On the 5th of July her Majesty, whose health required change of air and scene, left for Switzerland, which must have possessed a great attraction to so ardent an admirer of mountain scenery. She went incognito as Countess of Kent. She was accompanied by Prince Leopold and the Princesses Louise and Beatrice. The Queen travelled in her yacht to Cherbourg, and thence by railway to Paris, where she stayed all day in seclusion in the house of the English Ambassador, receiving only a private visit from the Empress Eugenie—a different experience of Paris from the last. The Queen continued her journey in the evening to Basle, and from Basle to Lucerne, where for nearly two months she occupied the Pension Wallis, delightfully situated on the Hill Gibraltar above the lake. She made numerous enjoyable excursions on her pony "Sultan" to the top of the Rhigi, and in the little steamboat Winkelried on the lovely lake of the Four Cantons, under the shadow of Pilatus, to William Tell's country—she even ventured as far as the desolate, snow-crowned precipices of the Engelberg. Her Majesty returned by Paris, driving out to St. Cloud, and being much affected as she walked in the grounds, but not venturing to enter the house, where she had lived with the Prince during her happy fortnight's visit to her ally in the Crimean war.
Three days after her arrival in England the Queen proceeded as usual to Balmoral, where she took a lively interest in all the rural and domestic affairs which stood out prominently in the lives of her humbler neighbours. The passages from her journal in this and in subsequent years are full of graphic, appreciative descriptions of the stirring incidents of "sheep-juicing," "sheep-shearing," the torchlight procession on "Hallowe'en," a "house-warming;" of the grave solemnity of a Scotch communion, and the kindliness and pathos of more than one cottage "kirstenin," death-bed, and funeral, with the simple piteous tragedy of "a spate" in which two little brothers were drowned.
Considerable excitement was caused in the House of Commons during the debate on the disestablishment of the Irish Church, by the Premier, Mr. Disraeli, mentioning the Queen's name in connection with an interview he had with her on his resignation of office and on the dissolution of Parliament. The conduct of Mr. Disraeli was stigmatised as unconstitutional both in advising a dissolution of Parliament and in apparently attempting to shift the responsibility of the situation from the Government to the Crown.
The Queen lost by death this year her old Mistress of the Robes, one of the earliest and most attached of her friends, Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland.
In September, 1869, her Majesty, with the Princesses Louise and Beatrice, paid a ten days' visit to Invertrosachs, occupying Lady Emily Macnaghten's house, and learning to know by heart Loch Katrine, Loch Lomond, &c., &c.
In November the Queen was in the City after a long absence, for the double purpose of opening Blackfriars Bridge and the Holborn Viaduct. Happily for the cheering multitudes congregated on the occasion the day was bright and fair though cold, so that she could drive in an open carriage accompanied by her younger daughters and Prince Leopold. The Queen still wore deep mourning after eight years of widowhood, and her servants continued to have a band of crape on one arm. Her Majesty was received by the Lord Mayor, &c., &c. After Blackfriars Bridge had been declared open for traffic her carriage passed across it, followed by his. The same ceremony was performed at the Holborn Viaduct.
This season the Prince of Wales revisited the East, accompanied by the Princess.
In 1870 the Queen signed the order in council resigning the royal prerogative over the army.
On the 11th May her Majesty opened the University of London. She was received by Earl Granville and Mr. Grote. Baboo Keshub Shunder Sen was conspicuous among the company. The Queen received an address, said in a clear voice "I declare this building open," and the silver trumpets sounded.
Charles Dickens died on the 9th of June.
The Franco-German war, in which the Crown Prince of Prussia and Prince Louis of Hesse were both engaged with honour, happily this time on the same side, was filling the eyes of Europe; and before many months had passed since "Die Wacht am Rhein" had resounded through the length and breadth of Germany, the Empress of the French arrived in England as a fugitive, to be followed ere long by the Emperor.
In the autumn at Balmoral, Princess Louise, with the Queen's consent, became engaged to the Marquis of Lorne, eldest son of the Duke of Argyle. The proposal was made and accepted during a walk from the Glassalt Shiel to the Dhu Loch.
In November the Queen visited the Empress at Chislehurst.
During the war, while the number of the French wounded alone in Darmstadt amounted to twelve hundred, and Princess Alice was visiting the four hospitals daily, her second son was born.
The death of Sir James Clark, at Bagshot, was the snapping to the Queen of another of the links which connected the present with the past.
In 1871 the Queen again opened Parliament in person, with her speech read by the Lord Chancellor. As described by an eye-witness, her Majesty sat "quite still, her eyes cast down, only a slight movement of the face." The approaching marriage of the Princess Louise was announced, and reference was made to the fact that the King of Prussia had become Emperor of Germany.
For the first time since the death of the Prince Consort, the Queen spent the anniversary of their marriage-day at Windsor.
On the 21st of March Princess Louise was married in St George's Chapel, Windsor, to the Marquis of Lorne. The bridegroom was supported by Earl Percy and Lord Ronald Leveson-Gower. The bride walked between the Queen and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. Her Majesty by a gesture gave away her daughter. Princess Louise was twenty-three, Lord Lorne twenty-six years of age. The Princess has rooms in Kensington Palace for her London residence.
Eight days afterwards the Queen opened the Albert Hall.
On the 3rd of April her Majesty visited the Emperor of the French at Chislehurst—a trying interview.
On the 21st of June the Queen opened St. Thomas's Hospital, knighting the treasurer.
This summer the Emperor and Empress of Brazil visited London, while the Tichborne trial was running its long course.
On the Queen's return from Balmoral in November, she was met by the alarming tidings that the Prince of Wales lay ill of typhoid fever at Sandringham. The Queen went to her son on the 29th and remained for a few days. The disease seemed progressing favourably, and she returned to Windsor in the beginning of December, leaving the invalid devotedly nursed by the Princess of Wales and Princess Alice—who had been staying with her brother when the fever showed itself, and by the Duke of Edinburgh. On the 8th there was a relapse, when the Queen and the whole of the royal family were sent for to Sandringham. During many days the Prince hovered between life and death. The sympathy was deep and universal. The reading of the bulletins at the Mansion House was a sight to be remembered. A prayer was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury for "Albert Edward Prince of Wales, lying upon the bed of sickness," and for "Victoria our Queen and the Princess of Wales in this day of their great trouble." Supplications were sent up alike in Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues. On the night of Wednesday the 14th, a date which had been dreaded as that of the Prince Consort's death ten years before, a slight improvement took place, sleep at last was won, and gradual recovery established. The Queen returned to Windsor on the 19th, and wrote on the 26th of December to thank her people for their sympathy.
On the 8th of February, 1872, the Governor-General of India, Lord Mayo, was assassinated.
The 27th was the Thanksgiving Day for the Prince of Wales's recovery. No public sight throughout her Majesty's reign was more moving than her progress with the Prince and Princess of Wales and Princess Beatrice to and from St. Paul's. The departure from Buckingham Palace was witnessed by the Emperor and Empress of the French, who stood on a balcony. The decorated streets were packed with incredible masses of people, the cheering was continuous. The Queen wore white flowers in her bonnet and looked happy. The Prince insisted on lifting his hat in return for the people's cheers. The royal party were met at Temple Bar by the Lord Mayor and a deputation from the Common Council. The City sword was presented and received back again, when the chief magistrate of London remounted and rode before the Queen to St. Paul's. Thirteen thousand persons were in the City cathedral. The pew for the Queen and the Prince was enclosed by a brass railing. The Te Deum was sung by a picked choir. There was a special prayer, "We praise and magnify Thy glorious name for that Thou hast raised Thy servant Albert Edward Prince of Wales from the bed of sickness." The sermon was preached by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The return was led by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to the bounds of the City. When Buckingham Palace was reached the Queen showed herself with the Prince for a moment on the central balcony. There was an illumination in the evening.
On the 29th of February, as the Queen was returning from a drive in the Park, having come down Constitution Hill and entered the courtyard, when about to alight, a lad with a paper in one hand and a pistol in the other rushed first to the left and then to the right side of the carriage, with arms extended to the Queen, who sat quite unmoved. Her Majesty's attendant, John Brown, seized the assailant. He was a half-witted Irish lad, named Arthur O'Connor, about seventeen years of age, who had been a clerk to an oil and colour merchant. He had climbed over the railings. There was no ball in the pistol, which was broken. The paper was a petition for the Fenians. The public indignation was great against the miserable culprit, who was dealt with as in former outrages of the kind, according to the nature of the offence and with reference to the mental condition of the offender. The Queen, who had been about to institute a medal as a reward for long and faithful service among her domestics, gave a gold medal and an annuity of twenty-five pounds to John Brown for his presence of mind and devotion on this occasion.
Her Majesty had gone to Balmoral for her birthday, and was still there on the 16th of June when she heard of the death of her valued friend, Dr. Norman Macleod. He had preached to her and dined with her so recently as the 26th of May. What his loss was to her she has expressed simply and forcibly in a passage in her journal.... "When I thought of my dear friend Dr. Macleod and all he had been to me—how in 1862, '63, '64, he had cheered and comforted and encouraged me—how he had ever sympathised with me ... and that this too like so many other comforts and helps was for ever gone, I burst out crying."
On the 1st of July the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Leopold and the two younger princesses, visited the Albert Memorial, Hyde Park, which was complete save for the statue.
Three days afterwards, in very hot weather, her Majesty was present at a great review at Aldershot.
STAY AT HOLYROOD—DEATHS OF PRINCESS HOHENLOHE AND OF PRINCE FREDERICK OF DARMSTADT—MARRIAGE OF THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH.
The Queen arrived at Holyrood on the 14th of August, and made a stay of a few days in Edinburgh for the first time during eleven years. A suite of rooms called the "Argyle rooms" had been freshly arranged for her occupation. She went over Queen Mary's rooms again for the gratification of Princess Beatrice, and with the Princess and Prince Leopold took the old drives to Dalkeith and Leith which her Majesty had first taken thirty years before.
A favourite project in the past had been that her Majesty should go so far north as to visit Dunrobin, and rooms had been prepared for her reception. When the visit was paid the castle was in the hands of another generation, and the Queen laid the foundation stone of a cross erected to the memory of the late Duchess.
Soon after her Majesty's return to Balmoral, on the 23rd September, she had the grief to receive a telegram announcing the death of her sister, Princess Hohenlohe. Though not more than sixty-five years of age the Princess had been for some time very infirm. She had received a great shock in the previous spring from the unexpected death by fever, at the age of thirty-three, of her younger surviving daughter, Princess Feodore, the second wife of the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen.
The Emperor Napoleon III, who had long been labouring under sore disease, laid down his wearied and vanquished life at Chislehurst on the 9th of January, 1873.
The coming marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh to the Grand Duchess Marie of Russia was announced to Parliament.
On the 2nd of April the Queen was present at the opening of the Victoria Park. Prince Arthur was created Duke of Connaught.
A fatal accident to the younger son of Prince and Princess Louis of Hesse happened at Darmstadt on the 29th of May. The nurse had brought the children to see the Princess while she was in bed, and had left the two little boys playing beside her. The windows of the bedroom and of a dressing-room beyond were open. Princess Louis, hearing Prince Ernest, the elder brother, go into the dressing-room, leapt out of bed and hurried after him. In her momentary absence Prince Frederick, between two and three years of age, leant out of one of the bedroom windows, lost his balance, and fell on the pavement below, receiving terrible injuries, from which he died in a few hours, to the great sorrow of his parents.
In September the Queen and Princess Beatrice, with Lady Churchill and General Ponsonby, spent a week at Inverlochy, occupying the house of Lord Abinger at the foot of Ben Nevis, among the beautiful scenery which borders the Caledonian Canal, and is specially associated with Prince Charlie—in pity for whom her Majesty loved to recall the drops of Stewart blood in her veins.
This year more than one figure, well-known in different ways to the Queen in former years, passed out of mortal sight—Bishop Wilberforce, Landseer, Macready.
In January, 1874, the Duke of Edinburgh was married at the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, to the Grand Duchess Marie of Russia. The Duke was in his thirtieth, the Grand Duchess in her twenty-first year. The royal couple arrived at Gravesend on March 7th, and entered London on March 12th in a heavy snowstorm. In spite of the weather the Queen and the Duchess, with the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice seated opposite, drove slowly through the crowded streets in an open carriage drawn by six horses. The Prince and Princess of Wales, Princess Louise, &c., were at the windows of Buckingham Palace. The Queen went out with the Duke and Duchess on the balcony. The Duke and Duchess's town and country houses are Clarence House and Eastwell Park.
In March her Majesty, accompanied by all her family in England, reviewed the troops returned from the Ashantee War in Windsor Great Park, and gave the orders of St. Michael and St. George to Sir Garnet Wolseley and the Victoria Cross to Lord Gifford.
The first volume of the "Life of the Prince Consort," by Sir Theodore Martin, came out and made a deep impression on the general public.
Her Majesty had for many years honoured with her friendship M. and Madame Van de Weyer, who were the Queen's near neighbours at Windsor, the family living at the New Lodge. In addition they had come for several seasons to Abergeldie, when the Court was at Balmoral. M. Van de Weyer was not only the trusted representative of the King of the Belgians, he was a man highly gifted morally and intellectually. This year the friendship was broken by his death.
On the 15th of October the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh's son—was born.
The news of Livingstone's death reached England.
Early in 1875 Prince Leopold, then twenty-two years of age, suffered from typhoid fever. So great were the fears entertained for his life that the Queen was prevented from opening Parliament in person. Already Princess Alice in her letters had referred to her youngest brother as having been three times given back to his family from the brink of the grave.
During the spring the Queen was deprived by death of her Clerk to the Council and literary adviser in her first book, Sir Arthur Helps. Charles Kingsley, whose work was much admired by the Prince Consort, died also.
On the 18th of August, when the Queen was sitting on the deck of the royal yacht as it crossed from Osborne to Gosport, the yacht Mistletoe ran across its bows and a collision took place, the Mistletoe turning over and sinking. The sister-in-law of the owner of the yacht was drowned. The master, an old man, who was struck by a spar, died after he had been picked up. The rest of the crew were rescued. Her Majesty, who was greatly distressed, aided personally in the vain efforts to restore one of the sufferers to consciousness.
In September the Queen, in paying a week's visit to the Duke and Duchess of Argyle at Inverary, had the pleasure of seeing Princess Louise in her future home. It was twenty-eight years since her Majesty had been in the house of MacCallummore, and then her son-in-law of to- day had been a little fellow of two years, in black velvet and fair curls.
Towards the end of the year the Prince of Wales left for his lengthened progress through her Majesty's dominions in India, which was accomplished with much eclat and success.
In 1876 the Queen opened Parliament in person.
On the 25th of February her Majesty, accompanied by the Princess of Wales, Princess Beatrice, and Prince Leopold, and received by the Duke of Edinburgh, attended a state concert given in the morning at the Albert Hall. Since 1866 the Queen had been able gradually to hear and enjoy again the music in which she had formerly delighted, but she had taken the gratification in her domestic life. Her royal duties had been only intermitted for the briefest space. Every act of beneficence and gracious queenliness had been long ago resumed. But no place of public amusement had seen the face of the widowed Queen.
Lady Augusta Stanley died, after a lingering illness, on the 1st of March. It was the close—much lamented from the highest to the lowest— of a noble and beautiful life. The Queen afterwards erected a memorial cross to Lady Augusta Stanley's memory in the grounds at Frogmore.
On the 7th of March her Majesty, accompanied by Princess Beatrice, opened a new wing of the London Hospital.
Two days afterwards the statue of the Prince Consort in the Albert Memorial was unveiled without any ceremony. The whole memorial thus completed stood, as it stands to-day, one of the most splendid tokens —apart from its artistic merit—of a nation's gratitude and a Queen's love. Opinions may differ on the use of gilding and colours, as they have been rarely employed in this Country, upon the towering facades and pinnacles, and on the choice of the central gilt figure of the Prince, colossal, in robes of state. But there can hardly be a doubt as to the striking effect of the magnificent monument taken altogether, especially when it has the advantage of a blue sky and brilliant sunshine, and of the charm of the four white marble groups which surround the pedestal, seen in glimpses through the lavish green of Kensington Gardens. An engraving of the statue of the Prince is given in Vol. I., p. 172.
In the end of the month the Queen, travelling incognito as Countess of Kent, having crossed to Cherbourg, arrived at Baden-Baden accompanied by Princess Beatrice. Her Majesty visited the Princess Hohenlohe's grave. She continued her journey to Coburg. In passing through Paris on her return to England towards the end of April, her Majesty had an interview with the President of the French Republic.
On the 1st of May the Queen was proclaimed Empress of India.
In the season the Empress of Germany and the ex-royal family of Hanover visited England. On the 17th of August the Queen, with the Princes Arthur and Leopold and Princess Beatrice, stayed two nights at Holyrood for the purpose of unveiling the equestrian statue to the late Prince in Charlotte Square. Her Majesty recalled the coincidence that the last public appearances of both her husband and mother were in Edinburgh—the Prince Consort in laying the foundation stone of the new post-office in October, 1861, only six weeks before his death, the Duchess of Kent at the summer volunteer review in 1860. The town was gay and bright and crowded with company. In Charlotte Square the Duke of Buccleuch, chairman of the committee, read the address, to which the Queen read a reply. On her return to the palace she knighted the sculptor, Sir John Steel, and Professor Oakeley, the composer of the chorale which was sung on the occasion. In the evening there was once more a great dinner at Holyrood—Scotts, Kerrs, Bruces, Primroses, Murrays, &c., &c, being gathered round their Queen.
A month afterwards at Ballater, amidst pouring rain, her Majesty presented new colours to the 79th regiment, "Royal Scots," of which her father was colonel when she was born. She spoke a few kind words to the soldiers, and accepted from them the gift of the old colours, which are in her keeping.
On the 15th December the Queen and the Princess Beatrice paid a visit to Lord Beaconsfield at Hughenden, lunched, and remained two hours, during which the royal visitors planted trees on the lawn.
In consequence of fever in the Isle of Wight her Majesty held her Christmas at Windsor for the first time since the death of the Prince Consort.
On New Year's day, 1877, the Queen was proclaimed Empress of India at Delhi. Her Majesty opened Parliament on the 8th of February.
In September, when the war between Russia and Turkey was raging, her Majesty, Princess Beatrice, the Duchess of Roxburgh, &c., spent a week at Loch Maree Hotel, enjoying the fine Ross-shire scenery, making daily peaceful excursions, to which such a telegram as told of the bombardment of Plevna must have been a curious accompaniment.
In February, 1878, the Queen's grandchild, Princess Charlotte of Prussia, was married at Berlin to the hereditary Prince of Saxe- Meiningen, at the same time that her cousin, Princess Elizabeth of Prussia, was married to the hereditary Grand Duke of Oldenburg.
On the 12th June the Queen's cousin, who had been the blind King of Hanover, died in exile at Paris. His body was brought to England and was buried in the royal vault below St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
The Queen saw a naval review off Spithead in August. In the end of the month the Queen, with Princess Beatrice and Prince Leopold, stopped at Dunbar on the way north in order to pay a visit to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburgh at Broxmouth. During her Majesty's stay she heard of the death of Madame Van de Weyer at the New Lodge, and wrote in her journal, "Another link with the past gone! with my beloved one, with dearest Uncle Leopold, and with Belgium."
In September a terrible accident occurred in the Thames off Woolwich, when the Princess Alice steamboat on a pleasure trip was run down by the Bywell Castle, and about six hundred passengers perished.
In the end of the month the Queen had the misfortune to lose her old and faithful servant Sir Thomas Biddulph, who died at Abergeldie Mains. When she went to see him in his last illness and took his hand, he said, "You are very kind to me," to which she answered, pressing his hand, "You have always been very kind to me."
The Marquis of Lorne had been appointed Governor-General of Canada, for which he and Princess Louise sailed, arriving at Ottawa on the 23rd of November.
Already the Queen, who was still at Balmoral, had heard of the disastrous outbreak of diphtheria in the Darmstadt royal family. It attacked every member in succession, the youngest, Princess Marie, a child of four years of age, dying on the 16th of November. It was supposed that the Duchess had caught the infection from having once, in an abandonment of sorrow for the death of her little daughter, forgotten the necessary precautions, and rested her head on the Duke's pillow. Her case was dangerous from the first, and she gave orders lest she should die, but did not seem to expect death. In her sleep she was heard to murmur, "Four weeks—Marie—my father." On the morning before she died she read a letter from her mother. Her last words when waking from sleep, she took the refreshment offered her, were, "Now I will again sleep quietly for a longer time." Then she fell back into the slumber from which she never awoke. She died on the 14th December, exactly four weeks from the death of her child, and seventeen years from the death of her father. She was thirty-five years of age. Princess Alice was a woman of rare qualities and remarkable benevolence.
The Prince of Wales and Prince Leopold went to Darmstadt and followed the funeral from the church to the Rosenhoehe, where all that was mortal of Princess Alice rests beside the dust of her children. A fine figure in white marble of the Princess, recumbent, clasping her little daughter to her breast, has been placed close to the spot as a token of the loving remembrance of her brothers and sisters. The engraving represents this beautiful piece of monumental sculpture.
In 1879 the Zulu war broke out. On the 11th of March Princess Louise of Prussia arrived in England, and on the 13th she was married in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, in the presence of the Queen and all the members of the royal family and the bride's father and mother, Prince and Princess Frederick Charles of Prussia. The bridegroom was supported by his brothers, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh. The bride walked between her father and the Crown Prince of Germany, and was followed by eight noble bridesmaids. The Duke of Connaught was in his twenty-ninth and Princess Louise of Prussia in her nineteenth year. Their residence is Bagshot Park.
Twelve days later the Queen left with Princess Beatrice and, travelling by Cherbourg and Paris, reached Lake Maggiore on the 28th. Immediately after their arrival the news came of the death, from diphtheria of one of the Crown Princess of Germany's sons, Prince Waldemar of Prussia, a fine boy of eleven years of age.
Her Majesty left on the 23rd of April, and returned by Milan, Turin, Paris, and Cherbourg, to England.
BIRTH OF THE FIRST GREAT-GRANDCHILD—MARRIAGE OF THE DUKE OF ALBANY— CONCLUSION.
The Queen's first great-grandchild, the child of the Princess of Saxe- Meiningen, was born on the 12th of May.
On her Majesty's arrival at Balmoral on the 22nd of May she went to see the granite cross erected to the "dear memory" of Alice, Duchess of Hesse, by her "sorrowing mother"
The Queen remained at Balmoral till after the 19th of June, when the melancholy tidings arrived that the Prince Imperial had been killed in the Zulu war. Her Majesty left on the 20th, and crossed over the Tay Bridge, which was destroyed in the terrible gale of the 29th December of the same year.
In 1880 the Queen opened Parliament in person. Her Majesty, accompanied by Princess Beatrice, left Windsor on the 25th of March for Baden-Baden and Darmstadt. The Queen was present at the confirmation of the Princesses Victoria and Elizabeth, and visited the Rosenhoehe, where their mother was buried.
About the same time the ex-Empress Eugenie embarked at Southampton for the Cape of Good Hope, that she might see the place where her son fell on the anniversary of his death.
On the 24th of April the Princess Frederica of Hanover, elder daughter of the late King, was married to Baron von Pawel-Rammingen, who had been equerry to her father, in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. The Queen and several members of the royal family witnessed the ceremony.
In September the Duke of Connaught and his bride were welcomed to Balmoral, and a visit paid to the cairn erected in their honour when their healths were drunk with "three times three" in the presence of the Queen, Princess Beatrice, and the ladies and gentlemen of the household. Later in the autumn the childless widow, the Empress Eugenie, stayed for a little time at Abergeldie.
At the close of 1880 Lord Beaconsfield published his last novel of "Endymion." George Eliot died on the 22nd December, and in 1881 Thomas Carlyle died, on the 5th of February, in the eighty-sixth year of his age.
Her Majesty's eldest grandson, Prince William of Prussia, was married at Berlin on the 27th of February to Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. The bride was the granddaughter of the Queen's sister, Princess Hohenlohe, and the niece of Prince Christian.
On March 13th the Emperor of Russia was assassinated.
Lord Beaconsfield died on the 19th of April at his house in Curzon Street. Ten days later the Queen and Princess Beatrice visited Hughenden while the vault was still open, and placed flowers on the coffin.
In June Prince Leopold took his seat in the House of Peers on his creation as Duke of Albany.
On the 19th of September President Garfield died, after a long struggle, with the effects of his assassination, when the Queen wrote to Mrs. Garfield her indignation and pity as she had expressed them to the widow of President Lincoln.
In 1882 a monument was erected in Hughenden Church to Lord Beaconsfield "by his grateful and affectionate sovereign and friend,
"VICTORIA R. I.
Kings love him that speaketh right.
PROVERBS xvi 13."
The Queen's speech on the opening of Parliament in 1882 announced the approaching marriage of the Duke of Albany to Princess Helen of Waldeck.
On the 2nd of March, as her Majesty was entering her carriage at Windsor station, she was fired at by a man named Roderick Maclean, the ball passing between her Majesty and Princess Beatrice. The criminal, who proved to be of respectable antecedents, was arrested and committed for high treason. He was tried, found not guilty on the plea of insanity, and sentenced to be confined during her Majesty's pleasure. Much sympathy and indignation were felt, and addresses were voted by both Houses of Parliament.
The Queen left with Princess Beatrice, twelve days afterwards, by Portsmouth, Cherbourg, and Paris for Mentone, where her Majesty stayed a fortnight.
Princess Helen of Waldeck, accompanied by her parents, arrived on the 25th of April. The King and Queen of the Netherlands, the bride's brother-in-law and sister, came next day, and the marriage was celebrated on the 27th of April in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, before the Queen and the royal family. The Duke of Albany was in his twenty-ninth, and Princess Helen in her twenty-first year. Claremont was assigned to the young couple as their future residence. Eight days after the marriage a sad event broke in on the marriage rejoicings; the bride's sister, Princess William of Wurtemberg, died in childbirth at the age of twenty-three.
On the 6th of May the Queen, with Princess Beatrice, went in state to Epping Forest, where they were received by the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs, and the Duke of Connaught as ranger of the forest. After an address the Queen declared the forest dedicated to the people's use.
On the same day Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke were assassinated in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
Garibaldi died at Caprera on the 2nd of June.
The Egyptian war broke out, and among the officers who sailed with the troops under Sir Garnet Wolseley in August was the Duke of Connaught. The Duchess and her little daughter were with the Queen at Balmoral, where anxious days were spent as mother and wife waited for the news of battle. Successive telegrams announced that an attack was determined on, that the army had marched, that fighting was going on, and that the enemy had been routed with heavy loss at Tel-el-Kebir. The Queen wrote in her journal "How anxious we felt I need not say, but we tried not to give way.... I prayed earnestly for my darling child, and longed for to-morrow to arrive. Read Korner's beautiful, 'Gebet vor der Schlacht,' 'Vater ich rufe Dich,' ('Prayer before the Battle,' 'Father, I call on Thee'). My beloved husband used to sing it often...."
At last came the welcome telegram, "A great victory, Duke safe and well," and a further telegram with details and the concluding sentence, "Duke of Connaught is well and behaved admirably, leading his brigade to the attack," and great was the joy and thankfulness.
In the meantime the Duke and Duchess of Albany had been expected on their first visit after their marriage, and were met at Ballater. When their healths were drunk with Highland honours, the happy Queen asked her son to propose another toast "to the victorious army in Egypt" coupled with the Duke of Connaught's name, and the health was drunk in the hearing of his proud wife and his unconscious infant in her nurse's arms.
In November the Queen reviewed the troops returned from Egypt in St. James Park, and afterwards distributed war medals to the officers and men.
On the 4th December her Majesty opened the New Law Courts. She was received by the judges and the representatives of the Bar. Lord Chancellor Selborne was raised to the rank of an earl, and knighthood was conferred on the Governors of the Inns of Court.
The Duke of Connaught, accompanied by the Duchess, went to fill a military post in India.
We have seen that Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, her Majesty's fourth and youngest son, who was born on the 7th of April, 1853, had a delicate childhood and boyhood. He suffered from a tendency to haemorrhage on the slightest provocation. Ailments in the joints are apt to accompany such constitutional weakness, and one of Prince Leopold's knees was affected. As he grew up he was again and again brought to the brink of the grave by sudden and violent fits of indisposition. It is hardly necessary to say that the precariousness of Prince Leopold's health, combined as it was with an amiable disposition and intellectual gifts, only served to endear him the more to his family and friends.
The bodily weakness which set the Duke of Albany apart from his elder brothers and from lads of his age, which prevented his being regularly trained either as a soldier or a sailor, in the two professions which have been long held fit for princes, made him peculiarly the home-son of the Queen, and caused him to be much longer associated with her than he might otherwise have been, in her daily life and in her public appearances during the later years of her reign.
It did not follow from this circumstance that Prince Leopold relinquished an independent career or led an idle life. In 1872, when he was in his twentieth year, he matriculated at Oxford, where he kept his terms with credit alike to his original abilities and his conscientious diligence. His honourable and pleasant connection with his university remained a strong tie to the end of his short life, and it was doubtless in relation to Oxford that he came sensibly under the influence of Mr. Buskin.
On leaving college Prince Leopold continued to lead the quiet yet busy life of a scholarly and somewhat artistic young man to whom robust health has been denied. In addition to the many dignities of his rank, including four orders of knighthood, belonging to the Garter, the Thistle, the Star of India, and the Order of St. Michael and St. George, he became a D.O.L. of Oxford in 1876, and in the following year a bencher of Lincoln's Inn. A less characteristic honour given him was the rank of a colonel in the army.
It was a marked feature in Prince Leopold's individuality, as it had been in that of the Prince Consort, that he sought to turn all his gifts and pursuits to practical use, not only in the interests of science and art, but in order to improve the condition and increase the happiness of the Queen his mother's people. His speeches on the increasing occasions when he took the chair at public meetings in aid of the objects he had at heart, were remarkable in so young a man, not only for good taste and for the amount of carefully acquired knowledge they displayed, but for the spirit of enlightened humanity and benevolence which breathed through them. Gradually but surely Prince Leopold's graceful, well-considered, kindly utterances, with which he was ready whenever his services were required, were making a most favourable and permanent impression on the public which was too soon to mourn his loss. The extension of education and of innocent amusements through all classes, the Kyrle Society for the fostering of Art among the homeliest surroundings, the higher and more general cultivation of music, the introduction of lessons in cookery into the poorest schools; were among the schemes which the Duke of Albany warmly advocated.
The Duke's marriage took place, as we have recorded, on the 27th of April, 1882, and in 1883 a daughter was born to him, who received the dear and hallowed name of "Alice."
In March, 1884, the Duke of Albany went to Cannes in order to escape the spring east winds, leaving the Duchess, who was in a delicate state of health, behind him at Claremont. He appeared to profit by his stay of a few weeks in the south of France, was unusually well in health and in excellent spirits, entering generally into the society of the place. But on the 27th of March, in ascending a stair at the Cercle Nautique, he slipped and fell, injuring his ailing knee in a manner in which he had hurt it several times before. He was conveyed in a carriage to the Villa Nevada, at which he was residing, and no danger was apprehended, the Duke writing with his own hand to the Duchess, making light of the accident. During the following night, however, he was observed to breathe heavily, was found to be in a fit, and in a few minutes afterwards, early on the morning of the 28th of March, 1884, he died in the arms of his equerry, Captain Perceval. The melancholy news was telegraphed to Windsor, and broken to the Queen by the Master of her Household, Sir Henry Ponsonby. Under the shock and grief, with which the whole country sympathised, her Majesty's first and constant thought seems to have been for the young widow at desolate Claremont.
The Prince of Wales started for Cannes, and accompanied the remains of his brother to England, the royal yacht Osborne landing them at Portsmouth. On the arrival of the melancholy cavalcade at Windsor, on Friday, the 4th of April, the Queen went with her daughters, Princess Christian and Princess Beatrice, to the railway station to meet the body of the beloved son who had been the namesake of King Leopold, her second father, and the living image in character of the husband she had adored. The coffin was carried by a detachment of the Seaforth Highlanders through the room in which her Majesty awaited the procession, and conveyed to the chapel, where a short service was afterwards held in the presence of the Queen and the near relatives of the dead, and where the nearest of all, the widowed Duchess, paid one brief last visit to the bier.
On the following day, Saturday, the 5th of April, towards noon, the funeral took place, with all the pomp of the late Prince's rank, and all the sorrow which his untimely end and many virtues might well call forth. The Prince of Wales, as chief mourner, was supported by the Crown Prince of Germany, the Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, Prince Albert Victor of Wales, and the Duke of Cambridge. The coffin, with its velvet pall nearly hidden by flowers, was again borne by a party of the Seaforth Highlanders to the solemn music of Chopin's "Funeral March" and the firing of the minute-guns, to the principal entrance of St. George's Chapel. Among the same company that had been assembled when the Duke of Albany had been married not two years before, were his father-in-law and sister-in- law, the Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont, and the Queen of Holland.
While the dirge-like music and the booming of the cannon filled the air, the Queen in deep mourning entered, leaning on the arm of the Princess of Wales, and followed by Princess Christian, the Princesses Louise and Beatrice, and Princess Frederica of Hanover, the royal party being conducted by the Lord Chamberlain to seats near the choir steps. The Duchess of Albany and the Duchess of Edinburgh were unable, from the state of their health, to attend the funeral. As the coffin, every movement of which was regulated by the word of command spoken by the officer appointed for the duty, passed through the screen and entered the choir, the Queen and Princesses rose as if to greet him who came thus for the last time among them. The rest of the company had remained standing from the moment of the Queen's entrance. The Dean of Windsor read the Funeral Service. When the choir sang the anthem, "Blessed are the Departed," the Queen again rose. Lord Brooke, a young man like the Prince who was gone, who had been with him at Oxford, was one of the most intimate of his friends, and had been named one of the executors of his will, threw, with evident emotion, the handful of earth on the coffin while the Dean recited "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust."
After the singing of the hymn, "Lead kindly light," during which her Majesty stood, she and the Princesses quitted the chapel. Garter-King- at-Arms having proclaimed the style and titles of the deceased, the coffin was lowered into the vault below St. George's Chapel, the Prince of Wales gazing sadly on its descent. The Queen, with her long discipline of sorrow, had in the middle of her affliction preserved her coolness throughout the trying ceremony. Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, had almost completed his thirty-first year. The anniversary of his birthday was on the second day after his funeral.
The Queen has left her mark on the palaces and humbler houses which have been her homes. In indicating it we have nothing to do with grey Windsor in its historical glories, or even in its more picturesque lights. We leave behind the Waterloo Gallery, the Garter-room and the quaint cottages of the Poor Knights in order to point out the touches which are the tokens of Queen Victoria's presence. Though she dwelt here principally in the bright days of her early reign, the chief signs which she will leave behind her are those of her widowhood and of the faithful heart which has never forgotten its kindred dead. The most conspicuous work of the Queen's is the restoration and rechristening of the Wolsey Chapel. As the Albert Chapel, the beautiful little building is fall of the thought of him who was once master here. Its rich mosaics, stained glass, "pictures for eternity" fretted in marble, scriptural allegories of all the virtues—the very medallions of his children which surmount these unfading pictures, are all in his honour. Specially so is the pure white marble figure of the Prince, represented as a knight in armour, lying sword in hand, his feet against the hound—the image of loyalty, while round the pedestal is carved his name and state, and the place of his burial, with the epitaph which fits him well, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course."
In St. George's Chapel her Majesty has erected five monuments. A recumbent marble figure on an alabaster sarcophagus is to her father, who was so fond of the infant daughter whom he left a helpless baby. A white marble statue, larger than life, in royal robes, is to the man who took the Duke of Kent's place, Leopold I., King of the Belgians, of whom his niece could cause to be written with perfect truth "who was as a father to her, and she was to him as a daughter." This statue is reared near the well-known monument to the dead King's never forgotten first wife, Princess Charlotte of Wales. [Footnote: Princess Alice mentions in one of her published letters that King Leopold had entertained a wish that he might be buried in England.] The third and fourth monuments are to the Queen's aunt and cousin, the good Duchess of Gloucester and the late King of Hanover. The last was executed by the Queen's nephew, Count Gleichen (Prince Victor Hohenlohe). The inscription has several pathetic allusions. "Here has come to rest among his kindred, the royal family of England, George V., the last King of Hanover." "Receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved." "In this light he shall see light." The fifth monument has been raised to a young eastern prince, son of Theodore, King of Abyssinia, who came to England as a lad and died here "I was a stranger and ye took me in" is the epitaph.
At the entrance to the fine corridor which runs round two sides of the quadrangle of the Castle, and forms a matchless in-door promenade, is Theed's beautiful group of the Queen and the Prince, conceived and worked out after his death, with the solemn parting of two hearts tenderly attached as the motive of the whole. The figures are not only ideally graceful while the likeness in each is carefully preserved, the expression is beyond praise. The wife clings, in devotion so perfect that impassioned hope contends with chill despair, to the arm of the husband who looks down on her whom he loves best, with fond encouragement and the peace of the blessed already settling on the stainless brow. The inscription is from Goldsmith's "Deserted Village"—
"Allur'd to brighter worlds and led the way,"
It is part of an exquisite passage:—
"And as a bird each fond endearment tries To tempt its new-fledg'd offspring to the skies, He tried each art, reprov'd each dull delay, Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way."
The corridor, among its innumerable vases, cabinets, and pictures of kings and great men—including a fine portrait of Sir Walter Scott— has a whole series of pictures illustrating, the leading events of her Majesty's life, from her "First Council," by Wilkie, through her marriage, the baptisms of the Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales, the first reception of Louis Philippe, &c., &c., to the Princess Royal's marriage.
The white drawing-room, said to be a favourite room of her Majesty's, is not far from her private sitting-room on the south-east side of the quadrangle which looks out on the Long Walk and Windsor Forest, the white drawing-room commanding the Home Park.
Going down the stately double avenue of elms called the Long Walk, a lodge and side walk at no great distance lead to Frogmore, with its mausoleum half hidden in luxuriant foliage. In the octagonal building, which forms a cross, and is richly decorated with coloured marbles, is the famous recumbent figure of the Prince in white marble by Baron Marochetti. When the Queen's time comes, which her people pray may still be far distant, she will rest by her husband's side, and a similar statue to his will mark where she lies. Memorials of Princess Alice and of her Majesty's dead grandchildren are also here.
The late Duchess of Kent is buried in a separate vault beneath a dome supported by pillars of polished granite and surrounded by a parapet with balconies. In the upper chamber, lit from the top by stained glass, is a statue of the Duchess, by Theed.