large family
party was assembled to meet them, and on 18th January, which is,
curiously enough, one of the only two days of the year in which it
can be held, a Chapter of the Order of the Black Eagle was convened,
and King Edward was formally invested with the insignia of this, the
highest Order in Germany, by the King of Prussia, to whom he was
introduced by his brother-in-law, the Crown Prince, and by Prince
Albert of Prussia.

Then followed an interesting sojourn in Vienna, where the Royal party
were splendidly entertained by the Emperor and Empress of Austria, a
suite of apartments in the Burg having been specially prepared for them.

These Continental visits, however, were all preliminary to a prolonged
tour in Egypt and the Mediterranean, which must be described in a
separate chapter.



CHAPTER IX

THEIR MAJESTIES’ TOUR IN EGYPT AND THE MEDITERRANEAN


Of this tour Queen Alexandra’s Bedchamber Woman, the Hon. Mrs. Grey,
wrote a charming record, which her brother-in-law, General Grey,
persuaded her to give to the world. It should be mentioned that Mrs.
Grey was a Swedish lady, the daughter of Count Stedingk. Her first
husband, the Hon. William George Grey, eighth son of the famous Earl
Grey who was Prime Minister in the reign of William IV., had been dead
some years before this tour began. She afterwards married _en secondes
noces_ the Duke of Otranto, but it will be more convenient to speak of
her here as Mrs. Grey.

Mrs. Grey begins by giving an outline of her plans for the summer of
1868, and then goes on:--

“These plans were, however, all upset by a letter from the Princess,
in which she told me that she wished me to accompany her on the tour
she projected with the Prince of Wales to the East, and to join her
at Copenhagen in the beginning of January; and that in the meantime I
might remain quietly--which she knew would be a pleasure to me--with my
father and mother in Sweden. This was too tempting an offer not to be
eagerly embraced.”

Mrs. Grey went to Copenhagen, and there writes in her journal at the
beginning of 1869 the following sketch of the tour:--

“_January 12._--Soon after breakfast I went to see my dear Princess,
and to hear something of the proposed plans. I found her, as usual,
most kind and affectionate, but very sorry that the few weeks she had
been able to spend with her father and mother had come to an end. Her
visit seemed to have been a great happiness to her. It is now arranged
that we shall set out for our long journey on the 15th, and that while
I accompany Her Royal Highness as her lady-in-waiting, Lady Carmarthen
and Colonel Keppel, who accompanied the Prince and Princess from
England in November, shall part from us at Hamburg, and, with Sir W.
Knollys, take the Royal children home. The plan is for us to pass by
Berlin and Vienna, and embark on board the _Ariadne_ frigate, fitted as
a yacht, at Trieste; sail from thence to Alexandria; and, after going
up the Nile as far as the Second Cataract, to visit Constantinople, the
Crimea, and Greece, before returning home somewhere about the beginning
of May. Such is the plan made out for us, but it is, of course, open
to many changes, as the political state of things between Greece and
Turkey at the present moment may, after all, very possibly upset the
latter part of the journey; and in that case we shall return home
through Italy.”

King Edward and Queen Alexandra were joined at Trieste by Prince Louis
of Battenberg, the Duke of Sutherland, Dr. (afterwards Sir) W. H.
Russell, and other friends, together with their suite. There the Royal
party embarked on board H.M.S. _Ariadne_, which had been specially
fitted up for their reception. Of the accommodation in this vessel Mrs.
Grey gives an attractive account:--

“The _Ariadne_, in reality a man-of-war, but for this occasion fitted
up as a yacht, is most comfortable. The Prince and Princess have two
large sleeping cabins, besides a large cabin for a sitting-room,
and another for a dining-room. I have a charming cabin also, with a
bath-room outside, and my maid next door to me. In short, I think we
were all much pleased with the accommodation and arrangement of what is
to be our _home_, while at sea, for the next four months.”

The travellers reached Alexandria on 3rd February 1869, and were met
by the usual loyal greetings, addresses, and bouquets presented by the
British residents. The party then went on to Cairo, where they were
received by the Viceroy of Egypt and his ministers. Here the King and
Queen were assigned a palace, which Mrs. Grey thus describes:--

“The Palace of Esbekieh is beautiful, full of French luxury, but
without the real comfort of an English house. The Prince and Princess
have an immense bedroom, full of rich French furniture. The beds are
very beautiful, made of massive silver, and cost, I believe, £3000
each! My room is so large that even when the candles are lit, there
might be somebody sitting at the other end of it without your knowing
it. You could not even hear people speaking from one end to the other!
It is as high as it is long, with nine large windows. There is a
beautiful silver bed, a large divan (rather high and hard for comfort)
round half of the room, a common writing-table and washhand-stand
(put in all the rooms at the request of Sir S. Baker), a large sofa,
and quantities of very smart chairs round the walls. The curtains and
covers of the furniture are all made of the richest silk. Add to all
this, one immense looking-glass, and you have the whole furniture of
my room, which is more like a State drawing-room at Windsor than a
bedroom. All the other rooms are furnished in the same way.”

Queen Alexandra and Mrs. Grey had an absolutely novel experience on 5th
February, namely an invitation to dinner at the Harem of “La Grande
Princesse,” the Viceroy’s mother.

The Queen, her lady-in-waiting, and two English ladies were received
at the door of the Palace by la Grande Princesse, the second and third
wife of the Viceroy (the first and fourth were not well), his eldest
son, and two eldest daughters. La Grande Princesse took Queen Alexandra
by the hand, while one of the wives handed Mrs. Grey, another Mrs.
Stanton (wife of the British Consul), and one of the daughters Miss
M’Lean; and so the party went in procession to an immense drawing-room,
the whole way thither being lined with slaves. No stay, however, was
made in the drawing-room, and what followed reads like a page out of
the _Arabian Nights_.

The visitors were conducted straight to the dining-room, after having
a cherry given them to eat, handed to them on a beautiful gold tray,
with goblets and plates of gold and precious stones. A slave then
offered each visitor a silver basin to wash their hands in before
sitting down to dinner. In the middle of the room there was a kind of
round silver table, about one foot high from the floor, looking more
like a big tray than anything else; large square cushions were placed
all round it, and the company sat down _à la Turque_ round the table,
la Grande Princesse having Queen Alexandra on her right, next whom was
Mehemet Taafik Pasha, then the third Princess and Mrs. Grey, with the
second Princess next, on the left side of the Viceroy’s mother. Mrs.
Stanton and Miss M’Lean, with the two daughters of the Viceroy, dined
in another room.

A slave then entered very smartly dressed, half her skirt being of
black satin and embroidered in gold, and the other half of yellow
satin, also trimmed with gold, and with a sort of turban on her head.
She had a beautifully embroidered napkin, with gold fringe, hanging
on her arm, as a sort of badge of her office, which corresponded with
that of a European _maître-d’hôtel_. She placed each dish in the middle
of the table, beginning with soup--a sort of chicken broth with rice.
Each visitor was given a sort of tortoiseshell spoon, with a large
coral branch as a handle, but neither knife nor fork; and then, at a
sign from the old Princess, everybody dipped their spoons into the
tureen together. Next came an enormous piece of mutton, of which the
company had to tear off bits with their fingers and put them straight
into their mouths. About twenty dishes followed in rapid succession,
alternately savoury and sweet, and the dinner ended with _compôte_ of
cherries. No wine or water was served during the meal, and Mrs. Grey
confesses that she felt thoroughly disgusted.

Some very necessary washing of hands followed, and then there was
an entertainment in the great drawing-room, given by musicians and
dancing-girls, in the course of which a slave brought in a tray covered
with black velvet cloth embroidered with pearls and uncut emeralds, and
decorated with an enormous diamond star in the centre. This was lifted
off, and then were revealed a number of cups encrusted with diamonds,
and full of coffee. These were handed round, and a slave brought pipes
and cigarette-holders, all lavishly ornamented with precious stones,
each mouthpiece being formed of one large ruby or emerald.

After an interval the visitors were taken all through the upper rooms,
a young prince who acted as interpreter being most anxious that Queen
Alexandra should see everything. “La Princesse doit tout voir,” he kept
saying. More music and dancing followed, and more coffee, until at
four o’clock it seemed to be time to go, so Queen Alexandra rose, and
the party were handed out to the door of the garden at which they had
entered amid enthusiastic demonstrations of affection on the part of
their hospitable entertainers.

There can be no doubt of the impression which the Queen’s graciousness
and charm created. Mrs. Grey says:--

“They were all perfectly enchanted with the Princess, and about
every ten or fifteen minutes _une phrase de cérémonie_ was exchanged
through the Prince [that is, the young Egyptian prince who acted as
interpreter]. ‘La Grande Princesse est si contente de vous voir,’
or ‘La Grande Princesse regrette tant que cela soit contre l’usage
du pays, de vous rendre cette visite’; and so on.… At last they all
expressed a hope that the Princess would come and dine again on her
return to Cairo.”

The same evening Queen Alexandra had the pleasure of visiting some
beautiful Arab horses in the stables of Ali Sherif Pasha.

Before starting on their journey up the Nile the King and Queen took
the opportunity of witnessing the curious and interesting Procession
of the Holy Carpet starting from Cairo on its way to Mecca, which,
strangely enough, few of the Europeans who at that time visited Cairo
cared to see. Every year two carpets are sent, one of which goes to
Medina to serve as a covering for the tomb of the Prophet, and the
other to Mecca to be a covering for Kaabah or the central point of the
Mahomedan religion. The King and Queen also witnessed the departure
of the pilgrims for Mecca, or rather of that portion of the pilgrimage
consisting of sheikhs and holy men, escorted by irregular cavalry and
artillery, which left the city to join the other pilgrims encamped on
the plain outside.

On 6th February the voyage up the Nile began. The party was a large
one, and the number of vessels provided for them formed quite a little
fleet, of which the following was the order of sailing:--

A large and very smartly fitted-up steamer, the _Federabanee_, Captain
Achmet Bey, headed the squadron, and was occupied by Prince Louis of
Battenberg (then a midshipman on board the _Ariadne_), Major Teesdale,
Captain Ellis, equerries in waiting, Lord Carrington, Mr. O. Montagu,
Dr. Minter, Sir Samuel Baker, and Mr. Brierley. On deck there was a
large saloon, all fitted up with silk and looking-glasses and every
description of luxury, and there meals were served. Outside this there
was a small open saloon with a large looking-glass at the back, in
which the scenery could be viewed in comfort.

The _Federabanee_ towed a most beautiful dahabeah, or Nile boat, which
was named the _Alexandra_, and in which the King and Queen and Mrs.
Grey lived. It was all fitted up in blue and gold, with a great deal of
taste, and the cabins were all large and most comfortable. Mrs. Grey
mentions that the King and Queen had “a very nice sleeping cabin, with
a bath-room and dressing-room apiece.” The _Alexandra_ also contained
a large sitting-room with a piano, and outside there was a place for
sitting and reading, as well as the upper deck. The only inconvenience
of this arrangement was that the travellers in the dahabeah had to
go on board the _Federabanee_ for every meal. This necessity was
especially hard on Queen Alexandra, who resolved, however, to return
to the dahabeah after breakfast as often as she could in order to have
time for painting and reading; this, with the active co-operation of
Mrs. Grey, she contrived to do on a good many days.

After the dahabeah came a kitchen steamer, carrying four French
cooks and one Arab cook, and towing a barge full of provisions and
live stock, such as turkeys, sheep, and chickens. Following this
came another steamer, having on board Colonel Stanton, British
Consul-General at Cairo, with two Egyptian gentlemen, Mourad Pasha and
Abd El Kader Bey, and towing a barge containing horses, donkeys, and a
French washerwoman. Nor was this all. In his anxiety to do everything
possible for the comfort of the Royal party, the Viceroy had actually
provided another steamer of lighter draft than the _Federabanee_,
simply in case the latter vessel should get stuck in the mud.

The whole flotilla was completed by a steamer belonging to the Duke
of Sutherland, the father of the present Duke, who brought with him
a distinguished party, composed of his son, Lord Stafford, Colonel
Marshall, Dr. Russell, Mr. Sumner, Professor Owen, Mr. Fowler, the
distinguished engineer, Major Alison, the Duke’s brother Lord A. Gower,
and Sir Henry Pelly.

The King looked forward to having plenty of sport during the voyage.
Accordingly he had taken a large variety of guns of almost every
calibre in use, as well as a wherry to be used for approaching land
game. For the purpose of capturing crocodiles, nets were brought which
had been specially made under the superintendence of Sir Samuel Baker.
The King also specially arranged for the inclusion in his party of a
clever naturalist and taxidermist.

Both the King and Queen greatly enjoyed this novel form of yachting,
although, unfortunately, bad weather soon set in, and the _Alexandra_
was frequently enveloped in clouds of dust and sand. Notwithstanding
this, however, the King had fairly good sport and bagged some very
large birds, though the crocodiles were, on the whole, conspicuous by
their absence. Soon the Royal taxidermist could show some very fine
specimens of spoonbills, flamingoes, herons, cranes, cormorants, and
doves.

Mrs. Grey thus records an amusing adventure which happened on 9th
February:--

“The fog was so thick this morning that we could not start till nine
o’clock, the hour at which we are in future usually to begin our day’s
voyage being between five and six in the morning; and then to go on,
with occasional stoppages, till six in the evening. We now only went
on for about an hour, as the Prince wanted to try and shoot some ducks
from a small punt with a large gun, which had been lent to him for the
trip. At eleven, the Princess and myself, with Prince Battenberg, Sir
S. Baker, Mr. Brierley, and Dr. Minter, followed in another boat to
look at the shooting. We saw perfect swarms of wild ducks, and hundreds
of flamingoes and a few pelicans. However, the ducks took fright, and
only a few flamingoes were shot. We determined to land, as soon as we
saw that we could no longer spoil the sport; but the water being low,
we stuck fast in the sand about thirty or forty yards from the shore.
The four boatmen at once took off their jackets, shoes, and trousers;
but luckily some undergarments (waistcoats and trousers in one)
remained; and in they jumped, and dragged the boat a few yards, beyond
which their utmost efforts were unable to move it. The alternative was
now either to remain in the boat or to allow ourselves to be carried
through the water. Of course we chose the latter. Sir S. Baker and Mr.
Brierley carried the Princess, crossing their arms, on which she sat.”

Ultimately the whole party got off and reached Minieh. There the King
joined a shooting party on the following day, while the Queen, Prince
Louis of Battenberg, and some of the others visited the Viceroy’s
palace, and afterwards saw the process of making sugar out of the
sugar-canes. Queen Alexandra and Mrs. Grey were allowed to visit the
wife of one of the directors of the sugar factory, whom Mrs. Grey
describes as a very ugly woman, painted and bedizened. The room was
full of her women friends, all as ugly and as lavishly dressed as
she was. Queen Alexandra, however, was much pleased with the novelty
of such a visit, for, though the hostess and her friends were very
cheerful and talked and laughed, yet naturally everything that was
said was quite unintelligible to their English visitors. The Queen
afterwards sent some presents to the ladies in memory of the visit.

On the 11th the Queen and Mrs. Grey succeeded in staying for the whole
day in the dahabeah, where they played and wrote and painted. The same
thing happened on the afternoon of the 13th, the morning being occupied
by an interesting lecture from Mr. Fowler on the Suez Canal.

During the voyage Queen Alexandra had one very serious adventure.
One night the King, who was on board the steamer, observed a light
reflected on the side of the _Alexandra_. He at once gave an alarm,
the Queen and Mrs. Grey, who were in the dahabeah, were hurried off
to the shore, and the fire, which had been caused by a lighted candle
in Prince Louis of Battenberg’s cabin, was put out by the King and
his suite. Had not the quick eye of the King discovered the danger
a terrible disaster might have happened, for the boats were wooden
and scorched by an Egyptian sun, while there were, of course, a
considerable number of cartridges on board.

The 14th was Sunday, the first Sunday in Lent, and Mrs. Grey records
that King Edward read the service to the party and the servants very
impressively. The party frequently landed to visit the temples and the
other splendid ruins of ancient Egyptian civilisation. On one occasion
the King caught a bat in the large tomb of Rameses IV.

The party started to see the Temple of Karnak by moonlight on the
evening of the 18th. The King rode a milk-white ass caparisoned in
crimson velvet and gold, while the Queen was mounted on a gray mule.
When they approached the temple an electric light was lit between
each enormous column, and in the background there was a display of
rockets and fireworks, forming stars of different colours. This had
been arranged by the King as a surprise for the Queen, though Mrs. Grey
confesses that the secret had been accidentally revealed. However, she
describes the whole scene as one of surprising beauty. She walked alone
with the Queen amid the gigantic columns, until they were recalled to
the prosaic luxury of the nineteenth century by being offered glasses
of iced champagne.

The 20th was rendered memorable by a mishap; all the steamers stuck
fast in the ground, with the result that everybody had to turn out,
and all the luggage had to be removed in order to lighten the boats.
The King and Queen and Mrs. Grey were entertained on board the Duke of
Sutherland’s steamer at dinner, and by the next day the difficulty of
the sand-banks had been surmounted, thanks to the smaller steamer which
the Viceroy’s foresight had provided.

On the 21st the King again read Divine Service, and the party arrived
at Assouan. Here they found a large number of camels ready to carry the
baggage across from the First Cataract to Philæ, whither the party rode
to see the boats in which they were to go on to the Second Cataract. On
the 22nd the King started first in order to pay a visit to Lady Duff
Gordon, who was living in her dahabeah a little above Assouan; while
the Queen, the Duke of Sutherland, and Mrs. Grey followed in a boat to
the foot of the First Cataract, where they were to meet the King. There
seems to have been some hitch in the arrangements, but Queen Alexandra
was not at all disconcerted, and was highly amused at having to ride
a wretched donkey without a bridle, and with a cushion for a saddle,
though Mrs. Grey, who was no better mounted, regarded the incident with
less philosophy. After a time, however, they met their own donkeys, and
ultimately joined the King’s party, who had been getting very anxious.

The Duke of Sutherland and his party left on the 23rd, while the Royal
party continued their voyage in two new dahabeahs tied together, and
towed by a small steamer. The accommodation was not nearly so good as
it had been below Philæ. The Queen and Mrs. Grey landed frequently,
and the latter notes that her Royal mistress found great pleasure in
distributing the _baksheesh_ for which the natives were continually
asking, especially the little children. On one occasion the Queen and
her lady-in-waiting found a donkey running about; they caught it, and
the Queen mounted it and rode through the fields in the cleverest way
without saddle or bridle.

Meanwhile the King was very anxious for crocodile, but he had very poor
luck, though he had better sport with fishing. It was not, indeed,
until the 28th that he had a fair shot at a crocodile, which he killed
at fifty yards with his first barrel. The excitement was tremendous
among the party, for, as is well known, the shyness of these beasts is
so great that they are among the most difficult game to stalk in the
world. This specimen was 9 feet long and 4 feet round the body; and it
was at once skinned with a view to being stuffed. Inside the creature
was found a quantity of pebbles, two bottles full of which were brought
away as mementoes.

The King and Queen throughout the voyage took the greatest interest in
the antiquities along the route, visiting all that were accessible.
Mrs. Grey mentions how much Queen Alexandra enjoyed the extreme
peacefulness of the life led by the party, for there was no post nor
any papers, and, after the first inconvenience had worn off, the
feeling that no means existed of either sending or receiving letters
soon became perfectly delightful.

A touching incident occurred at Wady Halfa on 3rd March. The party were
at dinner, when the King and Queen took a fancy to a little boy whom
they saw watching the torches, which were always fixed in the ground
on shore wherever the Royal dahabeah stopped for the night. On being
questioned, the child said that his father was dead, his mother had
married again, and he had not a friend in the world. He was delighted
with the idea of going with the party, and so he was engaged as a pipe
cleaner. The only property he had was a white linen shirt and a white
cap. Mrs. Grey describes him as an intelligent ugly little boy, not
very black, but rather bronzed, and wearing a large silver ring in one
ear.

Whenever the dahabeah stopped, numbers of natives came down to the
bank, mostly children; and at first the Queen used to throw them bread
and oranges, but it was discovered that they regarded empty bottles as
much more valuable, and for these there was the greatest competition,
although in the end they generally agreed to divide the spoil equally
in the most good-humoured manner. At one place a little Nubian monkey
was presented to Queen Alexandra, and the fortunate donor was
presented in return with a double-barrelled English fowling-piece and
some money.

There were the usual groundings on sand-banks, but nothing else of
interest occurred, and the party returned to their old dahabeah on
8th March, having thoroughly enjoyed their expedition to the Second
Cataract. After lunch the King and Queen, with Mrs. Grey and Sir Samuel
Baker, paid a visit to Lady Duff Gordon in the dahabeah, which she had
made entirely her home on account of her health.

The return voyage down the Nile began on the following day, and
immediately the big steamer stuck fast on the old sand-bank which gave
so much trouble on the way up, although the Viceroy had had six hundred
people working away in the interval to deepen the channel. No amount of
exertion could get the steamer off, and consequently the little steamer
was used, and Prince Louis of Battenberg, Sir Samuel Baker, and Lord
Carrington had to sleep on deck.

On 10th March, the anniversary of the King and Queen’s wedding day,
some members of the Duke of Sutherland’s party, which had broken up,
met the Royal party at Thebes, namely, Colonel Stanton, Sir Henry
Pelly, Major Alison, and Abd El Kader Bey. Colonel Stanton entertained
the party, and Mourad Pasha proposed the health of the Royal pair.
After dinner the party went to the house of Mustapha Aga, the English
Consul, where they saw some famous Egyptian dancing-girls, including
the Taglioni of the country, and some remarkable mummy cases, which
had been excavated on purpose for the King. The following day they
visited the spot where the digging was going on. Mrs. Grey describes
it as like a coal pit, at the bottom of which was a magnificent stone
sarcophagus, said to be that of the beautiful Queen Nicotris, which the
King intended to take to England, together with a selection of mummies.

This was the last day’s picnic on the Nile, and the party were due
at Minieh in two days, going thence by rail to Cairo. On the 15th,
however, the Queen, Mrs. Grey, and some of the gentlemen of the party
paid a visit to the little town of Minieh, where an old woman was
engaged to tell fortunes. This she did with the aid of a heap of shells
and bits of coloured glass; and she told the Queen that she had many
friends and much money, with the usual “patter” traditional among
fortune-tellers. Thence the party went on to the house of the Governor
of the town, where a kind of lemonade was offered to the visitors, and
the Queen was presented with a beautiful white parrot and two live
flamingoes. The menagerie already consisted of the Nubian monkey, a
snapping turtle, and two goats. As for the little Nubian boy, who was
added to the party at Wady Halfa, he turned out much too sharp and
difficult to manage, so, instead of bringing him to England, the King
decided to start him in life with a donkey, as one of the numerous
donkey boys so common in Egypt.

On 16th March the party went by train from Minieh to Ghizeh, where
they were met by the Viceroy’s eldest son and a number of officials.
After some conversation the King and Queen took their leave, and the
Royal party, entering some carriages, drove to the Pyramids. At the
foot of the big Pyramid they found a small pavilion which had been
built on purpose for the Royal visit. The King and Queen, in spite
of the slippery, difficult, and suffocating ascent, visited the
King’s and Queen’s chambers, and the King actually went up to the top
of the Pyramid. Dinner was served in the pavilion by order of the
Viceroy, consisting of nineteen dishes, eight entrées, ice, and other
luxuries--quite a small dinner for Egypt.

On the night drive to Cairo which followed, there was very nearly a bad
accident, the carriage being driven up against a high white flag-post,
which it fortunately only just touched.

During the voyage down the Nile the King received letters to say that
as the differences between Turkey and Greece had been happily settled,
their Majesties were free to pay their proposed visit to Constantinople
and Athens.

The King and Queen spent a week in Cairo, and saw all the sights of
that wonderful city, which were then, it must be remembered, much
more novel than they are nowadays when Egypt has become a regular
winter resort. Mrs. Grey gives an amusing description of a shopping
expedition on which she attended Queen Alexandra in the Turkish bazaar.
Abd El Kader Bey, their old friend of the Nile expedition, did the
bargaining in the Oriental method. The Queen wished to buy a burnous,
but the price was too high, and so Abd El Kader Bey sent for a shopman
from another shop where they had seen a similar burnous, and employed
him to help in bargaining with the other shopman. This extraordinary
device was most successful, and the Queen ultimately obtained her
burnous for £9.

On the 19th Mrs. Grey attended the Queen in the ordeal of being
photographed on a dromedary, and then the party, having been joined by
the King, went to see the museum of Egyptian antiquities, where the
distinguished French Egyptologist, M. Mariette, explained everything.
In the evening of the same day there was a great dinner at the
Viceroy’s palace on the other side of the river, where the scene was
one of truly Oriental magnificence and luxury, finishing up with a
display of fireworks so arranged that their reflection was seen in a
large ornamental piece of water.

The Royal party had intended to leave Cairo on the 21st March, but the
King was persuaded by the Viceroy to remain over the Feast of Bairam,
which corresponds with the Christian Easter. Consequently, instead of
starting immediately, the Queen, to her great delight, was able to
pay a visit to the wife of Mourad Pasha, who had attended so ably to
the comfort of the Royal travellers during their voyage on the Nile.
Queen Alexandra was delighted with this lady, who was most kind and
good-natured, and spoke French very well, her father, indeed, having
been half a Frenchman.

On the 22nd the Queen started after breakfast for the bazaars, and met
the King there and shopped until lunch-time. In the afternoon the Queen
and Mrs. Grey visited the wife of Abd El Kader Bey, and then went on
to see Achmet Bey, the captain of their dahabeah. His wife received
the English visitors with much enthusiasm, kissing both the Queen and
Mrs. Grey violently. Mrs. Achmet was a very pretty woman with pleasant
manners, but although she could only speak Arabic, which was not
understood by her visitors, yet she never stopped talking for a minute.

The following day, the 23rd, was the first day of Bairam, and the Queen
again visited la Grande Princesse, the Viceroy’s mother, who held a
sort of Drawing-room in the Harem. In the evening the Queen went to
the Viceroy’s palace across the river to dine with His Highness’s four
wives. The Princesses were much charmed with some photographs which
the Queen gave them of herself. Shortly before leaving she expressed
a wish to see how the Egyptian ladies’ outdoor veils were fastened
on. Some were accordingly sent for, and Queen Alexandra was dressed
up in a veil, much to her amusement; her eyebrows, and those of Mrs.
Grey, were painted, and the thin veil and the burnous were put over
them. These Her Majesty and her lady-in-waiting were entreated to
keep as a _souvenir_ of their visit. They were still wearing their
Egyptian dresses when they returned to their palace, but to their
great disappointment found everybody gone to bed except their courier,
whom they succeeded in surprising, though he very frankly said that he
thought the ladies were looking far better than usual. That was the
last night in Cairo.

On the following day the Royal party had a very hot and dusty journey,
and arrived at Suez at seven o’clock in the evening. There they were
joined by Dr. Russell and Major Alison, and were met by the great de
Lesseps. Dinner was served in the large dining-room of the hotel, and
among the waiters the King observed a small black boy about fourteen
years old, who seemed intelligent above the average. After dinner His
Majesty asked the landlord of the hotel about him, and, finding that
he was an Abyssinian boy and had an excellent character, he decided to
take him home instead of the little _mauvais sujet_ whom the party had
picked up at Wady Haifa.

Then came one of the most interesting episodes of the tour, namely,
their visit to the Suez Canal, where their Majesties were received and
escorted by M. de Lesseps. The works of the Canal Company were by no
means completed, but they were being actively carried forward, a large
dock, 450 feet long, having been already finished. At Tussum the King
performed the important ceremony of opening the sluices of the dam
across the finished portion of the canal, thus letting the waters of
the Mediterranean into the empty basin of the Bitter Lakes.

The Royal party then drove about three miles beyond the town through
the desert to the Viceroy’s _châlet_, a pretty little place built on
high ground overlooking Lake Timsah. The King and Queen were lodged
here, the rest of the party having to rough it in out-houses and
tents. Dinner was served in a large tent, and, thanks to the Viceroy’s
forethought, it was a most excellent French dinner, for His Highness
was determined that his guests should not have to rough it unless it
was absolutely necessary.

The next day the Royal party went up the Canal towards the
Mediterranean, and after driving through Port Said, they embarked on
board the Viceroy’s yacht _Mahroussa_ for passage to Alexandria. M. de
Lesseps and his party also came on board the yacht. When the vessel
passed outside the breakwater she began to roll so much that dinner
became more exciting than comfortable. One swell threw everything off
the table, and the Royal party were rolled out of their chairs, and
then in an instant, before they had time to pick themselves up, another
roll threw the ship over on the other side. Fortunately, however, the
rolling did not last very long, and the resources of the yacht were so
great that dinner was not long interrupted.

The following morning the yacht arrived at Alexandria, where the
Royal party visited the various sights, including Cleopatra’s Needle
and Pompey’s Pillar. Then they were rowed off in a barge to the
_Ariadne_, their old home, which looked quite small and poor after
the gorgeous _Mahroussa_, with its silk hangings, Italian marbles,
mosaic mother-of-pearl, and so on, though in reality it was much more
comfortable in a practical way. Here they said good-bye, much to their
regret, to Mourad Pasha, Abd El Kader Bey, and old Captain Achmet, as
well as to Colonel Stanton, the British Consul.

The next day, 28th March, the _Ariadne_ left for Constantinople, but
nothing much of importance occurred during the voyage, and the vessel
anchored on 1st April some three miles from Constantinople. There the
Royal party were transferred to the Sultan’s yacht _Pertif Piati_,
in which they went past the entrance to the Golden Horn, as far as
the Saleh-Bazar Palace, which had been assigned as a residence by the
Sultan to the King and Queen during their visit. The Sultan himself
received the Royal party on landing, and took Queen Alexandra up to her
rooms, every one following.

Mrs. Grey describes the rooms in the Saleh-Bazar Palace as not quite
so gorgeous as those which they had had at Cairo, but, on the other
hand, fitted up with the most perfect taste in the French style. Every
European luxury had been provided. The lattice work, which is always
put up across the windows in Turkish houses in order to screen the fair
inmates from the rude gaze of outsiders, had been removed and replaced
with magnificent silk hangings. All the servants appointed to wait
on the King and Queen were Greek and European, except the coachmen,
who were French. The meals at the Palace were all served on gold and
silver plate studded with gems; a band of eighty-four musicians played
during dinner; every morning arrived gorgeous presents from the Sultan,
including exquisite flowers and trays laden with fruits and sweets;
while, at a clap of the hand, black-coated chibouquejees brought in
pipes with amber mouth-pieces of fabulous value, encrusted in diamonds
and rubies. There was a complete Turkish bath establishment in the
Palace, and the slightest wish expressed by the Royal guests was
considered an order.

Almost immediately after the arrival the labour of official functions
began, King Edward going to pay a visit to the Sultan at the Palace of
Dolma-Baghtche. The next day the Royal party saw the Sultan going to
the Selamlik, the brilliant uniforms and the native ladies in their
white yashmaks and brilliantly-coloured dresses producing to Mrs.
Grey’s eyes the effect of a bright flower-garden. While the pageant
was passing, little Prince Izzedin, the Heir-Apparent, visited their
Majesties. Nothing could exceed the anxiety of the Sultan to entertain
his distinguished visitors in a splendid manner, and he certainly seems
to have succeeded.

On 4th April the Royal party dined with the Sultan at the Palace of
Dolma-Baghtche. The dinner was good, and well served in the European
fashion, but it was remarkable for being the first time that the Sultan
had ever sat down to dinner with ladies; and, indeed, it was the first
time that any of his own Ministers, except the Grand Vizier, had ever
been known to sit down in his presence. Half the party were Turks,
and they looked so frightened and astonished that they acted as wet
blankets to the rest of the company, which included Mr. Elliot, the
British Ambassador, and Mrs. Elliot, and General Ignatieff, the Russian
Ambassador, and his wife. The Sultan was in high good-humour, but spoke
very little.

After dinner Queen Alexandra, attended by Mrs. Grey and accompanied by
Mrs. Elliot and Madame Ignatieff, went to visit the Sultan’s mother
and wife. The visit very much resembled that which had been paid in
Cairo to La Grande Princesse; and the most amusing part of the evening
was the sudden appearance of the Sultan’s son, aged ten, and daughter,
aged nine, who both came marching in followed by slaves. Both were
enormously over-dressed, the little girl, indeed, being hardly able to
move under all her lace and finery. They sat themselves down in large
arm-chairs, and the little Princess kept slipping down off hers, but a
slave always helped her up again.

The King and Queen, who adopted for the nonce the name of Mr. and Mrs.
Williams, spent the whole morning of 5th April in the bazaars, attended
by Mrs. Grey, and entirely escaped being recognised. Another Oriental
precedent was broken on the 7th, when the Royal party went to the
opera, and the Sultan joined the King and Queen and Mrs. Grey in the
Royal box. This was the first time that the Sultan had been seen with
ladies in his box. On the following day Queen Alexandra was delighted
to have an opportunity of seeing the Sultan’s stables, containing about
200 horses of extraordinary beauty.

It would be tedious to describe in detail the ceremonies and visits to
places of interest which the Royal party paid. In this way the days
were filled up until the 10th, when it was decided that the Queen
should accompany the King in his proposed visit to the Crimea.

After lunching with the Sultan, the Royal party again went on board
the _Ariadne_ with the usual ceremonies, and started for the Crimea.
They had a beautiful passage across the Black Sea, and arrived in the
harbour of Sevastopol on 12th April. The great struggle with Russia was
still fresh in every one’s memories, and they found not a single ship
in the harbour, and all the forts and fortifications abandoned--indeed,
the whole town on one side almost one mass of ruins. The _débris_
remained just as they were left in 1856, and the populace, which before
the war amounted to 60,000, had been reduced to 5500.

As soon as the _Ariadne_ had cast anchor a boat came off containing
General Kotzebue, Governor-General of New Russia, and General
Jukoffsky, Governor of Crim Tartary, who had come from Simferopol
to meet King Edward. They were accompanied by Admiral Kisalinsky,
the Commandant of Sevastopol, and other officials, together with
the British Consul at Odessa. The Russian authorities offered every
possible assistance to the King and Queen in order that they might see
everything that could be seen.

On that first day of their arrival they visited the Russian cemetery,
and then drove to the battlefield of the Alma, where Mrs. Grey records
the shaking which the Queen and she experienced in driving over the
rough ground still full of great holes made by the shells used in the
battle; indeed, the pony carriage broke down, and they had to get into
a larger one with four horses. They saw the broken-down bridge over the
Alma, just as it was left after the battle; the party drove through
the water, and Dr. Russell pointed out where the Duke of Cambridge
had passed with his Staff--in fact, the King and Queen examined the
battlefield most thoroughly, studying the various positions occupied by
the forces on both sides.

The Russian authorities entertained the party at luncheon in a Tartar
farm-house, which had been used during the war as a field-hospital.
Dr. Russell, Major Alison, and Captain Ellis, who had all been there
during the war, were perpetually pointing out fresh places of interest,
and in the evening the Russian officials were entertained at dinner on
board the _Ariadne_. Nothing could exceed the tact and courtesy of the
Russians, who affected to regard the war as if it had been some long
distant historical campaign, and had no hesitation even in pointing out
to their visitors the different places where the Russian forces had
been beaten.

It is needless to mention the names of all the places visited by the
Royal party. Wherever they went the beautiful old Russian custom of
offering bread and salt was never omitted, the inhabitants of the
villages always rushing out and presenting these signs of hospitality
to Queen Alexandra.

On the 14th the Royal party found the _Psyche_ in the harbour of
Balaklava, in which they embarked and steamed out of the harbour to
see the rocks at the entrance where the ship _Prince_ was lost in
1845, and where the Duke of Cambridge had such a narrow escape in the
_Retribution_. On re-landing they visited the field of Balaklava, and
listened to many amusing stories told by Dr. Russell.

That night the party slept at Livadia, and were most agreeably
entertained by Count Stenboch, who had been sent all the way from St.
Petersburg on purpose to receive the King and Queen. The _Ariadne_ and
_Psyche_ had been sent round from Sevastopol to meet the party, and
after visiting some villas in the neighbourhood, they all embarked in
the _Ariadne_ and bade farewell to their Russian friends with much
regret.

On the 16th they anchored again opposite the Sultan’s palace, and His
Majesty and King Edward exchanged farewell visits. On the 17th the
_Ariadne_ left Constantinople for Athens; she was lighted up with
red and blue lights held by sailors at the end of the yard-arm. The
Turkish ships were all illuminated, and rockets, music, and cheering
sped the parting guests.

Bad weather detained the _Ariadne_ until the 20th, when they entered
the Piræus, where the King of the Hellenes and Prince Frederick of
Glucksburg came on board. The King had arrived, on purpose to receive
the Royal visitors, from Corfu, where the Court was established, and
after two days’ sightseeing His Majesty was to conduct the Royal party
there, where he had left the Queen. King Edward and Queen Alexandra
duly arrived at Corfu on the 24th, and on the following day, which was
the Festival of St. Spiridion--the patron saint of Corfu--they had an
opportunity of seeing the town _en fête_. The body of the saint was
carried in procession amid much picturesque rejoicing of the populace.
On the 27th the King left for the Albanian coast for some wild boar
shooting, and returned on the following evening, having bagged two
boars and other game.

The visit to Corfu came to an end on 1st May. There was a great display
of fireworks, and the _Ariadne_ and the _Royal Oak_ were dressed with
red and blue lights. Unfortunately there was a sad accident which
occurred just as the illuminations were over. One of the sailors fell
overboard, and though a most careful search was made, nothing was ever
seen or heard of him again except just the splash as he fell into the
water.

On the following day the Royal party arrived at Brindisi, and returned
to London over-land, stopping a little while in Paris, where they were
treated with the most marked attention by the Emperor and Empress of
the French.

As may be easily imagined, the King is very popular all over France,
and he has had many curious and interesting adventures when going
out in the semi-_incognito_ which he affects when travelling for
pleasure. On one occasion, shortly after the end of the war, he
visited the battlefield of Sedan attended by General Teesdale. He was
naturally anxious that his identity should not become known, for French
susceptibilities were very keen at that time, and he had no desire to
appear to glory over his brother-in-law’s brilliant victories. When
the time came to pay the hotel bill General Teesdale found with great
dismay that he had no ready cash; the King was in an equally penniless
condition; while any telegram sent would have disclosed the identity of
the Royal visitor. At length, after much discussion, the equerry made
his way to the local _Mont de Piété_ and placed both his own and King
Edward’s repeater in pawn.

Among the formal acts of ceremony which King Edward performed during
this year was the unveiling of a statue of the late Mr. George Peabody.
In the speech which he delivered on this occasion he alluded in the
warmest terms to his feeling of personal friendship towards the United
States, and his enduring recollection of the reception which had been
accorded to him there.



CHAPTER X

THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR--THE KING’S ILLNESS


The outbreak and progress of the Franco-Prussian war were naturally
watched with the keenest interest at Marlborough House. Two of the
King’s own brothers-in-law were serving with the German forces, while,
on the other hand, he not only had many close ties with France,
but from childhood had always regarded the Emperor and Empress of
the French with special affection. When public subscription lists
were opened in aid of the ambulances, which distributed medical aid
impartially to the sick and wounded on both sides, King Edward gave a
liberal donation; and when the Empress Eugénie fled to England, one of
the first visits which she received at Chislehurst was from the King
and Queen Alexandra.

Exactly ten years after the first dread news of the Prince Consort’s
fatal illness had gone forth, it became known that the Heir-Apparent
was lying seriously ill at Sandringham. Not very long before, Princess
Alice, who was then staying at Sandringham, wrote the following note to
Queen Victoria:--

“It is the first time since eleven years that I have spent Bertie’s
birthday with him, and though we have only three of our own family
together, still that is better than nothing, and makes it seem more
like a birthday. Bertie and Alix are so kind, and give us so warm a
welcome, showing how they like having us, that it feels quite home.
Indeed, I pray earnestly that God’s blessing may rest on him, and that
he may be guided to do what is wise and right, so that he may tide
safely through the anxious times that are before him, and in which we
now live.”

Princess Alice little knew the days and nights of anxious misery that
were coming so swiftly upon her brother’s peaceful household, and
indeed upon the whole nation. The King sickened in London, but as soon
as he felt himself to be seriously attacked he insisted on going home
to Norfolk, where the disease was pronounced to be typhoid fever.

The King, his groom Blegge, and Lord Chesterfield, who had all been
at Scarborough with Lord Londesborough, were stricken simultaneously,
and public attention was soon wholly concentrated on the three cases.
Curiously enough, the groom and the peer both died, though in neither
case were any pains or expense spared. Doubtless King Edward’s youth
and excellent constitution stood him in good stead, but for many days
the issue was considered exceedingly doubtful.

The patient was nursed entirely by his wife and his sister, Princess
Alice, his medical attendants being Doctors Jenner, Gull, Clayton, and
Lowe. On the last day of November came an official notification:--

“The Princess of Wales has borne her great trial in the most admirable
manner and with singular equanimity. While fully aware of the gravity
of the Prince’s serious illness, Her Royal Highness has throughout been
calm and collected.”

But the patient’s state was known to be critical, and soon it was
announced that Queen Victoria was going to Sandringham, which she did
on 29th November.

The anxiety, succeeded by the most heart-breaking suspense, which
prevailed in the Royal family is well reflected in the following
extracts from the diary of the late Duchess of Teck, who was then at
Strelitz:--

“_November 25._--Read Gussy Alix’s letter to Mama about our poor, dear
Wales, who was attacked with the fever about the 19th or so, and is
under Dr. Gull’s charge, who says it must have its twenty-four days’
course, and that so far all is going on as well as can be expected.

“_December 1._--… When I finished my packet for the messenger, I
telegraphed to darling Alix, and flew up to Mama to consult her about
it.… From Alix somewhat better news reached us, after a bad telegram at
three from dear Alice.

“_December 2._--A rather better account of Wales.

“_December 3._--Wales improving.…

“_December 5._--… Better accounts from Sandringham, but poor Lord
Chesterfield dead.

“_December 6._--… Reassuring message from Alice.

“_December 8._--… Opened a telegram with anxious and distressing
news from Sandringham; poor dear Wales has had a relapse; his state
evidently very critical. _Gott helfe weiter._ We were much upset, and
with a heavy heart I closed my packet for the messenger and wrote
till dressing-time, though I had much difficulty in settling down to
anything.… Mama was very silent all dinner-time, but we never for a
moment suspected, what we afterwards learnt had been the case, that
she had received a worse telegram at five o’clock, and had in kindness
kept it from us.… I wrote _chez moi_ till a most alarming telegram from
Alice to Mama was brought me, with which I hastened to Gussy.… We cried
over the almost hopeless accounts together, which spoke of the end as
not far distant, provided dear Wales did not at once rally, and with
despairing hearts we joined the others in the blue drawing-room. Fritz
came in presently, and I read him the three telegrams received that
day, and a letter from Lady Macclesfield. Later Mama sent for Gussy and
me to wish us a sorrowful good night. I then went to my room and wrote
till nearly four, feeling sleep out of the question.

“_December 9._--Gussy rushed in with a rather more hopeful telegram:
‘Night quiet, exhaustion not increased, breathing clearer.’ God grant
he may yet rally and pull through! It was a relief after all we had
undergone, and thank God for it; the agony of suspense was hard to
bear.…

“_December 10._--On our return from church we found a telegram from
Sandringham, which Gussy tremblingly opened. _Es lautete, ‘a shade
better.’_ Thank God! I ran with it to Tante.…

“_December 11._--About noon Geraldo rushed in with two telegrams, one
sent off last night, the other this morning; both _heartrendingly sad_,
and giving next to no hope, but for the words, ‘Yet we hope.’ They were
a _cruel_ check to our faint hopes. We could think and talk of nothing
else.…

“_December 12._--Dolphus brought us a very hopeless telegram from
Alice: ‘Night restless, very delirious, no signs of improvement.’
After a while I went to my room and read the papers with accounts from
Sandringham and Windsor.…

“_December 13._--… To Mama’s _entrée_, where I found her, Gussy, and
Tante much upset over a very disquieting message from Alice, which
said, ‘Night without rest. No important change in the general state.
Breathing is weak. Anxiety increased.’ One can only look to God’s great
mercy for further hope!

“_December 14._--… Bülow congratulated me on the better accounts which
had just been received from Sandringham! It was the first I had heard
of it; just at that moment Wenckstern appeared with the telegram:
‘Quiet sleep at intervals, gravity of symptoms diminished, state more
hopeful.--Alice.’ God be thanked for this blessed change!… I read
aloud in Mama’s room, amid tears and sobs, the touching account in the
_Daily Telegraph_ of our dear Wales’s illness, of all that goes on at
Sandringham, of the prayers for him and the sermons preached about him.

“_December 15._--A much more hopeful telegram from Alice, as follows:
‘Bertie has passed a quiet night. The debility is great, but the
conditions are much more favourable.’ Thank God for this great mercy.”

The feeling aroused through the United Kingdom was far greater than
any public expression of emotion since the death of Princess Charlotte
in 1817. In every town, crowds waited anxiously for the issue of
newspapers containing the latest news of the Royal patient’s condition,
and the Government found it expedient to forward the medical bulletins
to every telegraph office in the United Kingdom. In the churches of
every religious communion, prayers were offered, though almost without
hope, for the recovery of King Edward.

At length, on 1st December, the King recovered consciousness, and his
first remark to those about him was, “This is the Princess’s birthday.”
The next coherent utterance came when he heard that Queen Victoria had
been at Sandringham. “Has the Queen come from Scotland? Does she know
I am ill?” he asked; but this slight rally did not continue, and soon
all the Royal family were summoned to Sandringham. On 9th December the
fever had spent itself, but the patient’s strength was considered to be
exhausted. Special prayers were offered up in all churches; and shortly
before the service in St. Mary Magdalene’s, Sandringham, the Vicar
received the following note from Queen Alexandra:--

“My husband being, thank God, somewhat better, I am coming to church. I
must leave, I fear, before the service is concluded, that I may watch
by his bedside. Can you not say a few words in prayer in the early
part of the service, that I may join with you in prayer for my husband
before I return to him?”

The Vicar, before reading the Collect, in a voice trembling with
emotion, which he vainly strove to suppress, said: “The prayers of the
congregation are earnestly sought for His Royal Highness the Prince of
Wales, who is now most seriously ill.”

The day following, an article in the _Times_ began: “The Prince still
lives, and we may still therefore hope”; and so the weary days dragged
on. On the 16th it was recorded that the patient had enjoyed a quiet
and refreshing sleep, and on the 17th, a Sunday, those of the Royal
family who were then at Sandringham were present at church, when, by
special request, the Prince and Blegge were recommended to the mercy of
God in the same prayer. That same day Queen Alexandra visited the poor
dying groom, and after his death, which occurred within the next few
hours, both she and Queen Victoria found time, in the midst of their
terrible anxiety, to visit and comfort his relations.

By Christmas Day the danger may be said to have been over, and on 26th
December Queen Victoria wrote the following letter to the nation:--

“The Queen is very anxious to express her deep sense of the touching
sympathy of the whole nation on the occasion of the alarming illness of
her dear son, the Prince of Wales. The universal feeling shown by her
people during those painful, terrible days, and the sympathy evinced
by them with herself and her beloved daughter, the Princess of Wales,
as well as the general joy at the improvement of the Prince of Wales’s
state, have made a deep and lasting impression on her heart, which can
never be effaced.…”

Queen Alexandra and Princess Alice now felt that their patient was well
enough for them to leave him for an hour or two in order to assist at
the distribution of Christmas gifts to the labourers on the estate. In
the ceiling of the room afterwards occupied by Queen Alexandra as a
bed-chamber, the mark of an orifice might be seen from which projected
a hook supporting a trapeze, by the aid of which the patient, when on
the slow and weary road to convalescence, could change his position and
pull himself up into a sitting posture.

Another memento of the King’s terrible illness is the brass lectern in
the parish church. On it runs an inscription:--

                         TO THE GLORY OF GOD.
                    A THANK-OFFERING FOR HIS MERCY.
                          14TH DECEMBER 1871.
                              ALEXANDRA.

   “When I was in trouble I called upon the Lord, and He heard me.”

The last bulletin was issued on 14th January, and nine days later Sir
William Jenner was gazetted a K.C.B. and Dr. W. Gull was created a
Baronet--rewards which gave particular satisfaction to the nation.

It was whispered at the time that King Edward, under Providence,
really owed his recovery to one of those sudden inspirations of genius
of which the history of medicine is full. He seemed to be actually
_in extremis_, when one of his medical attendants sent in haste for
two bottles of old champagne brandy and rubbed the patient with it
vigorously all over till returning animation rewarded the doctor’s
efforts.

King Edward’s recovery was hailed with feelings of deep thankfulness by
the whole nation, and it was universally deemed appropriate that public
thanks should be returned to Almighty God for His great mercy. The
utmost interest was taken by all classes of society in the preparations
for the proposed National Thanksgiving. Mr. William Longman wrote to
the _Times_ urging that, as in 1664 and 1678, subscriptions should
be invited for the completion of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in
London as a perpetual memorial of the event.

During the interval before the day fixed for the National Thanksgiving,
King Edward and Queen Alexandra paid visits to Windsor and Osborne.
When they returned to London one of the first visitors they received
was Dr. Stanley, who had now become Dean of Westminster. It was
resolved that they should attend a private service of thanksgiving in
the Abbey, which the Dean thus describes in a letter to an intimate
correspondent:--

“I went to Marlborough House to suggest, through Fisher and Keppel,
that the Prince of Wales should come. He consented at once, and it was
agreed that he, the Princess, and the Crown Prince of Denmark, and if
in town, Prince Alfred, should come. I kept it a secret except from the
Canons. We met them at the great Western door; the nave (as usual) was
quite clear. They walked in with me, and took their places on my right.
I preached on Psalm cxxii. 1. The Prince of Wales heard every word, and
has decided that it shall be published, which it will be, and you shall
have a copy. It was one of those rare occasions on which I was able to
say all that I wished to say. They were conducted again to the West
door, and departed.”

The day fixed for the public National Thanksgiving in St. Paul’s was
27th February, and never, save perhaps on 22nd June 1897, did Queen
Victoria and her eldest son and daughter-in-law receive a more splendid
and heartfelt welcome. Thirteen thousand people were admitted to the
Cathedral, among them being most of the notable personages of the day,
including all the great officers of State.

[Illustration: THANKSGIVING DAY, 1872: THE SCENE AT TEMPLE BAR

_From the “Illustrated London News”_]

The procession set out from Buckingham Palace at twelve o’clock. First
came the Speaker, the Lord Chancellor, and the Commander-in-Chief, in
their carriages, followed by nine Royal equipages, in the last of which
sat Queen Victoria, dressed in black velvet trimmed with broad bands
of white ermine, Queen Alexandra in blue silk covered with black lace,
King Edward in the uniform of a British general and wearing the Collars
of the Orders of the Garter and the Bath, Prince Albert Victor then a
boy of eight, and Princess Beatrice. The late Duchess of Teck, to her
great grief, could not be present, as her eldest son had sickened with
scarlet fever.

In the Green Park the procession was greeted by an army of 30,000
children, who sang the National Anthem as the Royal carriages drove by.

St. Paul’s was reached at one o’clock, and the Royal party were
received at the great West door by the Dean and Chapter. Queen Victoria
passed up the nave leaning on the arm of her son, who conducted Her
Majesty to a pew which had been specially prepared for the occasion.

The service began with the “Te Deum,” and after some prayers a special
form of thanksgiving which had been officially drawn up was said. Then
the Archbishop of Canterbury preached a short sermon from the text,
Romans xii. 5, “Members one of another.” The service concluded with a
thanksgiving hymn which had been specially written for the occasion.
The proceedings were over by two o’clock, and the procession returned
by a different route, along Holborn and Oxford Street, in the presence
of an enthusiastic crowd said to be the largest ever collected in
London. As the poet sings:--

        Bear witness, thou memorable day,
    When, pale as yet, and fever-worn, the Prince,
    Who scarce had plucked his flickering life again
    From halfway down the shadow of the grave,
        Past through the people and their love;
    And London roll’d one tide of joy thro’ all
        Her trebled millions and loud leagues of men.

Two days later Queen Victoria wrote from Buckingham Palace to Mr.
Gladstone, who was then Prime Minister, one of those touching letters
which on many occasions drew still more closely together the ties of
loyalty and affection between Her Majesty and her people. The Queen
wrote that she was anxious “to express publicly her own personal
very deep sense of the reception she and her dear children met with
on Tuesday, the 27th of February, from millions of her subjects on
her way to and from St. Paul’s. Words are too weak for the Queen to
say how very deeply touched and gratified she has been by the immense
enthusiasm and affection exhibited towards her dear son and herself,
from the highest down to the lowest, in the long progress through the
capital, and she would earnestly wish to convey her warmest and most
heartfelt thanks to the whole nation for this great demonstration of
loyalty. The Queen, as well as her son and dear daughter-in-law, felt
that the whole nation joined with them in thanking God for sparing the
beloved Prince of Wales’s life.…”

[Illustration: THANKSGIVING DAY, 1872: THE PROCESSION UP LUDGATE HILL

_From the “Illustrated London News”_]

Although the Duchess of Teck had not been able to attend the
Thanksgiving Service at St. Paul’s, she returned to England in time to
take part in a great ceremony which took place on the 1st of May at the
Crystal Palace. Referring to this occasion, she writes:--“We drove
down to Sydenham with Louise as Alfred’s guests to attend the _fête_
in celebration of Wales’s recovery. Concert: Sullivan’s _Te Deum_,
Miscellanies with Titiens.”

The impression made by King Edward’s illness and marvellous recovery
upon the Royal family in general is well illustrated by the following
passage from a letter written by Princess Alice to her mother in
December 1872:--

“That our good, sweet Alix should have been spared this terrible grief,
when this time last year it seemed so imminent, fills my heart with
gratitude for her dear sake, as for yours, his children and ours.… The
14th will now be a day of mixed recollections and feelings to us, a day
hallowed in our family, when one great spirit ended his work on earth
… and when another was left to fulfil his duty and mission, God grant,
for the welfare of his own family and of thousands.”



CHAPTER XI

1873-1875


The year 1873 was spent on the whole very quietly by the King and
Queen. His Majesty took up once more the thread of his public life
which had been interrupted for a considerable time by his illness and
convalescence.

A pleasant glimpse of the home life at Sandringham about this time is
given in the following letters from the witty and eloquent Archbishop
Magee (then Bishop of Peterborough), written to his wife:--

“SANDRINGHAM, _6th December 1873_.

“… I arrived just as they were all at tea in the entrance hall, and had
to walk in, all seedy and dishevelled from my day’s journey, and sit
down beside the Princess of Wales, with Disraeli on the other side of
me, and sundry lords and ladies round the table. The Prince received me
very kindly, and certainly has most winning and gracious manners. The
Princess seems smaller and thinner than I remember her at Dublin. They
seem to be pleasant and domesticated, with little state and very simple
ways.”

“_7th December 1873._

“Just returned from church, where I preached for twenty-six minutes
(Romans viii. 28). The church is a very small country one close to the
grounds. The house, as I saw it by daylight, is a handsome country
house of red stone with white facings, standing well and looking
quietly comfortable and suitable. I find the company pleasant and
civil, but we are a curious mixture. Two Jews, Sir A. Rothschild
and his daughter; an ex-Jew, Disraeli; a Roman Catholic, Colonel
Higgins; an Italian duchess who is an Englishwoman, and her daughter
brought up as a Roman Catholic and now turning Protestant; a set of
young lords, and a bishop. The Jewess came to church; so did the
half-Protestant young lady. Dizzy did the same, and was profuse in his
praises of my sermon. We are all to lunch together in a few minutes,
the children dining with us. They seem, the two I saw in church, nice,
clever-looking little bodies, and very like their mother.”

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA AND HER SISTER THE EMPRESS ALEXANDER OF
RUSSIA, IN 1873

_From a Photograph by Maull and Fox_]

King Edward and Queen Alexandra represented Queen Victoria at the
marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh and the Grand Duchess Marie of
Russia in January 1874. The English marriage service was performed
by Dean Stanley, who wrote to Queen Victoria an interesting letter
describing the Imperial wedding, in which he mentioned how much he
had been struck, both in the chapel and at the subsequent banquet,
by the singular difference in character and expression of the four
future kings, the Prince of Wales, the Crown Prince of Prussia, the
Cesarewitch, and the Crown Prince of Denmark, who were all present.

On the Sunday following the wedding King Edward and Queen Alexandra
attended the service at the English Church in St. Petersburg, and the
Dean preached on the marriage feast at Cana in Galilee, much the same
sermon which he had preached in the Chapel-Royal at Whitehall on the
Sunday following the marriage of their Majesties. All through this
visit to Russia their Majesties were received with unusual distinction,
and a grand parade of troops was held in honour of King Edward.

King Edward dined in the Middle Temple Hall on Grand Night of Trinity
term in 1874. On this occasion His Majesty humorously expressed the
opinion that it was a good thing for the profession at large, and for
the public in general, that he had never practised at the Bar, for he
could never have been an ornament to it. In saying this his modesty
probably led him astray, for he is a thoughtful and lucid speaker, and
his habits of method and order would certainly have stood him in good
stead if he had been compelled to apply his mind to any profession. His
Majesty was elected a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 1861, and served
the office of Treasurer in the Jubilee year of 1887.

[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA, WITH THE PRINCES ALBERT VICTOR AND
GEORGE, AND THEIR SISTER, PRINCESS VICTORIA

_From the Painting by James Sant, R.A._]

When King Edward and Queen Alexandra were first married they always
gave two great balls at Marlborough House each year--one on the
anniversary of their wedding day, and one at the close of the London
season. But the most splendid entertainment ever given by their
Majesties was the great fancy dress ball in July 1874. Over fourteen
hundred invitations were sent out, and the Royal host and hostess made
no stipulations as to the choice of costume, leaving it to individual
taste. The Queen wore a Venetian dress, and was attended by her two
young sons as pages. The King appeared as Charles I., wearing a costume
exactly copied from the famous Vandyke picture, that is, a maroon satin
and velvet suit, partly covered with a short black velvet cloak, while
the black hat, trimmed with one long white feather, was looped up with
an aigrette of brilliants. He also wore high buff boots, long spurs and
sword, while round his neck hung the Collar of the Garter.

Many of the costumes worn were very interesting and curious. In the
Fairy Tale Quadrille, the Earl of Rosebery, then quite a youth, was
Blue Beard; Mr. Albert (now Earl) Grey, Puss in Boots; and the Duke of
Connaught, the Beast. Lord Charles and Lord Marcus Beresford were a
couple of Court jesters. The only person present who was not in fancy
dress was Benjamin Disraeli, then Prime Minister. He wore the official
dress of a Privy Councillor.

That same year the King and Queen visited Birmingham for the first
time, being received by the then mayor, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who
was at the time credited with being so advanced a Republican that many
fears were expressed that he might behave with scant courtesy to his
Royal guests, and bets were even taken as to whether he would consent
to shake hands with them! However, these prognostications proved
groundless, and it is particularly interesting to recall the comment
which the _Times_ made on the following day:--

“Whatever Mr. Chamberlain’s views may be, his speeches of yesterday
appear to us to have been admirably worthy of the occasion, and to
have done the highest credit to himself. We have heard and chronicled
a great many mayors’ speeches, but we do not know that we ever heard
or chronicled speeches made before Royal personages by mayors, whether
they were Tories or Whigs, or Liberals or Radicals, which were couched
in such a tone at once of courteous homage, manly independence, and
gentlemanly feeling, which were so perfectly becoming and so much the
right thing in every way as those of Mr. Chamberlain.”

On the same day that this appeared in the leading journal, Sir Francis
Knollys wrote to Mr. Chamberlain a most cordial letter, in which he
said:--

“I have received the commands of the Prince and Princess of Wales
to make known through you to the inhabitants of the borough of
Birmingham the satisfaction they derived from their visit to that
town yesterday. They can never forget the reception they met with,
nor the welcome given to them by all classes of the community.… I
may further congratulate you and the other members of the reception
committee on the happy result of their labours. Nothing could have been
more successful, and their Royal Highnesses will ever entertain most
agreeable recollections of their visit to Birmingham.”

In conclusion, Mr. Chamberlain was informed that the King wished to
give £100 to a Birmingham charity, and was asked to state which he
considered to be the most deserving, and at the same time the most in
need of support.

The festivities of the following Christmas were overshadowed by the
death at Sandringham from inflammation of the lungs of Colonel Grey,
who had been for some time a valued member of the Household. It was
with reference to this sad loss that Princess Alice wrote to Queen
Victoria:--“Dear Bertie’s true and constant heart suffers on such
occasions, for he can be constant in friendship, and all who serve him,
serve him with warm attachment.”

In 1875 the death of Canon Kingsley came as a great blow to their
Majesties, who were both fondly attached to the famous writer.



CHAPTER XII

THE KING’S TOUR IN INDIA


[Illustration: THE KING’S INDIAN TOUR, 1875]

Lord Canning, the great Viceroy of India, once told the Prince Consort
how desirable he thought it that the Prince of Wales should, when grown
up, visit Queen Victoria’s Eastern Empire, and later on, those who had
the privilege of the young Prince’s friendship were well aware that an
Indian tour had become one of his most ardent wishes.

But the project of the Heir-Apparent’s visit to India only really took
shape early in 1875, and on 20th March it was publicly announced that
the Prince contemplated this journey, the Marquis of Salisbury, who
was then Secretary of State for India, making an official announcement
to the Council of India of the intended event. The Council passed a
resolution that the expenditure actually incurred in India should be
charged on the revenues of that country.

Curiously enough, a great deal of hostile feeling was aroused by the
announcement of this Royal tour. On 17th July a great meeting was held
in Hyde Park to protest against the grant of money which was then being
sanctioned by Parliament to defray the expenses of the journey. Many
people went so far as to declare that they would have acquiesced in
the passing of the vote had the Heir-Apparent’s visit to his mother’s
Eastern dominions been a “State visit” instead of a mere “pleasure
trip.” And yet it need hardly be pointed out that, greatly as King
Edward looked forward to his tour, the journey was likely to prove
anything but a mere “pleasure trip” to India’s Royal visitor. He and
those about him well knew that from the moment he landed at Bombay
till the day he left India he would not only constantly remain _en
évidence_, but he also expected to conciliate the many different races
with which he was going to be brought in contact when passing through
the various Indian States.

There were many points to be considered about the tour. The rules
and regulations which had sufficed for the Prince in Canada and the
Colonies were inapplicable to India. One notable feature of Oriental
manners is the exchange of presents between visitors and hosts, and it
was early arranged that King Edward’s luggage should contain £40,000
worth of presents to be distributed among the great feudatory and other
potentates who would have the honour of entertaining or at any rate of
meeting him.

It was also arranged that he was to be the guest of the Viceroy, Lord
Northbrook, from the moment he landed on Indian soil; and, roughly
speaking, it was estimated that the expenses of the reception alone
would probably come to about £30,000. The estimate made by the
Admiralty for the expenses of the voyage to and from India, and the
movements of the fleet in connection with the Royal visit, came to
£52,000; while for the personal expenses of the visit a vote of £60,000
was included in the estimate submitted to the House of Commons when
in Committee of Supply. However, here again this suggestion did not
meet with universal approval when the necessary resolution was brought
forward in the House. Mr. Fawcett, afterwards Postmaster-General,
raised a discussion, basing his objections to the vote partly on
sentimental and partly on economic grounds. However, he only found
thirty-three members to agree with him, and the vote was passed. During
the debate, Mr. Disraeli, who was then Prime Minister, drew a very
remarkable picture of the extraordinary pomp and circumstance with
which King Edward was about to be surrounded.

It was felt better that he should go as Heir-Apparent of the Crown,
and not as the representative of Her Majesty, but, as might have been
expected, these fine distinctions were not understood in India, and
he was expected to do just as much as he would have done in a more
directly official capacity.

Before starting on his tour he thoroughly studied the subject of
India and her peoples, and he even made himself acquainted with the
peculiarities of every one of the large Indian cities where he would be
expected to receive and answer addresses.

The question of the suite was, as may be imagined, very important. It
was early decided that Sir Bartle Frere, whose name was familiar to
millions of the inhabitants of India, should accompany King Edward,
and the Duke of Sutherland was also asked to join the party. Of his
private friends, the Earl of Aylesford, Lord (now Earl) Carrington,
Colonel (now General) Owen Williams, and Lieutenant (now Admiral) Lord
Charles Beresford, also accepted an invitation to be of the party.
Then came the official Household, consisting of Lord Suffield; Colonel
Ellis, the Prince’s equerry, to whom was confided the delicate question
of the giving and receiving of presents; General (now Sir Dighton)
Probyn, to whom were left the arrangements for horses, travelling,
and shooting parties; and Mr. (now Sir Francis) Knollys, the Prince’s
private secretary. Canon Duckworth went as chaplain, and Dr. (now Sir
Joseph) Fayrer as medical man. Mr. Albert Grey (now Earl Grey) went as
private secretary to Sir Bartle Frere, Mr. S. P. Hall accompanied the
party in order to sketch the incidents of the tour, while Lord Alfred
Paget was specially commissioned by Queen Victoria to join the suite.
Dr. W. H. (now Sir William) Russell, the famous war correspondent, who
was temporarily attached to the suite as honorary private secretary,
wrote on his return a very interesting account of the tour, entitled
“The Prince of Wales’s Tour in India,” which has remained the standard
authority on the subject.

On the day that King Edward left Sandringham, amid many demonstrations
of goodwill and wishings of God-speed from his country neighbours, he
presented his Consort with a team of Corsican ponies and a miniature
drag. He spent the last few days of his stay in England with Queen
Alexandra and their children at Marlborough House. On the Sunday before
his departure they were all present at divine service in Westminster
Abbey, and the next day the King went to say good-bye to his old friend
Dean Stanley, who, in a letter to an intimate correspondent, gave the
following vivid description of the visit:--

“On the Sunday night we had a message to say that the Prince and
Princess of Wales would come to take leave of us at 3.30 P.M. the next
day. They came about 4 P.M., having been detained by the members of the
family coming to Marlborough House.

“They brought all the five children, wishing, the Prince said, to have
them all with him as long as possible.

“They all came up, and remained about twenty minutes. Fanny was in the
back library, and the children, after being for a few minutes with
Augusta, who was delighted to see them, went to her.

“The Prince and Princess remained with Augusta and me. A. talked with
all her usual animation. They were both extremely kind. The Princess
looked inexpressibly sad. There was nothing much said of interest,
chiefly talking of the voyage, etc. As I took him downstairs, he spoke
of the dangers--but calmly and rationally, saying that, of course the
precautions must be left to those about him. I said to him, ‘I gave you
my parting benediction in the Abbey yesterday.’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I
saw it. Thank you.’

“Later on in the evening Augusta wished me to telegraph our renewed
thanks and renewed good wishes to the _Castalia_ at Dover. I did so,
and at 11 P.M. there came back a telegram from him: ‘Many thanks for
your kind message. God bless both of you! Just off for Calais!’”

King Edward started from London on 11th October, immense popular
interest being taken in the event. Huge crowds assembled long before
the departure of the special train from Charing Cross, and the King
and Queen Alexandra were wildly cheered. The Queen accompanied her
husband as far as Calais, and then the King travelled across the
Continent _incognito_, meeting his suite, who had started a few days
previously, at Brindisi.

[Illustration: EMBARKATION ON BOARD THE “SERAPIS” AT BRINDISI]

The eventful journey was made in the _Serapis_, one of the old large
Indian troopships, and the voyage was very successful from every point
of view. The Royal party spent a few days at Athens, where the King was
entertained by his brother-in-law, the King of Greece, to whom he had
brought a number of gifts from Sandringham, including an Alderney bull
and cow, a ram and sheep, several British pigs, and a number of horses.

From the Piræus the _Serapis_ proceeded to Egypt, and King Edward
invested Prince Tewfik, the Khedive’s eldest son, with the Order of the
Star of India.

As the _Serapis_ steamed onwards the various programmes of the Royal
progress through India were submitted to the King, and even the
addresses which were to be presented to him were shown and his answers
were carefully prepared; in fact, before he left Aden, His Majesty knew
with what words the Corporation of Bombay, for instance, would receive
him.

As may be easily imagined, all India was by now in a ferment of
excitement, and the official world were very much concerned at the
immense responsibility placed upon them by the mother-country. Four
officers, of whom two had obtained the Victoria Cross, were carefully
selected and commissioned to look after the comfort and the safety
of the King and of his suite, Major Bradford (afterwards Sir E. R.
C. Bradford, Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police) being
entrusted with the responsible task of attending to the safety of the
Royal visitor’s own person.

The question as to how King Edward was to make his first appearance
in Bombay was keenly discussed, and at one time it was thought that
splendidly caparisoned elephants would form the most fitting mode of
transport from the landing-stage to Government House, but finally the
party went in carriages. Among the cargo of the _Serapis_ were three
valuable horses, specially chosen from the Marlborough House stables,
which had been regularly taken to the Zoo, in order to be accustomed
to the sight of the wild beasts and reptiles which they were likely to
meet with in India.

At last it was noised abroad that the _Serapis_ had been sighted, and
the Viceroy, Lord Northbrook (afterwards Earl of Northbrook), went
out to meet King Edward, returning to Bombay in order to receive him
on landing. There was a good deal of discreet curiosity as to which
of them would give precedence to the other, for of course the Viceroy
represents Her Majesty, and so was entitled to take precedence, but
Lord Northbrook, with considerable tact, unobtrusively gave his Royal
guest the first place.

The moment the King emerged from the dockyard a salute was fired, and
at every station in India, whether important or obscure, the signal was
given by telegraph for a Royal salute wherever there were guns to fire
it.

While actually in Bombay King Edward and his suite became the guests
of the Governor, Sir Philip Woodhouse, and it was there that two days
after his arrival in India the King celebrated his thirty-fourth
birthday, the first object which met his eyes in the morning being a
charming portrait of Queen Alexandra, who had specially entrusted it to
Sir Bartle Frere. On this eventful day the glories and the fatigues of
the King’s Indian tour may be said to have begun.

The Royal birthday was duly honoured all over Hindustan at noon, and
although the heat, even at 8 A.M., had been very considerable, the King
was compelled to hold a great reception in full dress, that is to say,
in a uniform of English cloth loaded with lace and buttoned up to the
throat. The scene was very impressive. The King during the reception
was seated on a silver throne, and everything was done to invest the
affair with the greatest pomp and circumstance. His suite all stood
round him in full uniform; behind the throne was a portrait of Queen
Victoria; and although the King was not supposed to hold durbars, the
ceremony being simply styled a private visit or reception, it was
in every way as impressive and remarkable as if it had carried full
official significance.

An immense number of native Princes and Rajahs paid their respects in
person to their future Sovereign. The first potentate to be presented
was the Rajah of Kholapur, a child of twelve years old, the ruler of
nearly a million people. The little Rajah was attired in purple velvet
and white muslin encrusted with gems, his turban containing a King’s
ransom of pearls and rubies. In spite of his extreme youth the Indian
Prince remained perfectly serious, and went through the somewhat
complicated ceremonies with absolute self-possession.

After the last Rajah had departed, King Edward had a long talk with
the Viceroy, and then made his way to the _Serapis_, where he had the
pleasure of seeing the crew enjoying the birthday dinner provided by
himself. He also cut a birthday cake, and looked over the telegrams
just received from Sandringham. That same evening was held a great
reception, to which naturally the British officials and residents came
in great force.

The next few days were also equally well filled. King Edward had to
pay elaborate return visits to the chiefs and Rajahs who had attended
his reception, and it was then that he was enabled to show his tact
and the extraordinary knowledge he had acquired of their complicated
ranks and genealogies; indeed, he greatly pleased several important
Rajahs by showing that he had heard of the antiquity of their families,
and by graciously alluding to the gallant deeds of their ancestors.
The British people of Bombay had organised a great dinner for the
sailors of the fleet, and, much to their gratification, the King
consented to attend the banquet. Not content with a mere formal glance
at the proceedings, he mounted a plank, and with a glass in his hand,
exclaimed to the delighted men, of whom there were over two thousand
present, “My lads, I am glad to meet you all. I drink your good health,
and a happy voyage home.”

King Edward took the opportunity of laying the foundation-stone of the
Elphinstone Docks, the ceremony being carried out with Masonic honours,
and it was considered very interesting and significant that among
members of the craft present were Parsees, Mahomedans, and Hindus.

During the month of November the King visited Poona, where he held a
review, and visited the Court of the Gaikwar of Baroda. There a fine
elephant was prepared for his use. The animal was of extraordinary
size, and the howdah on which the King rode was said to have cost four
lakhs of rupees. He held a reception at the Residency, and had his
first sight of Indian sport, for he attended a cheetah hunt, himself
killing a fine buck, and much enjoying his day’s sport. About the same
time he also joined a pig-sticking expedition, a very popular Indian
sport, and at last, to his great satisfaction, had the opportunity of
“getting his spear,” in other words, of killing a wild boar.

Then, returning to Bombay, the Royal party once more took up their
quarters on the _Serapis_, where the King spent Queen Alexandra’s
birthday. From Bombay he found time to visit the Portuguese settlement
of Goa, and thence went on to Ceylon, where he inspected a tea
plantation, and where the peepul planted by him in commemoration of his
visit is still proudly shown to the ubiquitous globe-trotter.

At Madras the King had a splendid reception, spending, however, 14th
December, the anniversary of his father’s death, in retirement at
Guindy Park, the country seat of the Governor, eight miles from the
city.

Christmas Day was spent in Calcutta, where an immense programme was
gone through, including a considerable number of public ceremonies,
the holding of audiences, and last, but not least, a _levée_, at which
both natives and Europeans were present. After the King and the Viceroy
had attended divine service in the Cathedral, His Majesty entertained
a large party at lunch in the _Serapis_. His health was drunk with
Highland honours, and many messages were exchanged between himself and
“home.” On the afternoon of the same day the Royal party drove out to
the Viceregal Lodge at Barrackpur.

The most important ceremony attended by King Edward in India, namely,
a Chapter of the Order of the Star of India, at which he acted as High
Commissioner for his Royal mother, was held on New Year’s Day 1876.
His Majesty wore a field-marshal’s uniform, almost concealed beneath
the folds of his sky-blue satin mantle, the train of which was carried
by two naval cadets, who wore cocked hats over their powdered wigs,
blue satin cloaks, trunk hose, and shoes with rosettes. The Chapter
tent was carpeted with cloth of gold with the Royal Arms emblazoned in
the centre. An immense number of the Companions of the Order attended,
forming a most impressive procession, walking two and two, one half
native and the other European. The Begum of Bhopal, the first Knight
Grand Commander, had a procession all to herself. She was veiled and
swathed in brocades and silks, over which was folded the light blue
satin robe of the Order.

The King took his seat on the daïs, and after the roll of the Order
had been read, each member standing up as his name was called, the
Chapter was declared open, and His Majesty directed the investiture
to proceed. Never had such a gathering been seen in India. Among
those present were Lord Napier of Magdala, “Political” Maitland, the
Maharajah of Kashmir, and the Rajah of Patiala, who wore the great
Sancy diamond in his turban.

As each investiture took place, seventeen guns were fired, and the
secretary proclaimed aloud the titles of the newly-made Knight
Grand Commander or Companion as the case might be. The pageant was
incomparably splendid, the close of the ceremony being quite as fine
as the beginning, for the Knights Grand Cross, the Knights Grand
Commanders, and the Companions all formed once more in a procession in
the reverse order of their entry.

At the close of the King’s visit to Calcutta he began his journeys by
rail. At Benares he visited the famous Temples, and the Golden Pool,
going from thence by steamer to the old port of Rammagar, where he and
his suite were splendidly received by the Maharajah, who presented him
with some very costly shawls and brocades, together with what is to an
Indian the very highest proof of regard, namely his own walking-stick,
a thick staff mounted with gold.

At Lucknow the King laid the foundation-stone of a memorial to the
natives who fell in the defence of the Residency. On this occasion he
took the opportunity of paying a well-deserved tribute to the faithful
soldiers of the native army. Some of the veterans were presented to
him, and they were not allowed to be hurried by, ragged, squalid, or
unclean; indeed, His Majesty insisted on exchanging a few words with
several of them.

While at Lucknow he took part in a pig-sticking expedition, at which
Lord Carrington’s left collar-bone was broken, and curiously enough,
Lord Napier of Magdala met with a precisely similar accident on the
same day.

[Illustration: THE KING’S VISIT TO THE CAWNPORE MEMORIAL]

From Delhi the King proceeded to Cawnpore, a spot he had been extremely
anxious to visit, in common with many less illustrious tourists. His
Majesty, after a drive to the site of the old cantonments, where the
heroic defence took place, made his way to the Memorial Church, where
he stopped close to the gateway which no native may pass through. There
he alighted, and, with signs of deep emotion, walked to the spot which
marks the place of the fatal well. There was deep silence as he read
aloud in a low voice the touching words, “To the memory of a great
company of Christian people, principally women and children, who were
cruelly slaughtered here.”

On returning to Delhi the King held a _levée_, attended by hundreds of
British officers, at the close of which several notabilities of the
native army were presented. The next day a great review was held, Lord
Napier of Magdala entertaining His Majesty at his own camp. Delhi was
illuminated, and no trouble was spared in showing what was once the
capital city of India to the Royal visitor.

Some interesting hours were spent at Agra, where the King went to see
the Taj illuminated, the beautiful marble “Queen of Sorrow” erected by
the Shah Jehan in memory of his much-loved wife, Moomtaz i Mahul, who
died at the birth of her eighth child. The King was so greatly charmed
with the beauty of the Taj, lit up by myriad lights, that he would not
return to the city till nearly midnight. All through the journeys and
expeditions which immediately followed, His Majesty could not forget
what he had seen, and before finally leaving the district he paid one
more visit to the famous tomb, seeing it this time not illuminated, but
by the beautiful full Indian moonlight.

The King shot his first tiger on 5th February in the neighbourhood
of Jeypur, but it was by no means the last, for it is recorded that
he shot six tigers in one day when hunting in Nepaul with Sir Jung
Bahadur. Then he returned through Lucknow, Cawnpore, and Allahabad.
At Jubbulpur His Majesty went through the prison, and had some talk
with seven Thugs who had been thirty-five years in confinement, and
whose life in the first instance had only been spared because they had
turned Queen’s evidence. The King questioned them as to their hideous
trade, and one man, a villainous-looking individual, answered proudly,
in reply to the question as to how many people he had murdered,
“Sixty-seven.”

King Edward and his suite left Bombay for home on 13th March, just
seventeen weeks after the _Serapis_ had first dropped anchor in Bombay
harbour. During those four months he had travelled close on 8000 miles
by land and 2500 miles by sea, and during that time he had become
acquainted with more Rajahs than had all the Viceroys who had ever
reigned over India, and he had seen more of the country than had any
living Englishman.

The intelligence that Queen Victoria was about to assume the title of
Empress of India had become known before the _Serapis_ left Bombay, and
caused her son great gratification. Curiously enough, the King met Lord
Lytton, who was on his way out to Hindustan to succeed Lord Northbrook
as Viceroy, when the _Serapis_ was going through the Suez Canal.

The Royal party spent five days in Egypt. By 6th April Malta was in
sight, and the King was received there with great enthusiasm, as was
also the case at Gibraltar, where he had the pleasure of meeting his
brother, the Duke of Connaught. From there the _Serapis_ proceeded by
easy stages round Spain, the King taking the opportunity of visiting
Seville, Cordova, Madrid, the Escurial, Lisbon, and Cintra. At Madrid
King Alfonso came to meet the King at the station, and they drove
together to the Palace, going from there to Toledo in order that the
Royal visitor might inspect the famous manufactory of Toledo blades.

As the _Serapis_ anchored near Yarmouth the King was informed that
Queen Alexandra and the Royal children had come to meet him on board
the _Enchantress_. He immediately went on board their ship, bringing
Her Majesty and their children back with him a little later on board
the _Serapis_.

It need hardly be pointed out that King Edward received a very
remarkable number of gifts during his tour in India. The cost of a gift
made to him by a native Prince was supposed to be strictly limited to
£2000 in value, but in many cases this restriction was evaded by the
present being priced at a nominal sum, the real value being anything
from £5000 to £30,000. As an actual fact the splendid collection
brought home by His Majesty, which is his own personal property, is
said to be worth half a million sterling.

Some time after his return home the King kindly allowed his Indian
gifts to be exhibited to the public. They were afterwards distributed
between Marlborough House and Sandringham, a considerable portion of
them finding a resting-place in the Indian room of Marlborough House.
There also were carefully stored away in solid silver cylinders all the
addresses received by the King during his eventful Indian tour.

King Edward, who takes the very keenest interest in live animals,
brought back quite a menagerie with him from India, and the quarters in
the _Serapis_ assigned to his pets was for the time being a veritable
Zoo, for there were tigers, elephants, ostriches, leopards, birds,
ponies, cattle, monkeys, dogs and horses, some of which spent a
peaceful old age at Sandringham.

There can be no doubt that from a political point of view the tour was
a great success, doing much indirectly to consolidate the British power
in India. It is also a curious commentary on the objections raised by
the economy party to the visit that no less a sum than £250,000 was
spent in London alone by native Princes in buying presents for His
Majesty.

The principal incident of the voyage home had been a farewell dinner
given by the officers of the _Serapis_ to the King and his suite when
the vessel was nearing harbour.

The table was laid for forty on the main deck (called the Windsor Long
Walk), which was decorated with flags, trophies of arms, and ornaments.
After Queen Victoria had been duly honoured, Captain Glyn proposed King
Edward’s health, and begged him to accept an album as a keepsake from
himself and his officers. It contained, besides a large photograph
of every officer, photographed groups of the men and the Guard of
Honour, views of different parts of the ship, and photographs of a few
favourite animals.

The real popularity of the King’s visit to India was significantly
proved by the popular demonstrations which awaited him on his return.
Enthusiastic greetings of welcome hailed him in the evening both
at Victoria Station and in his drive round by Grosvenor Place,
Piccadilly, and St. James’s Street to meet the Queen at Buckingham
Palace. The appearance of the King and Queen at the Royal Italian
Opera in the evening, within two hours of their reaching home, was a
particularly graceful act of consideration. Nothing could surpass the
enthusiasm with which they were greeted when they were seen in the
Royal box.

[Illustration: THE KING IN 1876

_From a Drawing by Sargent_]

During the days that followed, their Majesties received congratulatory
visits from all the members of the Royal Family then in England, and
from many distinguished personages. On the Sunday after his return,
King Edward, accompanied by his Consort, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the
Duke of Connaught, attended divine service at Westminster Abbey in the
afternoon, when special thanksgivings were offered up for His Majesty’s
safe return from India.

Soon afterwards the King was entertained at a banquet and ball given
by the Corporation of the City of London at the Guildhall. The
temporary building erected for this brilliant assembly, to which over
five thousand were invited, occupied the whole of Guildhall Yard. The
reception hall was on the basement floor, the ballroom being built
above it, and was beautifully decorated and draped with Oriental
hangings. A daïs had been erected for their Majesties; and the scene
is described as a combination of quaintly mediæval magnificence with
modern luxury and elegance. The reception ceremony took place in the
new library of the Guildhall, where an address of welcome, in a golden
casket of Indian design, was presented to the King by the Lord Mayor.
His Majesty, in a brief reply, said that it was his highest reward and
his greatest pride to have received from the citizens of London and his
countrymen such a welcome at the termination of a visit which had been
undertaken with the view to strengthening the ties that bound India to
our common country. The invitation tickets for this brilliant function
were both beautiful and appropriate, the Star of India and the Taj
Mahal at Agra figuring prominently in the design.

Among the other entertainments given in honour of the King’s return
may be mentioned a concert at the Albert Hall. King Edward and Queen
Alexandra on their arrival were received by a Guard of Honour of 120
bluejackets from the _Serapis_, the _Raleigh_, and the _Osborne_, under
the command of Captain Carr Glyn, and in the vestibule were all the
Council of the Albert Hall, wearing the Windsor uniform. At their head
was the Duke of Edinburgh in naval uniform. The vast hall was crowded
with a distinguished audience.



CHAPTER XIII

QUIET YEARS OF PUBLIC WORK, 1876-1887--VISIT TO IRELAND--QUEEN
VICTORIA’S GOLDEN JUBILEE


The year 1876 was marked, in addition to King Edward’s return from
India, by a curious example of His Majesty’s tact and courage. He
consented to preside at the special Jubilee Festival of the Licensed
Victuallers’ Asylum, and this action aroused an extraordinary amount of
feeling in temperance circles. Before the day of the festival he had
received more than 200 petitions from all over the kingdom begging him
to withdraw his consent. His Majesty, however, attended the festival,
and in his speech pointedly referred to his critics, observing that he
was there, not to encourage the consumption of alcoholic liquors, but
to support an excellent charity, which had enjoyed the patronage of his
honoured father.

It is interesting to note the manner in which King Edward always
refers to his father, with whom he undoubtedly has far more in common
than is generally supposed. Perhaps the most conspicuous taste shared
by the father and the son is a really keen and personal interest
in exhibitions of all kinds. This was probably first realised by
those about him twenty years ago, when the King accepted the onerous
duties of Executive President of the British Commission of the Paris
Exhibition of 1878. He threw himself with ardour into this work almost
immediately after his return from India, and during a short visit which
he paid to France in that spring he received a considerable number of
official personages connected with the approaching exhibition.

The King, accompanied by Queen Alexandra, unveiled in the following
July a statue of Alfred the Great at Wantage, the birthplace of
the famous King. The statue was the gift of Colonel Lloyd-Lindsay
(afterwards Lord Wantage), the sculptor being Count Gleichen (Prince
Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg). King Edward is a lineal descendant of
King Alfred by the intermarriage of the Saxon with the Norman reigning
houses in the eleventh century, and it was most appropriate that he
should have been invited to perform the ceremony.

In January 1878 King Edward, accompanied by Prince Louis Napoleon,
visited the late Duke of Hamilton at Hamilton Palace, in Lanarkshire.
The Crown Prince of Austria was also a guest of the Duke at the time.
The King greatly enjoyed this visit to the premier Peer of Scotland,
who is of the ancient lineage of Scottish Royalty. The Royal visitors
enjoyed some excellent sport in the historic Cadzow Forest--_Cadyow_
having been granted by King Robert the Bruce after the battle of
Bannockburn to Sir Gilbert Hamilton, the ancestor of the present Duke.
Here still remain the few old oaks of the once great Caledonian Forest,
immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in his ballad of “Cadyow Castle”; and
here are also the wild white bulls of the same breed as preserved at
Chillingham, and the famous Cadzow herd of wild cattle.

This year of 1878, so brilliant in Paris, brought to the British Royal
family a bereavement which can only be compared for its suddenness and
bitterness with the death of the Prince Consort. The Grand Duchess of
Hesse (Princess Alice), after nursing her children through a malignant
diphtheria, herself fell a victim to the same dread disease on the
very anniversary of her father’s death. The blow fell with peculiar
severity on the King and Queen Alexandra, with whom Princess Alice had
been united in the bonds of the closest affection, especially since the
King’s illness, in which she had proved herself so devoted a nurse. The
link between the Royal brother and sister is significantly shown by
the fact that Princess Alice never visited England without paying long
visits at Sandringham or at Marlborough House. The King was one of the
chief mourners at the funeral in Darmstadt.

[Illustration: THE KING IN 1879

_From a Portrait by Angeli, published by Henry Graves and Co._]

After this blow the King and Queen naturally remained for some
months in the deepest retirement. A new grief was, however, in store
for them--the tragic death in the following June of the young Prince
Imperial, in whose career the King had always taken a warm and almost
paternal interest. His Majesty was among the very first in this country
to be informed of the terrible news, and he was of the greatest
assistance to the stricken Empress Eugénie in making the complicated
arrangements for the funeral. His active sympathy, and the announcement
that the heir to the British Crown intended to be the principal
pall-bearer of Napoleon III.’s ill-fated son, aroused much comment on
the Continent, and gave great satisfaction to Frenchmen of all shades
of political opinion. On a beautiful wreath of violets which was sent
from Marlborough House for the funeral at Chislehurst were the words,
written in Queen Alexandra’s own hand:--

    “A token of affection and regard for him who lived the most
    spotless of lives and died a soldier’s death fighting for our
    cause in Zululand.

                  “From ALBERT EDWARD and ALEXANDRA,
                            July 12, 1879.”

The King strongly supported the movement for erecting a memorial to
the Prince Imperial in Westminster Abbey, and subscribed £130 to the
fund which was raised for that object. The opposition to the scheme
was, however, so strong that it fell to the ground. That the King’s
feelings were not modified in any way is shown by the fact that early
in January 1883, His Majesty, accompanied by his two sons, Prince
Albert Victor and Prince George, with the Duke of Edinburgh and the
Duke of Cambridge, unveiled a monument to the Prince Imperial at
Woolwich. This “United Service Memorial” was erected by a subscription
raised throughout all ranks of the Army, Navy, Royal Marines, Militia,
Yeomanry, and Volunteers, and Count Gleichen was the sculptor. The
King, in a speech at the unveiling, commended the virtues, the
blameless life, the courage, and obedience to orders manifested by
the young Prince, as a bright example to the young men entering the
Military Academy, and remarked that it was only a natural impulse which
prompted his desire to join his English comrades in the war in South
Africa, in which he fell fighting for the Queen of England.

In view of Princess Louise’s subsequent marriage it is interesting
to record that in the autumn of 1880 the King, accompanied by Prince
Leopold and Prince John of Glucksburg, visited the Earl of Fife at Mar
Lodge. On the evening of their arrival Lord Fife gave a grand ball,
at which his distinguished visitors were present. The entertainment
included a torchlight procession and dance by the Duff Highlanders. The
party also enjoyed some deer-stalking in the Forest of Mar.

An incident worth recording occurred in January 1881, during a visit of
the King and Queen to Normanton Park. Queen Alexandra drove with Lady
Aveland to Oakham, and paid a visit to the ancient castle, on the inner
walls of which are nailed numerous horse-shoes, the gift, or rather
the toll, of various Royal and noble personages. A large horse-shoe of
steel, perfect in shape and of elegant workmanship, had been made for
the Queen to offer. Her Majesty examined the other horse-shoes in the
Castle hall, and chose the position in which she desired her toll to
be affixed, namely, over a large one supposed to have been the gift
of Queen Elizabeth. The Queen greatly enjoyed following this ancient
custom, a mark of territorial power possessed for many centuries by the
Ferrers family, a shoe from the horse of every princely traveller who
passed that way being a tax due to the Ferrers or Farriers. Among the
horse-shoes specially noticed by Queen Alexandra were one contributed
by Queen Victoria before her accession, on 2nd September 1833; another
by the Duchess of Kent on the same date; also one offered by the Prince
Regent, afterwards George IV., on 7th January 1814.

It was in this year that the King had an opportunity of exhibiting in a
public manner his strong interest in the British Colonies, the welfare
of which was not then so much a matter of concern in the eyes of our
statesmen as it is now. The occasion was a dinner given to the members
of the Colonial Institute by the then Lord Mayor, Sir George MacArthur,
himself an old colonist. An extraordinary number of distinguished
men connected in various ways, official and other, with our colonies
were present. In his speech the King pointed out that no function of
the kind had ever taken place before--a statement which seems hardly
credible nowadays, thanks in a great measure to His Majesty’s own
unwearied exertions in the interests of our colonial empire. The King
also alluded to his Canadian tour, and took the opportunity of paying
a graceful compliment to his friend Sir John Macdonald, the Canadian
statesman, who was present.

[Illustration: THE KING IN 1882

_From the Painting by H. J. Brooks, published by Henry Graves and Co._]

Very shortly after this dinner the King attended as patron the first
meeting ever held in this country of the International Medical Congress.

King Edward was deeply grieved at the death of Dean Stanley, with whom,
as we have seen, he had been on terms of close intimacy. At a meeting
held in the Chapter-House of Westminster Abbey, His Majesty paid a
touching and eloquent tribute to his dead friend’s rare qualities, both
of heart and intellect.

Generally speaking, this period of the King’s life was not very
eventful. His children were still quite young, and his public
appearances, though tolerably frequent, did not usually possess
more than a local importance. There were, however, some conspicuous
exceptions, which broke the even current of his life. For example,
it would be difficult to overestimate the value of the work which
His Majesty did in promoting the International Fisheries Exhibition
in 1883, which was visited by nearly three million people, and may
be said to have been the first introduction into London of open-air
entertainment on a large scale. Moreover, it resulted in a clear profit
of £15,000, of which two-thirds was devoted to the relief of the orphan
families of fishermen.

The success of the Fisheries suggested to the King the idea of another
exhibition concerned with health and hygiene, which was held in 1884,
and was nicknamed the “Healtheries.” Not long before it was opened the
King and Queen Alexandra suffered a great bereavement in the death
of the Duke of Albany, to whom their Majesties had always been very
much attached. He died quite suddenly in the south of France on 28th
March, and the King instantly started for the Riviera and brought his
brother’s remains back to Windsor. In the following July His Majesty,
presiding at the festival of the Railway Guards’ Friendly Society, took
the opportunity of his first appearance at a public dinner to express
in the name of Queen Victoria and the Royal Family their thanks for the
public sympathy shown on the death of the Duke of Albany.

In August of this year was celebrated the jubilee of the abolition
of slavery throughout the British dominions. The King attended a
meeting at the Mansion-House and delivered a long and elaborate speech,
evidently the result of much painstaking study, in which he reviewed
the whole history of the anti-slavery movement.

The news of the fall of Khartoum came as a terrible shock to the King,
who had long watched with increasing interest the career of General
Gordon. Indeed, General Gordon had always been one of His Majesty’s
great heroes, and it was chiefly owing to His Majesty’s initiative that
a fund was established for providing a national memorial to the hero
of Khartoum. At the first meeting of the committee the King made a
touching speech, in which he said of Gordon--

“His career as a soldier, as a philanthropist, and as a Christian is
a matter of history.… Many would wish for some fine statue, some fine
monument, but we who know what Gordon was feel convinced that were
he living nothing would be more distasteful personally than that any
memorial should be erected in the shape of a statue or of any great
monument. His tastes were so simple and we all know he was anxious that
his name should not be brought prominently before the public, though in
every act of his life that name was brought, I am inclined to think,
as prominently before the nation as that of any soldier or any great
Englishman whom we know of at the present time.”

It is well known that it was His Majesty’s suggestion that a hospital
and sanatorium should be founded in Egypt open to persons of all
nationalities. Queen Alexandra was present at the special service held
in St. Paul’s on 13th March, the day of public mourning for the loss of
General Gordon.

Three days later the King, accompanied by his eldest son, presided at a
meeting of the Royal Colonial Institute, and spoke of the personal as
well as of the political interest he took in everything that concerned
the colonies. On the next day Prince Albert Victor was initiated as a
Freemason in the presence of a large and most distinguished company,
his father receiving the Royal apprentice in his quality of Worshipful
Master of the Royal Alpha Lodge. On the following day the King, Prince
Albert Victor, and the Duke of Edinburgh went to Berlin to congratulate
the aged Emperor William on his eighty-eighth birthday.

It had been decided, not without the most anxious consideration, that
the King and Queen, accompanied by their elder son, should pay a visit
to Ireland. The announcement was received with the greatest excitement
both in Ireland and in America.

_United Ireland_, the chief organ of the Nationalist party, then edited
by Mr. William O’Brien, and said to be largely written by Mr. T. M.
Healy, brought out a special number devoted entirely to expressions of
opinion from eminent Irishmen of all kinds on the Royal visit. Every
Nationalist Member of Parliament, every prominent ecclesiastic, in a
word, every Irishman of conspicuous Nationalist views, was invited to
say what he thought of the forthcoming visit. The answers filled a
copious supplement, and their tenour was one of unanimous disapproval,
expressed in some cases strongly, and in others in terms of studied
moderation. Almost all the letters agreed in counselling an attitude
of absolute indifference to the visit, but abstention from any kind of
display of hostility to the King himself was insisted on; and it was
openly said that the part which he was playing in this pageant was a
more or less passive one. This, perhaps, showed more than anything else
that has occurred during His Majesty’s life the personal liking and
respect in which he is held.

It may be added that when the King and Queen arrived early in April
1885, the Nationalist party made no sign, but, as there was naturally
a great display of rejoicing on the part of the Anti-nationalist
citizens, the Press, perhaps unfortunately, chose to regard this
reception as a proof that the Home Rulers were wholly discredited. The
Nationalist leaders therefore made up their minds that it was necessary
to make some protest against the Royal progress as an answer to these
taunts, and accordingly, from Mallow till the Royal party left Ireland,
they were the victims of some very unpleasing demonstrations, and at
Cork collisions occurred between the police and the mob, though no
serious injuries were reported on either side.

Perhaps the most interesting event of the tour was when, after laying
the foundation-stone of the New Science and Art Museum and National
Library of Ireland in Dublin on 10th April, their Majesties attended
the Royal University of Ireland, and the degree of Doctor of Laws was
conferred on the King, and that of Doctor of Music on Queen Alexandra.
Her Majesty has always been passionately fond of music, and the
distinction gave her special gratification.

The Colonial and Indian Exhibition, called for short the “Colinderies,”
may be said to have been the most successful of all those with which
the King was intimately associated. It was opened by Queen Victoria
on 4th May 1886, and Her Majesty was received by the King, and Queen
Alexandra, His Majesty conducting his mother to the daïs. In the Royal
Albert Hall, where the opening ceremony took place, everything was
done to make the scene as impressive and interesting as possible; and
at the special desire of the King, Lord Tennyson wrote an Ode for the
occasion, which was set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan and sung by
Madame Albani in the choir. This exhibition resulted in a net surplus
of £35,000.

In September some correspondence between King Edward and the Lord
Mayor, suggesting the establishment of a Colonial and Indian Institute
to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee, was published, and excited a
great deal of interest both at home and in the Colonies. A public
subscription was opened at the Mansion-House; and later in the same
month His Majesty, having been informed that a movement was on foot
to present him with a testimonial in recognition of his services in
connection with the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, wrote to request
that any fund subscribed might be devoted to the furtherance of the
Imperial Institute, and a great deal of his time that autumn was
dedicated to this scheme.

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA IN HER ROBES AS DOCTOR OF MUSIC

_From a Photograph by Chancellor, Dublin_]

The King in 1886 also gave his patronage to two great engineering
achievements, by opening the Mersey Tunnel and by laying the first
stone of the Tower Bridge. It is interesting to note in this connection
that His Majesty has long been an honorary member of the Institution of
Civil Engineers, and when he attended their annual dinner in the same
year, he made an amusing speech, in which he attempted to picture what
sort of a world ours would be without engineers.

One of the busiest years ever spent by the King and Queen Alexandra
was 1887, when Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee was celebrated. To
His Majesty was left the responsibility of a great number of the
arrangements, and on him fell almost entirely the reception and
entertainment of the foreign Royal personages who attended the splendid
ceremony in the Abbey as Queen Victoria’s guests. In many cases the
King was obliged to welcome in person the Royal visitor to London,
and he was indefatigable in his efforts to make everything go off as
smoothly and successfully as possible, while it need hardly be said
that he took a very prominent part next to Queen Victoria in all the
Jubilee functions.

It was in this year that His Majesty was appointed Honorary Admiral
of the Fleet, a distinction which gave him much gratification, for it
was his first definite official link with the sea service which he had
selected as the profession of his younger son, and in which his elder
son had received an early training--a link which was destined to be
still further strengthened after His Majesty’s accession, as will be
related hereafter.



CHAPTER XIV

SILVER WEDDING OF KING EDWARD AND QUEEN ALEXANDRA--ENGAGEMENT AND
MARRIAGE OF PRINCESS LOUISE


Considerable preparations were made early in 1888 for the Silver
Wedding of King Edward and Queen Alexandra, but it was well known that
the Royal family were expecting daily to hear of the death of the old
German Emperor, William I., which actually occurred just before the
Silver Wedding Day, and everything in the way of public rejoicing
was countermanded. Still, the 10th of March was not allowed to pass
entirely unobserved. The whole of the Royal family then in England,
preceded by Queen Victoria, called at Marlborough House to offer their
congratulations in person, and for that one day the Court mourning
was abandoned. The King and Queen Alexandra with their family lunched
at Buckingham Palace with Queen Victoria, while in the evening the
Sovereign attended a family dinner-party at Marlborough House, this
being the first time she had ever been to dinner with her son and
daughter-in-law in London. Queen Victoria, after leaving Marlborough
House, drove through some of the principal West End streets in order to
see the illuminations. Her Majesty also gave a State ball at Buckingham
Palace in honour of the event, and the King and Queen of Denmark gave a
grand ball at the Amalienborg Palace at Copenhagen.

Archbishop Magee (then Bishop of Peterborough) writes in a letter to
his intimate friend and biographer, Canon MacDonnell, the following
amusing account of his share in the rejoicings:--

                                 “ATHENÆUM CLUB, _11th March 1888_.

    “Did you ever in your eminently respectable life dance on the
    tight rope? And did you ever do so in the presence of Royalty?
    No? Then I have beaten you.

    “For I have this day performed that exceedingly difficult feat,
    and dead beat do I feel after it. I suppose you saw (for it
    was announced in all the papers) that H.R.H. was to worship
    at Whitehall with all his family, to keep his silver wedding,
    and that the Bishop of Peterborough was to preach. Not an easy
    thing to do, under any circumstances, to preach to Royalty in a
    pew opposite you, and also to a large middle-class congregation
    on a special occasion. But only think of having to add to this
    a special allusion to the late Emperor of Germany’s death,
    and the present Emperor’s condition, and all this within the
    space of forty minutes, the utmost length that it is considered
    good taste to inflict on H.R.H. Add to this that he specially
    requested an offertory for the Gordon Boys’ Home, and of
    course implied some reference in the sermon to this. So that
    I had, within forty minutes, to preach a charity sermon, a
    wedding sermon, and a funeral one. Match me that if you can for
    difficulty.…”

In the unavoidable absence of the Bishop of London, Dean of the
Chapels-Royal, the Archbishop of Canterbury was present, His Grace
finally receiving the alms and giving the benediction. On the desk in
the Royal Closet, in front of Queen Alexandra, was placed a beautiful
bouquet of lilies of the valley, the emblem of the See and Province of
Canterbury. Her Majesty quitted the chapel carrying the bouquet.

An enormous number of presents testified to the wide affection and
respect in which the Royal couple were held. King Edward gave his
wife a cross of diamonds and rubies, her favourite jewels; and from
St. Petersburg, as a joint gift of the Emperor and Empress of Russia,
came a superb necklace of the same gems composed of carefully selected
stones. The five children of Queen Alexandra gave her a silver model
of “Viva,” her favourite mare. Her Majesty’s eight bridesmaids, who
were all alive and all married, gave the Royal bride of 1863 their
autographs bound up in a silver book enshrined in a silver casket of
Danish work.

The Freemasons of Great Britain presented Queen Alexandra with a
very splendid diamond butterfly. The members of the Body-Guard were
represented by a silver statue of a member of the corps, arrayed in
the uniform originally designed by the Prince Consort. The Comte de
Paris sent a large agate punch-bowl, studded with precious stones.
Among the public gifts which afforded the King and Queen most pleasure
was the Colonial Silver Wedding gift--a silver candelabrum adapted for
electric light, and a fine twenty-one day movement clock to match. The
Colonies became very enthusiastic over this gift, and more than £2000
was subscribed in small sums.

The King and Queen of Denmark gave a silver-gilt tea and coffee
service; the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark, a valuable vase
of Danish china; the Empress Eugénie, a silver model of a two-masted
ship of the time of Henry VIII.; and the King of the Belgians, a
large silver tankard and a collection of the choicest exotics from
the gardens at Laeken. The Austrian Ambassador presented an autograph
letter from the Emperor Francis Joseph announcing that King Edward had
been appointed to the Honorary Colonelcy of the 12th Hussar Regiment in
the Austro-Hungarian Army. The French Ambassador was also received in
audience, and offered an expression of good wishes on the part of the
President of the French Republic and the French Government.

The presents received by the King and Queen were arranged in the Indian
Room at Marlborough House. A prominent position was accorded to the
gift from Queen Victoria--a massive silver flagon of goodly height and
proportions, the counterpart of one in the Kremlin. One corner of the
Indian Room was filled with floral gifts, bouquets, wreaths, pyramids
of lilies of the valley, and rich and rare exotics, sent by all classes
of the community from all parts of the country and from the Continent.

In strong contrast to these rejoicings was the deep shadow thrown
over King Edward and his family by the serious illness of the Emperor
Frederick. All the arrangements of their Majesties were naturally
dependent on the news received almost hourly from the sick-chamber at
Potsdam, but even in the midst of his terrible anxieties the King did
not disappoint the loyal citizens of Glasgow, whose Exhibition he had
promised to open, and who gave him a right Royal welcome. At length the
long-dreaded blow fell. On 14th June the Emperor Frederick breathed his
last after a reign of ninety-nine days.

The following year was notable for the first break in the King’s own
family circle caused by marriage. But before the engagement of Princess
Louise to the Earl of Fife was publicly announced, Queen Victoria paid
one of her necessarily rare visits to Sandringham, spending altogether
four days there. While there Her Majesty witnessed a performance of
_The Bells_ and of _The Merchant of Venice_, given by Sir Henry Irving
and the members of the Lyceum Company. The King’s tenants presented an
address of welcome to his Royal mother, to which Queen Victoria gave
the following gracious reply:--

“It has given me great pleasure to receive your loyal address, and
I thank you sincerely for the terms in which you welcome me to
Sandringham, and for the kind expressions which you have used towards
the Prince and Princess of Wales. After the anxious time I spent here
seventeen years ago, when, by the blessing of God, my dear son was
spared to me and to the nation, it is indeed a pleasure to find myself
here again, among cheerful homes and cheerful faces, and to see the
kind feeling which exists between a good landlord and a good tenant;
and I trust that this mutual attachment and esteem may long continue
to make you happy and prosperous, and to strengthen, if possible,
the affection of the Prince and Princess of Wales for the tenants of
Sandringham.”

Although Great Britain was not officially represented at the Paris
Centennial Exhibition of this year, the King once more showed
his friendship with France by going over with his Consort in
semi-_incognito_. Their Majesties carefully inspected the whole
Exhibition, paying special attention to the British section, and
finished by ascending the Eiffel Tower.

[Illustration: THE DUCHESS OF FIFE, PRINCESS VICTORIA, AND PRINCESS
CHARLES OF DENMARK

_From a Photograph by Lafayette_]

Princess Louise’s engagement was made public in the spring, and though
it aroused almost as much surprise as satisfaction among the general
public, yet those who were really in a position to know regarded
it as the most natural thing in the world. Lord Fife had for years
been admitted to the close intimacy of the King’s family circle.
His was the only bachelor’s house at which Queen Alexandra had ever
been entertained, he had long been a frequent and welcome guest at
Sandringham, and when he took the oath and his seat in the House of
Lords, the King had paid him the rare honour of appearing as one of his
introducers. Although rumours of the betrothal of the King’s eldest
daughter to various foreign Princes had for some time been rife, His
Majesty had made no secret of the special importance which he attached
to her marriage, for at that time it appeared by no means impossible
that the Princess herself or her children might one day sit on the
British throne. In these circumstances a foreign marriage of the
particular kind which then seemed intrinsically probable would have
been frankly unpopular with the British people, who would have pictured
themselves as being perhaps one day reduced to bringing back their
Queen, now wholly Germanised, from some obscure Grand Duchy.

King Edward on this occasion showed once more his intuitive sympathy
with the feelings of his future subjects, for the news of the Royal
engagement was received with an absolutely unforced outburst of popular
enthusiasm, the more so when it became known that it was entirely a
love match.

The King and Queen Alexandra with their three daughters went to Windsor
on 27th June and visited Queen Victoria, who formally gave her consent
to the engagement. On the receipt of the news at Marlborough House the
fact was at once communicated to the Household, and the Marquis of
Salisbury, the Prime Minister, was also officially informed. The Earl
of Fife was received by Queen Victoria the same evening at Windsor
Castle. In the House of Commons a Message from the Queen formally
announced the intended marriage, and the First Lord of the Treasury
gave notice of a motion to grant a suitable provision for the Royal
bride, though owing to the great wealth of the bridegroom this was
perhaps less necessary than it had been on the occasion of other Royal
marriages.

The Earl of Fife (Alexander William George Duff), Baron Skene of Skene,
Viscount Macduff, and Baron Braco of Kilbryde, County Cavan, was the
only son of James, fifth Earl of Fife, and of the Countess of Fife,
who was Lady Agnes Georgiana Elizabeth Hay, daughter of the Earl of
Erroll. He was born on 10th November 1849, and was educated at Eton.
He succeeded his father in the Scotch and Irish honours on 7th August
1879, and was created an Earl of the United Kingdom in 1885. He sat as
Viscount Macduff in the House of Commons from 1874 to 1879 as Liberal
member for Elgin and Nairn. Lord Fife, who is one of the largest landed
proprietors in Scotland, owning extensive estates in Elgin, Banff,
and Aberdeen, was created Duke of Fife and Marquis of Macduff in the
peerage of the United Kingdom, on his wedding day, 27th July, having
declined to take the title of Duke of Inverness.

[Illustration: THE DUKE OF FIFE

_From a Photograph by the London Stereoscopic Co._]

The wedding was celebrated in the Chapel at Buckingham Palace, in the
presence of Queen Victoria, King Edward, and Queen Alexandra, with
their sons and two younger daughters, the King of the Hellenes, the
Crown Prince of Denmark, and the Grand Duke of Hesse.

The King of the Hellenes has always been one of the favourite
brothers-in-law of the King, who, with Queen Alexandra, went to Athens
in the autumn to attend the wedding of the Duke of Sparta and Princess
Sophie of Germany.

The following year was not very eventful. In March the King performed
the ceremonies of finishing and opening the Forth Bridge in the
presence of an illustrious assembly, including his son Prince George,
the Duke of Edinburgh, who had travelled from Russia on purpose, the
Duke of Fife, and the Earl of Rosebery, who entertained the Royal party
at Dalmeny. The last rivet, which the King fixed, is on the outside of
the railway, and holds together three plates. Around its gilded top
there runs a commemorative inscription. At the hour appointed for the
formal declaration of the opening of the bridge, the wind was blowing
so violently that it was impossible for His Majesty to make a speech.
He simply said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I now declare the Forth Bridge
open.”

It was in March, also, that the King and Prince George attended a
Chapter of the Order of the Black Eagle in Berlin, at which Prince
George was invested with the insignia of the Order. Subsequently the
Royal visitors took part in the Ordensfest.



CHAPTER XV

THE BACCARAT CASE--BIRTH OF LADY ALEXANDRA DUFF--THE KING’S FIFTIETH
BIRTHDAY--ILLNESS OF PRINCE GEORGE


During the winter of 1890 various rumours had been rife as to a _cause
célèbre_ in which King Edward was to be called as a witness. These
reports proved to have had substantial foundation in the following
spring, when Sir William Gordon-Cumming, a cavalry officer of good
family, who had distinguished himself in the Egyptian campaign, and was
understood to enjoy the personal friendship of the King, brought an
action for slander against five defendants--Mrs. Arthur Wilson, Mrs. A.
S. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Lycett Green, and Mr. Berkeley Levett--who had
accused him of cheating at baccarat at Tranby Croft, the Wilsons’ place
near Hull.

The trial opened early in June before Lord Chief-Justice Coleridge,
and the King was accommodated with a seat on the bench. The Court
throughout wore the air of a theatre rather than of a Court of Justice,
the bench and both the galleries being filled with ladies, who used
their opera-glasses with freedom to discover the notable personages
in Court, and to watch Sir William Gordon-Cumming under examination.
The great counsel of the day were engaged. Sir Edward Clarke
(Solicitor-General), with Mr. C. F. Gill as his junior, conducted
the case for Sir William Gordon-Cumming; and Sir Charles Russell
(afterwards Lord Chief-Justice), with Mr. Asquith, appeared for the
defendants, the Attorney-General having withdrawn from the case.

The Solicitor-General made a speech of singular power and skill on
behalf of his client. The point of the defence was that Sir William
Gordon-Cumming--who was accused of the trick known as _la poussette_,
by which a player at baccarat increases his stake after he sees that
the cards are in his favour or the _coup_ has been declared--had simply
been playing on a system. This theory Sir William supported in the
witness-box with great steadiness, and though his cross-examination
was most severe, he maintained that on no occasion had he wrongfully
increased the stake. When the cross-examiner came to a document which
the plaintiff had signed, practically admitting his guilt, and which
had been witnessed by the King, Sir William’s explanation was, in
effect, that he was hopeless of convincing those round him of his
innocence, and that he desired for his own sake and that of others to
avoid a scandal.

King Edward entered the witness-box and was sworn in the ordinary
way on the second day. Sir Edward Clarke addressed him as “Sir” and
“Your Royal Highness,” and Sir Charles Russell did the same. His
Majesty gave his evidence with much frankness, but it was largely of
a formal character. He did, however, say that at the time when, as
banker, he questioned Sir William Gordon-Cumming on the largeness of
his winnings, he did not think he had been cheating; but he added, in
cross-examination by Sir Charles Russell, that in advising Sir William
Gordon-Cumming to sign the document, he considered he had been acting
most leniently.

As the King was leaving the witness-box an amusing incident occurred. A
juryman rose from the back of the jury-box, and with _naïf_ frankness
put two important questions--whether the King had ever seen Sir William
Gordon-Cumming cheating, and whether he believed him to be guilty. In
reply to the first question the King answered that the banker would not
be in a position to see foul play, and that among friends it would not
be expected; and to the second he replied that, Sir William’s accusers
being so numerous, he could not but believe them. Having elicited these
very important facts, the little juryman sat down, and the King left
the box with a smile and a bow.

The King’s evidence was followed by that of General Owen Williams,
who, with Lord Coventry, drew up the document signed by the plaintiff.
General Williams made two important statements--that he believed Sir
William guilty, and that the King had objected to his placing his hands
on the table in such a way that the counters could not properly be
seen. In the course of the evidence it came out that the stakes played
for on the two evenings were not large, but that Sir William won in all
£225, which was paid him by cheque and which he retained.

The trial lasted seven days, and on 9th June the jury, after ten
minutes’ deliberation, returned a verdict for the defendants.

The most extraordinary interest was taken in the case, both in this
country and on the Continent and in America, no doubt chiefly owing to
the Heir-Apparent’s connection with it. A Prince of Wales has rarely
been called as a witness in a case, although, of course, in the theory
of English law, all men are equal, and the privileges, if any, which
would attach to him would not attach to him in his capacity as Prince
of Wales or Heir-Apparent to the Throne, but simply in his capacity as
a peer of the United Kingdom.

It was pointed out by many that the conduct attributed to Sir William
Gordon-Cumming was obviously not that of an officer and a gentleman,
and in the House of Commons a week after the trial the Secretary of
State for War expressed the regret of the King that he had not required
Sir William to submit his case to the Commander-in-Chief.

The criticism which was directed against the King’s connection with
this lamentable business was largely based on ignorance of all the
circumstances. His Majesty’s own view is clearly stated in a private
letter which he wrote about two months afterwards to his old friend
Dr. Benson, who was then Archbishop of Canterbury, and which was
first published in that prelate’s life, some years later. King Edward
wrote:--

                    “R. YACHT ‘OSBORNE,’ COWES, _13th August 1891_.

    “MY DEAR ARCHBISHOP--Your kind letter of the 10th instant
    has touched me very much, as I know the kind feelings which
    prompted you to write to me on a subject which we have
    discussed together, and which you are aware has caused me deep
    pain and annoyance.

    “A recent trial, which no one deplores more than I do, and
    which I was powerless to prevent, gave occasion for the Press
    to make most bitter and unjust attacks on me, knowing that
    I was defenceless, and I am not sure that politics were not
    mixed up in it! The whole matter has now died out, and I think
    therefore it would be inopportune for me in any public manner
    to allude again to the painful subject which brought such a
    torrent of abuse upon me not only by the Press but by the Low
    Church, and especially the Nonconformists.

    “They have a perfect right, I am well aware, in a free country
    like our own, to express their opinions, but I do not consider
    that they have a just right to jump at conclusions regarding
    myself without knowing the facts.

    “I have a horror of gambling, and should always do my utmost to
    discourage others who have an inclination for it, as I consider
    that gambling, like intemperance, is one of the greatest curses
    which a country could be afflicted with.

    “Horse-racing may produce gambling or it may not, but I have
    always looked upon it as a manly sport which is popular with
    Englishmen of all classes, and there is no reason why it should
    be looked upon as a gambling transaction. Alas! those who
    gamble will gamble at anything. I have written quite openly
    to you, my dear Archbishop, whom I have had the advantage of
    knowing for so many years.

    “Thanking you again for your kind letter, and trusting that you
    will benefit by your holiday, believe me, sincerely yours,

                                                   “ALBERT EDWARD.”

The King became a grandfather for the first time this spring, for on
17th May the Duchess of Fife gave birth to a daughter at East Sheen
Lodge. The question was immediately raised whether the infant should
take Royal rank as a Princess of the Blood. When Sir William Beechey
painted his portrait of Princess Victoria, the distance between the
Duke of Kent’s little daughter and the throne was as great as, or even
greater than, that of the little daughter of Princess Louise at her
birth. It was ultimately settled, in accordance with the wishes, it was
understood, of both King Edward and the Duke of Fife, that the infant
should simply take the rank and precedence of a Duke’s daughter, and be
called Lady Alexandra Duff.

The child was christened on 29th June in the Chapel-Royal, St.
James’s. Queen Victoria came to London to act as sponsor to her
great-granddaughter, and King Edward and Queen Alexandra were
joint sponsors for their grandchild. The Archbishop of Canterbury
administered the rite of baptism. Queen Alexandra took the child from
the nurse and placed her in the arms of Queen Victoria, who gave the
names of Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise.

This autumn the King celebrated his fiftieth birthday, and it was
computed that in his half-century of existence His Majesty must have
been prayed for aloud in Anglican churches alone at least a hundred
million times. On this occasion the theatrical managers of London
presented a magnificent gold cigar-box, weighing 100 ounces, to His
Majesty.

The month of December has been one of peculiar ill-omen to the Royal
Family, and it seemed as if December 1891 was to prove no exception.
For Queen Alexandra and her daughters, who had been to Livadia on a
visit to the Tsar, were recalled by the illness of Prince George, and
the King and Queen went through some days of terrible anxiety. As soon
as Prince George was declared to be suffering from enteric fever he
was removed from Sandringham to London, and it was there that he was
nursed. The illness evoked a remarkable degree of public sympathy,
though perhaps the serious nature of the Prince’s condition was hardly
realised till all danger was practically over.



CHAPTER XVI

THE DUKE OF CLARENCE AND AVONDALE


The year 1892 opened auspiciously both for the Royal family and the
nation, inasmuch as, immediately on the convalescence of Prince George,
the engagement of his elder brother, the Duke of Clarence and Avondale,
to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck was announced. The projected alliance
was received with every possible expression of popular approval. The
public career of the Duke of Clarence, short as it had been, had
already confirmed him in the public estimation as a worthy son of
his father, who was known to have actively superintended the whole
course of his education. A significant proof of the young Prince’s
amiability and unpretending modesty was to be found in the large number
of personal friends whom he attached to himself, both at Cambridge and
among his comrades of the 10th Hussars, by ties of sincere esteem.
Moreover, it was generally known that between the Duke of Clarence
and his mother there existed the strongest possible link of filial
and maternal love, and so the Prince came to share in a measure the
high place which Queen Alexandra has always held in the hearts of the
British people.

The circumstances of the mournful event which threw a gloom over
the whole winter of 1892 are still fresh in the memory of the
nation. On 9th January the Duke of Clarence, who was spending the
Christmas holidays with his parents at Sandringham, was attacked with
influenza, having caught cold at the funeral of Prince Victor of
Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

[Illustration: THE DUKE OF CLARENCE AND AVONDALE

_From a Photograph by Chancellor, Dublin_]

Two days later the late Duchess of Teck wrote to Lady Salisbury
a letter which pathetically reflects the anxiety prevailing at
Sandringham:--

                                  “SANDRINGHAM, _January 11, 1892_.

    “… After Sir Francis Knollys’s letter and the anxious tidings
    in this morning’s papers you will not be surprised to hear from
    me that we feel we must ask you and dear Lord Salisbury to let
    us postpone the so-looked-forward-to visit until we can really
    enjoy it; for although I hope and believe dear Eddy is doing as
    well as can be expected at this stage of this fearful illness,
    I cannot conceal from you that we are very anxious, and must
    continue so until the crisis is over and the inflammation has
    begun to subside. His strength is very fairly maintained; the
    night was a tolerable one; he has two admirable nurses, and
    both Doctors Broadbent and Laking [now Sir William Broadbent
    and Sir Francis Laking] are attending him; so that Eddy has
    every care, and with youth on his side and God’s blessing, I
    trust we may soon see him on the road to recovery, and who
    knows?--perhaps even our visit to Hatfield may yet come off
    before you move to London. As at present arranged we stay on
    here until Wednesday or so; but, of course, everything depends
    on the progress the dear patient (a _most exemplary one_, the
    Doctors say) makes. May is wonderfully good and calm, but it is
    terribly trying for her.…”

Notwithstanding the most devoted care and the most skilful nursing, the
Prince passed away on the 14th, within a week of the day on which the
tidings of his illness had first gone forth. Then, if ever, King Edward
and Queen Alexandra must have realised the respect and affection with
which they are regarded by the British people. Their Majesties received
the most touching letters from all over the world. One of those they
most valued was from the Zulu chiefs at St. Helena. This was conveyed
to the Prince through Miss Colenso, and ran as follows:--

“We have heard of the death of Prince Edward, the son of the Prince of
Wales. We lament sincerely. Pray you present our lamentation to them
all--to his grandmother, to his father and his mother, and his brother.”

Their Majesties showed how deeply they appreciated the sympathy so
spontaneously offered to them on every side by publishing the following
Message:--

                              “WINDSOR CASTLE, _20th January 1892_.

    “The Prince and Princess of Wales are anxious to express to
    Her Majesty’s subjects, whether in the United Kingdom, in the
    Colonies, or in India, the sense of their deep gratitude for
    the universal feeling of sympathy manifested towards them at a
    time when they are overwhelmed by the terrible calamity which
    they have sustained in the loss of their beloved eldest son. If
    sympathy at such a moment is of any avail, the remembrance that
    their grief has been shared by all classes will be a lasting
    consolation to their sorrowing hearts, and if possible will
    make them more than ever attached to their dear country.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Benson) was at Biskra when he heard
of the lamentable death of the Duke of Clarence. The Archbishop wished
to return home at once, and in sending a telegram of condolence to the
bereaved father he stated his intention of so doing, but King Edward,
with his usual kindly consideration, telegraphed to him that he was on
no account to curtail his holiday. The telegram was followed by this
letter, which is given in the Archbishop’s Life:--

                        “SANDRINGHAM, NORFOLK, _27th January 1892_.

    “MY DEAR ARCHBISHOP--Only a short time ago I received such
    a kind letter from you, in which you agreed to perform the
    marriage ceremony at St. George’s for our eldest son. Since
    then I have received another letter from you containing such
    kind and sympathetic words, in which you expressed a desire to
    return home to take part in his Funeral Service.

    “It was like yourself, kind and thoughtful as you always are,
    but I could not allow you to undertake that long journey
    and return to our cold climate and to an atmosphere still
    impregnated with that dire disease when your absence abroad in
    a warmer climate is so essential for your health and strength.

    “It has pleased God to inflict a heavy, crushing blow upon
    us--that we can hardly realise the terrible loss we have
    sustained. We have had the good fortune of receiving you here
    in our country home on more than one occasion, and you know
    what a happy family party we have always been, so that the
    wrenching away of our first-born son under such peculiarly sad
    circumstances is a sorrow, the shadow of which can never leave
    us during the rest of our lives.

    “He was just twenty-eight; on this day month he was to have
    married a charming and gifted young lady, so that the prospect
    of a life of happiness and usefulness lay before him. Alas!
    that is all over. His bride has become his widow without ever
    having been his wife.

    “The ways of the Almighty are inscrutable, and it is not for
    us to murmur, as He does all for the best, and our beloved son
    is happier now than if he were exposed to the miseries and
    temptations of this world. We have also a consolation in the
    sympathy not only of our kind friends but of all classes.

    “_God’s will be done!_

    “Again thanking you, my dear and kind Archbishop, for your
    soothing letter, which has been such a solace to us in our
    grief, I remain, yours very sincerely,         ALBERT EDWARD.”

On the Sunday following the death of the Duke a private service
was held in Sandringham Church, attended by King Edward and Queen
Alexandra, their daughters, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, and Prince
George. By the King’s special wish his elder son was given the simplest
of military funerals, and the coffin was removed from Sandringham to
Windsor on a gun-carriage, escorted by a number of the Prince’s old
comrades in arms. On the coffin lay the Prince’s busby and a silken
Union Jack, and even at Windsor, where among the impressive mass of
mourners every Royal House was represented, everything was severely
simple, and the pall-bearers were officers of the 10th Hussars.

The career of the Prince, so suddenly cut off ere he had well
reached his prime, in addition to its historical interest, throws an
instructive light on the pains which King Edward has always expended on
the education and training of his children. On none of his children did
the King bestow more loving thought and care than on his eldest son,
who was destined, as it then seemed, one day to bear all the anxieties
and responsibilities of the British Crown.

Prince Albert Victor was popularly, but quite erroneously, supposed
to be a weakly, delicate child. The two nurses who successively had
the principal charge of him--Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Blackburn--agreed
in repudiating this idea, and their testimony is certainly supported
by the photographs which were taken of the Prince in babyhood. His
early death is to be attributed, not to any original delicacy of
constitution, but to the weakness following a severe attack of typhoid,
which delayed by two months his joining the _Britannia_.

Once out of the nursery, the brothers were committed to the charge
of a tutor selected for them by Queen Victoria--the Rev. John Neale
Dalton--an admirable choice as events proved. From childhood Prince
Albert Victor was devotedly attached to his younger brother, Prince
George, who warmly reciprocated his affection, and their father wisely
determined that the two boys should not be separated, but should
enter the Royal Navy together as cadets. This was done in June 1877,
Prince Albert Victor being then thirteen and a half and Prince George
being some seventeen months younger. From the very first King Edward
caused it to be understood that his sons were to enjoy no privileges
on account of their rank, but were to be treated exactly like their
fellow-cadets on board the _Britannia_, and made to learn their
profession just as if they had been the sons of an ordinary private
gentleman. The only exceptions were that Mr. Dalton attended the
Princes as governor, and that, by special request of the Admiralty,
their hammocks were slung behind a separate bulkhead in a space about
12 feet square. The young Princes spent two years in the _Britannia_,
and both obtained a first-class in seamanship, entitling them to three
months’ sea-time, and for general good conduct they obtained another
three months.

The King thoroughly realised the benefit he had himself derived from
the travels which he had undertaken as a youth, and therefore he
arranged that his sons should spend three years in making a tour round
the world, that their minds might be equipped by experience of men and
cities, and that they might acquire an abiding impression of the extent
and resources of the British Empire. Accordingly, the young Princes
started in the _Bacchante_ cruiser, Captain Lord Charles Scott, being
again entrusted to the care of Mr. Dalton, who was afterwards made a
Canon of Windsor. Canon Dalton, it is interesting to note, attended
Prince George when, as Duke of Cornwall and York, and accompanied by
the Duchess of Cornwall and York, he visited Australia to inaugurate
the Federal Parliament, coming home by New Zealand and Canada.

The Princes kept careful diaries, and on their return they published
a detailed account of their experiences. In the _Bacchante_, just as
in the _Britannia_, they were treated exactly like other officers of
their age and standing, except that they had a private cabin under the
poop. They joined the gun-room mess, the members of which were granted
a special allowance--an arrangement which had before been made when the
Duke of Edinburgh began his naval career.

The _Bacchante_ cruised to Gibraltar, Messina, Gibraltar again,
Madeira, the West Indies, and home to Spithead on 3rd May. Then, on
19th July, the Princes rejoined the _Bacchante_ for another cruise,
first with the combined Channel and Reserve Squadrons to Bantry Bay
and Vigo, and afterwards to Monte Video. The ship arrived off the
Falkland Islands, but the Princes never landed, as had been arranged,
for the troubles in South Africa had come to a head and the squadron
was suddenly ordered to the Cape. The _Bacchante_ reached Simons Bay on
16th February, and not many days later came the news of Majuba Hill and
Laing’s Nek.

Early in April the Princes left for Australia, a voyage which was
destined to be not without danger, for the _Bacchante_ broke a portion
of her steering-gear in a heavy gale. Temporary repairs were effected,
and the vessel’s course was altered for Albany, in Western Australia.
While the _Bacchante_ was refitting, their Royal Highnesses visited
the chief Australian ports in a passenger steamer called the _Cathay_,
being everywhere received with enthusiastic loyalty. At last, rejoining
the _Bacchante_, they said good-bye with regret to Australia, and on
the voyage home they visited Fiji, Japan (where they were received with
great ceremony by the Mikado), Shanghai, Hong-Kong, Singapore, and
Colombo. Thence they proceeded to Suez, where they had the pleasure of
meeting the great de Lesseps, and went in the Khedive’s yacht on a trip
up to the First Cataract, as their parents had done in 1869.

A somewhat prolonged tour in the Holy Land followed, their Royal
Highnesses visiting those sacred scenes which their father had visited
before they were born. The Princes left Beirut for Athens on 7th May,
and there they had the pleasure of meeting their uncle, the King of
the Hellenes, and thence they went to Suda Bay to take part in a
naval regatta, in which the _Bacchante’s_ boats covered themselves
with glory. By way of Sicily and Sardinia, the Princes passed on to
Gibraltar, there renewing their old acquaintance with the famous Lord
Napier of Magdala. It is a pathetic circumstance that both Lord Napier
and, but two years afterwards, the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, were
borne to the grave on the same gun-carriage.

At length the long voyage came to an end. Off Swanage the _Osborne_,
with King Edward, Queen Alexandra, and the three young Princesses,
met the _Bacchante_ early in August. A visit to Queen Victoria at
Osborne followed, and the two Princes were shortly afterwards confirmed
in Whippingham Church by Archbishop Tait, who said to them in his
address:--

“From this time forward your course of life, which has been hitherto
unusually alike, must, in many respects, diverge. You will have
different occupations and different training for an expected difference
of position.”

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA

_From a Photograph by Gunn and Stuart_]

The Archbishop was a true prophet. It was indeed necessary now to
separate the brothers. Prince George, as the younger son, might be left
to continue his career in the noble service to which he had become
devoted, but his elder brother, being in the immediate succession to
the Throne, must, it was felt, be associated, as his father had been
before him, with other walks of national life as well. First of all,
it was decided, must come some terms at Cambridge University, and
to prepare Prince Albert Victor in the particular kind of knowledge
required Mr. J. K. Stephen was associated with Mr. Dalton in the summer
of 1883. Mr. Stephen, the son of one of the greatest Judges who ever
adorned the English Bench--Sir James Fitz-James Stephen--was not merely
a most lovable man, possessed of extraordinary intellectual powers,
but his total personality was of so rare a kind as to be indescribable
to those who never came under its conquering influence. Probably from
no human being were all things mean and paltry so utterly alien. Large
in heart and mind as he was large in bodily frame, he left, when an
untimely death snatched him away, not only a bitter personal grief
among his friends, but a conviction that the nation’s loss was even
greater than theirs.

Prince Albert Victor became warmly attached to Mr. Stephen, who gives
in some private letters, quoted in Mr. J. E. Vincent’s memoir of the
Duke of Clarence and Avondale, a characteristic picture of the life
led by the Royal pupil and his tutors in a little house in the park at
Sandringham.

“He is a good-natured, unaffected youth,” writes Mr. Stephen, “and
disposed to exert himself to learn some history.… We are six in this
little house, a sort of adjunct to the big one in whose grounds it
stands, and we lead a quiet and happy reading-party sort of life with
all the ordinary rustic pursuits.” The other four members of the party
were Mr. Dalton, “a lively little Frenchman,” “a young aristocrat,
whose father is the Earl of Strathmore, and a naval lieutenant, kept
on shore by a bad knee, both of whom are very pleasant, and have more
brains than they take credit for.”

In October 1883 the King accompanied Prince Albert Victor to Cambridge,
and saw him matriculated as an undergraduate member of Trinity
College, that ancient and splendid foundation to which he himself
belonged. Two sets of rooms, one for the Prince and one for Mr. Dalton,
were prepared on the top floor of a staircase in Nevile’s Court, the
quietest court in Trinity.

It was at Cambridge that certain sterling qualities possessed by Prince
Albert Victor first became manifest to any considerable circle, and
through them to the public at large. His life at the University was
simple and well ordered. He had not--nor was it desirable that he
should have--the specialised intellect which wins University prizes
and scholarships, but he displayed in a marked degree that peculiarly
Royal quality of recognising intellect in others. Of those whom he
admitted to his friendship while at Cambridge nearly all have become,
or are becoming, distinguished in various walks of life. He was not
distinguished from his undergraduate contemporaries except by the silk
gown of the fellow-commoner--the Prince never wore the gold tassel to
which he was entitled--and by immunity from University examinations.

It must not, however, be supposed that the Prince was idle at the
University. On the contrary, he read for six or seven hours a day
regularly--a good deal more than the average undergraduate can be
persuaded to do; and he was in another respect intellectually ahead of
most of his contemporaries, namely, in his familiar knowledge of modern
languages. He had read German at Heidelberg with Professor Ihne, and
he kept it up while at Cambridge with a German tutor. He spoke French
easily and well, and he had also a literary knowledge of that language,
having spent some time in Switzerland with a French tutor. His college
tutor was Mr. Joseph Prior. Mr. Stephen exercised a general supervision
over his reading, and he attended the late Professor Seeley’s History
Lectures and Mr. Gosse’s Lectures on English Literature.

Prince Albert Victor strongly resembled his father in many respects,
notably in his habits of order and method, and in his complete freedom
from affectation or assumption. He was, indeed, if anything, almost
too modest and retiring, but those who knew him bore witness to his
real geniality and thoughtful consideration for others. At Cambridge he
attended his College chapel twice on Sundays, and once or twice during
the week. He generally dined in the College hall, when he would be
assigned a place at the Fellows’ table. He was fond, however, of giving
little dinner-parties of six or eight in his own rooms in College,
usually on Thursdays, his guests on these occasions often including
some of the senior members of the University.

After dinner, the Royal host would generally arrange a rubber or two of
whist. He did not play cricket or football, but was fond of polo and
hockey, and he occasionally hunted. He might often have been met in
the neighbourhood of Cambridge riding in the company of a few of his
undergraduate friends, to whom he liked to offer a mount, especially in
cases where he knew it was needed. The Prince had an inherited love of
music, and he attended pretty regularly some weekly concerts of chamber
music given at the Cambridge Town Hall. He was also a member of the
Cambridge A.D.C., and patronised its performances, and he occasionally
attended the debates at the Union, though he did not speak himself.
He joined the University Volunteer Corps, and was photographed in his
uniform.

One traditionally Royal quality the Prince possessed in an
extraordinary degree, namely, a perfectly marvellous memory for names
and faces. Indeed, his memory in general was singularly tenacious, and
in his historical studies he exhibited a wonderful power of quickly
mastering the most intricate genealogical tables.

The Prince went for the Long Vacation on a reading party to Heidelberg,
and while there he received an amusing poem from Mr. H. F. Wilson, one
of his Cambridge friends, which is printed in Mr. Vincent’s memoir. The
following may be quoted as perhaps the most characteristic lines:--

    Your kitten broadens to a cat,
    And wonders what her master’s at;
    Is she to wait your Highness’ will,
    And stay with Mrs. Jiggins still?
    Or shall we pack her in a box,
    And send her off from London Docks?
    Meanwhile she slays the casual mouse,
    And dreams at night of Marlborough House.
    …
    And finally a word we send
    To our Philosopher and Friend;
    They say he’s coming in July--
    We hope ’tis true, for, verily,
    We miss our mine of curious knowledge,
    And, when we get him back in College,
    We mean to drop a pinch of salt on
    The tail of Mr. J. N. Dalton.

The Prince came of age in 1885, and the house-party at Sandringham
given to celebrate the occasion was one of the largest gatherings ever
held there. The company included a considerable number of Prince Albert
Victor’s Cambridge friends.

On the conclusion of Prince Albert Victor’s residence at Cambridge,
the honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him, and then his
father decided that it was time for him to enter the army. He was
gazetted a lieutenant in the 10th Hussars, of which the King is now
colonel-in-chief, and while he was quartered at Aldershot the father
and son saw a great deal of each other. In the army, as in the navy,
Prince Albert Victor was treated as far as possible exactly like his
brother officers; and indeed it is highly probable that, had he been
offered any exceptional privileges, he would have steadily refused to
take advantage of them. The Prince became a captain in the 9th Lancers
and in the 3rd King’s Royal Rifles and aide-de-camp to the Queen in
1887, and two years later attained the rank of major, returning to his
old regiment, the 10th Hussars.

Prince Albert Victor’s training as a soldier was real and thorough.
He was not spared the drudgery of drill and the riding school through
which the ordinary subaltern has to pass, and yet at the same time
his work was frequently interrupted by the duty of attending various
ceremonial functions. This life was but sparingly varied with days
with the hounds and shooting, to which the Prince eagerly looked
forward. It is generally agreed by his contemporaries that he became
an excellent officer, and his private letters to his friends prove how
absorbed he was in his military career.

King Edward had retained such pleasant recollections of his own visit
to India, that he determined that his elder son should at an early date
make a tour in the great Eastern dependency. The tour was arranged,
and proved extremely successful from every point of view, the Prince
particularly enjoying the excellent and varied sport shown him by his
keen Indian hosts. His Royal Highness was gazetted honorary colonel of
the 4th Bengal Infantry, the 1st Punjab Cavalry (Prince Albert Victor’s
Own), and the 4th Bombay Cavalry.

Soon after his return from India, Prince Albert Victor was created Duke
of Clarence and Avondale, and Earl of Athlone, in the peerage of the
United Kingdom. He was formally introduced to the House of Lords by
his father on 23rd January 1890, the ceremony being watched by Queen
Alexandra from a gallery. This was an event unique in English history.
The Duke of Clarence was the only eldest son of a Prince of Wales who
attained his majority, to say nothing of taking his seat in the House
of Lords, while his father was still Heir-Apparent to the Crown.

During the year which followed, the King gave up regularly a certain
portion of his time to initiating his elder son in all the varied, if
monotonous, duties which were likely to fall to his lot, a task which
was really in no wise irksome, for those who knew the Duke of Clarence
best were well aware that his father had ever been his best friend, and
that he himself was never so happy as when he was allowed to share in
any sense his father’s life and interests.

After the death of the Duke of Clarence, the King and his family
naturally retired into the deepest privacy, and it was many months
before His Majesty had sufficiently recovered from the blow to be able
to take up again the thread of his public duties.



CHAPTER XVII

THE HOUSING OF THE WORKING CLASSES--MARRIAGE OF PRINCE GEORGE--THE
DIAMOND JUBILEE--DEATH OF THE DUCHESS OF TECK


The year 1893 brought to the King a very fortunate distraction,
which prevented his mind from dwelling too much on his still recent
bereavement in a way that could not have been accomplished by the
customary round of ceremonial visits and functions. This distraction
was his appointment as a member of the Royal Commission on the Housing
of the Poor. The King was genuinely delighted with this opportunity.
He threw himself with the greatest zeal into the work, and not only
attended all the sittings, which took place in one of the House of
Lords’ Committee Rooms, but visited, _incognito_, some of the very
poorest quarters of London. It is well known that he was exceedingly
anxious to serve on the Labour Commission, but Ministers have always
been unwilling that the Heir-Apparent should take an active part in
matters connected, even indirectly, with politics, and he has had,
therefore, constantly to play the part of the Sovereign’s deputy
without the responsibilities and interests naturally attaching to the
position.

It is no exaggeration to say that there are few men now living who
possess better general qualifications for the difficult work of serving
on Royal Commissions than the King. He is familiar with an almost
bewildering variety of subjects, and possesses a wonderful faculty for
almost instinctively grasping the important features and the really
essential points of any matter under discussion. He is a model chairman
of a committee, and, though he cannot ever display the slightest
trace of personal or party feeling, it is well known that he follows
with intense interest all the political and social movements of the
day, and it is no secret that he is thoroughly an Imperialist.

[Illustration: KING EDWARD AND QUEEN ALEXANDRA, WITH THE DUCHESS OF
FIFE AND LADY ALEXANDRA DUFF

_From a Photograph by Gunn and Stuart_]

The King’s work on the Housing of the Poor Commission was particularly
congenial to him, for he has always shown an unaffected interest in the
working classes. He has long been an annual subscriber to the Working
Men’s Club and Institute Union, and is a generous donor to the Working
Men’s College. Still more recently, in his reply to the loyal address
of condolence presented to him by the London County Council on the
death of Queen Victoria, His Majesty made a significant allusion to his
interest in the problem of the housing of the working classes. In 1889,
some years before the King joined the Housing of the Poor Commission,
he took the trouble to go to Lambeth on business seemingly of nothing
but local interest--namely, to receive a deputation of working men on
the subject of providing a park for the district. His host was the late
Primate, Dr. Benson, who thus describes the scene in his diary:--

“Went up to receive Prince of Wales and twelve Representative Working
Men at Lambeth. The latter to read him an address on the purchase of
‘The Lawn,’ South Lambeth, for a Public Park, and its great importance
to them and their children. Their chairman read a natural, honest
speech; nothing could be better than the tone and line of the Prince’s
answer. They were delighted by his strong shake of the hand. ‘Not the
tips of his fingers,’ they said; ‘working men have feelings, and they
would not like that.’ And, ‘It isn’t everybody that education refines
as it has him,’ said a blacksmith. ‘When he’s king I shall be able
to say that I’ve shook hands with the Crown,’ said an engine-driver.
Octavia Hill, and James Knowles, and my wife were the only people
admitted besides his Equerry, and Donaldson, and Phillips. It will do
good, and he spoke so well.”

This incident is only mentioned as one out of many that could be
cited in proof, if proof were needed, of His Majesty’s keen interest
in everything that concerns the welfare of the working classes. On
another occasion the King was accidentally informed that an exhibition,
promoted by the working men in South London, was somewhat languishing
for lack of sufficient notice, and unofficially His Majesty arranged to
visit the exhibition. He went through it carefully, buying and paying
for such articles as took his fancy, and the moment the fact became
known, the promoters had no reason to complain of neglect on the part
of the general public, who were eager to see what had interested so
good a judge of exhibitions as King Edward.

Throughout the year 1893 the King was busily employed in other ways
also. In March he paid a formal visit to the Public Record Office to
inspect some of the priceless national manuscripts deposited there, and
in May he had the satisfaction of seeing that great enterprise which he
had himself originated, the Imperial Institute, inaugurated in State by
his Royal Mother. It was at the Institute that Mr. Gladstone was hissed
by some unmannerly persons, to the great annoyance of the King, who
never concealed the strong respect and esteem in which he held both Mr.
and Mrs. Gladstone.

It is interesting also to record that in March of this year the Queen,
who was accompanied by her son, was received by the Pope in private
audience. The interview lasted about an hour.

The official announcement was made, appropriately enough in May, of
the betrothal of the King’s son, then Duke of York, to Princess May of
Teck. It is recorded in the late Duchess of Teck’s _Life_ that Prince
George proposed to Princess May on 3rd May 1893, at Sheen Lodge, which
for some time had been occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Fife. Both
the bride and her mother agreed that the trousseau should be entirely
of home workmanship. “I am determined,” said the Duchess of Teck, “that
all the silk shall come from England, all the flannel from Wales,
all the tweeds from Scotland, and every yard of lace and poplin from
Ireland.” The wedding gown was woven at Spitalfields, and was of silver
and white brocade, the design being of roses, shamrock, and thistles.
The bridal veil--the same which had been worn by the bride’s mother on
her wedding day in 1866--was of the finest Honiton lace, designed in a
sequence of cornucopiæ filled with roses, thistles, and shamrock.

[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA AND THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND
YORK

_From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde_]

The time of the short engagement was filled with preparations of all
kinds, and from a letter written by Mrs. Dalrymple, and quoted in the
Duchess of Teck’s _Life_, we obtain a good idea of how the days passed
by at White Lodge:--

“I remember the happy afternoon I spent at White Lodge a few days
before the marriage. We were a large and merry party, including the
Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and some time was spent in
looking at the numerous presents. Tea was served on the lawn under the
copper beech, and the dear Princess sat at the head of the table making
tea for all; on one side of her was a pile of telegrams received,
while on the other, scattered about amongst the cups, were packets
of telegraph forms. Messages were constantly being delivered, and
the Princess and the Duke as quickly wrote out the replies; no word
of complaint was uttered at these incessant interruptions. Her Royal
Highness’s amiable readiness to accede to the many appeals for a place
from which to see the bridal procession was wonderful. Princess Mary
begged me to visit her the day after the marriage, and her eyes filled
with tears as she spoke of parting from ‘her precious child.’ Much,
however, as I wished to accept the suggestion, I did not do so, but
implored the Princess to take the rest that I knew she so urgently
needed.”

The qualities both of head and of heart possessed by Prince George’s
bride were, at any rate partially, realised by the nation. An incident
that occurred at St. Moritz in 1894 is not so well known. The Duchess
of Teck and her daughter were on a visit there when a fire broke out
which entirely destroyed several shops and houses, and threatened
destruction to the lower village. Both the Princess and her mother took
active steps to rescue the goods from burning, carrying out the things
in their arms. They were the first to go among the sufferers by the
fire offering words of consolation, and started a subscription in their
aid.

After a very short engagement, the marriage took place in the
Chapel-Royal, St. James’s, on 6th July, in the presence of all the
Royal family, as well as the present Emperor of Russia and the King
and Queen of Denmark. King Edward naturally took a prominent part
in supervising all the arrangements, and was much gratified by the
outburst of popular enthusiasm which greeted his son’s union with the
daughter of the universally-beloved Duchess of Teck.

It is interesting to note how frequently, ever since the marriage, the
King has associated his heir with himself in the performance of his
public duties, while the constant companionship of father and son is a
striking testimony to their complete sympathy with one another.

The following year was notable for two Royal marriages in the King’s
immediate circle, and for a bereavement which touched both His Majesty
and the Queen in their closest family affections. The King went to
Coburg in April to be present at the wedding of his niece, Princess
Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and his nephew, the Grand
Duke of Hesse, the only son of the lamented Princess Alice. The
occasion brought together a remarkable number of prominent members of
Royal Houses, including Queen Victoria and the German Emperor, and was
rendered additionally memorable by the fact that the engagement of the
present Tsar of Russia to the bridegroom’s sister was then publicly
announced.

The King, who was on this occasion accompanied by Queen Alexandra, went
to St. Petersburg in August for the wedding of the Grand Duchess Xenia,
which was celebrated with all the lavish magnificence of Russian Court
ceremonies.

Although the Tsar was not then in his usual robust health, there was
nothing to indicate how soon the King and Queen were to be recalled
to Russia on a far different mission. To their lasting sorrow, the
summons to the Tsar’s death-bed at Livadia arrived too late for them to
be present at the last. Their Majesties left London on 31st October,
immediately on receipt of an urgent message from the Tsaritsa, and had
proceeded as far as Vienna when the news was broken to them that all
was over. They, however, continued their melancholy journey, which
was much delayed by bad weather, in order that they might be with the
widowed Empress and her son through the terrible strain of the return
to St. Petersburg, and the ordeal of the funeral ceremonies.

The King’s fifty-third birthday was spent at Livadia, and for the first
time since his birth the anniversary celebrations in London and at
Sandringham did not take place.

When the funeral _cortège_ reached St. Petersburg, Prince George joined
his parents, and together they attended the elaborate obsequies of the
Emperor, and the very quiet wedding of the young Tsar and Princess
Alix of Hesse, which followed a few days later. The King remained in
Russia for the Queen’s birthday, and left with his son the following
day, while Her Majesty stayed behind to support her sister, the Empress
Alexander.

The relations between England and Russia after the King’s return became
noticeably more cordial, and there is no doubt that this was owing in
a large measure to His Majesty’s personal exertions, and the sympathy
which he and his son displayed with the Russian people in their great
sorrow.

During this year of 1894 the King exhibited his usual complaisance
in attending various local ceremonies. Among these may be mentioned
the opening of the Tower Bridge by the King and Queen, on behalf of
Queen Victoria, in June; while in July their Majesties attended the
Welsh Eisteddfod at Carnarvon, where they were received with great
enthusiasm. A special session was held, at which the King was initiated
as “Iorweth Dywysog” (Edward the Prince), Queen Alexandra as “Hoffder
Prydain” (Britain’s Delight), and the Princess Victoria as “Buddug”
(the modern Welsh form of Boadicea).

The King was always willing to emphasise his connection with the
Principality from which he then took his title, and when the
long-desired University of Wales became an accomplished fact, he
readily consented to be its first Chancellor. His Majesty was installed
in this office at Aberystwyth in June 1896, and his first act as
Chancellor was to confer an honorary degree on Queen Alexandra. At
the luncheon which followed, the King’s health was proposed by Mr.
Gladstone.

In the following month, the marriage of Princess Maud to Prince
Charles of Denmark took place in the chapel of Buckingham Palace in the
presence of Queen Victoria and the Royal families of the two countries.

Archbishop Benson officiated at the wedding, and he gives the following
charming description of the ceremony in his diary:--

“Married the Princess Maud to Prince Charles of Denmark. The brightest
of the Princesses, and almost as young as when I confirmed her. He is a
tall, gallant-looking sailor. Hope he will make her happy. The Chapel
and old conservatory ineffectually disguised by church furniture--all
well arranged, and the banquet also. The whole very royally done. The
group of great peers of the Queen’s Household afterwards was striking,
as were the greater peers also in Chapel, and Mr. Gladstone decidedly
ageing and paling, though they say he is well. The Queen was the
wonderful sight--so vigorous. In the Bow Room afterwards, where fifty
Royalties signed the book, she called me to her, and I knelt and kissed
her hand, and she talked very spiritedly a few minutes. As soon as it
was over an Indian servant wheeled in her chair to take her out; she
instantly waved it back. ‘Behind the door,’ she said, and walked all
across the room with her stick most gallantly.”

The month of May was naturally a very busy one for the King and Queen.
On the 22nd their Majesties, representing Queen Victoria, opened the
new Blackwall tunnel in State, the East End of London giving them a
right Royal reception. On this occasion His Majesty was presented with
one of the heaviest gold medals ever struck in England, weighing 12
ounces, and bearing on the reverse a representation of the tunnel in
perspective. On the 26th His Majesty opened the new Medical School of
Guy’s Hospital; on the 27th the King and Queen, with their son and two
of their daughters, opened the Royal Military Tournament; on the 28th,
at the request of Queen Victoria, the King and Queen, accompanied by
Princess Victoria, laid the first stone of the Royal London Ophthalmic
Hospital in the City Road; on the 29th the King and Queen, with their
son and two of their daughters, went down to Canterbury to open the
restored Chapter-house of the Cathedral, and in the evening the King
dined with the past and present officers of the Norfolk Artillery
Militia, of which he is honorary colonel. On the 31st the King held a
_levée_ at St. James’s Palace, and in the evening dined with the 1st
Guards Club.

[Illustration: THE KING IN THE UNDRESS UNIFORM OF AN ADMIRAL OF THE
FLEET

_From a Photograph taken in 1897 by Mullins, Ryde_]

This is a short summary, which does not pretend to be by any means
exhaustive of His Majesty’s engagements for a very few days, but it
brings out perhaps more vividly than a detailed list could possibly do
the whole-hearted manner in which the King threw himself into the great
tide of national rejoicing which reached its flood in that memorable
June of 1897.

King Edward, for a variety of reasons, took a much greater part in
the Diamond Jubilee festivities of 1897 than he did in those of ten
years before. All the arrangements were submitted for his approval as
well as Queen Victoria’s, and it was largely owing to his conspicuous
organising ability that everything went off with such triumphant
success. Both the King and Queen Alexandra associated themselves in a
special manner with the occasion, the former by his Hospital Fund for
London, and the latter by her thoughtful scheme of providing one good
dinner for the very poorest. The Hospital Fund greatly benefited by the
sale of a special stamp, the design of which was selected by the King
himself.

King Edward, who had been made an honorary Admiral of the Fleet at
the Golden Jubilee of 1887, represented his mother at the magnificent
naval review at Spithead, which was generally agreed to be, in its way,
the finest spectacle of all that the Jubilee festivities afforded.
Many foreign warships were sent by other countries as tokens of
international courtesy. Towards the officers of these vessels the King
displayed all his wonted cordiality; and in the arrangements for their
entertainment his efforts were heartily seconded by Viscount Goschen,
then First Lord of the Admiralty, and the other naval authorities.
The spectacle of so vast a concourse of British vessels was rendered
doubly impressive by the knowledge that it had been assembled without
weakening in the slightest degree the squadrons on the numerous British
naval stations all over the world. There was much point in the remark
said to have been made by the United States Special Ambassador to the
First Lord: “I guess, sir, this makes for peace!”

On the eventful morning of the 22nd June, when the Jubilee honours
were announced, it was found that Queen Victoria, while conferring
some mark of her favour on each of her sons, had created a new and
special dignity for the Heir-Apparent. The announcement was made in the
following terms:--

“The Queen has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of Her
Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, to appoint Field-Marshal His Royal Highness
the Prince of Wales, K.G., G.C.B., to be Great Master and Principal
Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.”

That this distinction was very gratifying to the King was significantly
shown in the following month, when he gave a great banquet at St.
James’s Palace to the Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in
celebration of his appointment. It was an absolutely unique gathering
of men who had rendered distinguished service to the State, in
statesmanship, in diplomacy, in the profession of arms, in the navy,
and in the departments of civil administration.

Since his accession, His Majesty has appointed his brother, the Duke of
Connaught, to succeed him as Great Master of the Order of the Bath.

By command of Queen Victoria, the King held a State reception and
investiture at St. James’s Palace on 21st July, when he received on
behalf of Her Majesty a large number of Diamond Jubilee addresses and
invested the newly-created Companions of the Orders of the Bath, the
Star of India, St. Michael and St. George, and the Indian Empire,
and on the same day His Majesty also opened the new Tate Gallery at
Millbank.

It was in this month that His Majesty was elected to the fellowship
of the Royal College of Physicians of London at a comitia of the
College--an honour which he valued highly. As a non-medical fellow the
King had had only three predecessors, the Marquis of Dorchester in
1658, the Duke of Manchester in 1717, and the Duke of Richmond in 1729.
The Royal diploma was, it is understood, specially composed for the
occasion, and did not give the new fellow complete freedom to practise
in his new profession! Later on, His Majesty was destined to experience
in his own person the marvellous benefits which modern surgery has
placed at the service of suffering humanity.

[Illustration: THE KING AS GRAND MASTER OF THE KNIGHTS-HOSPITALLERS OF
MALTA, AT THE DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE’S BALL

_From a Photograph by Lafayette_]

The rest of the Diamond Jubilee year was spent in comparative quietude
by the King and Queen Alexandra, although His Majesty took an active
part in the exceptionally brilliant season. He attended, among other
great functions, the Fancy Dress Ball given by the Duchess of
Devonshire, wearing on this occasion the splendid costume of the Grand
Master of the Knights-Hospitallers of Malta.

King Edward and Queen Alexandra left Marlborough House on 10th August
for Bayreuth, and His Majesty arrived at Marienbad on the 18th,
travelling _incognito_ as Lord Renfrew. Her Majesty went to Bernstorff
to visit her parents, and was joined there early in September by the
King. His Majesty afterwards visited the Empress Frederick at Cronberg,
and returned to Marlborough House on 25th September, while Her Majesty
prolonged her stay in Denmark till October.

On 16th October the King stood as sponsor at the christening of
the infant son and heir of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough--an
interesting occasion, for His Majesty had been godfather to the Duke
himself some twenty-five years before.

This summer was also rendered memorable for the visit paid by the Duke
and Duchess of Cornwall and York to Ireland. Their Royal Highnesses
spent a fortnight there, stopping with the Lord-Lieutenant, Earl
Cadogan, in Dublin; afterwards visiting some of the great houses of the
Irish nobility, and seeing a great deal of the lovely scenery for which
Ireland is famous, including Killarney, from which the Duke takes the
title of Baron.

In Dublin the Duke of Cornwall and York and the ever-popular Lord
Roberts were installed with great pomp and ceremony as Knights of the
Order of St. Patrick. The Duke wore the same sword which his father had
used when he was installed some three-and-twenty years before.

[Illustration: THE DUKE OF CORNWALL AND YORK IN HIS ROBES AS A KNIGHT
OF ST. PATRICK

_From a Photograph by Lafayette_]

His Royal Highness on the termination of the visit wrote the following
letter to Lord Cadogan, the Lord-Lieutenant:--

        “MOUNT STEWART, NEWTOWNARDS, CO. DOWN, _8th September 1897_.

    “DEAR LORD CADOGAN--I cannot leave Ireland without expressing
    to you, on behalf of the Duchess of York and myself, our very
    sincere appreciation of the warm and enthusiastic welcome which
    has been accorded to us during our visit by all classes and in
    all parts of the country.

    “Nothing could have exceeded the kindness and hospitality which
    have been shown to us, and the agreeable impressions which we
    have derived from our visit can never be effaced from our
    memory. I regret that the limited time at our disposal rendered
    it impossible for us to see many districts in a country which
    contains so much that is beautiful and interesting. I hope,
    however, that we may have further opportunities of improving
    our acquaintance with the people of Ireland and with the
    country of which they are so justly proud.--Believe me, very
    sincerely yours,

                                                          “GEORGE.”

Their Royal Highnesses came home by way of Scotland, visiting Glasgow,
where they performed several ceremonial functions, and staying with
Lord Rosebery at Dalmeny for two nights. They then went to Ness Castle
and on to Guisachan for fishing and deer-stalking as the guests of Lord
and Lady Tweedmouth, and ultimately visited Queen Victoria at Balmoral.

This Royal visit to Ireland exhibited in a striking manner the extent
to which party passions had been allayed in the distressful country.
The Duke and Duchess had everywhere a respectful and frequently an
enthusiastic reception; and in almost every address received by their
Royal Highnesses the desirability of establishing a Royal residence in
Ireland was pointedly referred to. The profound effect of the visit was
seen a month or two later, when, on the death of the lamented Duchess
of Teck, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Dublin telegraphed their
condolences, both officially and privately, not to the Duke of Teck, as
might have been expected, but to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and
York. On this mournful occasion, also, the Corporation of “rebel” Cork
passed a resolution of sympathy.

[Illustration: THE DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK

_From a Photograph by Chancellor, Dublin_]

The death of the Duchess of Teck on 27th October was a terrible
blow to the King and Queen Alexandra. In the previous April the
Duchess had undergone a severe operation with the magnificent courage
characteristic of her, and as soon as she was able to receive visitors
the very first who came was King Edward. Her Royal Highness seemed
quite to have conquered her malady. She went up to London from White
Lodge in June, and bore her part in many of the Diamond Jubilee
rejoicings. No one who saw the Jubilee procession will ever forget the
people’s welcome to the Duchess of Teck--great in the West End, but
greatest of all in the poorer parts of London, and second only to the
reception accorded to Queen Victoria herself. The Duchess attended the
Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, and at the Duchess of Devonshire’s
ball she appeared as the Electress Sophia. Visits to Northumberland
and Westmoreland followed, but towards the end of October, when Her
Royal Highness had returned to White Lodge, the illness returned. The
surgeons again operated successfully, but the patient could not rally
from the shock.

There had been practically no warning, so that the news came with
equal suddenness both to the Royal Family and the nation. King Edward
and Queen Alexandra immediately hurried up from Sandringham, and
afterwards, at the deeply impressive funeral in St. George’s Chapel,
Windsor, His Majesty represented his Royal mother.

This bereavement was the more terrible from its utter unexpectedness,
and, as has been so singularly often the case in our Royal Family,
it happened in the autumn. Princess Mary, who stood in the relation
of second cousin to King Edward, was, although belonging technically
to the same generation as Queen Victoria, but a few years older than
His Majesty, and the most affectionate and close relations had always
existed between them, a fact shown on many occasions throughout their
joint lives, and nowhere more strikingly than in the great satisfaction
expressed by both the King and Queen Alexandra at the marriage of their
only surviving son to the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Teck.

Earlier in the autumn an attempt was made to use the King’s great
personal prestige and popularity in order to bring to a close the
struggle between masters and men in the engineering trade. The writer
received the following reply:--

           “MARLBOROUGH HOUSE, PALL MALL, S.W., _8th October 1897_.

    “DEAR SIR--I am directed by the Prince of Wales to acknowledge
    the receipt of your letter of the 4th inst., and to inform
    you, in reply, that, while he deeply deplores the disastrous
    state of affairs in the engineering industry, he feels that it
    would not be right or proper for him to attempt in any way to
    interfere or to mix himself up in them. His Royal Highness
    regrets that he is unable to act on your suggestion.--I am,
    Sir, your obedient servant,

                                                 “FRANCIS KNOLLYS.”

Towards the end of November the King visited Durham, and in his reply
to the inevitable address gave some interesting reminiscences of the
late Bishop of the diocese. He said:--

“Dr. Lightfoot, who was transferred from his theological studies in
the University of Cambridge to undertake the administration of a large
and important diocese, evinced a powerful personality of character
through the brilliancy of his intellect, his profound learning, his
earnest piety, and a capacity for organisation so remarkable as almost
to appear intuitive.… I may mention that I myself was personally
acquainted with Bishop Lightfoot when I was an undergraduate at
Cambridge, and I wish to add my own testimony to the admiration and
regard with which he inspired all who, like myself, had the advantage
of knowing him.”

On 21st December Queen Alexandra received a grateful address from the
chairmen of the sixty local committees who were entrusted with the
management of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee dinner fund for the poor of
London, and so ended this eventful year.



CHAPTER XVIII

LATER YEARS--A SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO THE KING--GRADUAL RECOVERY--THE
ATTEMPT ON THE KING’S LIFE


The year 1898, destined to bring His Majesty a serious accident and a
tedious convalescence, opened uneventfully. On New Year’s Day the King
accepted the post of Patron of the Fourth International Congress of
Zoology, which had arranged to meet at Cambridge in August. In January,
too, the Brixton branch of the Social Democratic Federation sent to the
King a proposal that the Government should organise a system of State
maintenance of the underfed London school children. In reply, Sir F.
Knollys wrote:--

“His Royal Highness directs me to assure you that he feels the greatest
sympathy for the large number of underfed and half-starved children
living in London, and although he is afraid he does not feel himself
at liberty to support your particular proposal, it will give him much
pleasure to send a donation to the London Schools Dinner Association,
which he understands is doing very good work in the required direction.”

In March the King went to Cannes, and saw President Faure in Paris on
his way thither. On 10th March His Majesty laid the first stone of a
new jetty at Cannes in the midst of a brilliant assemblage. He said,
speaking to the Mayor:--

“You know what pleasure it gives me to spend a few weeks in your
beautiful country, where I always meet with a hospitable reception.… In
laying the first stone of the new jetty, in accordance with your kind
wish, I desire to tell you especially how touched I was at your having
thought of giving it my name. I trust that the very wise and unanimous
impulse given by you to yachting at Cannes will not fail of its effect.
You can safely rely upon my support, for I am sincerely glad to see
this friendly competition between our two countries developed, and,
as you have so well said, I hope with you that this ceremony may be a
fresh pledge of cordial relations between France and Great Britain.”

To M. Leroux, Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes, His Majesty said:--

“I am touched by the sentiments which, in the name of the Government of
the Republic, you have just expressed. I sincerely hope that France may
long enjoy the benefits of the Government which you represent, and that
the cordial relations between France and Great Britain may continue
for the good of humanity. I am, indeed, happy to be able to lend my
co-operation to this hospitable country, for which I wish the greatest
prosperity.”

On 25th April His Majesty opened the Royal Photographic Society’s
International Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. The Society was
founded in 1853 under the auspices of Queen Victoria and the Prince
Consort. The King naturally took special interest in the exhibit of
his Hospital Fund for London, which included photographs of the “Roll
of Ministering Children.” This roll comprised so many portraits of the
King’s descendants that His Majesty drily observed that he seemed to be
surrounded by grandchildren.

This spring His Majesty was much occupied with the preparations for the
Paris Exhibition of 1900. He was Chairman of both the executive and the
finance committee of the Royal Commission which was appointed to see
that Great Britain was adequately represented.

On 18th May the King reviewed the Lancashire Hussars at Birkdale, it
being the jubilee of this yeomanry regiment, and also visited Southport
and Wigan. On 20th May he reviewed the Royal Bucks Hussars in Howe Park.

The death of Mr. Gladstone caused much sorrow both to His Majesty and
to Queen Alexandra, who had frequently demonstrated the regard in which
they held the veteran statesman and his devoted wife. At the funeral
of Mr. Gladstone in the Abbey on 28th May 1898 the King was the chief
pall-bearer with his son, the Duke of Cornwall and York, and at the
close of the service, with the other pall-bearers, they kissed the hand
of Mrs. Gladstone. Queen Alexandra and the Duchess of Cornwall and York
were present at the service.

Soon afterwards their Majesties lost another old friend, and curiously
enough a devoted follower of Mr. Gladstone, namely, the first Lord
Playfair, so long known as Sir Lyon Playfair, who had taught the King
science in His Majesty’s student days at Edinburgh.

On 31st May the _London Gazette_ published the following, which was
naturally of much interest to the King:--

“The Queen has been pleased, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal,
to declare that the children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales
shall have, and at all times hold and enjoy, the style, title, and
attribute of ‘Royal Highness.’”

On 8th June Queen Alexandra presented prizes in the Albert Hall to the
boys of the Royal Masonic Institution at Woodgreen. His Majesty, in
acknowledging a vote of thanks to her, said:--

“Though the Princess has set a good example, as the wife of a
Freemason, in not attempting to discover the secrets of our craft, I
think she has taken a philanthropic interest in all that concerns our
works.”

Three days later the King opened the Reading University Extension
Hospital and inspected the Royal Berkshire Hospital, afterwards going
on a visit to his old friends Lord and Lady Wantage at Lockinge. On
18th June the King distributed the prizes at Wellington College, and on
21st June, accompanied by the Queen, he laid the foundation stone of
the new buildings of the North London or University College Hospital.

A week later the King paid a visit to Lord and Lady Warwick, and much
enjoyed driving in motor cars, then a comparatively novel form of
conveyance. During the visit Lady Warwick drove the King to Barford to
call upon Mr. Joseph Arch, M.P., in his cottage. His Majesty had a high
opinion of Mr. Arch, who had risen by his own exertions from a very
humble origin, and at that time represented the electoral division of
Norfolk in which Sandringham is situated.

[Illustration: THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT

THE LATE DUKE OF SAXE-COBURG

QUEEN VICTORIA

THE GERMAN EMPEROR

THE EMPRESS FREDERICK

KING EDWARD VII.

_From a Photograph by J. Russell and Sons_]

On 7th July the King, with the Duke of Sparta, who was on a visit to
this country, attended the presentation of colours by Queen Victoria to
the 3rd Coldstream Guards at Aldershot.

The King met with a serious accident on 18th July while at Waddesdon
Manor, Bucks, on a visit to Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. His
Majesty slipped in descending a staircase and sustained a fracture
of the knee-cap, but was able to travel to Marlborough House the
same afternoon. Not much progress was made, however, and on the 19th
Sir William MacCormac and Sir Francis Laking decided to call in the
famous surgeon, Sir Thomas Smith, who had undoubtedly prolonged the
Duchess of Teck’s life. It is interesting to note that the Röntgen
rays were employed to ascertain the extent of the injury, probably
the first occasion of their being used for a Royal patient. Rest was
compulsory, and though it must have been irksome in the extreme to one
of the King’s active habits, yet nothing could exceed the cheerfulness
displayed by the patient.

On the 21st Lord Lister, the “father” of antiseptic surgery, was called
in, and with characteristic consideration, in view of the anxiety
exhibited by the whole Empire, the King authorised the publication of a
detailed statement regarding the accident.

From this it appeared that he missed his footing while coming down the
spiral staircase at Waddesdon Manor, and in the sudden severe effort
made to save himself from falling sustained a fracture of the left
patella. “About one-fifth of the bone, somewhat crescentic in shape,
was torn away, along with the tendinous insertion of the quadriceps
extensor, and the gap between the fragments amounted to a little more
than two inches.” Sir W. MacCormac and Sir Francis Laking concluded
their statement by the remark that the illustrious patient “is bearing
the enforced restraint with exemplary patience and good temper.” Of
course what every one feared was some permanent lameness or weakness of
the limb, but this, as will be seen from what follows, was fortunately
averted.

Queen Alexandra was unremitting in her attentions to the invalid, and
was with difficulty prevailed upon to leave his room for necessary air
and exercise. On the 23rd Mr. Alfred Fripp, Surgeon-in-ordinary, who
was away on his honeymoon at the time the accident occurred, joined the
other medical attendants, who in consultation decided that the patient
might attend the Cowes Regatta on board the Royal yacht _Osborne_. It
was hoped that the change of scene would facilitate recovery, and the
decision was also naturally gratifying to Queen Victoria, who was then
in residence at Osborne, and wished to be near her son.

On Sunday, the 24th, the patient was connected by electrophone with
St. Michael’s, Chester Square, and heard his honorary chaplain, Canon
Fleming, refer to the accident and the national anxiety it had caused.
In the evening the invalid heard a sacred concert, also through the
electrophone.

The Sultan was greatly concerned at the news of the accident, and even
offered to send the well-known Turkish surgeon, Djemal Pasha, to attend
on the patient.

It was characteristic of the King’s kindly consideration that before
leaving London for Cowes he sent a gold scarf-pin, set with emeralds,
and a letter of thanks to Dr. Shaw, the local practitioner who had
attended him at Waddesdon immediately after the accident.

On 30th July the King, accompanied by the Queen, Princess Victoria,
and Prince Nicholas and Princess Marie of Greece, left London for
Cowes. Sir F. Laking and Mr. Fripp were in medical attendance, and
the transport to Paddington, and thence by the Queen’s train to
Portsmouth Jetty, was accomplished with complete comfort and safety.
The patient was carried by bluejackets in his invalid’s chair on board
the _Osborne_, and it is needless to say that the “handy men” did
their work to perfection, with masculine strength allied to womanly
tenderness. On the 31st Queen Victoria visited the patient and found
him in excellent spirits and making good progress.

The Queen of Denmark fell seriously ill at this time, and as King
Edward was going on so well, Queen Alexandra left on 3rd August for
Copenhagen, attended by Miss Knollys and Sir Francis Laking. Princess
Victoria remained with her father.

On the 6th it was announced that no further bulletins would be
issued, as the King’s progress was so satisfactory. Queen Victoria
paid him frequent visits, and on the 12th Lord Rosebery was his
guest. The _Osborne_ often went for short cruises, sometimes as far
as the Needles, and the King was much gratified to have his son and
daughter-in-law with him, as well as his grandchildren, the little
Princes Edward and Albert.

At length on the 23rd the _Osborne_ left for a longer cruise in the
Channel, the programme including visits to Plymouth and Torquay.
Mr. Fripp was in medical charge. This did the patient great good,
and at some of the places at which the yacht touched he was able to
obtain carriage exercise, four of the _Osborne’s_ bluejackets having
been drilled as a carrying party. His Majesty thoroughly realised
that complete recovery must not only be a matter of time, but must
also depend on strict obedience to the doctors’ orders, and, as the
event proved, he showed himself a model patient in every way. Queen
Victoria’s anxiety about her son abated, and she was able to leave
for Balmoral on 31st August. The patient particularly enjoyed the
opportunity of entertaining his friends on board the yacht, including
the Portuguese Minister and Mr. Christopher Sykes. He paid a long visit
to Mount Edgcumbe, landing and driving in the park.

On 2nd September the _Osborne_ returned to Cowes, and on the following
day the patient was allowed to stand up for the first time and to walk
very carefully a distance of three feet.

The health of the Queen of Denmark continued to give great anxiety
to His Majesty, and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, with
little Prince Edward, left England for Copenhagen to be present at the
celebration of the aged Queen’s birthday, which seemed only too likely
to be the last that she would ever spend on earth.

On the 8th the King was able to visit Osborne--of course in an invalid
chair. On the 12th it was announced that a considerable degree of
mobility had been obtained in the knee joint, and on the 14th the
patient, accompanied by Princess Victoria, left for Balmoral.

At this time, in spite of the tiresome restraints imposed on him by
his accident, the King did another of those graceful little actions
which have helped so much to strengthen his hold over the affections
of his subjects all over the world. Some time before this His Majesty
had assisted Sir James Woodhead, then Mayor of Cape Town, to procure a
mace for the city, made of oak from the timbers of Nelson’s flagship,
the _Victory_. Unfortunately, the piece of wood sent out proved to be
so much decayed as to be practically useless. Another application was
made to the King, who again interested himself in the kindest manner
in the matter, with the result that a fairly sound piece of wood was
despatched, and the grateful council of Cape Town passed a unanimous
resolution of thanks to their Royal benefactor. It is not a very
important incident, but it illustrates His Majesty’s willingness not
only to take trouble, but to go on taking trouble.

The King derived the greatest benefit from the splendid air of Deeside,
and about the middle of September Mr. Fripp, his Surgeon-in-ordinary,
was able to return to London. While His Majesty was in Scotland Lord
Crawford celebrated the quincentenary of his earldom, and the King sent
him the following kindly telegram:--

“Allow me to offer you my sincerest congratulations on the 500th
anniversary of the creating of your title.--ALBERT EDWARD.”

On 23rd September the King left Balmoral to stay with the Duke and
Duchess of Fife at Mar Lodge, and on the 27th the recovery of His
Majesty was, so to speak, officially marked by the announcement in
the _London Gazette_ that Queen Victoria had appointed Sir William
MacCormac and Sir Francis Laking to be Knight-Commanders, and Mr.
Fripp and Fleet-Surgeon Delmege to be Members of the Royal Victorian
Order, “in recognition of their services in connection with the recent
accident met with by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.”

All this time the condition of the venerable Queen of Denmark had been
fluctuating, now an improvement and now a relapse being reported. At
last the end came on 29th September, and the Balmoral _Court Circular_,
in recording the mournful event, announced:--

“The Queen’s beloved daughter-in-law, the Princess of Wales, was in
constant attendance on her mother, to whom she was devotedly attached.”

The utmost sympathy was shown by all classes with King Edward and Queen
Alexandra in this terrible bereavement. The King was represented at
the funeral by his son, and the Duke of Cambridge represented Queen
Victoria. Queen Alexandra of course remained at Copenhagen for the last
sad rites.

On 16th October the King returned to London, the only trace of his
accident being a very slight limp, which was soon got rid of, and on
the 28th His Majesty received Lord Kitchener, who had come home with
all the laurels of Omdurman. On 1st November Queen Alexandra and her
son returned from Copenhagen, and their Majesties soon afterwards paid
a short visit to Sandringham. Before the end of November the _Lancet_
was able to assure the public that the King’s recovery was complete,
and His Majesty showed his gratitude to Sir William MacCormac by his
presence when, in the following February, the eminent surgeon delivered
the Hunterian Oration at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

On 6th February 1899 another sad bereavement befell the King in the
death of Prince Alfred, the only son of his brother, the Duke of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The King soon returned to his active public life. On 2nd March His
Majesty presided at a meeting held at Marlborough House to establish
the League of Mercy, the purpose of which was to promote more
systematic contributions to his Hospital Fund for London. On 8th July
the King reviewed some 26,000 Metropolitan Volunteers on the Horse
Guards Parade. Queen Alexandra watched the review, and her son and the
Duke of Connaught marched past at the head of the corps of which they
are honorary colonels. On 20th July the King and Queen opened the new
buildings of the Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease in
Bloomsbury, and on the following day their Majesties entertained 1200
hospital nurses at Marlborough House at a garden party in connection
with the Royal National Pension Fund for Nurses. On 22nd July the
King, who was accompanied by his son and daughter-in-law, was an
interested spectator of the International University Sports, when the
representatives of Oxford and Cambridge beat the champions of Harvard
and Yale by five events to four. In September His Majesty presented new
colours to the 1st Gordon Highlanders at Ballater.

[Illustration: THE KING WITH THE LADIES DUFF

_From a Photograph by Messrs. Downey_]

The autumn of 1899 was signalised by the visit which was paid to this
country by the German Emperor and Empress, who were accompanied by two
of their sons, Prince Augustus William and Prince Oscar. Their Imperial
Majesties were royally entertained at Windsor by Queen Victoria, to
whom they had come to pay their respects, a great State banquet being
the chief among the festivities. King Edward naturally took a prominent
part in the reception of the German Emperor, who particularly enjoyed
some capital shooting on his uncle’s estate at Sandringham. At the time
of His Imperial Majesty’s visit, the British arms in South Africa were
not meeting with conspicuous success, and various political motives
were freely attributed to the Kaiser, but the mass of the British
people were content to take the event for what it seemed to be--namely,
a tribute of respect to the venerated British Sovereign on the part
of her grandson. Queen Victoria took the opportunity to appoint the
Kaiser an honorary G.C.V.O., and to confer various grades of the same
decoration on the members of His Imperial Majesty’s suite, which
included more than one eminent German statesman.

The year 1900 was perhaps the most eventful in King Edward’s life, for
it saw the first attempt that had ever been made to kill him. Queen
Victoria’s memorable visit to Ireland began on the very same day on
which this dastardly attempt was perpetrated. Her Majesty landed at
Kingstown on the morning of Wednesday, 4th April, and made her State
entry into Dublin. Meanwhile King Edward and Queen Alexandra left
England for Copenhagen. As the train by which they were travelling
to Denmark was leaving the Nord Station at Brussels in the evening,
a youth named Sipido jumped on the footboard of the Royal carriage
and fired two shots from a revolver into the saloon. Fortunately they
completely missed the King, who behaved with the utmost coolness, and
as quickly as possible telegraphed a reassuring message to his Royal
mother.

Sipido, who was of course instantly arrested, declared that he had
intended “to kill the Prince because His Royal Highness had caused
thousands of men to be slaughtered in South Africa.” There is no doubt
that the youth’s mind had become infuriated, partly by Anarchist
doctrines, partly by reading the abominable libels which for some
time had been circulated in the disreputable Continental journals
regarding the conduct of the war in South Africa. Unfortunately it
has to be recorded that not disreputable journals alone were guilty.
For instance, the issue of the _Kladderadatsch_, the German _Punch_,
published just before the attack on the King, contained a paragraph
of the grossest and most insulting character, completing a series of
abominably scurrilous attacks on His Majesty.

Widespread indignation was aroused, not only in the British Empire,
but also throughout the Continent, and the King and Queen were
the recipients of many thousands of telegrams of sympathy and
congratulation on His Majesty’s happy escape. The King expressed a
wish to have the bullet, and after the trial it was sent to him. It
is significant of His Majesty’s kindly thought that he sent to M.
Crocius, the stationmaster who seized Sipido, a valuable scarf-pin as
an acknowledgment. M. Crocius also received the Royal Victorian Order
and a letter of thanks from Queen Victoria.

The King and Queen returned to London from Denmark on 20th April, and
their arrival was made the occasion of a really remarkable popular
demonstration. A few days later the Press was requested to publish the
following graceful acknowledgment from His Majesty:--

                                “MARLBOROUGH HOUSE, PALL MALL, S.W.

    “I have been deeply touched by the numerous expressions of
    sympathy and goodwill addressed to me on the occasion of the
    providential escape of the Princess of Wales and myself from
    the danger we have lately passed through.

    “From every quarter of the globe, from the Queen’s subjects
    throughout the world, as well as from the representatives and
    inhabitants of foreign countries, have these manifestations of
    sympathy proceeded, and on my return to this country I received
    a welcome so spontaneous and hearty that I felt I was the
    recipient of a most gratifying tribute of genuine goodwill.

    “Such proofs of kind and generous feeling are naturally most
    highly prized by me, and will for ever be cherished in my
    memory.

                                                   “ALBERT EDWARD.”

The subsequent history of Sipido throws a curious light on Belgian
notions of justice. He was placed on trial before the Brabant Assize
Court on 2nd July, and admitted his guilt, acknowledging that the
attempt was not meant as a joke. Although the jury on the 5th brought
in a verdict of “guilty,” the Court acquitted the prisoner on the
ground that he was “irresponsible,” but ordered him to be placed at
the disposal of the Government till he attained the age of twenty-one.
The Belgian Government, however, did not prevent him from fleeing to
Paris, where he had relatives. Mr. Balfour stated in the House of
Commons that the British Government had informed the Belgian Government
that they considered the result of the proceedings to be a grave and
most unfortunate miscarriage of justice. In excuse for not detaining
Sipido, the Belgian Government pleaded that the youth could not be
arrested during the three days’ interval to which he was entitled for
deciding whether he should lodge an appeal. But this deceived no one,
for it was not an illegal arrest which was desired, but ordinary police
surveillance.

Sipido did appeal against the sentence of the Assize Court, but the
Brussels Court of Cassation rejected the appeal towards the end of
September. The Belgian Government ultimately obtained the extradition
of the youth from the French Government, and he arrived in Brussels in
charge of the police on 27th October.

The death of his brother, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Duke of
Edinburgh), in the summer of 1900, was a bitter grief to the King, who
was present with the German Emperor at the funeral. The succession to
the principality had been the subject of a family arrangement on the
death of the heir, Prince Alfred, in 1899. The King himself had of
course long ago renounced his rights, and the next heir, the Duke of
Connaught, on behalf of himself and his son, Prince Arthur, did the
same, with certain reservations. The duchy therefore passed to the
young Duke of Albany, only son of the late Prince Leopold, who was then
a boy in Mr. Benson’s house at Eton.

On New Year’s Day 1901 the King was much gratified by the promotion
of his son and heir to be Rear-Admiral, the more so as the Duke had
fairly earned this advancement as judged by the ordinary standards
of promotion in the Navy. The position to which His Royal Highness
was raised by the death of his elder brother of course rendered it
impossible for him thenceforward to be so closely associated with the
sea service as, for example, his uncle, the Duke of Edinburgh, had
been, and the step in rank was no doubt conferred in anticipation of
the Duke’s approaching visit to Australia to inaugurate the Federal
Parliament. The promotion was followed, a day or two afterwards, by
the appointment of the Duke to be Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Marine
Forces.

Dr. Creighton, Bishop of London, died on 14th January, and the King,
who was so soon to need the deepest sympathy himself, wrote a long and
touching letter of sympathy to the bereaved widow.

[Illustration: SANDRINGHAM FROM THE GROUNDS

_Photograph by Ralph, Dersingham_]



CHAPTER XIX

THE KING AS A COUNTRY SQUIRE


Sandringham is so closely associated in the public mind with King
Edward and Queen Alexandra, whose country home it was for so many
years, and is still to be from time to time, that no apology is needed
for devoting to it a special chapter.

When King Edward was about to set up a separate establishment,
Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort instructed some of their most
trusted friends to look out for a suitable country estate for the
Heir-Apparent. At one moment it was proposed to buy Newstead Abbey, but
its Byronic associations caused it to be purchased as soon as it came
into the market. Eynsham, in Oxfordshire, an estate belonging to Lord
Macclesfield, also came under consideration, as well as Elveden, in
Suffolk, and Hatherop, in Gloucestershire. Lord Palmerston seems to
have suggested Sandringham, which at that time belonged to his stepson,
Mr. Spencer Cowper, and accordingly the Norfolk estate was bought for
£220,000.

The estate consisted of eight thousand acres, the nominal rental
being about £7000 a year, but everything about Sandringham was at
that time in very bad order. The house was small and dilapidated, and
the shooting and outlying portions of the estate had been utterly
neglected. It is said that the whole rental has been expended on
the property during the last thirty-five or forty years, and a very
considerable sum has also been spent on the new house, the new gardens,
the park, and the home farms. Every kind of improvement has been
carried out, gradually but steadily, and now it may be considered a
model estate from every point of view. One of the first institutions
set up by the King was an admirable village club, entirely built at His
Majesty’s own expense. The regulations enforced are based on what is
called Dr. Arnold’s system, and give the _maximum_ of freedom to the
members.

The old mansion, which was small and inconvenient, was pulled down,
and the present house was erected on a more suitable site, from the
designs of Mr. Humbert. The work was not completed till 1871. The new
mansion is a very pretty gabled building, and though commodious enough,
it will not compare in point of size with many of the “stately homes of
England.” On the inner wall of the vestibule, above the hall door, is
set a tablet bearing, in Old English characters, the inscription: “This
house was built by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and Alexandra, his
wife, in the year of Our Lord, 1870.”

The Royal host and hostess, as well as their family and their guests,
are wont to spend much of their time in the great hall, a really
beautiful apartment, with a lofty ceiling of open oak work. Many
family souvenirs are gathered here, including a fine painting of Queen
Alexandra’s birthplace, portraits of the King and Queen of Denmark, two
miniature cannon, which were given by Napoleon III. to the King and to
his sister, the Empress Frederick, and a number of family portraits
and photographs. Facing the main entrance is the head of a wild bull,
belonging to the famous Chillingham herd, which was shot by the King in
1872. Underneath are Sir Walter Scott’s lines:--

    Fierce on the hunter’s quiver’d band
      He rolls his eyes of swarthy glow,
    Spurns with black hoof and horn the sand,
      And tosses high his mane of snow.

Though Sandringham can boast of no wild cattle, yet the King has been
for many years a breeder of shorthorns and Southdown sheep on a large
scale, and it is difficult to estimate the benefits which his example
in this respect has conferred on the great agricultural industry. His
Majesty has always been a very keen competitor at the various national
and local shows, and he took his duties as President of the Royal
Agricultural Society very seriously. All the Norfolk shows, from the
flower show to the poultry show, are patronised by their Majesties;
and in this, as in so many other matters, the Squire of Sandringham
sets an excellent example to those round him. The Allotments Act was
practically anticipated at Sandringham, and the tenants of His Majesty
know that he interprets very generously any Act telling in their favour.

The Royal Agricultural Society held its annual meeting in Dublin in
1871, when the King, who was accompanied by the Duke of Connaught and
Princess Louise (Duchess of Argyll), and the Duke of Argyll, paid one
of his visits to Ireland. At the annual banquet of the Society His
Majesty spoke in terms which demonstrate in the clearest manner his
interest in agriculture and his sense of its importance in promoting
the prosperity of the nation at large. He said, in the course of an
unusually long speech:--

“The theme before me--prosperity to Ireland--is one that might
be enlarged upon greatly. No one wishes more sincerely than I do
prosperity to this country. No one in the large assemblage which
crowds this hall, and no one outside this hall, could more largely
wish for the prosperity of Ireland which is so dear to them.… I may
say that what will do more than anything else towards making a
country prosperous is the extension of its agriculture. It was with
great pleasure that I accepted the position of President of the Royal
Agricultural Society, and it afforded me great pleasure to be present
at the Show to-day. My brother has already alluded in his speech to the
fine animals we saw, and I may add that I feel sure that in no other
part of the United Kingdom could a more creditable Show be held than
that which was opened near Dublin this morning. During the last four
years there has been a great improvement in every respect in the shows
of the Royal Agricultural Societies.…

[Illustration: THE NORWICH GATE AT SANDRINGHAM

_Photograph by Ralph, Dersingham_]

“I am assured that if the many gentlemen and landlords who very often
find some difficulty in leaving England, but who have large interests
and large estates in this country, could contrive to come over here
more frequently, it would do more good than anything else I could
imagine. I am certain that they are anxious to come over, and that
their relations with their tenantry and those around them should be
in every respect good. I may also here refer to the great improvement
made in the erection of farm buildings and cottages. Beyond doubt there
has been progress in the direction of improvement there; but still
I believe much yet remains to be done. Everything depends upon the
well-being of the people, and if they are properly lodged it tends to
cleanliness, and very possibly to moral advantage.

[Illustration: THE EAST FRONT, SANDRINGHAM

_Photograph by Ralph, Dersingham_]

“Perhaps I may be allowed to speak of a slight personal experience in
that matter. I have a small estate in Norfolk, and observed myself
the great importance of providing suitable small cottages for those
resident there, and, having done so, now reap immense advantage.”

In the following year (19th June 1872) the King and Queen visited
King’s Lynn to see the Annual Exhibition of the Norfolk Agricultural
Society. At the entrance to the Show His Majesty said, in reply to the
usual address presented on these occasions:--

“It has been a source of the greatest gratification to have had
it in my power to contribute in any degree to the success of your
Association, and to promote the interests of agriculture in Norfolk.
It is with these feelings that I have endeavoured to make myself
acquainted with some of the operations of farming, and to acquire
some knowledge of stock, and if I have not always been successful in
the path of competition, I have at least obtained prizes sufficient
to encourage me to persevere, and to indulge in the hope that I shall
obtain more.”

This hope of His Majesty’s was certainly justified, for he not only
carried off six prizes at this Norfolk show, but he has ever since been
a pretty regular prize-winner at the shows of the Royal Agricultural
Society, the Bath and West of England, and other important exhibitions.

In other speeches on the same occasion at King’s Lynn His Majesty said
that during the ten years in which he had lived in Norfolk he had
endeavoured not to lag behind those other county landlords who so ably
fulfilled their duties. It would always be his earnest endeavour to
promote the welfare of the county, in which he was much interested.
He had to thank them for the kind reception which the Princess of
Wales always experienced whenever she appeared in public. It was most
desirable that ladies should associate themselves in their husbands’
pursuits, and when the Princess did not accompany him he always felt
that there was something wanting. His Majesty went on to express
his own great personal interest in the Society and in the cause of
agriculture generally. His late father, the Prince Consort, always felt
the greatest interest in agriculture, and used to take his children to
inspect his prize animals.

The King also referred to the housing of the agricultural labourer,
and said that a landlord ought to feel a pride in having the working
classes properly housed on his estate. Those who worked from morning
to night should find on their return a comfortable dwelling, which
would promote their moral and social well-being. He had endeavoured
to improve the cottages on his own estate, and he felt pride and
satisfaction in having his workmen properly housed.

Only about a fortnight later the King again demonstrated his interest
in the county in which he had become a squire by visiting Great
Yarmouth to inspect the Norfolk Artillery Militia. On that occasion he
said:--

“This is the first occasion since my return from abroad that I have
met with an official reception, and my pleasure is increased from the
fact that I regard myself as a Norfolk man. I have also to acknowledge
the very high honour conferred upon me last year in my having been
appointed Honorary Colonel of the Norfolk Militia Artillery.”

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA’S DAIRY AT SANDRINGHAM

_Photograph by Ralph, Dersingham_]

Of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution the King has always
been a generous friend and supporter, and the spread of agricultural
depression has naturally made his Majesty’s support of exceptional
value. The King spoke, for example, at the fifteenth anniversary
festival of the Institution, held on 5th June 1875:--

“I sincerely say that I do take a great interest in all that is
connected with agriculture. I may call myself a colleague of many
of you present as a farmer on a small scale, and I only hope that I
may never have occasion to be a pensioner of this institution. It
is impossible, I think, for any British gentleman to live at his
country place without taking an interest in agriculture, and in all
those things which concern the farmers of this great country. The
very backbone of the country, the best recruits of the Army and Navy,
come from the agricultural districts. We know that our commercial and
agricultural interests depend upon the valour and efficiency of our
land and sea forces.”

On this occasion the King added a toast which had been most ungallantly
omitted from the list--that of “The Ladies,” and in proposing it he
said:--

“We have been honoured on this occasion by fair ladies, and I think it
would be very wrong if we were to separate without cordially drinking
their health. We see especially how much the comfort, well-being,
prosperity, and happiness of farmers and agriculturists depend upon a
kind wife to cheer them by the fireside at the end of their day’s work,
and to lighten by female influence the load of difficulties.”

Though naturally His Majesty will now be unable to devote so much
time to the interests of agriculture as he did when Prince of Wales,
yet he has no intention of giving up the breeding of stock. It is
understood that Her late Majesty bequeathed to him the magnificent
herds of shorthorns, Jerseys, Devons, and Herefords established by the
late Prince Consort at Windsor on the Shaw and Flemish farms which he
started there. Prince Albert, indeed, revived the interest of the Royal
Family in agriculture, which had lapsed since the death of “Farmer
George.” Queen Victoria also had some very good stock on the home farm
at Osborne, while at Abergeldie Mains Her Majesty kept a magnificent
herd of pure-bred Aberdeen-Angus cattle. These, without doubt, her
successor will keep up.

To those who study the King’s personal nature and character, no
apartment at Sandringham can be more interesting than the library,
or rather that section of the libraries, for there are three, which
is specially appropriated to His Majesty. The fittings are those of
the cabins used by the King on board the _Serapis_ during his voyage
to and from India. The blotting-books and the tables and chairs are
all covered in dark blue or green leather, and on each the Prince of
Wales’s feathers and monogram are stamped in gold. A glance at the
shelves shows what are the King’s literary tastes and preferences. He
is evidently intensely interested in the history of his own country,
especially what may be called the history of our own time. Several
shelves are entirely devoted to works dealing with the Indian Mutiny,
including the official reports, memoirs, histories, and even novels.
The King always buys every new work connected with the public or
private administration of his Eastern Empire. Special attention has
also evidently been paid to the Crimean War, and there is a rich
collection of Colonial histories and documents. But most of the
standard works of reference are to be found in the first library,
a fine apartment, often used as a writing-room and reading-room by
visitors.

The second library is really the Equerries’ room. It is there the
Gentlemen of the Household are often to be found. Here are gathered
together French and English works of reference and classics, and
a splendid collection of county histories. Novels and memoirs are
not neglected, and no week passes, when the King and Queen are in
residence, without a large consignment of British and foreign books
finding its way to Sandringham.

The King transacts much of the business connected with the Sandringham
estate in a pleasant morning-room. There he receives at stated times
the bailiffs and others concerned in the management of the estate, and,
as he farms himself over 1000 acres, he has much to do in the way of
supervision.

Sandringham can boast of one of the finest private billiard-rooms in
England, and it is one of the very few country-houses where there
are bowling alleys. The King and his children are very fond of the
old-fashioned English game of bowls.

In 1891 the entire roofing of the main building of Sandringham House,
together with all the rooms and their contents on the two upper
floors, was destroyed by fire. The bells of the various churches in
the district clashed out the alarm. Gangs of men and women speedily
set to work to clear the principal lower rooms of their furniture
and rare, valuable, and interesting contents. Queen Alexandra was
staying with the Empress of Russia, and the King was also away at the
time. The amount of damage done was about £15,000. That portion of the
house which was destroyed has been rebuilt in a thoroughly fire-proof
fashion, with iron and concrete floors and roofs; and the opportunity
was taken of making many additions to various portions of the house,
in fact about eighteen rooms were added. It is very characteristic of
the King that, by his orders, the general works were all carried out by
local tradesmen.

One of the most interesting departments of Sandringham Hall is the
stables, which contain a great number of carriages. There are Russian
sledges, only used in the coldest weather; a Hungarian snow-carriage,
lined with rose colour; Norwegian carioles; a smart American buggy,
painted bright yellow; a truly beautiful gold inlaid jinricksha, sent
to the King from Japan, which is for show rather than for use; a
char-à-banc, presented by the late Duke of Sutherland; and, it need
hardly be said, every kind of ordinary two- and four-wheeled vehicle
now in general use, from the modest Norfolk cart to the stately
landau; while by the big coach is to be seen the charming miniature
four-in-hand presented by His Majesty to Queen Alexandra just before
his departure for India.

Both the King and Queen are passionately fond of horses, and Her
Majesty pays a daily visit when at Sandringham to her pony-stable,
which was built in 1874 for her four French ponies, who were afterwards
succeeded by equally valuable animals of British extraction. Bina,
Merry-Antics, Bow, and Bell were the fortunate occupants of this model
pony-stable, which is considered the prettiest building of the kind in
the world, the walls being lined with white tiles, picked out in green
glazed bricks, finished at the top by a green-tiled frieze and an open
wooden roof. Above each manger was recorded in gold letters the name of
the pony occupying the stall. Queen Alexandra at one time was very fond
of driving tandem, and she has one of the best tandem teams in Great
Britain. She is very fond of bay horses, and possesses also a pair of
the famous greys bred in the Imperial stables at Leipzig. For many
years Her Majesty always rode Kinsky, a Hungarian horse; and she was
said to be one of the best horsewomen in Norfolk.

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA AT SANDRINGHAM

_From a Photograph by Thomas Fall_]

The saddle-room is not the least fascinating portion of the
stable-yard. Much of the harness is silver and gold-plated. Queen
Alexandra has always preferred brown harness to black, and all that
used by her is made in tan leather, with brass mounts.

There are a number of interesting photographs and paintings, including
a picture in oils of a very beautiful chestnut mare, Victoria, long
ridden by the Queen, and given to her when she was a bride by Queen
Victoria. Below this portrait of a departed favourite is one of her
hoofs mounted in silver, with the name of the owner written across.
There are some valuable prints of celebrated trainers and jockeys, with
some of the latter’s whips, spurs, and caps. A “Vanity Fair” cartoon of
the King, surrounded by a number of his friends at Newmarket, is also
given a prominent place in the Sandringham saddle-room; and not the
least interesting memento now there is Mr. John Porter’s silver-wedding
gift to his Royal patrons. In a silver frame, surmounted by the Prince
of Wales’s feathers, is a white velvet tablet with the name “Ormonde”
woven from the famous race-horse’s hair. The border contains pieces
of the hair of thirty-three famous winners, the name of each being
in silver letters beneath. Close by is to be seen the racing-saddle
generally used by Fred Archer.

Parallel with the stables runs the building known as the kennels. At
one time, in the paddock between the stables and the kennels, there
was a bear-pit, but the occupant thereof was sent to the Zoo after the
King’s valued head-keeper, Mr. Jackson, had been hunted by Bruin just
when he was about to feed him with some peculiarly bearish delicacy.
This corner of Sandringham is by no means confined to horses and dogs.
Here also were kept some of Queen Alexandra’s pet cats; a number of
doves descended from the single pair presented to Her Majesty during
her first visit to Ireland; her Australian pigeons, quite unlike the
more humble home variety; a Barbary dove belonging to the Duchess of
Cornwall and York; and some very fine water-fowl, to say nothing of
“Cockie,” the Princess of Wales’s cockatoo, who was said to be over a
hundred years old.

The kennels are, in their way, quite as fine as the stables. They are
very cleverly arranged, all fitted with hot-water pipes, and admirably
ventilated. The dogs are exercised in the park, in three paddocks in
front of the kennels, or in a large yard paved with red, blue, and
brick tiles. All the food consumed in the kennels comes from special
kitchens attached to the building. There is also a dog hospital and a
nursery, always occupied by one or more litters.

[Illustration: THE KENNELS, SANDRINGHAM

_Photograph by T. Fall, Baker Street, W._]

The King and Queen are both keen dog-fanciers, and they possess some of
the very finest animals in the world. They both exhibit at the leading
shows, and Her Majesty is the Patron of the Ladies’ Kennel Association.

This chapter must not be concluded without reference to a curious
little book, published some years ago by one who must be regarded as
absolutely unique--namely, an aggrieved tenant at Sandringham. This
lady had differences with the agent of the estate, and to revenge
herself for her supposed grievances she wrote this obviously prejudiced
account of her late landlord at his country home.

The following extracts from the book written by this hostile witness
are therefore significant indeed of the tenour of our King’s life in
Norfolk:--

“Whenever I went (to Sandringham) I never failed to spend a pleasant
evening, and received more courtesy from my illustrious host and
hostess than from any house I ever was in. The Prince is noted for
his powers of entertainment and exertion to make every one enjoy
themselves. When a ‘house-party’ is expected he superintends the
arrangements and remembers their particular tastes and pursuits.
A gouty squire who once grumbled at having to go, was completely
mollified at finding a room prepared for him on the ground floor,
the Prince thinking he would prefer it. The effect of a visit to
Sandringham upon a certain order of Radicals, who are treated with
the greatest deference, is perfectly astounding. It acts as a patent
conjuring machine--a Republican stuffed in at one end, a Courtier
squeezed out at the other.

“The Sandringham festivities were so arranged that all classes could
share in them; and what with County, farmers’, and servants’ balls,
labourers’ dinners, visits to country houses, meets of the hounds, and
other sociabilities, everybody from far and near had the opportunity of
making acquaintance with their Royal Highnesses.”

Of the servants’ parties at Sandringham she says:--

“The house party, equerries, ladies-in-waiting, and all invited from
the neighbourhood, were ordered to join in, no shirking or sitting out
allowed, and when the sides had been made up, the Prince and Princess
set off with their partners, round and round, down the middle and up
again, and so on to the end, the Prince the jolliest of the jolly and
the life of the party, as he is wherever he goes. I never saw such
amazing vitality. His own Master of the Ceremonies, signalling and
sending messages to the band, arranging every dance, and when to begin
and when to leave off, noticing the smallest mistake in the figures,
and putting the people in their places. In the ‘Triumph,’ which is
such an exhausting dance, he looked as if he could have gone on all
night and into the middle of next week without stopping, and I really
believe he could.… Almost before one dance was ended the Prince started
another, and suddenly the Scotch Pipers would screech out and the
Prince would fold his arms and fling himself into a Highland fling, and
so on fast and furious until far into the small hours of the morning.”

[Illustration: QUEEN ALEXANDRA WITH HER FAVOURITE DOGS

_Photograph by T. Fall, Baker Street, W._]



CHAPTER XX

THE KING IN LONDON


Not long after the King’s accession, extensive alterations were
ordered to fit Buckingham Palace, which had been for a long time only
occupied occasionally, to be the town house of His Majesty and Queen
Alexandra. It is probable that their Majesties would have preferred
to remain at Marlborough House, which is endeared to them by the most
intimate associations, both of joy and of sorrow; but in this, as in
so many other instances, the King divined by quick intuition that his
loyal subjects would wish that their Sovereign and his Consort should
reside in the palace which is not less closely linked in the popular
imagination with the British monarchy than Windsor Castle itself.

It is evident that in all that concerns State ceremonial and the
_décor_ of a magnificent Court, King Edward is resolved to abate not a
jot of his regal dignity. But so much of His Majesty’s life was passed
at Marlborough House, and the beautiful old Georgian mansion was for so
long the centre of his social, philanthropic, and official activities,
that no biographical sketch of the King would be complete without some
account of what went on there.

There is scarcely an object in the house which does not remind the
King and Queen of some happy incident of their joint lives. The very
carpet in the drawing-room was presented to them on the occasion of
their wedding; and His Majesty’s great interest in everything that
concerns the history of the country and of the Empire is strikingly
shown in each of his homes, for the rooms of both Marlborough House
and Sandringham are lined with fine paintings and engravings recalling
great events of the Victorian era.

Although Marlborough House is the official residence of the
Heir-Apparent, it is considered a private house for taxation purposes,
and is rated at over £1000 a year.

[Illustration: MARLBOROUGH HOUSE FROM THE SOUTH-WEST

_Photograph by Ralph, Dersingham_]

The King’s study at Marlborough House, where none but his intimates
are admitted, looks like the room of a hard-working man of business.
He works at an old-fashioned pedestal desk-table, exactly resembling
the one used by his father. The desk portion of the table shuts with a
spring, and can only be opened with a golden key, which the King always
wears on his watch chain.

When he was Prince of Wales the King only accomplished the immense
amount of work he did by the most methodical organisation. Almost
every hour of his day was mapped out for him. First came his private
correspondence, which was very considerable. Then from ten to
half-past ten was spent in talking over and dictating replies to the
letters already sorted by Sir Francis Knollys. Immediately after, the
Comptroller of the Household discussed with him the arrangements for
the day. Often before lunch he had to receive a deputation, or to act
as chairman of some committee, frequently held in Marlborough House.
Luncheon was served at 2.30, and the King and Queen often entertained
parties of their relations who were up in town for the day. Except when
he was travelling, the King rarely had a free afternoon, for even on
the rare occasions when he had not to visit some public institution, to
lay a foundation-stone, or to declare a building open, and so on, there
were endless social duties to which no one could attend but himself,
such as weddings, race meetings, reviews, and receptions. Certain
public functions were almost always attended by both the King and the
Queen--for example, the Horse Show at Islington, the Royal Military
Tournament, and the trooping of the colour.

No one can realise how much his merely social duties cost the King
while he was Heir-Apparent. The invariable cheerfulness and courage
with which he went through what must have soon become a terribly
monotonous round, year after year, are the more admirable when it is
remembered that it was actually made the basis for the assertion that
he was excessively devoted to mere amusement. An American writer who
had brought the charge but, having discovered his error, had had the
honesty and manliness to admit it, was rewarded by receiving a letter
from the Prince’s Secretary in which occurred the following:--

“The Prince cannot help feeling that you are a little hard and unjust
upon him in your book; he says unjust because you evidently wrote
about him without knowing his real character. There are many things
which he is obliged to do which the outside world would call pleasures
and amusements; they are, however, often anything but a source of
amusement to him, though his position demands that he should every year
go through a certain round of social duties which bore him to death.
But, while duly regretting those social pleasures, you pass over very
lightly all the more serious occupations of his life.”

[Illustration: MARLBOROUGH HOUSE: THE DRAWING-ROOM

_Photograph by Ralph, Dersingham_]

As Heir-Apparent, the King gave each season a certain number of dinners
which, though in no sense official functions, took the place of those
which would in other circumstances be given at Court. Thus he very
often entertained various members of the Opposition as well as of the
Government. He also occasionally gave what might be called a diplomatic
dinner, to which a number of the Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers were
invited. On many occasions dinner-parties in honour of a foreign guest
or Royal relation passing through town in semi-_incognito_ have given
members of London society an opportunity of making the acquaintance of
a great foreign personage. When the Shahzada was in England the Prince
and Princess of Wales gave a banquet in his honour, at which covers
were laid for forty. On this occasion the principal guest was not able
to take any dish in the _menu_ save _riz à l’Impératrice_. Fortunately,
however, he had brought with him his own provisions.

The dining-room in which these important dinners were served at
Marlborough House is a very fine room containing a considerable number
of their Majesties’ wedding presents. It is a curious fact that in no
circumstances were two knives together given to any guest. A great many
reasons have been assigned for this rule, but apparently no one ever
adopted the simple plan of asking the Royal host or hostess. It has
been asserted that the King has the old-fashioned dislike to seeing
knives inadvertently crossed.

Here is a lively description of a dinner at Marlborough House on 6th
May 1896, recorded by the late Archbishop Benson in his diary:--

“Dined with the Prince of Wales. The most splendid company. All the
Ambassadors but Russia, who is gone to the Coronation of the Czar. Duke
of Connaught, Lord Wolseley, near whom I sat, with the Lord Chancellor
between, two delightful, interesting talkers, and on my other side one
still better, de Courcel, French Ambassador. Lucklessly after dinner
the Turkish Ambassador asked to be presented, and he held me talking
innocently about the Greek Bishops whom I knew, but for his red-handed
tyrant’s sake he was the last person I wished for, and Harcourt came up
and said, ‘What a picture we have been enjoying--you and the Turk in
close alliance!’ Then Harcourt went on about our old Cambridge days,
and in heart he is the greatest Conservative. At the Prince of Wales’s
instigation I did my best to make Duke of Connaught see it was good
for Church and State that Bishop of Peterborough should go for us, and
perhaps I succeeded a little; he promised to do his best to make him
welcome there. Chamberlain, Morley, Balfour, two Directors of British
Museum, Asquith, very pleasant after his dangerous but not damaging
assault on the Education Bill, Rosebery, Herschell, Salisbury of
course, looking a very great man, among the Ambassadors.”

The journey of the Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. Creighton, afterwards
Bishop of London), to which the Archbishop refers, was to Russia to
represent the Church of England at the Tsar’s Coronation.

The King has never concealed his dislike of the immensely long,
fatiguing banquets which were in his youth the rule rather than the
exception; indeed, he may be said to have revolutionised the British
dinner-party. At Marlborough House dinner was never allowed to last
much over an hour. Occasionally during dinner soft music was played.
Every course served was prepared under the direct supervision of the
_chef_ (the famous Ménager).

Some years ago the King was rarely seen, even at dinner at a private
house, without his favourite valet Macdonald, the son of the Prince
Consort’s _jager_; and later, whenever the King dined out, one of his
own servants invariably accompanied him and attended to him through
the dinner, whether it was a public banquet or a private dinner-party.
Indeed, the King very rarely enjoyed the luxury of being alone; even
when walking up St. James’s Street, or turning into the Marlborough
Club, he was almost invariably accompanied by one of his equerries;
and it need hardly be said that the most trustworthy detectives in the
London police force were charged with the task of watching over his
personal safety, for the appearance of no public personage was better
known to the man in the street than that of the Prince of Wales.

The King has always been an enthusiastic admirer of the stage, and his
tastes are so catholic that they range from melodrama at the Adelphi
to grand opera at Covent Garden. When His Majesty had made up his mind
that he would like to go to the theatre, the Royal box was booked in
the ordinary way of business, and charged to the Marlborough House
account, the price not being increased from the ordinary library
tariff. The only difference made in honour of the Royal family is
that, if any other patron of the theatre has already engaged the Royal
box, he is requested to waive his right. The King, however, is always
reluctant that this should be done, and he generally requests his
secretary to send a special note of thanks in his name.

[Illustration: GARDEN PARTY AT MARLBOROUGH HOUSE, JULY 1881

_From the “Illustrated London News”_]

Both the King and the Queen always desired to be treated exactly as
if they belonged to the ordinary audience, and nothing annoyed them
more than that attention should be drawn to them by the playing of the
National Anthem or “God bless the Prince of Wales.” At one time the
managers used to keep the curtain down till the Royal party arrived.
The King heard of this, and was so greatly troubled at the thought of
the inconvenience thus caused to the public that he gave strict orders
that the curtain was never to be kept down beyond the advertised time
on his account. On the other hand, he always makes a point of waiting
till the final curtain has come down before rising to leave. The only
occasions on which he ever breaks this courteous rule is when he goes
to a theatre which has no private entrance. Then the King and Queen
always anticipate the final curtain by two or three minutes, so that
their departure may not disturb the carriage arrangements of the rest
of the audience.

London managers have reason to be grateful to the King, for whenever he
has visited a theatre the booking sensibly increases, the more so that
when he likes a play he goes again and again, and recommends it to all
his friends. Even when he finds it impossible himself to attend the
benefit of some well-known actor or actress, he always puts his name
down for stalls or boxes to a substantial amount.

At the opera the King occupied an “omnibus,” a double box on the
ground tier, the Royal box itself being on the tier above; while Queen
Alexandra had a box all to herself, where she was usually accompanied
by one of her daughters. The King is a great music-lover, and, unlike
many _habitués_, attends appreciatively throughout the performance.
He was often attended at the opera by his old friend, the late Earl
of Lathom, but he never had ladies in his box, although during the
_entr’actes_ he would often visit the Princess and his daughters in
their box.

The King’s interest in the dramatic profession is unaffected and
sincere. Some years ago a very interesting theatrical dinner took place
at Marlborough House, Sir Henry Irving, Sir Squire Bancroft, Mr. Hare,
Mr. Kendal, Mr. Toole, Mr. Wyndham, Mr. Beerbohm Tree, Mr. Alexander,
Mr. David James, Mr. Arthur Cecil, and Mr. William Farren being asked
to meet the Duke of Fife, Sir Christopher Teesdale, Mr. Sala, Mr.
Burnand, and Mr. Pinero.

His Majesty has always patronised the French plays when performed in
London, and he is as popular with the French theatrical world as he is
with the dramatic profession in London.

[Illustration: MARLBOROUGH HOUSE: THE SALON

_Photograph by Ralph, Dersingham_]

A separate chapter might almost be written about the King as a
smoker. At Sandringham he has a large number of cigar-cases and
tobacco-boxes, presented to him at various times by relatives and
friends, and at Marlborough House he has an immense collection of
silver cigar-lighters. His Majesty is as generous in the matter of
cigars as he is in the more important affairs of life, and in this
connection a story is told which, if it is not true, certainly ought
to be. It is said that on one occasion, before his accession, when
attending a big fire, His Majesty asked a reporter for some details,
which were instantly given. At the conclusion of the conversation,
the King offered his informant a cigar, which the latter immediately
wrapped up in a page of his note-book and placed in his pocket. “Don’t
you smoke?” asked the King. “Oh yes,” said the reporter; “but I am not
likely ever to get another cigar from the Prince of Wales.” His Majesty
laughed, and once more producing his cigar-case said, “You had better
have another one, this time to smoke.”

The King was at one time very fond of taking a hansom in the streets
of London, just like an ordinary person, and it is said that he always
paid the driver half a sovereign whether the distance was long or
short. His Majesty is patron of the Cabdrivers’ Benevolent Association,
and he takes a marked interest in these hard-worked and deserving
servants of the public, seldom missing the annual meeting, at which,
indeed, some of his best speeches have been delivered.

It is hardly necessary to say that the King need never take a hansom
except for his own amusement. The stables of Marlborough House are,
from every point of view, models of what town stables ought to be. In
the coach-houses are some interesting carriages. The State Coach, which
was practically never used, is almost exactly like that which is kept
at Buckingham Palace. A Russian sociable, lined with dark-blue morocco,
was a gift from the late Tsar of Russia to Queen Alexandra, but it was
considered too showy for the London streets, and Her Majesty preferred
a light victoria, which was generally drawn by her two greys, Chelsea
and Brief.

The greatest care had to be taken both by the King and by the Queen in
selecting the tradesmen upon whom to confer the undoubted advantage of
their custom. Sir Dighton Probyn, who was Comptroller of the Prince
of Wales’s Household, and has since been appointed Extra Equerry to
His Majesty, was entrusted with the duty of seeing that the Warrants
were only given to those who were worthy of them. A Royal Warrant is
naturally considered a great honour by the recipient, and any firm
aspiring to be a Warrant-Holder must supply the Household for one year
in a satisfactory manner before becoming eligible; and should the firm
become bankrupt, or even change its name, the Warrant must be returned
to the Comptroller of the Household.

On the King’s birthday the Warrant-Holders were wont to dine together,
and on the _menu_ always figured some venison contributed both by Queen
Victoria and by King Edward, who each sent a fine buck. On all Royal
occasions of rejoicing the Warrant-Holders are considered to have a
special right to present a gift accompanied by their congratulations.

Every monetary transaction was not only recorded, but indexed at
Marlborough House, and any tradesman who sent in an account twice over
was never again patronised.

The King does not confine his custom to any one London tailor; on
the contrary, he is careful to distribute his patronage, and it is a
mistake to fancy that His Majesty pays very much more for his clothes
than do other people. His wardrobe is necessarily larger and more
varied than that of a private individual. It need hardly be said that
he dresses in perfect taste, and it is well known that he has no
sympathy with the revolutionists who would abolish the frock-coat.
He is, however, also understood to have a special fondness for the
old-fashioned “bowler” hat. It would be difficult to overestimate the
King’s influence as an arbiter of fashion, especially in America,
where every trifling change in his costume is faithfully reported
and imitated, and also on the Continent. On the whole, his influence
in matters of dress is strongly conservative. He has none of the
Continental love of displaying uniforms, and his dress is always the
acme of good taste, because it is always absolutely suitable to the
occasion on which it is worn.

The King has an ever-increasing number of uniforms, military and other,
which are worth quite £15,000, and are, of course, fully insured. It
need hardly be said that the King has almost every Order in existence.
The mere enumeration of them fills up a large space in Debrett.

The King’s own favourite among his Orders used to be that of Malta, the
Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of which the badge is the
well-known Maltese cross suspended from a black ribbon.



CHAPTER XXI

THE KING AND STATE POLICY


The King has on several occasions, notably in his Message to his
People, published on his accession, expressed his resolve to follow
in the footsteps of his late deeply-lamented mother in fulfilling the
great and sacred responsibilities which at her death he was summoned to
undertake. The chief of these responsibilities is that which relates
to high State policy, and especially to the intricate and delicate
problems arising out of our relations with foreign Powers.

Now, not the least service which Queen Victoria rendered to her people,
as Lord Salisbury said in the eloquent tribute which he paid to her
memory in the House of Lords, was her constant and rigorous supervision
over public affairs. The people saw only the result, the finished
policy, associated in their minds with the personality of some popular
Minister. What they did not know was how far that policy had been
modified, perhaps even completely recast, by the sagacious counsels of
their Sovereign, or what pitfalls had been avoided by her warnings,
frankly offered, yet never obstinately pressed upon the chosen
representatives of her beloved subjects. “Let us have the Queen’s
opinion,” said Lord Clarendon, one of the shrewdest of her Foreign
Ministers. “It is always worth hearing, even if you do not agree with
it.” And Lord Kimberley confessed that when he was at the Foreign
Office he had a difference of opinion with Queen Victoria in regard to
an important matter. After discussion Her Majesty, though unconvinced,
yielded to her Minister; but the event proved that she was right and
the Minister wrong.

Such glimpses of the inner working of the great machine of Government
illustrate for us the path which King Edward has marked out for
himself. Our polity has been called a crowned Republic--a phrase
which, in spite of its exaggeration, expresses tersely the fact that
the constitutional Sovereign of this realm has constantly to reconcile
duties which seem far apart, and even sometimes inconsistent. King
Edward succeeds to a Monarchy possessing great theoretical powers,
which, however, have been by the slow growth of custom practically
restricted to the exercise of an indirect, advisory influence on State
affairs, though, as Mr. Balfour said in the House of Commons, this
influence shows a tendency to increase rather than to diminish. Queen
Victoria was once compared to a Permanent Under-Secretary of State,
who sees Ministers come and go, succeed and fail, but himself remains.
The comparison is not a bad one, except that the work of a permanent
Under-Secretary is confined to one department, whereas the Sovereign is
concerned, not only with every branch of the public service, but also
with many matters of importance which cannot pass through the hands of
any State department.

It is easy to see the great responsibilities, as well as the great
opportunities, which are inseparable from the British Crown, and
perhaps it is not impertinent to point out how well King Edward VII.
is fitted to meet them. The extraordinary tact which characterises His
Majesty is most clearly illustrated when we consider his relations
towards the policy of the State. There was a time in the history
of England when the Prince of Wales allied himself with one of the
political parties in the country, and that not the one in which his
father had confidence. The tradition of constitutional monarchy
established by our late beloved Queen necessarily inaugurated a
different _régime_. No political party was ever able honestly to claim
the Prince of Wales as an adherent, or even as a platonic sympathiser.
On the other hand, not his severest critics ever accused him of apathy
to British interests. In that higher sphere of patriotism which rises
superior to the din of party politics he thoroughly earned the title of
the typical Englishman.

All through the years which succeeded the death of the Prince Consort
the Prince of Wales discharged the duties of his position in such a way
as to win the confidence of every section of the nation. He included
among his friends the principal men of both the great political
parties, and with such delicacy of feeling was this done that no
one could justly say which he really preferred. Indeed, so nice was
his feeling that he was accustomed to distinguish--if he made any
distinction at all--those statesmen who happened to be in Opposition at
the moment, rather than those who were enjoying the sweets of office.

The King did not escape the penalty of irresponsible gossip. He
undoubtedly displayed a great liking for Ireland, and for the Irish
people, but it would be absurd to call him on that account a Home
Ruler. Similarly, it is an interesting fact that both His Majesty and
Queen Alexandra distinguished Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone by some special
tokens of friendship, but it is not justifiable on that account to
assert that their Majesties are Liberals. The truth is that throughout
his career His Majesty has succeeded, while deeply interesting himself
in politics, in steering steadily clear of party politics.

It would be wearisome to enumerate all the statesmen and politicians
on whom His Majesty has conferred various marks of his favour. Mention
may, however, be made of Mr. Cecil Rhodes, for whom he entertains a
strong admiration which he has never cared to conceal. Indeed, he
removed his own name from the Travellers’ Club when Mr. Rhodes was
blackballed--a course which he has never seen fit to take in any other
instance.

The political emancipation of the Jews in England evidently had the
King’s warm sympathy. It now seems a long time ago since his presence
at the marriage of Mr. Leopold de Rothschild caused much satisfaction
and some sensation in Jewish circles, for no British prince had visited
a synagogue since 1809, when three of the Royal dukes were present
at a Jewish service. The Rothschild family have long been among His
Majesty’s personal friends, both in England and on the Continent, and
among his intimates was the late Baron Hirsch, with whom he stayed in
Austria, notwithstanding the intense anti-Semitic prejudices of the
Austrian Court. The King has thoroughly studied the question of the
Russian Jews, and has interested himself on their behalf in such a
way as should earn for him the gratitude of every Jew in Europe and
America. Nevertheless His Majesty’s liking for the Chosen People has
been sometimes misinterpreted, and ascribed to not very creditable
motives. People were at one time fond of saying that the King was up
to the neck in debt, but, when the question was directly asked, Sir
Francis Knollys replied that the King had no debts worth speaking of,
and that he could pay any moment every farthing he owed; also, that
there was not a word of truth in the oft-repeated tales of the mortgage
on Sandringham, and that the whole story was a fabrication and was on
a par with similar tales representing the King as being assisted by
financiers of more or less doubtful honesty.

In the sphere of foreign relations His Majesty’s indirect influence has
undoubtedly been considerable, though, of course, the time has gone by
when dynastic considerations used to dictate the policy of empires. It
is well known that his nephew, the Tsar, entertains for him a strong
personal regard; while of the feelings which subsist between His
Majesty and the Kaiser, the son of his favourite sister, the country
has had the most significant illustrations. There can be no doubt, too,
about the feelings of esteem which are entertained for His Majesty by
the French nation as a whole. Furthermore, the King has always shown
his desire to become personally acquainted with the principal statesmen
of Europe; and it is probable that few of the men who now control
international relations have not at one time or another fallen under
the influence of His Majesty’s gracious and winning personality. The
sum of all this must count for a good deal in facilitating the conduct
of our foreign relations.

For Americans the King has shown a strong liking, but it is absurd
to assert that his favour has been confined to those American men
and women whose social position has been entirely purchased by their
wealth. He has frequently gone out of his way to show special courtesy
to distinguished American visitors, whether rich or poor; and the
diplomatic representative of the United States in London has always
found a specially cordial welcome at Marlborough House. This was
particularly the case with James Russell Lowell and with T. F. Bayard.
Indeed, it will be remembered that on Mr. Bayard’s giving up the post
of American Ambassador, the King broke his rule and accepted Mr.
Bayard’s invitation to dinner, thereby paying a signal compliment to
the whole American people. The King’s telegram to the _New York World_,
during the war-scare which followed President Cleveland’s Venezuelan
Message, will be remembered as having done much to calm the public
anxiety in both countries.

American women who have married Englishmen can rely on receiving
from the King and Queen Alexandra the most tactful consideration and
courtesy. This was conspicuously shown in the cases of Lady Harcourt,
the daughter of Motley, the great American historian; of Mrs. Joseph
Chamberlain; and of the young Duchess of Marlborough.

It is no slight testimony to His Majesty’s political insight that at
a time when the Colonies were not fashionable, and when they were
actually regarded as a source of weakness rather than of strength to
the Mother Country, he did all that he could--so far as the traditional
restrictions of his position would allow--to foster a different view
of Britain’s relations with her daughter-States. Since those days he
exerted himself to promote the success of the Colonial and Indian
Exhibition; and his interest in the Empire was yet more strikingly
demonstrated in the foundation of the Imperial Institute. His Majesty’s
gracious Message to his People Beyond the Seas further illustrates
his interest in his Colonial dominions, but assuredly the crowning
testimony is his consent to part with his son and his daughter-in-law
for many months that they might inaugurate the Australian Federal
Parliament and visit the other important States of the Empire.

His Majesty’s interest in India, too, is strong, and his knowledge of
Indian affairs is very wide. Every new book of any importance which
is published on any Indian subject is added to His Majesty’s library,
which is by this time extremely rich in works relating to the vast
Eastern territories over which he is now Emperor. His Majesty’s visit
to these great kingdoms and provinces, to which he made graceful
allusion in his Message “to the Princes and Peoples of India,” was
paid at the express wish of his mother, who saw with characteristic
foresight how valuable it would be in promoting peace and conciliation
among the various creeds and races of Hindustan.



CHAPTER XXII

THE KING AND THE SERVICES


Only three days after the irreparable loss of his much-loved mother,
King Edward wrote Messages to the Navy and the Army, which demonstrated
how great is his pride in both the services, and how deeply he has
their interests at heart. The Message to the Navy, which was ordered by
the Lords of the Admiralty to be read on the quarter-deck of every ship
in commission, in the presence of the ship’s company, was as follows:--

                                     “OSBORNE, _25th January 1901_.

    “I am desirous of expressing to the Navy my heartfelt thanks
    for its distinguished and renowned services during the long and
    glorious reign of my beloved mother the Queen, to whose Throne
    I now succeed.

    “Her Majesty, ever proud of the great deeds of her Navy, the
    protector of our shores and commerce, watched with the keenest
    solicitude its vast progress during her reign, and made it the
    profession of my late lamented brother, as I also chose it for
    the early education of both my sons.

    “Watching over your interests and well-being, I confidently
    rely upon that unfailing loyalty which is the proud inheritance
    of your noble service.

                                                 “EDWARD, R. ET I.”

[Illustration: THE KING AS ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET

_From a Photograph by Russell_]

On the publication of the official March Navy List--there was no issue
for February 1901--it was seen that the words “The King” appeared at
the head of the Service. This had been done before in lists published
by private enterprise, but never before in the list published
“by authority.” The circumstance that, while in the Army List Queen
Victoria appeared as the head of the land forces, a similar course
was not taken in the Navy List had always been regarded as curious,
especially considering that the sea service is designated the “Royal”
Navy, while the Army is not so described. When an official Navy List
was first issued in January 1814 there was no indication in it of
the monarch’s existence. The Duke of Clarence appeared as the only
Admiral of the Fleet with a commission dated 27th December 1811, and he
continued to appear in each list as it was issued quarterly up to March
1830. In the next list, dated in June of the same year, by which time
he had succeeded as William IV., his name had disappeared, and for all
the lists tell us he might have entirely severed his connection from
the Navy.

The introduction of the King’s name into the official Navy List did
not of course mean any diminution of the power and authority conferred
on the Lords Commissioners for executing the office of the Lord High
Admiral, but merely that His Majesty desired to associate himself
personally with the Navy, of which he had become the head. The change
simply emphasised the fact that the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines
are the loyal and devoted servants of the King, and it is another
instance of that gracious tact for which Edward VII. is renowned.

Debarred by the tradition of his House from himself entering our
first line of defence, the King nevertheless--as indeed he says in
his gracious Message--chose the Navy for the early education of both
his sons. In other ways he has never failed to demonstrate in every
possible way his love of the sea, of which indeed he has had a pretty
wide experience. We have seen how often he took passage in various
warships on his travels, and it will be remembered that the _Hero_,
in which he returned from visiting Canada and the United States, was
driven by a storm out of her course and the Royal party were reduced to
salt fare. His Majesty thus early made acquaintance with the hardships
as well as with the pleasant side of a sailor’s life.

King William IV. once said: “There is no place in the world for making
an English gentleman like the quarter-deck of an English man-of-war,”
and his great-nephew, King Edward, evidently took the same view. It was
in 1877 that an important step was taken in regard to the education
of the King’s two sons, which had long been the subject of anxious
thought and care to both their parents. It had not hitherto been the
custom to send Princes in the direct line of succession into the Navy,
that service being no doubt considered too hazardous. But the strong
affection subsisting between Prince Albert Victor and Prince George
made their father unwilling to separate them, and so in June 1877
they entered the _Britannia_ together as naval cadets. The decision
significantly showed how highly His Majesty appreciated the naval
service as a mental and moral training school.

It will be remembered that in that eventful year, 1887, His Majesty was
appointed an Honorary Admiral of the Fleet; and later on, the marriage
of his daughter, Princess Maud, to Prince Charles of Denmark, who was a
Lieutenant in the Danish Navy, gave His Majesty peculiar gratification.

The King’s Message to the Army, contained in a special Army order, was
as follows:--

                                     “OSBORNE, _25th January 1901_.

    “On my accession to the Throne of my ancestors I am desirous
    of thanking the Army for the splendid services which it has
    rendered to my beloved mother the Queen during her glorious
    reign of upwards of sixty-three years.

    “Her Majesty invariably evinced the warmest interest in her
    troops, especially when on active service, both as a Sovereign
    and as the head of her Army, and she was proud of the fact of
    being a soldier’s daughter.

    “To secure your best interests will be one of the dearest
    objects of my heart, and I know I can count upon that loyal
    devotion which you ever evinced towards your late Sovereign.

                                                      “EDWARD R.I.”

[Illustration: THE KING AS COLONEL OF THE 10TH HUSSARS

_From a Photograph by F.G.O.S., published by Gregory_]

A further honour was in store for the Army, for the _London Gazette_
announced:--

                      “WAR OFFICE, PALL MALL, _26th February 1901_.

    “The King has been pleased to confer upon the undermentioned
    Regiments the honour of becoming their Colonel-in-Chief on his
    accession to the Throne:--

    “10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars, of which Regiment
    he has been the Regimental Colonel since the year 1863.

    “Grenadier Guards.

    “Coldstream Guards.

    “Scots Guards.

    “Irish Guards.”

This was felt by the whole Army to be a special honour, for the four
regiments of Foot Guards had previously had only Colonels commanding,
not Colonels-in-Chief. It will be remembered that the 10th Hussars was
the regiment in which the late Duke of Clarence and Avondale served.

The connection of His Majesty with the Army has, in accordance with
precedent, been extremely close and long continued. Among the earliest
recollections of his childhood is the Crimean War, which undoubtedly
made a deep and lasting impression on his mind. On attaining the age
of eighteen His Majesty was gazetted a Colonel in the Army. Four years
later he was promoted to be a General; and in 1875 he was created a
Field-Marshal. The mere catalogue of his Colonelcies and Honorary
Colonelcies would be tedious; but it may be mentioned that he is
Colonel-in-Chief of the 1st and 2nd Life Guards, the Royal Horse
Guards, and the Gordon Highlanders. His Majesty is also Colonel of a
large number of distinguished foreign regiments. These latter, however,
are naturally formal distinctions, which, in these days, are not of
military so much as diplomatic significance. The interest which the
King takes in military matters is undoubtedly chiefly centred in the
British Army.

The King’s military service at the Curragh has been described in an
earlier chapter. His mind was also undoubtedly influenced by the
companions whom his parents selected to be with him when he set up
a separate establishment. Of these, two were soldiers of conspicuous
bravery--Major Teesdale, afterwards Sir Christopher Teesdale, who
had greatly distinguished himself at Kars; and Major Lindsay, V.C.,
afterwards Lord Wantage. King Edward’s keen interest in all that
concerns the art of war is well exemplified by his careful survey of
the battlefields of the Crimea, and by his visiting, during his tour in
India, the places rendered for ever memorable by the Mutiny.

The deep interest which His Majesty took in the Boer War will be fresh
in the recollection of everybody. Accompanied by the Duke of Cambridge,
he said good-bye, on 14th October 1899, to Sir Redvers Buller,
departing to take up the command in South Africa. Later on, accompanied
by his brother, the Duke of Connaught, he saw Lord Roberts off on
that cold winter morning when the Commander-in-Chief, in the midst of
his own bitter private grief, left for South Africa, sped by the deep
sympathy and encouragement of His Majesty. It will be remembered, too,
how frequently the King inspected battalions ordered to the front,
encouraging them with his outspoken interest and admiration; and it
will be remembered not less vividly how his gracious Consort cared for
the wounded and invalided soldiers, whose sufferings are the inevitable
price of victory. The _Princess of Wales_ Hospital Ship will never be
forgotten by a grateful nation.

The King and Queen Alexandra were among the earliest subscribers to
the Mansion-House funds for the relief of the Transvaal refugees and
of the sufferers from the war. The death of their nephew, Major Prince
Christian Victor, who was stricken down by disease in October 1900
while on active service in South Africa, was a deep grief to their
Majesties. The beginning of the year 1901 was signalised by the return
of Lord Roberts and by Queen Alexandra’s special appeal on behalf of
the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association, which brought relief
to many a stricken family whose head had fallen at the front.

[Illustration: THE KING AND THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT

_From a Photograph by F.G.O.S., published by Gregory_]

In the reception of Lord Roberts the King took a prominent part.
Accompanied by Queen Alexandra, and their son and daughter-in-law and
Princess Victoria, His Majesty, as representing his Royal Mother,
presided at the State luncheon at Buckingham Palace in honour of the
Commander-in-Chief, while only a few days before Queen Victoria’s
death the King took the chair at the great banquet at which the United
Service Club entertained Lord Roberts.

The services of the Colonial contingents in South Africa made a
profound impression on the King’s mind. He showed this in the most
significant manner when, brushing aside all antiquated War Office
precedents, he not only inspected Strathcona’s Horse in the garden of
Buckingham Palace and gave them the South African Medal in advance
before its general issue, but actually presented the regiment with a
colour. That such honour should be conferred on a corps of irregulars
doubtless shocked military pedants, but it caused intense pride and
gratification to the gallant Canadians, who in their modesty refused to
believe that their services had been anything out of the common.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE KING AND FREEMASONRY

    _For the information contained in this chapter the author is
    indebted to an authority on the subject._


After the King’s accession His Majesty reluctantly decided that he
could not hope to find time to fulfil the duties of the high offices in
Masonry to which he had been called as Prince of Wales, namely Grand
Master of English Freemasons and Grand Master of the Mark Degree. At
the same time King Edward was unwilling to cut short his long official
connection with Masonry. Accordingly, His Majesty graciously intimated,
in a letter read at Grand Lodge on 15th February 1901, that, following
the precedent of King George IV., he would, on his retirement from
the office of Grand Master, take the title of “Protector of English
Freemasons.” Similarly, at a Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons held
four days later, it was announced that His Majesty would assume the
title of “Patron of Freemasons of the Mark Degree.”

The King was succeeded in both his Grand Masterships by his brother,
the Duke of Connaught, whose consent to serve gave great satisfaction
to the brethren of the craft.

Undoubtedly Freemasonry has been one of the most absorbing interests
of the King’s life. Yet very few foreign princes are Masons; and
though the Duke of Kent was one, the Prince Consort always refused
to associate himself with the craft. Of course it must be remembered
that British Freemasonry is a very different thing from what the term
is supposed to imply on the Continent, where it is associated in the
public mind with atheism and even anarchism.

As far back as March 1870 the King presided at the anniversary festival
of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys. This was not very long
after his initiation, and in his speech he expressed his pride at
being so heartily received by the company as a brother Mason, and his
determination to follow in the footsteps of his grand-uncles, who were
so long connected with the craft. The King continued:--

“Much has been said against Freemasonry by those who do not know what
it is. People naturally say they do not approve of secret societies;
but I maintain that the craft is free from the reproach of being either
disloyal or irreligious.… I desire to remind you that when, about
seventy years ago, it became necessary for the Government of that day
to put down secret societies, my relative, the late Duke of Sussex,
urged in his place in Parliament that Freemasons’ lodges ought to be
exempt from such a law, and the force of his appeal was acknowledged.
From that time Freemasonry has been devoid of politics, its only object
being the pure and Christian one of charity.”

In May of the following year the King presided at the annual festival
of the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, and announced that Queen
Alexandra had consented to become the Patroness of the institution. His
Majesty also expressed his thanks to the brethren for their sympathy
with him on the death of his infant son in the preceding month.

It is interesting to record, in view of the King’s present title of
Patron of Freemasons of the Mark Degree, that His Majesty, who was
already Patron of the Order in Scotland, was installed as Patron of
Free and Accepted Masons in Ireland on the occasion of his visit to
that country in August 1871. The installation was attended with great
ceremony, and in the course of his reply to the address of welcome
presented to him the King said:--

“It was a source of considerable satisfaction to me when I was elected
a member of the craft, and I think I may, without presumption, point
to the different Masonic meetings which, since my initiation, I have
fraternally attended. As a proof of the interest I take in all that
relates to Freemasonry, I can assure you that it has afforded me great
gratification to become the Patron of the Most Ancient and Honourable
Society of Free and Accepted Masons in Ireland, and that an opportunity
has been given to me by my visit to Ireland of being installed here
to-day.”

The Grand Master then clothed the King with the collar, apron, and
jewel as Patron. The brethren, according to ancient custom, saluted him
as Patron of the Order in Ireland, the Grand Master himself giving the
word, and His Majesty then said:--

“I have now to thank you heartily and cordially for your fraternal
reception, and for the honour you have done me, and I beg to assure
you of the pleasure I feel on having been invited to become the
Patron of the Order of Freemasons in Ireland. It is a source of
considerable satisfaction to me to know that my visit to this country
has afforded this opportunity of meeting you, brethren, in Lodge, and
so interchanging these frank and hearty greetings. It is true I have
not been a Mason very long. I was initiated, as you perhaps know, in
London, a few years ago, after which I visited the Grand Original Lodge
of Denmark, and a short time afterwards I had the signal satisfaction
of being elected a Past Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of
England. Last year I had the honour of being elected Patron of the
Order in Scotland; and, brethren, though last, not least, comes the
special honour you have conferred on me. I thank you for it from the
bottom of my heart. I may, I think, refer with some pride to the number
of Masonic meetings I have attended in England since my initiation as a
proof of my deep attachment to your Order.

“I know--we all know--how good and holy a thing Freemasonry is, how
excellent are its principles, and how perfect the doctrine it sets
forth; but forgive me if I remind you that some of our friends outside
are not as well acquainted with its merits as we are ourselves, and
that a most mistaken idea prevails in some minds that, because we are
a secret society, we meet for political purposes, or have a political
bias in what we do. I am delighted, brethren, to have this opportunity
of proclaiming what I am satisfied you will agree with me in--that we
have, as Masons, no politics; that the great object of our Order is
to strengthen the bonds of fraternal affection, and to make us live
in pure and Christian love with all men; that though a secret, we are
not a political body; and that our Masonic principles and hopes are
essential parts of our attachment to the Constitution and loyalty to
the Crown.”

No doubt the most impressive Masonic ceremony ever attended by the
King was his installation as Grand Master of English Freemasons in the
Royal Albert Hall on 28th April 1875, to which office he was elected
on the resignation of the Marquis of Ripon. The scene was striking in
the extreme. The platform usually occupied by the choir was transformed
into a daïs, on which the throne was placed, the space around being
large enough for four or five hundred Provincial Grand Masters, Past
Grand Officers, and visitors of distinction. The throne was the one
in which King George IV. was installed when he was Prince of Wales.
It was covered with rich purple velvet, and the floor was laid with a
magnificent Oriental carpet, a century old, lent for the occasion by
a member of the Westminster and Keystone Lodge. Behind the throne the
banner of Grand Lodge and other flags were placed; in front a wide
aisle was formed right across the area to the Royal entrance. This
was laid with a rich carpet of velvet pile, woven expressly for the
occasion. The ground was blue, enriched alternately with the arms of
Grand Lodge and Prince of Wales’s feathers.

It is recorded that when the King entered the hall the enthusiasm of
the brethren was so great that the proper order of the ceremonial was
forgotten, and the Grand Master Elect was greeted with extraordinarily
vehement, but quite irregular plaudits.

In returning thanks after his installation, His Majesty delivered an
appropriate speech, in the course of which he said:--

“It is difficult for me to find words adequate to express my deep
thanks for the honour which has already been bestowed upon me--an
honour which has, as history bears testimony, been bestowed upon
several members of my family, my predecessors; and, brethren, it will
always be my most sincere and ardent wish to walk in the footsteps of
good men who have preceded me, and, with God’s help, to fulfil the
duties which I have been called upon to occupy to-day. The various
duties which I have to perform will frequently, I am afraid, not
permit me to attend so much to the duties of the craft as I should
desire; but you may be assured that when I have the time I shall do
the utmost to maintain this high position, and do my duty by the craft
and by you on every possible occasion. Every Englishman knows that the
two great watchwords of the craft are Loyalty and Charity. These are
their watchwords, and as long as Freemasons do not, as Freemasons, mix
themselves up in politics, so long I am sure this high and noble Order
will flourish, and will maintain the integrity of our great Empire. I
thank you once more, brethren, for your cordial reception of me to-day,
and I thank you for having come such immense distances to welcome me on
this occasion. I assure you I shall never forget to-day--never!”

The last sentence, obviously an impromptu, was uttered with much
emphasis and evidently deep feeling.

At the banquet which followed in the evening the King, in proposing the
health of the King of Sweden and Norway, said:--

“It affords me especial pleasure to propose this toast, as seven years
ago I became a member of this craft, initiated by the late King, the
brother of the present one. Thereby I consider I have a more special
interest in Sweden.”

As a matter of fact, in spite of his numerous other duties, the new
Grand Master did find time to attend a considerable number of Masonic
functions. Not the least interesting of these was his laying the
foundation stone of Truro Cathedral on 20th May 1880, of which the late
Archbishop Benson, then Bishop of Truro, wrote the following vivid
description, quoted in that prelate’s _Life_:--

“The ceremonial of the Freemasons, which some regarded with suspicion
and dislike, was satisfactory and refreshing from its simple exposition
of symbolism as an element in life, quite apart from ecclesiasticism.
I had, upon the first mooting of the question by the Prince, taken the
opinion of the Rural Deans as representative of the clergy, and their
unanimous opinion was that it was even desirable to use an old guild
in this way, provided that the Church Service and order were in no way
interfered with. And the Prince, both through Lord Mount Edgcumbe,
and at Marlborough House himself, said that nothing should be done
except in full accord with my own arrangements as Bishop and the usual
forms.… The dignity and the simplicity and naturalness with which the
Prince poured the corn and wine and oil over the stone added much to
the ceremony, and the force and clearness with which he delivered the
impressive little sermon, ending with an excellent passage of Ezra,
chosen by Lord Mount Edgcumbe, rang out of a really serious spirit.…
The colours of the Masons, which look quaint on the individual, looked
very soft in the mass.

“The most striking moment was when the procession of military and
naval authorities and deputy lieutenants came sweeping in with a
great curve, leading the Princess and her boys. She was received by
our tall Mayor in his stately new furred gown and me, and taken up to
her throne. At the end she was led to the newly-laid stone and seated
by it, while a long train of girls brought their purses and laid
them before her, after the little Princes had each presented £250 in
behalf of Miss Goldsworthy Gurney, who wished thus to memorialise her
father’s invention of the steam jet. The Prince of Wales was timidly
asked whether he would approve of this, and said, ‘Oh, why not? The
boys would stand on their heads if she wished!’ The younger of the boys
is a bright-coloured, cheery lad, but the elder, on whom so much may
depend, is pale, long-faced, and I can’t help thinking, _for a child_,
like Charles the First--it is a very feeling face. At night when they
were sent to bed between 12 and 1, having been allowed to sit up as a
special privilege to the ball, the Princess said to me as they pleaded
for a little longer, ‘I do wish to keep them children as long as I can,
and they do want so to be men all at once.’ May she prevail!”

The mallet which was used by His Majesty on this occasion was the one
with which King Charles II. laid the foundation-stone of St. Paul’s
Cathedral. It was presented to the old lodge of St. Paul by Sir
Christopher Wren, who was a member.

The King, who was of course then Duke of Cornwall, was also present
at the consecration of Truro Cathedral on 3rd November 1887, and
Archbishop Benson records an instance of His Majesty’s religious
feeling:--

“There was a nice incident in the consecration. Just as the Bishop was
signing the sentence of consecration, Bishop of Salisbury whispered
to me, ‘Shouldn’t the Prince of Wales be asked to sign it?’ I sent
him to Bishop of Truro to suggest it, who sent him on to the Prince’s
daïs. The Prince assented, but instead of waiting for the parchment
to be brought up, instantly came down from his place and went up the
altar steps and signed it there on the little table set in front of the
altar--a real little bit of reverence.”

Another interesting ceremony was His Majesty’s consecration, in his
official capacity as Grand Master of England, of the Chancery Bar
Lodge of Freemasons in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. The King sat in the Grand
Master’s chair, wearing the full regalia of his office; at his left sat
the Earl of Lathom, Pro-Grand Master, and at his right, the Earl of
Mount-Edgcumbe, Deputy Grand Master.

Many curious incidents have occurred in connection with the King’s
interest in Freemasonry. At one dinner at which the King of Sweden was
present, the list of subscriptions announced amounted to the enormous
sum of £51,000, probably the largest amount ever raised at a festival
dinner in the history of the world.

On two occasions the King has presided as Grand Master of English
Freemasons over remarkable assemblies in the Royal Albert Hall. The
first was in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887,
when the tickets for admission produced £6000, a sum which was divided
among the three great Masonic charities. Very similar was the Diamond
Jubilee assembly of Freemasons, at which eight thousand members
were present. The King spoke admirably, the Duke of Connaught moved
the adoption of the address to Queen Victoria, while Earl Amherst
aroused unbounded enthusiasm when he alluded to Her Majesty as “the
daughter of a Freemason, the mother of Freemasons, and the patron and
benefactress of our Order.”



CHAPTER XXIV

THE KING AS A PHILANTHROPIST


One of the first occasions on which King Edward and Queen Alexandra
appeared in support of a charitable institution was on 24th June 1863,
when their Majesties opened the new buildings of the British Orphan
Asylum at Slough. From that day forward both the King and Queen have
unceasingly demonstrated their keen personal interest in every genuine
form of charitable endeavour. It would be impossible to estimate the
total sum of human misery and suffering which has been relieved as the
direct result, not only of their Majesties’ own exertions, but also
of the powerful example which they have consistently set before the
wealthy and leisured classes. The mere catalogue of the charitable
meetings and dinners at which the King has presided would occupy many
pages of this book.

But His Majesty has never contented himself, as he might so easily have
done, with allowing his own subscription and the fact of his patronage
to open the purse-strings of the charitable public. The word “genuine”
has been used above advisedly. The King has no sort of admiration for
careless, slovenly charity, which often does more harm than good. Long
ago he realised that to give money is not enough, but that it is a
sacred duty to see that the money is expended to the best advantage
and really reaches the persons for whom it is intended. Hence it is
not surprising to find that His Majesty was from the first a strong
supporter of the old Mendicity Society, and has continued to give his
countenance to the Charity Organisation Society, which, in return, has
been of the greatest service to him.

It will readily be understood that it is not so much the actual sums
subscribed by His Majesty and his gracious Consort to a particular
charity which are valued--though the aggregate amount which they have
given away since their marriage represents a very large sum--but it
is the guarantee afforded by the mere fact that their Majesties have
subscribed at all. Great precautions are taken to prevent a Royal
subscription from being given to a fraudulent or unworthy object, and
that is no doubt why a comparatively small sum, perhaps only £50 or
£100 from the King or Queen Alexandra, stimulates the generosity of the
public to the extent of many thousands.

Charitable work, however, as those who have engaged in it know only
too well, is only a palliative. By his active interest in the problem
of the housing of the poor, which has been described in a previous
chapter, the King has endeavoured to strike at one of the chief causes
of vice and crime. We have seen that on various occasions His Majesty
has made pointed observations regarding the provision of decent
cottages for agricultural labourers, and there can be no doubt that the
example he has set on his Sandringham estate has been of the greatest
value. The King took the earliest opportunity after his accession, in
his reply to the address presented by the London County Council, of
emphasising his interest in the housing of urban populations also. It
must not be forgotten that the question is, at any rate in some of its
aspects, a political one, and the King has therefore been obliged to
exercise all his well-known tact and discretion in dealing with it.

With regard to medical charities, the precise value of which is
fortunately not a subject of political difference, the King has enjoyed
practically a free hand. Twice in his life His Majesty has realised
in his own person the incalculable benefits of skilled medical and
surgical treatment and trained nursing, being indeed on the first
occasion literally snatched from the jaws of death. Though the King’s
active support of hospitals dates from an earlier time in his life,
these experiences doubtless strengthened his keen desire to render the
benefits which he had himself enjoyed available for the poorest classes
of the community. Perhaps His Majesty’s interest in medical science
dates from a visit which he paid when quite a boy to the great school,
mainly for doctors’ sons, at Epsom. At any rate there can be no doubt
about the steady development of that interest, which may be said to
have culminated in “The Prince of Wales’s Hospital Fund for London,”
established as a memorial of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Probably only those who are concerned in the practical working of this
fund have an adequate idea of the good which it has already done and
will do in the future. It is not merely, as was erroneously supposed
at first, a machine for collecting money which might as well be sent
direct to individual hospitals. No one who appreciates the practical
bent of the King’s mind could ever have believed that he would give his
name to such a scheme as that.

The fundamental idea of the fund is the giving of personal service,
the money collected being used as a means of raising the standard of
work done in the various hospitals. Before the fund existed there
was no regular systematic inspection of the London hospitals, which
in consequence presented very varying degrees of efficiency, some
institutions being admirably conducted, while in others the funds
were to a greater or less extent frittered away owing to the lack of
good business management. It never occurred to the great majority
of business men to associate themselves in the practical work of
hospital administration, though they subscribed most generously to the
hospital funds. The King’s plan was to enlist the personal service of
the most competent and representative business men, who should form,
in conjunction with certain eminent physicians and surgeons, and a
number of peers and members of Parliament of tried ability, a visiting
committee to inspect thoroughly every London hospital. On the reports
of this committee, grants from the fund were to be made immediately,
or promised subject to conditions, or in extreme cases altogether
withheld.

The moral effect of this ingenious scheme has been extraordinary. Not
only have weak hospitals been brought into line, but the better-managed
institutions have been improved, while as regards individuals the
effect has been to encourage every competent hospital official and to
minimise as far as possible the harm done by the incompetent. At first
it was thought that the investigations of the visiting committee, which
are necessarily extremely thorough, might be resented as inquisitorial
and un-English, but the visiting committee found that the authorities
of almost every institution were eager to afford all possible
information. The income of the fund and the amount annually distributed
show a steady increase, which has been greatly fostered by the Order of
the League of Mercy instituted by the King in 1899. This decoration is
bestowed only as a reward for special personal service in the cause of
the hospitals. The hospital stamp, too, which brought in so much money
to the fund, was, if not actually designed, at any rate suggested by
His Majesty, the central figure being Sir Joshua Reynolds’s “Charity,”
which is to be seen in the famous Reynolds window at New College,
Oxford.

Perhaps the most often quoted observation ever uttered by the King is
his famous saying about preventible diseases--“If preventible, why
not prevented?” His Majesty is an eager supporter of every properly
authorised medical discovery which promises to be of value to humanity
in the alleviation of disease. For example, both the King and Queen
Alexandra have taken the greatest interest in the “light treatment”
for lupus introduced by Dr. Finsen, a Danish _savant_, which Her
Majesty had installed at the London Hospital, and as we have seen His
Majesty experienced in his own person the value of the Röntgen rays for
purposes of diagnosis.

The King has long been deeply impressed with the ravages of consumption
and other forms of tuberculosis, and when, comparatively recently,
an association for the prevention of this terrible scourge was
established, he not only became its president, but took an active
part in its deliberations. Moreover, not long before the death of
Queen Victoria he consented to preside at a great National Congress
on Tuberculosis to be held in London in the course of 1901, and to be
attended by delegates from all parts of the British Empire.

As far back as 1863 the King became a patron of the Brompton Hospital
for Consumption, and in 1879 he laid the foundation-stone of the new
wing by which its accommodation was largely increased. A few years
afterwards he showed his continued interest in the same subject by
presiding at a festival dinner in aid of the Royal Hospital for
Diseases of the Chest, in the City Road, which brought in nearly £5000
to the funds of the hospital. Until comparatively lately, consumption
was regarded as practically incurable, and it says much for the King’s
clearheadedness and insight that he unhesitatingly placed himself
at the head of the crusade against the disease. The historian of
the future will reckon this as not the least of the services he has
rendered to his people.

As may be imagined from the diversity of his interests, the King’s
correspondence of late years rivalled that of Queen Victoria, and His
Majesty is always eager to acknowledge the debt he owes to his private
secretary, Sir Francis Knollys. The correspondence is reduced by the
private secretary to three distinct sections--the private letters,
the business letters, and the miscellaneous letters. Among the latter
are those written by lunatics, begging-letter writers, and so on. The
private letters are sent up to the King unopened, the others are all
read through by Sir Francis and again subdivided, the larger section to
be replied to in a formal and official way, the others to be submitted
to the King before they are dealt with.

Some of His Majesty’s correspondents evidently have a touching belief
in his power of righting wrong. They implore him to take up their cause
when they are injured, and it may be stated that no _bona fida_ epistle
was ever sent to the King without being answered, often with marvellous
celerity, and ever with the greatest courtesy and kindness.

At Sandringham there is a post office inside the house for the use of
the Royal Household, but at Marlborough House the huge letter-bags are
sent over to the St. James’s Street post office at regular intervals
throughout the day.

The King has long been a subscriber to the National Telephone Company,
and he is said to spend over £1000 a year in telegrams alone, for the
popular idea that Royalty’s letters are franked, and that parcels sent
by them are forwarded free of cost, is a delusion.

[Illustration: SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS

_From a Photograph by Russell_]

Sir Francis Knollys’s duties as secretary are not confined to what
are generally called secretarial duties. He has to act as his Royal
master’s supplementary memory. He keeps the list of all the King’s
engagements, and, what is a more arduous task, arranges every item of
the Royal journeys. Princess Charles of Denmark is said to have once
observed that she felt sure that if Sir Francis were suddenly awakened
in the middle of the night and asked what were the King’s engagements
eight days forward, he would immediately begin to recite the entire
list.

Be that as it may, the position of Sir Francis Knollys is a very
responsible one, and even his most intimate friends marvel how he can
get through the enormous amount of work he has to do. Occasionally
his labours are enormously increased, especially at times of
public calamity or Royal mourning. During the Tranby Croft case
well-intentioned folk all over the British Empire sent books and
pamphlets pointing out the evils of gambling, and in most cases these
were courteously and kindly acknowledged.

Sir Francis writes every important letter with his own hand, for
typewriters have, so far, never been used in Royal correspondence. He
has two assistant secretaries, who attend to the routine work, but even
then many of the letters written by them are signed by him, and in all
cases he looks them over and sees that they are as he would wish them
to be. There is also a staff of clerks.

In 1865 His Majesty attended his first public dinner in his capacity as
president of the Royal Literary Fund, and ever since he has taken the
greatest interest in the unobtrusive work done by this institution in
relieving distressing cases among those men and women of letters who
have fallen on evil days.

The King is a warm friend of the coffee palace movement; in this
connection it is interesting to recall the Alexandra Trust, founded
by Sir Thomas Lipton at the instance of Queen Alexandra, for the
purpose of supplying well-cooked and nourishing food to the populace
at an inclusive charge of 4½d. It will be remembered that the King and
Queen paid a surprise visit to the Alexandra Trust Restaurant in St.
Luke’s, in the East End of London, on which occasion the various London
papers circulated the most amusingly inconsistent stories of what
their Majesties really ate. As a matter of fact they were satisfied
with the ordinary poor man’s dinner, and were not entertained--as
was alleged--by Sir Thomas Lipton with “chicken and champagne.” It
was their Majesties’ great desire to be treated exactly as ordinary
diners. But the Queen did break one rule--that which ordains that the
metal check, received on payment of the 4½d., should be given up on
leaving. The Queen insisted on keeping the disc, as she said to Sir
Thomas Lipton, “as a memento of a delightful visit and a most enjoyable
lunch.” Their Majesties remained for nearly two hours; they spoke to
large numbers of working men and girls, and carefully inspected all the
cooking arrangements, and it is recorded that the King chatted with the
men’s bootblack in the basement. Sir Thomas Lipton’s comment was: “It
was deeply touching to see the men’s devotion to the Princess; they
almost worshipped her.”

The public are aware that, like his father, the late Prince Consort,
the King takes a keen personal interest in exhibitions of all kinds,
but it is not generally known that he himself suggested the Fisheries
Exhibition, which was visited by 2,750,000 people, and which brought in
£10,000 for the families of drowned or disabled fishermen. Altogether
16,000,000 people visited the four exhibitions over which His Majesty
presided--the Fisheries, the Healtheries, the Inventories, and the
Colinderies.

His Majesty has always been a great ally of the London cabby. Although
the stables at Marlborough House are magnificently appointed, he
frequently takes a hansom for his own amusement, always over-paying
the driver. For years he has been patron of the Cabdrivers’ Benevolent
Association, the funds of which he has done much to increase.

The King’s exertions in the cause of public philanthropy are so great
and widespread that it might be supposed that he would have no time
for private acts of benevolence. But this is by no means the case, and
an example which is not generally known may be given here. An officer
of the Grenadier Guards, a regiment in which the King is particularly
interested, fell into serious money troubles and had to leave the
service, ultimately becoming almost destitute. The Prince, as he then
was, heard of the case, and soon the poor ex-officer received a letter
from a firm of solicitors asking him to call on them. He did so, and
was given, to his amazement, a considerable sum of money, together
with the offer of a good appointment abroad. The Prince’s name was not
disclosed, by His Royal Highness’s express command, but a plausible
story was told of an old comrade who wished thus anonymously to
recompense former acts of kindness.

Better known, perhaps, is the story of a large silver inkstand which
Queen Alexandra particularly values, though it does not belong to
her, but to the King. It bears the inscription: “To the Prince of
Wales. From one who saw him conduct a blind beggar across the street.
In memory of a kind and Christian action.” The incident occurred in
Pall Mall at a busy time of the day, and the beggar, with his dog,
was vainly trying to cross in safety when the King, who chanced to
be passing at the moment, took the poor fellow by the arm and guided
him to the other side. A few days afterwards the inkstand arrived at
Marlborough House, with no card or letter or other clue to the donor’s
identity, which, indeed, has never been revealed to this day.

In conclusion it may be mentioned that His Majesty’s large-hearted
philanthropy includes even those often unfortunate people who are
expiating in prison the crimes they have committed against society.
On one occasion His Majesty visited Portland, spent a long time in
inspecting the infirmary, and tasted the food supplied to the convicts.



CHAPTER XXV

THE KING AS A SPORTSMAN

    _The author is indebted to an authority on sport for kindly
    revising this chapter._


[Illustration: MR. JOHN PORTER AND MR. RICHARD MARSH, THE KING’S PAST
AND PRESENT TRAINERS, AND JOHN WATTS, HIS JOCKEY

_From Photographs by Elliott and Fry, and Clarence Hailey_]

An account of the King as a sportsman begins, appropriately enough,
with the sport of kings, though this is by no means the only pastime
with which His Majesty has identified himself. Still, at any rate
during his later years as Prince of Wales, he was chiefly associated
in the public mind with racing, and his colours--purple, gold band,
scarlet sleeves, and black velvet cap with gold fringe--were familiar
at all the principal meetings. After his accession His Majesty leased
his horses to the Duke of Devonshire for the season of 1901, but it was
understood that, following the example of several of his predecessors,
the King intended to resume his active connection with the Turf later
on. Although His Majesty has been a member of the Jockey Club for over
thirty years, his personal interest in racing is a matter of later
growth, for it was not till July 1877 that Queen Alexandra honoured
Newmarket with her presence to see her husband’s colours carried for
the first time. On that occasion the King had no luck, his horse
Alep, a pure-bred Arab, which started favourite, being beaten by Lord
Strathnairn’s Arab Avowal by twenty or thirty lengths. Five years later
the King won the Household Brigade Cup at Sandown with Fairplay.

[Illustration: THE EGERTON HOUSE TRAINING STABLES, NEWMARKET

_From a Photograph by Clarence Hailey_]

The King is generally agreed to be a very good judge of a horse. When
at Newmarket he makes it a point to watch the early morning gallops,
and at one time he was very fond of attending sales. His Majesty has
also given a great impetus to horse-breeding in the United Kingdom.
Many years ago he started a thorough-bred stud, a half-bred stud, and
a shire-horse stud--works of real public utility, which can only be
undertaken, be it remembered, by those who have wealth and leisure,
combined with intelligence and a real desire to forward the interests
of the British farmer.

The King’s great successes on the Turf during recent years, including
two famous Derbys, have been due to the introduction to the Sandringham
stables of Perdita II., bought by Mr. John Porter for £900. The union
of this mare with St. Simon produced Florizel II., and from that time
the King’s fame as an owner and breeder increased until it became
second to none.

It was in 1890 that His Majesty put his racers under John Porter, but
his total winnings were only £624. The next year, however, the King
won £4148; in 1892, £190; in 1893, £372; in 1894, £3499; and in 1895,
£8281; and in the last-named year His Majesty’s name stood tenth in
the list of winning owners. This satisfactory result was undoubtedly
greatly owing to Lord Marcus Beresford, who was entrusted with the
management of the King’s racing stable in 1890. The King’s horses were
removed from Kingsclere to Egerton House, Newmarket, in 1892, and since
then they have been under Marsh’s care. Persimmon was sent there as a
yearling from Sandringham in 1894.

The King’s most memorable triumph was his first Derby in 1896, when
Persimmon won. This fine horse is a bay by St. Simon, and own brother
to Florizel II., who was, by the way, the first really good horse
that ever carried the Royal colours, and is the sire of several very
promising animals. Persimmon was never beaten by any horse except
his own half-brother, St. Frusquin, who twice defeated him, and
Omladina, who finished in front of him in the Middle Park Plate. He
was bred by the King and trained by Marsh at Newmarket. He made his
first appearance in the Coventry Stakes at Ascot as a two-year-old,
and, starting favourite, won the race. On the occasion of his next
appearance, in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, he was again favourite,
and again won by a length. In the Middle Park Plate, though favourite,
he was beaten by St. Frusquin, but in the Derby of 1896 he beat his
half-brother by a neck. At the Newmarket First July Meeting he gave 3
lb. to St. Frusquin, and was beaten in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes.
He won the St. Leger by a length and a half; and in the Jockey Club
Stakes at Newmarket on the 1st October he won by two lengths from Sir
Visto, the Derby winner of 1897.

[Illustration: THE KING’S DERBY, 1896

_Reproduced by permission from the copyright Painting by G. D. Giles_]

Persimmon was ridden to victory in the Derby of 1896 by John Watts.
The race was witnessed by an extraordinarily large concourse of all
classes, including a considerable number of distinguished foreigners.
Never was there a more popular victory, and the enthusiasm all over the
country was almost as great as at Epsom. It was the fourth time in the
history of the Turf that the race had been won by a Royal owner. In
1788, eight years after its foundation, the Prince Regent won with Sir
Thomas; and the Duke of York won with Prince Leopold in 1816, and with
Moses in 1822.

Altogether, in 1896, nearly £27,000 in stake money was won by horses
from the Royal stables at Newmarket. Among the King’s notable successes
in that year may be mentioned the One Thousand Guineas, won by Thais,
by St. Serf out of Poetry, which also ran second to Canterbury Pilgrim
in the Oaks.

The King won the Derby again in 1900 with Diamond Jubilee, which, like
Persimmon, is by St. Simon--Perdita II. It is an extraordinary thing
for a mare to produce two Derby winners, but that they should be by
the same sire is believed to be a record in the annals of the Turf.
Perdita II. died soon after her very promising filly Nadejda--also by
St. Simon--was foaled.

The Derby-Day dinner is certainly one of the most important functions
held at Marlborough House during the year, and it is now difficult
to believe that it was only inaugurated comparatively few years ago.
Something like fifty invitations are sent out, and the guests, who
are all men, are expected to wear evening dress, not uniform. The
great silver dinner-service ordered by the King on his marriage, which
cost some £20,000, is always used on this occasion, and on the side
buffet are to be seen His Majesty’s racing cups, hunting trophies, and
gold and silver salvers, for everything in the strong rooms which is
associated with sport is brought out.

In addition to the Derby, Diamond Jubilee also won in 1900 the Two
Thousand Guineas, the Newmarket Stakes, the Eclipse Stakes, and the
St. Leger, and was second in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes. Giving
12 lb. to Disguise II., Diamond Jubilee was unplaced in the Jockey
Club Stakes. In his five great victories Diamond Jubilee won £27,985
in stakes, and so placed the King at the head of the list of winning
owners.

In 1900 also the King won the Grand National with Ambush II., and so
carried off the biggest flat-race and the biggest steeplechase--double
honours which no other owner had ever before gained, much less in the
same year.

From the sport of kings we pass by a natural transition to the Royal
and ancient game of golf. It is well known that golf was the favourite
pastime of some of the Stuart kings of Scotland, and Mary Queen of
Scots, her son, James I. of England, Charles I., and James II. all
played. But from the death of James II. to the accession of Edward VII.
none of our sovereigns were themselves golfers, though William IV. and
the lamented Queen Victoria gave their patronage to the game.

The King learnt to play on the Musselburgh Links years ago when he
was pursuing his scientific studies at Edinburgh, and Tom Brown, who
had the honour of being His Majesty’s caddie, still lives in hale old
age. In 1863 the King became Patron and then Captain of the Royal and
Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, and in 1882 he accepted the office
of President of the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club, to which the late Queen
had granted the title “Royal.” His Majesty has played several times at
Cannes and on the private links of the Grand Duke Michael, and his love
of the game is notably shared by the Duke of Cornwall and York, the
Duchess of Fife, and the Duke of Connaught.

The King has lived to see the extraordinary development of cricket,
and its promotion to the rank of the typically national game which
Englishmen take with them to the ends of the earth. We may be sure that
the indirect political influence of the great contests between England
and Australia, for example, and of the tours of Indian, South African,
and West Indian teams, did not escape his quick intelligence. Certainly
His Majesty has always supported cricket, though he never became so
keen a player as the late Prince Christian Victor, for instance.

The King played at Oxford, and occasionally for I. Zingari. In 1866, at
the Park House, Sandringham, His Majesty played against the Gentlemen
of Norfolk for the Sandringham Household. He has frequently visited
Lord’s to see the Eton and Harrow matches, and in 1899 he went there
with the Duke of Cornwall and York when the M.C.C., of which club
His Majesty is patron, played the Australians. He has also seen the
Australians play at Sheffield Park. Kennington Oval being on the London
estate of the Duchy of Cornwall, the King, when he was Prince of Wales,
was ground landlord, and allowed the Surrey Club the use of the ground
at a nominal rental. The Surrey Club has benefited greatly through the
King’s generosity in this matter, and recently the Duchy of Cornwall
granted the club a thirty years’ lease at a very low rent, considering
the value of the property.

The King was for many years patron of both the Rugby Union and the
Football Association, and after his Accession he was approached by
both bodies with a view to his graciously continuing to grant them his
patronage. The game under neither code was played much until the King
had reached middle life, but he showed his interest in the popular
winter pastime by visiting the Oval in March 1886 on the first occasion
of a charity festival organised by the Rugby Union and Football
Association.

There can be no doubt that the King owes his remarkable bodily vigour
and healthy appearance to his love of all outdoor sports, for he was
never so content as when enjoying a long day’s tramp over the stubble
at Sandringham, or when deer-stalking in a soft Highland mist. His
Majesty’s life as a sportsman began early. When he was quite a child
he used to accompany Prince Albert on deer-stalking expeditions round
Balmoral; somewhat later he hunted with the harriers, and when he was
fifteen he could claim to be the best shot in his family.

Although the King has been a plucky and fearless rider from early
childhood, he has not been so fond of hunting as of some other sports,
and during the last few years he has seldom been seen following the
hounds. When an undergraduate at Christ Church, he constantly hunted
with Lord Macclesfield’s pack, and was then considered a very hard
rider; and it need scarcely be said that the meets which take place at
Sandringham are the most popular in Norfolk, and give both the King and
Queen many opportunities of showing gracious and kindly hospitality,
both to their wealthy and to their humble neighbours. The King is a
firm friend to the hunting of the fox, and it is understood that a pack
of fox-hounds is to be established in place of the Royal Buckhounds.
In 1888 the members of the West Norfolk Hunt presented to the King and
Queen Alexandra a beautiful silver model of a fox in full gallop as a
memorial of their Majesties’ silver wedding, and in returning thanks
the King said:--

“I can assure you that no present which has been offered for our
acceptance has been received by us with more pleasure than the one
which you have given us to-day--a model of the wily animal that we are
all so fond of following. Norfolk has always been considered to be a
shooting county; that may be so to a great extent, but I feel convinced
that the hunting is quite as popular, and I sincerely hope that it will
long remain so. There may be difficulties in preserving foxes, but I
feel sure that where there’s a will there’s a way. For twenty-five
years we have enjoyed hunting with the West Norfolk Hunt, both the
Princess and myself; and our children have been brought up to follow
that Hunt. I sincerely hope that for many long years we may be able to
continue to do so.”

Before the King had been at Sandringham six months he made it quite
clear that his country home should be in every sense a good sporting
estate, and it has been one of his chief pleasures to entertain parties
of keen sportsmen each autumn in Norfolk. Perhaps the best shooting
season Sandringham has ever seen was that of 1885-86. The total bag
was 16,131 head, including 7252 pheasants. The best day of that season
was the last day of the year 1885, when ten guns killed 2835 head,
including 1275 pheasants. The rabbit-shooting at Sandringham is also
first-rate, and it need hardly be said that the foxes are watched over
with the most tender anxiety.

[Illustration: THE KING AS A SPORTSMAN IN 1876

_From an Engraving published by Henry Graves and Co._]

Over ten thousand pheasants are annually reared at Sandringham, partly
by incubators and partly by the assistance of a thousand ordinary
hens. The lake near Sandringham affords wild duck, teal, and widgeon
shooting. The King has the largest game-room in the United Kingdom.
It holds between six and seven thousand head, and was built not very
long after the King bought the estate. After each day’s sport the game
is spread for inspection, and a careful record is made of the numbers
that have fallen to each gun. It is in the game-room that the game is
packed after a big _battue_ to be sent off in hampers to hospitals and
to friends. It need hardly be said that none of the King’s game is ever
sold. A good deal is kept for the use of the house, and a share is also
given to the tenants, to the _employés_ on the estate, and to London
tradesmen connected with the Royal Household.

The King’s shooting-parties rarely number more than ten guns, each of
whom is assigned his place in the shoot by his Royal host himself. All
the beaters at Sandringham wear a very becoming uniform composed of a
Royal blue blouse, low crowned hat, and long brown gaiters. Each bears
on his left arm a number by which he may readily be identified, and
after each day’s shooting every one of the beaters is allowed to take
home a hare and a pheasant.

The King is not often seen going north for the opening weeks of the
grouse-shooting season. Still, in the early years of his married life,
he and Queen Alexandra often entertained shooting-parties at Birkhall.
The King generally puts in a certain number of days pheasant-shooting
in Windsor Great Park. The preserves swarm with ground game. His
Majesty is also fond of shooting with the Duke of Devonshire at
Chatsworth, and at Wynyard, Lord Londonderry’s seat in Durham. The King
has, however, shot more or less all over England. He was frequently the
guest of Lord James of Hereford when the latter had Shoreham Place,
where one valley on the farther side of the park is locally known as
“The Valley of the Shadow of Death,” from the tremendous slaughter of
game that annually takes place there.

Like his father, the late Prince Consort, the King has always been a
keen deer-stalker, and when he is staying at Balmoral most of his time
is entirely devoted to this sport--in fact, deer-stalking is what first
brought him into close connection with his present son-in-law, then
the Earl of Fife, who possesses Mar, which is one of the two largest
forests in Great Britain, being over 80,000 acres of cleared ground.
Balmoral is situated in the heart of the deer country, being within
reach of a good number of forests adjoining each other, and extending
without a break into five counties. The King is well known to prefer
“stalking” to driving, but of late years he has taken an active part in
the drives organised at Mar. His marksmanship is universally agreed to
be excellent. At one time he was owner of Birkhall, in Glenmuick, but
it was purchased for him by Prince Albert, and he had no voice in its
selection. Still the King kept it till 1885, when he sold the property,
which was very extensive, to Queen Victoria.

[Illustration: THE “BRITANNIA”

_From a Photograph by Adamson, Rothesay_]

King Edward has been extremely fortunate as a yachtsman, and probably
one of the events to which he most looks forward each year is the
Regatta at Cowes. The King first won the Queen’s Cup, annually
presented to the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, in 1877, with his
schooner _Hildegarde_ of 198 tons. He won the Cup again in 1880 with
the _Formosa_, cutter, of 103 tons, and again in 1895 and 1897 with the
famous cutter _Britannia_ of 151 tons.

[Illustration: THE KING AS A YACHTSMAN

_Photograph by Debenham, Cowes_]

The Royal Yacht Squadron, as is well known, was founded as “The Yacht
Club” so far back as 1815. It early enjoyed the patronage of Royalty,
among the past and present members being numbered the Prince Regent
(afterwards George IV.), the Duke of Clarence (afterwards William IV.),
Queen Victoria, the Prince Consort, the Tsar Nicholas I., Napoleon
III., the German Emperor, and Prince Henry of Prussia. The King became
Commodore in 1882 on the death of Lord Wilton, and he is Commodore of
nine other Royal yacht clubs, as well as President of the Yacht Racing
Association.

The King generally takes the chair at the annual dinner of the Squadron
held at the old castle at West Cowes, built as a fort by Henry VIII.,
which became the headquarters of the club in 1858. This festivity is
the great event of the year for all well-known yachtsmen. There is an
interesting display of plate, including the Queen’s Cup, the Nelson
Vase, and the beautiful model of the _Speranza_, which once belonged
to Lord Conyngham. His Majesty presented a few years ago twenty-one
cannon to the club-house at Cowes. They were taken by him from the
_Royal Adelaide_, the toy warship placed by William IV. to guard the
artificial ocean of Virginia Water. Now they are used for firing
salutes.

It need hardly be said that the King is the owner of many splendid
prizes won at Cowes and elsewhere. Both His Majesty and Queen Alexandra
are extremely fond of the sea, and he early made himself acquainted
with the less technical side of navigation. The King is very fond of
spending a certain number of days each year at Cannes, and when he
is there in April he generally takes an active part in the Battle of
Flowers, and he entertains large parties of his English and foreign
friends on board the _Britannia_.



CHAPTER XXVI

DEATH OF QUEEN VICTORIA--THE KING’S ACCESSION


On 19th January 1901 it was officially announced that Queen Victoria
had not been lately in her usual health, and on the same day King
Edward and Queen Alexandra arrived at Osborne. His Majesty returned to
London with his son to meet the German Emperor, whose instant departure
in the midst of the bi-centenary celebrations of the Prussian monarchy
to the sick-bed of his venerated grandmother deeply touched the
feelings of the British people.

The mournful story of the days which followed is well known. Queen
Victoria passed peacefully away, at half-past six in the evening of
22nd January, surrounded by her children and grandchildren.

Then every one turned in their grief to His Majesty King Edward VII.
Hardly for a moment could he be simply the devoted son weeping by the
death-bed of his beloved and venerated mother. He was now the ruler
of a great Empire, and bravely did His Majesty meet what must have
seemed the almost impertinent intrusion of State business and State
ceremonial. Yet it had to be done, and it may even be that, as has
been the experience of humbler mortals, the anguish of the King’s
great personal bereavement was to some extent mitigated by the urgent
necessities of action that were laid upon him. On the following day the
King held his first Council at St. James’s Palace, when His Majesty
made a declaration which is thus described in the quaint official
language of the _London Gazette_:--

                    “AT THE COURT AT SAINT JAMES’S,
                     THE 23RD DAY OF JANUARY 1901

                              _Present_

    “The King’s Most Excellent Majesty in Council.

    “His Majesty being this day present in Council was pleased to
    make the following Declaration:--

    “‘Your Royal Highnesses, My Lords, and Gentlemen, This is the
    most painful occasion on which I shall ever be called upon to
    address you.

    “‘My first and melancholy duty is to announce to you the death
    of My beloved Mother the Queen, and I know how deeply you, the
    whole Nation, and I think I may say the whole world, sympathise
    with Me in the irreparable loss we have all sustained.

    “‘I need hardly say that My constant endeavour will be always
    to walk in Her footsteps. In undertaking the heavy load
    which now devolves upon Me, I am fully determined to be a
    Constitutional Sovereign in the strictest sense of the word,
    and as long as there is breath in My body to work for the good
    and amelioration of My people.

    “‘I have resolved to be known by the name of Edward, which
    has been borne by six of My ancestors. In doing so I do not
    undervalue the name of Albert, which I inherit from My ever to
    be lamented, great and wise Father, who by universal consent is
    I think deservedly known by the name of Albert the Good, and I
    desire that his name should stand alone.

    “‘In conclusion, I trust to Parliament and the Nation to
    support Me in the arduous duties which now devolve upon Me by
    inheritance, and to which I am determined to devote My whole
    strength during the remainder of My life.’

    “Whereupon the Lords of the Council made it their humble
    request to His Majesty that His Majesty’s Most Gracious
    Declaration to their Lordships might be made public, which His
    Majesty was pleased to Order accordingly.

                                                   “A. W. FITZROY.”

His Majesty’s selection of King Edward VII. as his “style and title”
proved extremely popular, for it is an essentially English name, and
is bound up with so many historical associations, especially with the
glorious memory of King Edward I. At the same time the King’s tribute
of filial piety to his much-loved father deeply touched the hearts of
his subjects. All over the British Empire King Edward was proclaimed
amid rejoicings which were tempered only by a vivid sense of the
common bereavement under which His Majesty and his subjects were alike
suffering.

The marvellous and unprecedented outburst of sorrow for her late
Majesty, which showed that not only the British Empire but the whole of
the civilised world shared in King Edward’s grief, undoubtedly brought
His Majesty some consolation, which was increased by the decision of
the German Emperor, who had been joined by his eldest son, the Crown
Prince, to remain for the funeral.

This magnificent ceremonial, in which was exemplified the lamentation
of an Empire, lasted from Friday, 1st February, to Monday, 4th
February. It was both naval and military in character, as befitted
the funeral of the Sovereign who set so much store by her position as
head of the services. The Royal Yacht _Alberta_, bearing her precious
burden, passed from Cowes to Portsmouth along a line of warships which,
reinforced as they were by foreign vessels sent by friendly Powers,
seemed typical of the firm yet peaceful policy of the great ruler who
was being borne to her last resting-place. The pageant through London,
distinguished as it was by the presence of four reigning Sovereigns,
the German Emperor, the King of the Belgians, the King of the Hellenes,
and the King of Portugal, as well as numerous other representatives
of foreign States, will never be forgotten by the vast crowds who
saw it pass along its appointed way. It is perhaps worthy of mention
that the Countess of Ranfurly represented New Zealand, her husband
being Governor of that Colony, and thus the funeral of the great woman
Sovereign is believed to have been the first public occasion on which
a State of the Empire has been represented by a woman.

The stately and yet simple dignity of the whole ceremonial was
marred by only one mishap, which is recorded here because a number
of incorrect versions of what happened were current at the time. The
funeral _cortège_ did not arrive at the Great Western Railway Station
at Windsor till some time after it was expected, the result being that
the artillery horses, which were in waiting to draw the gun-carriage
bearing the coffin to St. George’s Chapel, became chilled. Just as the
procession was about to start one of the horses on the off-side--that
is, one of those that had no rider--reared and plunged, and eventually
stood up on its hind legs. This started the next pair, and they also
began to kick, and the situation became both dangerous and painful.
So restive, in fact, were the horses that an officer on the Staff
approached the King and received permission to remove them from the
gun-carriage. It was at this juncture that Prince Louis of Battenberg
respectfully called the attention of His Majesty to the naval guard of
honour drawn up close by, and suggested that the seamen should draw
the coffin to the chapel. The King at once ordered that this should be
done, and Prince Louis, sending for Lieutenant Boyle, who commanded the
guard of honour, gave instructions to that effect. The traces, made of
chain covered with leather with a hook at each end, were taken from
the horses and were easily connected up by the seamen into two long
drag ropes. There was a brake on the gun-carriage, but in descending
the hill this was found to be insufficient for the weight--upwards of
two tons--and a party of selected petty officers manned the wheels and
eased the carriage down the declivity spoke by spoke.

His Majesty was afterwards pleased to express his gracious approbation
of the conduct of the naval guard of honour and their promptitude in
executing his orders. Later on the King conferred the Victorian Order
on the officers, and the Victorian medal on the men. The incident
seized the imagination of the British people, who were quick to recall
other occasions on which the sea service had similarly risen to a
great emergency.

Few besides the members of the Royal Family were present at the actual
depositing of the remains of Queen Victoria in the sarcophagus at
Frogmore, there to sleep by the side of her tenderly-loved husband,
to whom she had addressed the infinitely touching inscription, “Vale
desideratissime! Hic tecum requiescam, tecum demum in Christo resurgam!”

It was on that most solemn day that King Edward wrote those admirable
Messages to his People, to the Colonies, and to India, which revealed
to all his subjects how completely he possesses his lamented mother’s
marvellous gift of human sympathy, combined with a full realisation
of his kingly dignity. The Messages, which are all dated from Windsor
Castle, 4th February 1901, are as follows:--

                             “TO MY PEOPLE

    “Now that the last Scene has closed in the noble and ever
    glorious life of My beloved Mother, The Queen, I am anxious
    to endeavour to convey to the whole Empire the extent of the
    deep gratitude I feel for the heart-stirring and affectionate
    tributes which are everywhere borne to Her Memory. I wish also
    to express My warm recognition of those universal expressions
    of what I know to be genuine and loyal sympathy with Me
    and with the Royal Family in our overwhelming sorrow. Such
    expressions have reached Me from all parts of My vast Empire,
    while at home the sorrowful, reverent, and sincere enthusiasm
    manifested in the magnificent display by sea and land has
    deeply touched Me.

    “The consciousness of this generous spirit of devotion and
    loyalty among the millions of My Subjects, and of the feeling
    that we are all sharing a common sorrow, has inspired Me with
    courage and hope during the past most trying and momentous days.

    “Encouraged by the confidence of that love and trust which the
    nation ever reposed in its late and fondly mourned Sovereign,
    I shall earnestly strive to walk in Her Footsteps, devoting
    Myself to the utmost of My powers to maintaining and promoting
    the highest interests of My People, and to the diligent and
    zealous fulfilment of the great and sacred responsibilities
    which, through the Will of God, I am now called to undertake.

                                                     “EDWARD, R.I.”

                     “TO MY PEOPLE BEYOND THE SEAS

    “The countless messages of loyal sympathy which I have received
    from every part of My Dominions over the Seas testify to the
    universal grief in which the whole Empire now mourns the loss
    of My Beloved Mother.

    “In the welfare and prosperity of Her subjects throughout
    Greater Britain the Queen ever evinced a heartfelt interest.

    “She saw with thankfulness the steady progress which, under a
    wide extension of Self-Government, they had made during Her
    Reign. She warmly appreciated their unfailing loyalty to Her
    Throne and Person, and was proud to think of those who had so
    nobly fought and died for the Empire’s cause in South Africa.

    “I have already declared that it will be My constant endeavour
    to follow the great example which has been bequeathed to Me.

    “In these endeavours I shall have a confident trust in the
    devotion and sympathy of the People and of their several
    Representative Assemblies throughout My vast Colonial Dominions.

    “With such loyal support I will, with God’s blessing, solemnly
    work for the promotion of the common welfare and security of
    the great Empire over which I have now been called to reign.

                                                     “EDWARD, R.I.”

                  “TO THE PRINCES AND PEOPLE OF INDIA

    “Through the lamented death of My beloved and dearly mourned
    Mother, I have inherited the Throne, which has descended to Me
    through a long and ancient lineage.

    “I now desire to send My greeting to the Ruling Chiefs of the
    Native States, and to the Inhabitants of My Indian Dominions,
    to assure them of My sincere goodwill and affection, and of My
    heartfelt wishes for their welfare.

    “My illustrious and lamented Predecessor was the first
    Sovereign of this Country who took upon Herself the direct
    Administration of the Affairs of India, and assumed the
    title of Empress in token of Her closer association with the
    Government of that vast country.

    “In all matters connected with India, the Queen Empress
    displayed an unvarying deep personal interest, and I am well
    aware of the feeling of loyalty and affection evinced by the
    millions of its people towards Her Throne and Person. This
    feeling was conspicuously shown during the last year of Her
    long and glorious reign by the noble and patriotic assistance
    offered by the Ruling Princes in the South African War, and by
    the gallant services rendered by the Native Army beyond the
    limits of their own Country.

    “It was by Her wish and with Her sanction that I visited India
    and made Myself personally acquainted with the Ruling Chiefs,
    the people, and the cities of that ancient and famous Empire.

    “I shall never forget the deep impressions which I then
    received, and I shall endeavour to follow the great example
    of the first Queen Empress to work for the general well-being
    of my Indian subjects of all ranks, and to merit, as She did,
    their unfailing loyalty and affection.

                                                 “EDWARD, R. ET I.”

The King’s anxieties during the trying period which followed the death
of his beloved mother were much increased by the state of health of his
only surviving son. The Duke of Cornwall and York fell ill with German
measles, and, to his lasting regret, it was absolutely impossible for
him to attend the funeral of his venerated grandmother. His Royal
Highness, however, thanks to the devoted nursing of his wife, made
steady progress towards convalescence.

In the midst of his own bitter grief the King displayed all his
customary consideration and desire to gratify others. Even before the
funeral His Majesty found time to bestow the Victorian Order on some
officers of the late Queen’s Guard at Osborne. To the Imperial and
Royal personages who attended the late Queen’s funeral His Majesty
showed significant marks of his gratitude. Queen Victoria had intended
some time before her death to invest the German Crown Prince with
the Order of the Garter with her own hands, and King Edward hastened
to carry out his beloved mother’s design. The ceremony took place at
Osborne, and after the investiture the King addressed his great-nephew
in the following terms:--

    “SIR--In conferring on your Imperial and Royal Highness the
    ancient and Most Noble Order of the Garter, which was founded
    by my ancestor many centuries ago, I invest you with the order
    of knighthood, not only as the heir to the Throne of a mighty
    empire, but also as a near relation. It was the wish of my
    beloved mother the Queen to bestow it upon you as a mark of
    her favour, and I am only carrying out her wishes, and am glad
    to do so to the son of my illustrious relation, the German
    Emperor, to whom I wish to express my sincere thanks for
    having come at a moment’s notice to this country and assisted
    in tending and watching over the Queen, and remaining with
    her until her last moments. I desire to express a hope that
    my action in conferring upon you this ancient Order may yet
    further cement and strengthen the good feeling which exists
    between the two great countries, and that we may go forward
    hand in hand with the high object of ensuring peace and
    promoting the advance of the civilisation of the world.”

The King also paid a high compliment to his nephew, Prince Henry of
Prussia, which was thus announced in the _London Gazette_:--

                                  “ADMIRALTY, _5th February 1901_.

    “His Royal Highness Prince Albert William Henry of Prussia,
    K.G., G.C.B., Vice-Admiral in the Imperial German Navy, has
    been appointed Honorary Vice-Admiral in His Majesty’s Fleet.”

For the German Emperor himself, who was already a Knight of the Garter,
the King had reserved a special sign of his affection, which the
_London Gazette_ announced in the following terms:--

                       “WAR OFFICE, PALL MALL, _27th January 1901_.

    “The King has been pleased to appoint His Majesty William
    II., German Emperor, King of Prussia, K.G., G.C.V.O.,
    Colonel-in-Chief 1st (Royal) Dragoons, Honorary Admiral of the
    Fleet, to be a Field-Marshal in the Army, on the occasion of
    the Anniversary of His Majesty’s Birthday.

    “The Commission dated 27th January 1901.”

In telegrams to Lord Salisbury and Lord Roberts, announcing that this
honour had been conferred on him, His Imperial Majesty demonstrated
the great gratification which it afforded him. Not long afterwards the
German Emperor conferred on Lord Roberts the Order of the Black Eagle,
the highest decoration in his power to bestow.

The honour bestowed on the King of Portugal is particularly
interesting, as it is believed to be the first instance in which a
foreign Royal personage has been appointed Colonel-in-Chief of a line
regiment. It was thus officially announced:--

                      “WAR OFFICE, PALL MALL, _19th February 1901_.

                   “The Oxfordshire Light Infantry.

    “His Majesty Charles I., King of Portugal and Algarves, K.G.,
    to be Colonel-in-Chief. Dated 20th February 1901.”

Of the other Royal personages who attended the funeral of Queen
Victoria, the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovitch of Russia, the Archduke
Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and the Crown Prince of Sweden and Norway
were appointed Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath,
and Prince Charles of Denmark was made an Honorary Knight Grand Cross
of the Royal Victorian Order and an Honorary Lieutenant in the British
Navy. Prince Christian, the Duke of Teck, Prince Louis of Battenberg,
the Duke of Argyll, and the Duke of Fife became Knights Grand Cross,
and the youthful Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, better known as the
Duke of Albany, became an Honorary Knight Grand Cross, of the Royal
Victorian Order.

On his accession the King became _ipso facto_ head and Sovereign of all
the great orders of Knighthood, and the position of Great Master of the
Order of the Bath, to which His Majesty had been appointed in 1897, was
therefore vacated. The King was unwilling that this interesting office,
which had been specially created by his lamented mother, should lapse,
and so he appointed his brother, the Duke of Connaught, to succeed him
in it. His Majesty also appointed Rear-Admiral the Duke of Cornwall and
York and Captain Prince Louis of Battenberg to be his personal Naval
Aides-de-Camp.

But unquestionably the most interesting of all the appointments made by
the King was his creation of Queen Alexandra a Lady of the Garter. The
announcement was made by the _London Gazette_ in the following form:--

                          “MARLBOROUGH HOUSE, _12th February 1901_.

    “The King, as Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter,
    has been graciously pleased to command that a Special Statute
    under the Seal of the Order shall be issued for conferring upon
    Her Majesty The Queen the title and dignity of a Lady of that
    Most Noble Order, and fully authorising Her Majesty to wear the
    Insignia thereof.”

The wording of this intimation shows how exceptional was the honour
conferred on the gracious Queen who has long possessed the hearts of
the British people. As a matter of fact, the distinction was without
precedent for 400 years. Queen Victoria, even, was never a Lady of the
Garter; she was Sovereign of the Order in her capacity as Queen regnant.

The State opening of Parliament by their Majesties followed on 14th
February, the national mourning being partially laid aside for that
day. The reception of the King and Queen by the loyal crowds which
lined the route to St. Stephen’s was enthusiastic in the extreme. In
the House of Lords His Majesty delivered the Speech from the Throne in
a firm, clear voice, which only faltered a little when he came to the
passage referring to the Duke of Cornwall and York’s Colonial tour.
It was undoubtedly hard for the King to part from his much-loved son,
the only son now left to him, for so many months, but it is not by any
means the first occasion in which His Majesty has put aside his private
feelings in order to gratify and benefit his loyal subjects.

[Illustration]





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+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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