The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article on Victoria

by Jim Morgan

I know that this is large, in need of serious editing and I am the only one who will read it but as this blog has taken the aspect of a notebook I am going to put it here.

This text is in the Public Domain in the United States as it was printed prior to 1923.

VICTORIA [ALEXANDRINA VICTORIA], Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India (1819-1901), only child of Edward, duke of Kent, fourth son of King George III., and of Princess Victoria Mary Louisa of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (widow of Prince Emich Karl of Lein- ingen, by whom she already had two children), was born at Kensington Palace on the 24th of May 1819. The duke and duchess of Kent had been living at Amorbach, in Franconia, owing to their straitened circumstances, but they returned to London on purpose that (heir child should be born in England. In 1817 the death of Princess Charlotte (only child of the prince regent, afterwards George IV., and wife of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, afterwards king of the Belgians), had left the ultimate succession to the throne of England, in the younger generation, so uncertain that the three unmarried sons of George III., the dukes of Clarence (afterwards William IV.), Kent and Cambridge, all married in the following year, the two elder on the same day. All three had children, but the duke of Clarence’s two baby daughters died in infancy, in 1819 and 1821; and the duke of Cambridge’s son George, born on the 26th of March 1819, was only two months old when the birth of the duke of Kent’s daughter put her before him in the succession. The question as to what name the child should bear was not settled without bickerings. The duke of Kent wished her to be christened Elizabeth, and the prince regent wanted Georgiana, while the tsar Alexander L, who had promised to stand sponsor, stipulated for Alexandrina. The baptism was performed in a drawing-room of Kensington Palace on the 24th of June by Dr Manners Sutton, archbishop of Canterbury. The prince regent, who was present, named the child Alexandrina; then, being requested by the duke of Kent to give a second name, he said, rather abruptly, ” Let her be called Victoria, after her mother, but this name must come after the other.” 1 Six weeks after her christening the princess was vaccinated, this being the first occasion on which a member of the royal family underwent the operation.

In January 1820 the duke of Kent died, five days before his
brother succeeded to the throne as George IV. The widowed
duchess of Kent was now a woman of thirty-four, handsome,
homely, a German at heart, and with little liking for English
ways. But she was a woman of experience, and shrewd; and
fortunately she had a safe and affectionate adviser in her brother,
Prince Leopold of Coburg, afterwards (1831) king of the Belgians,
who as the husband of the late Princess Charlotte had once been
a prospective prince consort of England. His former doctor and
private secretary, Baron Stockmar (q.v.), a man of encyclopaedic
information and remarkable judgment, who had given special
attention to the problems of a sovereign’s position in England, was
afterwards to play an important r61e in Queen Victoria’s life;
and Leopold himself took a fatherly interest in the young
princess’s education, and contributed some thousands of pounds
annually to the duchess of Kent’s income. Prince Leopold
still lived at this time at Claremont, where Princess Charlotte
had died, and this became the duchess of Kent’s occasional
English home; but she was much addicted to travelling, and
spent several months every year in visits to watering-places.
It was said at court that she liked the demonstrative homage
of crowds; but she had good reason to fear lest her child should
be taken away from her to be educated according to the views
of George IV. Between the king and his sister-in-law there was
little love, and when the death of the duke of Clarence’s second
infant daughter Elizabeth in 1821 made it pretty certain that
Princess Victoria would eventually become queen, the duchess
felt that the king might possibly obtain the support of his
ministers if he insisted that the future sovereign should be
brought up under masters and mistresses designated by himself.
The little princess could not have received a better education
than that which was given her under Prince Leopold’s direction.
Her uncle considered that she ought to be kept as long as
possible from the knowledge of her position, which might raise
a large growth of pride or vanity in her and make her un-
manageable; so Victoria was twelve years old before she
knew that she was to wear a crown. Until she became queen
she never slept a night away from her mother’s room, and she
was not allowed to converse with any grown-up person, friend,
tutor or servant without the duchess of Kent or the Baroness
Lehzen, her private governess, being present. Louise Lehzen,
a native of Coburg, had come to England as governess to the
Princess Fecdore of Leiningen, the duchess of Kent’s daughter

1 The question of her name, as that of one who was to be queen,
remained even up to her accession to the throne a much-debated
one. In August 1831, in a discussion in parliament upon a grant
to the duchess of Kent, Sir M. W. Ridley suggested changing it to
Elizabeth as “more accordant to the feelings of the people”;
and the idea o_f a change seems to have been powerfully supported.
In 1836 William IV. approved of a proposal to change it to
Charlotte; but, to the princess’s own delight, it was given u’p.
by her first husband, and she became teacher to the Princess
Victoria when the latter was five years old. George IV. in 1827
made her a baroness of Hanover, and she continued as lady-in-
attendance after the duchess of Northumberland was appointed
official governess in 1830, but actually performed the functions
first of governess and then of private secretary till 1842, when
she left the court and returned to Germany, where she died in
1870. The Rev. George Davys, afterwards bishop of Peter-
borough, taught the princess Latin; Mr J. B. Sale, music;
Mr Westall, history; and Mr Thomas Steward, the writing
master of Westminster School, instructed her in penmanship.

In 1830 George IV. died, and the duke of York (George III.’s
second son) having died childless in 1827, the duke of Clarence
became king as William IV. Princess Victoria now became the
direct heir to the throne. William IV. cherished affectionate
feelings towards his niece; unfortunately he took offence at
the duchess of Kent for declining to let her child come and live
at his court for several months in each year, and through the
whole of his reign there was strife between the two; and
Prince Leopold was no longer in England to act as peacemaker.

In the early hours of the 2oth of June 1837, William IV. died.
His thoughts had dwelt often on his niece, and he repeatedly
said that he was sure she would be ” a good woman and a good
queen. It will touch every sailor’s heart to have a girl queen
to fight for. They’ll be tattooing her face on their arms, and
I’ll be bound they’ll all think she was christened after Nelson’s
ship.” Dr Howley, archbishop of Canterbury, and the marquis
of Conyngham, bearing the news of the king’s death, started in
a landau with four horses for Kensington, which they reached
at five o’clock. Their servants rang, knocked and thumped;
and when at last admittance was gained, the primate and the
marquis were shown into a lower room and there left to wait.
Presently a maid appeared and said that the Princess Victoria
was ” in a sweet sleep and could not be disturbed.” Dr Howley,
who was nothing if not pompous, answered that he had come
on state business, to which everything, even sleep, must give
place. The princess was accordingly roused, and quickly came
downstairs in a dressing-gown, her fair hair flowing loose over
her shoulders. Her own account of this interview, written the
same day in her journal (Letters, i. p. 97), shows her to have
been quite prepared.

The privy council assembled at Kensington in the morning;
and the usual oaths were administered to the queen by Lord
Chancellor Cottenham, after which all present did homage.
There was a touching incident when the queen’s uncles, the
dukes of Cumberland and Sussex, two old men, came forward
to perform their obeisance. The queen blushed, and descending
from her throne, kissed them both, without allowing them to
kneel. By the death of William IV., the duke of Cumberland
had become King Ernest of Hanover, and immediately after
the ceremony he made haste to reach his kingdom. Had
Queen Victoria died without issue, this prince, who was arro-
gant, ill-tempered and rash, would have become king of Great
Britain; and, as nothing but mischief could have resulted from
this, the young queen’s life became very precious in the sight
of her people. She, of course, retained the late king’s ministers
in their offices, and it was under Lord Melbourne’s direction
that the privy council drew up their declaration to the kingdom.
This document described the queen as Alexandrina Victoria,
and all the peers who subscribed the roll in the House of Lords
on the 2oth of June swore allegiance to her under those names.
It was not till the following day that the sovereign’s style was
altered to Victoria simply, and this necessitated the issuing of a
new declaration and a re-signing of the peers’ roll. The public
proclamation of the queen took place on the 2istatSt James’s
Palace with great pomp.

The queen opened her first parliament in person, and in a
well-written speech, which she read with much feeling, adverted
to her youth and to the necessity which existed for her being
guided by enlightened advisers. When both houses had voted
loyal addresses, the question of the Civil List was considered,
and a week or two later a message was brought to parliament
requesting an increase of the grant formerly made to the duchess
of Kent. Government recommended an addition of 30,000 a
year, which was voted, and before the close of the year a Civil
List Bill was passed, settling 385,000 a year on the queen.

The duchess of Kent and her brothers, King Leopold and the
duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, had always hoped to arrange that
the queen should marry her cousin, Albert (q.v.) of Saxe-Coburg-
Gotha, and the prince himself had been made acquainted with
this plan from his earliest years. In 1836 Prince Albert, who
was born in the same year as his future wife, had come on a visit
to England with his father and with his brother, Prince Ernest,
and his handsome face, gentle disposition and playful humour
had produced a favourable impression on the princess. The
duchess of Kent had communicated her projects to Lord Mel-
bourne, and they were known to many other statesmen, and to
persons in society; but the gossip of drawing-rooms during the
years 1837-38 continually represented that the young queen
had fallen in love with Prince This or Lord That, and the more
imaginative babblers hinted at post-chaises waiting outside Ken-
sington Gardens in the night, private marriages and so forth.

The coronation took place on the 28th of June 1838. No more
touching ceremony of the kind had ever been performed in
Westminster Abbey. Anne was a middle-aged married
woman at the time of her coronation; she waddled
and wheezed, and made no majestic appearance upon
her throne. Mary was odious to her Protestant subjects, Eliza-
beth to those of the unreformed religion, and both these queens
succeeded to the crown in times of general sadness; but the
youthful Queen Victoria had no enemies except a few Chartists,
and the land was peaceful and prosperous when she began to
reign over it. The cost of George IV. ‘s coronation amounted
to 240,000; that of William IV. had amounted to 50,000 only;
and in asking 70,000 the government had judged that things
could be done with suitable luxury, but without waste. The
traditional banquet in Westminster Hall, with the throwing
down of the glove by the king’s champion in armour, had been
dispensed with at the coronation of William IV., and it was
resolved not to revive it. But it was arranged that the sove-
reign’s procession to the abbey through the streets should be
made a finer show than on previous occasions; and it drew to
London 400,000 country visitors. Three ambassadors for different
reasons became objects of great interest on the occasion. Marshal
Soult, Wellington’s old foe, received a hearty popular welcome
as a military hero; Prince Esterhazy, who represented Austria,
dazzled society by his Magyar uniform, which was encrusted
all over, even to the boots, with pearls and diamonds; while
the Turkish ambassador, Sarim Effendi, caused much diversion
by his bewilderment. He was so wonder-struck that he could
not walk to his place, but stood as if he had lost his senses,
and kept muttering, ” All this for a woman ! “

Within a year the court was brought into sudden disfavour
with the country by two events of unequal importance, but both
exciting. The first was the case of Lady Flora Hastings, nt
In February 1839 this young lady, a daughter of the ” Bed-
marquis of Hastings, and a maid of honour to the
duchess of Kent, was accused by certain ladies of
the bedchamber of immoral conduct. The charge having been
laid before Lord Melbourne, he communicated it to Sir James
Clark, the queen’s physician, and the result was that Lady Flora
was subjected to the indignity of a medical examination, which,
while it cleared her character, seriously affected her health.
In fact, she died in the following July, and it was then discovered
that the physical appearances which first provoked suspicion
against her had been due to enlargement of the liver. The
queen’s conduct towards Lady Flora was kind and sisterly
from the beginning to the end of this painful business; but the
scandal was made public through some indignant letters which
the marchioness of Hastings addressed to Lord Melbourne pray-
ing for the punishment of her daughter’s traducers, and the
general opinion was that Lady Flora had been grossly treated
at the instigation of some private court enemies. While the
agitation about the affair was yet unappeased, the political
crisis known as the ” Bedchamber Plot ” occurred. The Whig
ministry had introduced a bill suspending the Constitution of
Jamaica because the Assembly in that colony had refused to
adopt the Prisons Act passed by the Imperial Legislature. Sir
Robert Peel moved an amendment, which, on a division (6th
May), was defeated by a majority of five only in a house of
583, and ministers thereupon resigned. The duke of Wellington
was first sent for, but he advised that the task of forming an
administration should be entrusted to Sir Robert Peel. Sir
Robert was ready to form a cabinet in which the duke of Welling-
ton, Lords Lyndhurst, Aberdeen and Stanley, and Sir James
Graham would have served; but he stipulated that the mistress
of the robes and the ladies of the bedchamber appointed by the
Whig administration should be removed, and to this the queen
would not consent. On the loth of May she wrote curtly that
the course proposed by Sir Robert Peel was contrary to usage
and repugnant to her feelings; the Tory leader then had to
inform the House of Commons that, having failed to obtain the
proof which he desired of her majesty’s confidence, it was im-
possible for him to accept office. The ladies of the bedchamber
were so unpopular in consequence of their behaviour to Lady
Flora Hastings that the public took alarm at the notion that the
queen had fallen into the hands of an intriguing coterie; and
Lord Melbourne, who was accused of wishing to rule on the
strength of court favour, resumed office with diminished prestige.
The Tories thus felt aggrieved; and the Chartists were so prompt
to make political capital out of the affair that large numbers
were added to their ranks. On the i4th of June Mr Attwood,
M.P. for Birmingham, presented to the House of Commons a
Chartist petition alleged to have been signed by 1,280,000 people.
It was a cylinder of parchment of about the diameter of a coach-
wheel, and was literally rolled up on the floor of the house. On
the day after this curious document had furnished both amuse-
ment and uneasiness to the Commons, a woman, describing
herself as Sophia Elizabeth Guelph Sims, made application at
the Mansion House for advice and assistance to prove herself
the lawful child of George IV. and Mrs Fitzherbert; and this
incident, trumpery as it was, added fuel to the disloyal flame
then raging. Going in state to Ascot the queen was hissed by
some ladies as her carriage drove on to the course, and two
peeresses, one of them a Tory duchess, were openly accused of
this unseemly act. Meanwhile some monster Chartist demon-
strations were being organized, and they commenced on the 4th
of July with riots at Birmingham. It was an untoward coinci-
dence that Lady Flora Hastings died on the 5th of July, for though
she repeated on her deathbed, and wished it to be published, that
the queen had taken no part whatever in the proceedings which
had shortened her life, it was remarked that the ladies who were
believed to have persecuted her still retained the sovereign’s
favour. The riots at Birmingham lasted ten days, and had to
be put down by armed force. They were followed by others at
Newcastle, Manchester, Bolton, Chester and Macclesfield.

These troublous events had the effect of hastening the queen’s
marriage. Lord Melbourne ascertained that the queen’s dis-
The positions towards her cousin, Prince Albert, were un-
seen’s changed, and he advised King Leopold, through M.
marriage, yan d er Weyer, the Belgian minister, that the prince
should come to England and press his suit. The prince
arrived with his brother on a visit to Windsor on the loth of
October 1839. On the I2th the queen wrote to King Leopold:
” Albert’s beauty is most striking, and he is so amiable and
unaffected in short, very fascinating.” On the isth all was
settled; and the queen wrote to her uncle, ” I love him more
than I can say.” The queen’s public announcement of her
betrothal was enthusiastically received. But the royal lovers
still had some parliamentary mortifications to undergo. The
government proposed that Prince Albert should receive an
annuity of 50,000, but an amendment of Colonel Sibthorp
a politician of no great repute for making the annuity 30,000
was carried against ministers by 262 votes to 158, the Tories and
Radicals going into the same lobby, and many ministerialists
taking no part in the division. Prince Albert had not been
described, in the queen’s declaration to the privy council, as a
Protestant prince; and Lord Palmerston was obliged to ask
Baron Stockmar for assurance that Prince Albert did not belong
to any sect of Protestants whose rules might prevent him from
taking the Sacrament according to the ritual of the English
Church. He got an answer couched in somewhat ironical terms
to the effect that Protestantism owed its existence in a measure to
the house of Saxony, from which the prince descended, seeing that
this house and that of the landgrave of Hesse had stood quite
alone against Europe in upholding Luther and his cause. Even
after this certain High Churchmen held that a Lutheran was a
” dissenter,” and that the prince should be asked to subscribe
to the Thirty-Nine Articles.

The queen was particularly concerned by the question of
the prince’s future status as an Englishman. It was impractic-
able for him to receive the title of king consort; but the queen
naturally desired that her husband should be placed by act of
parliament in a position which would secure to him precedence,
not only in England, but in foreign courts. Lord Melbourne
sought to effect this by a clause introduced in a naturalization
bill; but he found himself obliged to drop the clause, and to
leave the queen to confer what precedence she pleased by
letters-patent. This was a lame way out of the difficulty, for
the queen could only confer precedence within her own realms,
whereas an act of parliament bestowing the title of prince
consort would have made the prince’s right to rank above all
royal imperial highnesses quite clear, and would have left no
room for such disputes as afterwards occurred when foreign
princes chose to treat Prince Albert as having mere courtesy
rank in his wife’s kingdom. The result of these political diffi-
culties was to make the queen more than ever disgusted with
the Tories. But there was no other flaw in the happiness of
the marriage, which was solemnized on the loth of February
1840 in the Chapel Royal, St James’s. It is interesting to note
that the queen was dressed entirely in articles of British manu-
facture. Her dress was of Spitalfields silk; her veil of Hcniton
lace; her ribbons came from Coventry; even her gloves had
been made in London of English kid a novel thing in days
when the French had a monopoly in the finer kinds of gloves.

From the time of the queen’s marriage the crown played an
increasingly active part in the affairs of state. Previously,
ministers had tried to spare the queen all disagree-
able and fatiguing details. Lord Melbourne saw her
every day, whether she was in London or at Windsor,
and he used to explain all current business in a benevolent,
chatty manner, which offered a pleasant contrast to the style
of his two principal colleagues, Lord John Russell and Lord
Palmerston. A statesman of firmer mould than Lord Melbourne
would hardly have succeeded so well as he did in making rough
places smooth for Prince Albert. Lord John Russell and Lord
Palmerston were naturally jealous of the prince’s interference
and of King Leopold’s and Baron Stockmar’s in state
affairs; but Lord Melbourne took the common-sense view that
a husband will control his wife whether people wish it cr not.
Ably advised by his private secretary, George Anson, and by
Stockmar, the prince thus soon took the de facto place of the
sovereign’s private secretary, though he had no official status
as such; and his system of classifying and annotating the
queen’s papers and letters resulted in the preservation of what
the editors of the Letters of Queen Victoria (1907) describe as
” probably the most extraordinary collection of state documents
in the world ” those up to 1861 being contained in between
500 and 600 bound volumes at Windsor. To confer on Prince
Albert every honour that the crown could bestow, and to let him
make bis way gradually into public favour by his own tact,
was the advice which Lord Melbourne gave; and the prince
acted upon it so well, avoiding every appearance of intrusion,
and treating men of all parties and degrees with urbanity, that
within five months of his marriage he obtained a signal mark
of the public confidence. In expectation of the queen becoming
a mother, a bill was passed through parliament providing for
the appointment of Prince Albert as sole regent in case the
queen, after giving birth to a child, died before her son or
daughter came of age.

The Regency Bill had been hurried on in consequence of the
attempt of a crazy pot-boy, Edward Oxford, to take the queen’s
. life. On loth June 1840, the queen and Prince Albert
were driving up Constitution Hill in an open carriage,
queea’s when Oxford fired two pistols, the bullets from which
Ufe – flew, it is said, close by the prince’s head. He was
arrested on the spot, and when his lodgings were searched a
quantity of powder and shot was found, with the rules
of a secret society, called ” Young England,” whose members
were pledged to meet, ” carrying swords and pistols and wearing
crape masks.” These discoveries raised the surmise that
Oxford was the tool of a widespread Chartist conspiracy
or, as the Irish pretended, of a conspiracy of Orangemen to
set the duke of Cumberland on the throne; and while these
delusions were fresh, they threw well-disposed persons into a
paroxysm of loyalty. Even the London street dogs, as Sydney
Smith said, joined with O’Connell in barking ” God save the
Queen.” Oxford seems to have been craving for notoriety;
but it may be doubted whether the jury who tried him did
right to pronounce his acquittal on the ground of insanity.
He feigned madness at his trial, but during the forty years of
his subsequent confinement at Bedlam he talked and acted
like a rational being, and when he was at length released and
sent to Australia he earned his living there as a house painter,
and used to declare that he had never been mad at all. His
acquittal was to be deprecated as establishing a dangerous
precedent in regard to outrages on the sovereign. It was always
Prince Albert’s opinion that if Oxford had been flogged the
attempt of Francis on the queen in 1842 and of Bean in
the same year would never have been perpetrated. After
the attempt of Bean who was a hunchback, really insane
parliament passed a bill empowering judges to order whipping
as a punishment for those who molested the queen; but some-
how this salutary act was never enforced. In 1850 a half -pay
officer, named Pate, assaulted the queen by striking her with
a stick, and crushing her bonnet. He was sentenced to seven
years’ transportation; but the judge. Baron Alderson, excused
him the flogging. In 1869 an Irish lad, O’Connor, was sentenced
to eighteen months’ imprisonment and a whipping for presenting
a pistol at the queen, with a petition, in St James’s Park; but
this time it was the queen herself who privately remitted the
corporal punishment, and she even pushed clemency to the
length of sending her aggressor to Australia at her own expense.
The series of attempts on the queen was closed in 1882 by
Maclean, who fired a pistol at her majesty as she was leaving
the Great Western Railway station at Windsor. He, like Bean,
‘was a genuine madman, and was relegated to Broadmoor.

The birth of the princess royal, on the 2ist of November
1840, removing the unpopular King Ernest of Hanover from
Birth tne Posit* 011 f heir-presumptive to the British crown,
of the was a subject of loud congratulations to the people.
princess A curious scare was occasioned at Buckingham Palace,
nva7 – when the little princess was a fortnight old, by the
discovery of a boy named Joles concealed under a bed in the
royal nursery. Jones had a mania for palace-breaking. Three
times he effected a clandestine entry into the queen’s residence,
and twice he managed to spend several days there. By day he
concealed himself in cupboards or under furniture, and by night
he groped his way into the royal kitchen to eat whatever he could
find. After his third capture, in March 1841, he coolly boasted
that he had lain under a sofa, and listened to a private con-
versation between the queen and Prince Albert. This third
time he was not punished, but sent to sea, and turned out
very well. The incident strengthened Prince Albert’s hands in
trying to carry out sundry domestic reforms which were being
stoutly resisted by vested interests. The royal residences and
grounds used to be under the control of four different officials
the lord chamberlain, the lord steward, the master of the horse
and the commissioners of woods and forests. Baron Stockmar
describing the confusion fostered by this state of things, said

‘ The lord steward finds the fuel and lays the fire; the lord
chamberlain lights it. The lord chamberlain provides the lamps;
:he lord steward must clean, trim and light them. The inside
cleaning of windows belongs to the lord chamberlain’s depart-
ment, but the outer parts must be attended to by the office of
woods and forests, so that windows remain dirty unless the two
departments can come to an understanding.”
It took Prince Albert four years of firmness and diplomacy
sefore in 1845 he was able to bring the queen’s home under
the efficient control of a master of the household.

At the general election of 1841 the Whigs returned in a
minority of seventy-six, and Lord Melbourne was defeated on
the Address and resigned. The queen was affected sir Robert
to tears at parting with him; but the crisis had been Peer*
tully expected and prepared for by confidential com- mlal * tr y-
munications between Mr Anson and Sir Robert Peel, who
now became prime minister (see Letters of Queen Victoria,
I. 341 et seq.). The old difficulty as to the appointments to
the royal household was tactfully removed, and Tory appoint-
ments were made, which were agreeable both to the queen
and to Peel. The only temporary embarrassment was the
queen’s continued private correspondence with Lord Melbourne,
which led Stockmar to remonstrate with him; but Melbourne
used his influence sensibly; moreover, he gradually dropped
out of politics, and the queen got used to his not being indis-
pensable. On Prince Albert’s position the change had a
marked effect, for in the absence of Melbourne the queen relied
more particularly on his advice, and Peel himself at once dis-
covered and recognized the prince’s unusual charm and capacity.
One of the Tory premier’s first acts was to propose that a royal
commission should be appointed to consider the best means for
promoting art and science in the kingdom, and he nominated
Prince Albert as president. The International Exhibition
of 1851, the creation of the Museum and Science and Art
Department at South Kensington, the founding of art schools
and picture galleries all over the country, the spread of musical
taste and the fostering of technical education may be attri-
buted, more or less directly, to the commission of distinguished
men which began its labours under Prince Albert’s auspices.

The queen’s second child, the prince of Wales (see
EDWARD VII.), was born on the gth of November 1841; and
this event ” filled the measure of the queen’s domestic Birth of
happiness,” as she said in her speech from the throne the prince
at the opening of the session of 1842. It is unnecessary 0/ ‘*’*”
from this point onwards to go seriatim through the domestic
history of the reign, which is given in the article ENGLISH
HISTORY. At this time there was much political unrest at
home, and serious difficulties abroad. As regards internal
politics, it may be remarked that the queen and Prince Albert
were much relieved when Peel, who had come in as the leader
of the Protectionist party, adopted Free Trade and re-
pealed the Corn Laws, for it closed a dangerous agitation which
gave them much anxiety. When the country was in distress,
the queen felt a womanly repugnance for festivities; and yet
it was undesirable that the court should incur the The court
reproach of living meanly to save money. There *atthe
was a conversation between the queen and Sir Robert coun try.
Peel on this subject in the early days of the Tory adminis-
tration, and the queen talked of reducing her establishment
in order that she might give away larger sums in charities.
” I am afraid the people would only say that your majesty
-was returning them change for their pounds in halfpence,”
answered Peel. ” Your majesty is not perhaps aware that the
most unpopular person in the parish is the relieving officer, and
if the queen were to constitute herself a relieving officer for all
the parishes in the kingdom she would find her money go a very
little way, and she would provoke more grumbling than thanks.”
Peel added that a sovereign must do all things in order, not
seeking praise for doing one particular thing well, but striving
to be an example in all respects, even in dinner-giving.

Meanwhile the year 1842 was ushered in by splendid ffites in
honour of the king of Prussia, who held the prince of Wales at
the font. In the spring there was a fancy-dress ball at Bucking-
ham Palace, which remained memorable owing to the offence



tint rail-


which it gave in France. Prince Albert was costumed as
Edward III., the queen as Queen Philippa, and all the gentle-
men of the court as knights of Poitiers. The French chose to
view this as an unfriendly demonstration, and there was some
talk of getting up a counter-ball in Paris, the duke of Orleans
to figure as William the Conqueror. In June the queen took
her first railway journey, travelling from Windsor to Paddington
on the Great Western line. The master of the horse,
whose business it was to provide for the queen’s
ordinary journeys by road, was much put out by this
innovation. He marched into the station several
hours before the start to inspect the engine, as he would
have examined a steed; but greater merriment was occasioned by
the queen’s coachman, who insisted that, as a matter of form,
he ought to make-believe to drive the engine. After some
dispute, he was told that he might climb on to the pilot engine
which was to precede the royal train; but his scarlet livery,
white gloves and wig suffered so much from soot and sparks
that he made no more fuss about his rights in after trips. The
motion of the train was found to be so pleasant that the queen
readily trusted herself to the railway for a longer journey a
few weeks later, when she paid her first visit to Scotland.
A report by Sir James Clark led to the queen’s visiting
Balmoral in 1848, and to the purchase of the Balmoral estate in
1852, and the queen’s diary of hej journeys in Scotland shows
what constant enjoyment she derived from her Highland home.
Seven years before this the estate of Osborne had been pur-
chased in the Isle of Wight, in order that the queen might have
a home of her own. Windsor she considered too stately, and
the Pavilion at Brighton too uncomfortable. The first stone
of Osborne House was laid in 1845, and the royal family entered
into possession in September 1846.

In August 1843 the queen and Prince Albert paid a visit to
King Louis Philippe at the chateau d’Eu. They sailed from
Relations Southampton for Treport in a yacht, and, as it hap-
pened to be raining hard when they embarked, the
loyal members of the Southampton Corporation remem-
bered Raleigh, and spread their robes on the ground
for the queen to walk over. In 1844 Louis Philippe
returned the visit by coming to Windsor. It was the first
visit ever paid by a king of France to a sovereign of England,
and Louis Philippe was much pleased at receiving the Order
of the Garter. He said that he did not feel that he belonged
to the ” Club ” of European sovereigns until he received this
decoration. As the father of King Leopold of Belgium’s con-
sort, the queen was much interested in his visit, which went
off with great success and goodwill. The tsar Nicholas had
visited Windsor earlier that year, in which also Prince Alfred,
who was to marry the tsar’s grand-daughter, was born.

In 1846 the affair of the ” Spanish marriages ” seriously
troubled the relations between the United Kingdom and
France. Louis Philippe and Guizot had planned the marriage
of the duke of Montpensier with the infanta Louisa of Spain,
younger sister of Queen Isabella, who, it was thought at the
time, was not likely ever to have children. The intrigue was
therefore one for placing a son of the French king on the
Spanish throne. (See SPAIN, History.) As to Queen Victoria’s
intervention on this question and on others, these words,
written by W. E. Gladstone in 1875, may be quoted:

” Although the admirable arrangements of the Constitution have
now shielded the sovereign from personal responsibility, they have
left ample scope for the exercise of direct and personal influence
in the whole work of government. . . . The sovereign as compared
with her ministers has, because she is the sovereign, the advantage
of long experience, wide survey, elevated position and entire dis-
connexion from the bias of party. Further, personal and domestic
relations with the ruling families abroad give openings in delicate
cases for saying more, and saying it at once more gently and more
efficaciously, than could be ventured in the formal correspondence
and rude contacts of government. We know with how much
truth, fulness and decision, and with how much tact and delicacy,
the queen, aided by Prince Albert, took a principal part on behalf
of the nation in the painful question of the Spanish marriages.”

‘ The year 1848, which shook so many continental thrones,


left that of the United Kingdom unhurt. Revolutions broke
out in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Naples, Venice,
Munich, Dresden and Budapest. The queen and Prince
Albert were affected in many private ways by the events abroad.
Panic-stricken princes wrote to them for political assistance
or pecuniary aid. Louis Philippe abdicated and fled to Eng-
land almost destitute, being smuggled over the Channel by
the cleverness of the British consul at Havre, and the queen
employed Sir Robert Peel as her intermediary for providing him
with money to meet his immediate wants. Subsequently Clare-
mont was assigned to the exiled royal family of France as a
residence. During a few weeks of 1848 Prince William of Prussia
(afterwards German emperor) found an asylum in England.

In August 1849 the queen and Prince Albert, accompanied
by the little princess royal and the prince of Wales, paid a visit
to Ireland, landing at the Cove of Cork, which from
that day was renamed Queenstown. The recep-
tion was enthusiastic, and so was that at Dublin.
” Such a day of jubilee,” wrote The Times, ” such a night
of rejoicing, has never been beheld in the ancient capital of
Ireland since first it arose on the banks of the Liffey.” The
queen was greatly pleased and touched. The project of estab-
lishing a royal residence in Ireland was often mooted at this
time, but the queen’s advisers never urged it with sufficient
warmth. There was no repugnance to the idea on the queen’s
part, but Sir Robert Peel thought unfavourably of it as an
” empirical ” plan, and the question of expense was always
mooted as a serious consideration. There is no doubt that the
absence of a royal residence in Ireland was felt as a slur upon
the Irish people in certain circles.

During these years the queen’s family was rapidly becoming
larger. Princess Alice (afterwards grand duchess of Hesse)
was born on the 25th of April 1843; Prince Alfred (afterwards
duke of Edinburgh and duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) on the
6th of August 1844; Princess Helena (Princess Christian)
on the 25th of May 1846; Princess Louise (duchess of Argyll)
on the i8th of March 1848; and Prince Arthur (duke of Con-
naught) on the ist of May 1850.

At the end of 1851 an important event took place, which ended
a long-standing grievance on the part of the queen, in Lord
Palmerston’s dismissal from the office of foreign secre- The
tary on account of his expressing approval of Louis queen and
Napoleon’s coup d’etat in Paris. The circumstances LonlPai-
are of extreme interest for the light they throw on *
the queen’s estimate of her constitutional position and authority.
Lord Palmerston had never been persona grata at court. His
Anglo-Irish nature was not sympathetic with the somewhat
formal character and German training of Prince Albert; and
his views of ministerial independence were not at all in accord
with those of the queen and her husband. The queen had
more than once to remind her foreign secretary that his des-
patches must be seen by her before they were sent out, and
though Palmerston assented, the queen’s complaint had to be
continually repeated. She also protested to the prime minister
(Lord John Russell) in 1848, 1849 and 1850, against various
instances in which Palmerston had expressed his own personal
opinions in matters of foreign affairs, without his despatches
being properly approved either by herself or by the cabinet.
Lord John Russell, who did not want to offend his popular
and headstrong colleague, did his best to smooth things over;
but the queen remained exceedingly sore, and tried hard to get
Palmerston removed, without success. On the I2th of August
1850 the queen wrote to Lord John Russell the following
important memorandum, which followed in its terms a private
memorandum drawn up for her by Stockmar a few months
earlier (Letters, ii. 282):

” With reference to the conversation about Lord Palmerston
which the queen had with Lord John Russell the other day, and
Lord Palmerston’s disavowal that he ever intended any disrespect
to her by the various neglects of which she has had so long and so
often to complain, she thinks it right, in order to avoid any mis-
takes for the future, to explain what it is she expects from the
foreign secretary.



” She requires

” I. That he will distinctly state what he proposes in a given
case, in order that the queen may know as distinctly to what she
has given her royal sanction.

” 2. Having given her sanction to a measure, that it be not
arbitrarily altered or modified by the minister. Such an act she
must regard as failing in sincerity to the crown, and justly to be
visited by the exercise of her constitutional right of dismissing
that minister. She expects to be kept informed of what passes
between him and the foreign ministers, before important decisions
are taken, based upon that intercourse; to receive the foreign
despatches in good time, and to have the drafts for her approval
sent her in sufficient time to make herself acquainted with their
contents before they must be sent off. The queen thinks it best
that Lord John Russell should show this letter to Lord Palmerston.”

Lord Palmerston took a copy of this letter, and promised to
attend to its direction. But the queen thoroughly distrusted
him, and in October 1851 his proposed reception of Kossuth
nearly led to a crisis. Then finally she discovered (December 13)
at the time of the coup d’ Mai, that he had, of his own initiative,
given assurances of approval to Count Walewski, which were
not in accord with the views of the cabinet and with the
” neutrality which had been enjoined ” by the queen. This was too
much even for Lord Jphn Russell, and after a short and decisive
correspondence Lord Palmerston resigned the seals of office.

The death of the duke of Wellington in 1852 deeply affected
the queen. The duke had acquired a position above parties,
Death of and was the trusted adviser of all statesmen and of the
the duke court in emergencies. The queen sadly needed such
”””. a counsellor, for Prince Albert’s position was one full
Prfoe of difficulty, and party malignity was continually
Albert’s putting wrong constructions upon the advice which he
position, gave, and imputing to him advice which he did not
give. During the Corn Law agitation offence was taken at
his having attended a debate in the House of Commons, the
Tories declaring that he had gone down to overawe the
house in favour of Peel’s measures. After Palmerston’s en-
forced resignation, there was a new and more absurd hubbub.
A climax was reached when the difficulties with Russia arose
which led to the Crimean War; the prince was accused by the
peace party of wanting war, and by the war party of plotting
surrender; and it came to be publicly rumoured that the queen’s
husband had been found conspiring against the state, and had
been committed to the Tower. Some said that the queen had
been arrested too, and the prince wrote to Stockman ” Thou-
sands of people surrounded the Tower to see the queen and me
brought to it.” This gave infinite pain to the queen, and at
length she wrote to Lord Aberdeen on the subject. Eventually,
on 3ist January 1854, Lord John Russell took occasion to deny
most emphatically that Prince Albert interfered unduly with
foreign affairs, and in both houses the statesmen of the two
parties delivered feeling panegyrics of the prince, asserting at
the same time his entire constitutional right to give private
advice to the sovereign on matters of state. From this time
it may be said that Prince Albert’s position was established on
a secure footing. He had declined (1850) to accept the post
of commander-in-chief at the duke of Wellington’s suggestion,
and he always refused to let himself be placed in any situation
which would have modified ever so slightly his proper relations
with the queen. The queen was very anxious that he should
receive the title of ” King Consort,” and that the crown should
be jointly borne as it was by William III. and Mary; but he
himself never spoke a word for this arrangement. It was only to
please the queen that he consented to take the title of Prince Con-
sort (by letters patent of June 25, 1857), and he only did this when
it was manifest that statesmen of all parties approved the change.

For the queen and royal family the Crimean War time was
a very busy and exciting one. Her majesty personally super-
The intended the committees of ladies who organized

Crimean relief for the wounded; she helped Florence Nightin-
**'”‘ gale in raising bands of trained nurses; she visited
the crippled soldiers in*”the hospitals, and it was through
her resolute complaints of the utter insufficiency of the
hospital accommodation that Netley 1 Hospital was built. The
xxvm. 2

distribution of medals to the soldiers and the institution of
the Victoria Cross (February 1857) as a reward for individual
instances of merit and valour must also be noted among the
incidents which occupied the queen’s time and thoughts. In
1855 the emperor and empress of the French visited the queen
at Windsor Castle, and the same year her majesty and the prince
consort paid a visit to Paris.

The queen’s family life was most happy. At Balmoral and
Windsor the court lived in virtual privacy, and the queen and
the prince consort saw much of their children. Count- The
less entries in the queen’s diaries testify to the anxious queen
affection with which the progress of each little member aj>a btt
of the household was watched. Two more children
had been born to the royal pair, Prince Leopold (duke of Albany)
on the 7th of April 1853, and on the I4th of April 1857 their last
child, the princess Beatrice (Princess Henry of Battenberg),
bringing the royal family up to nine four sons and five
daughters. Less than a year after Princess Beatrice’s birth
the princess royal was married to Prince Frederick William of
Prussia, afterwards the emperor Frederick. The next marriage
after the princess royal’s was that of the princess Alice to
Prince Louis (afterwards grand duke) of Hesse-Darmstadt in
1862. In 1863 the prince of Wales married the princess Alex-
andra of Denmark. In 1866 the princess Helena became the
wife of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. In 1871 the
princess Louise was wedded to the marquis of Lome, eldest son
of the duke of Argyll. In 1874 Prince Alfred, duke of Edin-
burgh, married Princess Marie Alexandrovna, only daughter of
the tsar Alexander II. The duke of Connaught married in
1879 the princess Louise of Prussia, daughter of the soldier-
prince Frederick Charles. In 1882 Prince Leopold, duke of
Albany, wedded the princess Helen of Waldeck-Pyrmont.
Finally came the marriage of Princess Beatrice in 1885 with
Prince Henry of Battenberg.

On the occasion of the coming of age of the queen’s sons and
the marriages of her daughters parliament made provision.
The prince of Wales, in addition to the revenues of the duchy
of Cornwall, had 40,000 a year, the princess 10,000, and an
addition of 36,000 a year for their children was granted by
parliament in 1889. The princess royal received a dowry of
40,000 and 8000 a year for life, the younger daughters 30,000
and 6000 a year each. The dukes of Edinburgh, Connaught
and Albany were each voted an income of 15,000, and 10,000
on marrying.

The dispute with the United States concerning the ” Trent ”
affair of 1861 will always be memorable for the part played in
its settlement by the queen and the prince consort. The
In 1861 the accession of Abraham Lincoln to the presi- xmertcaa
dency of the United States of America caused the clvU Wtr ‘
Southern States of the Union to revolt, and the war began.
During November trie British West India steamer “Trent ” was
boarded by a vessel of the Federal Navy, the ” San Jacinto,” and
Messrs Slidell and Mason, commissioners for the Confederate
States, who were on their way to England, were seized. The
British government were on the point of demanding reparation
for this act in a peremptory manner which could hardly have
meant anything but war, but Prince Albert insisted on revising
Lord Russell’s despatch in a way which gave the American
government an opportunity to concede the surrender of the
prisoners without humiliation. The memorandum from the
queen on this point was the prince consort’s last political draft.

The year 1861 was the saddest in the queen’s life. On i6th
March, her mother, the duchess of Kent, died, and on i4th
December, while the dispute with America about the Death of
” Trent ” affair was yet unsettled, the prince consort theprtoce
breathed his last at Windsor. His death left a void 00 rt –
in the queen’s life which nothing could ever fill. She built at
Frogmore a magnificent mausoleum where she might be buried
with him.

Never again during her reign did the queen live in London,
and Buckingham Palace was only used for occasional viiits of a
few days.



At the time of the prince consort’s death the prince of Wales
was in his twenty-first year. He had spent several terms at
Marriage e ^ cn f tne two universities of Oxford and Cambridge,
of the and he had already travelled much, having visited
prince of most of Europe, Egypt and the United States.
Wales, u^ marriage was solemnized at Windsor on the loth of
March 1863. The queen witnessed the wedding from the private
pew or box of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, but she wore the deep
mourning which she was never wholly to put off to the end of
her life, and she took no part in the festivities of the wedding.

In foreign imperial affairs, and in the adjustment of serious
parliamentary difficulties, the queen’s dynastic influence abroad
and her position as above party at home, together with the
respect due to her character, good sense and experience, still
remained a powerful element in the British polity, as was shown
Austro- on more than one occasion. In 1866 the Austro-
Prussian Prussian War broke out , and many short-sighted people
War. were tempted to side with France when, in 1867,
Napoleon III. sought to obtain a ” moral compensation ” by
laying a claim to the duchy of Luxemburg. A conference met
in London, and the difficulty was settled by neutralizing the
duchy and ordering the evacuation of the Prussian troops
who kept garrison there. But this solution, which averted an
imminent war, was only arrived at through Queen Victoria’s
personal intercession. In the words of a French writer

” The queen wrote both to the king of Prussia and to the
emperor Napoleon. Her letter to the emperor, pervaded with
the religious and almost mystic sentiments which predominate in
the queen’s mind, particularly since the death of Prince Albert,
seems to have made a deep impression on the sovereign who,
amid the struggles of politics, had never completely repudiated the
philanthropic theories of his youth, and who, on the battlefield of
Solferino, covered with the dead and wounded, was seized with an
unspeakable horror of war.”

Moreover, Disraeli’s two premierships (1868, 1874-80) did
a good deal to give new encouragement to a right idea of the
Disraeli constitutional function of the crown. Disraeli thought
and that the queen ought to be a power in the state. His

notion of duty at once a loyal and chivalrous one
was that he was obliged to give the queen the best
of his advice, but that the final decision in any course lay
with her, and that once she had decided, he was bound, what-
ever might be his own opinion, to stand up for her decision in
public. The queen, not unnaturally, came to trust Disraeli
implicitly, and she frequently showed her friendship for him.
At his death she paid an exceptional tribute to his ” dear
and honoured memory ” from his ” grateful and affectionate
sovereign and friend.” To something like this position Lord
Salisbury after 1886 succeeded. A somewhat different con-
ception of the sovereign’s functions was that of Disraeli’s
great rival, Gladstone, who, though his respect for the person
and office of the sovereign was unbounded, not only expected
all people, the queen included, to agree with him when he
changed his mind, but to become suddenly enthusiastic about
his new ideas. The queen consequently never felt safe with him.
Nor did she like his manner he spoke to her (she is believed to
have said) as if she were a public meeting. The queen was
opposed to the Disestablishment of the Irish Church (1869)
the question which brought Gladstone to be premier and
though she yielded with good grace, Gladstone was fretful
and astonished because she would not pretend to give a
hearty assent to the measure. Through her secretary, General
Grey, the queen pointed out that she had not concealed from
Gladstone ” how deeply she deplored ” his having felt himself
under the necessity of raising the question, and how appre-
hensive she was of the possible consequences of the measure;
but, when a general election had pronounced on the principle,
when the bill had been carried through the House of Commons
by unvarying majorities, she did not see what good could be
gained by rejecting it in the Lords. Later, when through the
skilful diplomacy of the primate the Lords had passed the second
reading by a small but sufficient majority (179 to 146), and after
amendments had been adopted, the queen herself wrote

” The queen … is very sensible of the prudence and, at the
same time, the anxiety for the welfare of the Irish Establishment
which the archbishop has manifested during the course of the
debates, and she will be very glad if the amendments which have
been adopted at his suggestion lead to a settlement of the ques-
tion; but to effect this, concessions, the queen believes, will have
to be made on both sides. The queen must say that she cannot
view without alarm possible consequences of another year of agita-
tion on the Irish Church, and she would ask the archbishop seriously
to consider, in case the concessions to which the government may
agree should not go so far as he may himself wish, whether the
postponement of the settlement for another year may not be likely
to result in worse rather than in better terms for the Church. The
queen trusts, therefore, that the archbishop will himself consider,
and, as far as he can, endeavour to induce the others to consider,
any concessions that may be offered by the House of Commons in
the most conciliatory spirit.”

The correspondence of which this letter forms a part is one of
the few published witnesses to the queen’s careful and active
interest in home politics during the latter half of her reign;
but it is enough to prove how wise, how moderate and how
steeped in the spirit of the Constitution she was. Another
instance is that of the County Franchise and Redistribution
Bills of 1884-85. There, again, a conflict between the two
houses was imminent, and the queen’s wish for a settlement had
considerable weight in bringing about the curious but effective
conference of the two parties, of which the first suggestion, it
is believed, was due to Lord Randolph Churchill.

In 1876 a bill was introduced into parliament for conferring on
the queen the title of ” Empress of India.” It met with much
opposition, and Disraeli was accused of ministering
simply to a whim of the sovereign, whereas, in fact,
the title was intended to impress the idea of British
suzerainty forcibly upon the minds of the native princes, and
upon the population of Hindustan. The prince of Wales’s voyage
to India in the winter of 1875-76 had brought the heir to the
throne into personal relationship with the great Indian vassals
of the British crown, and it was felt that a further demonstra-
tion of the queen’s interest in her magnificent dependency
would confirm their loyalty.

The queen’s private life during the decade 1870-80 was one of
quiet, broken only by one great sorrow when the Princess Alice
died in 1878. In 1867 her majesty had started in author-
ship by publishing The Early Days of the Prince fife”
Consort, compiled by General Grey; in 1869 she gave
to the world her interesting and simply written diary entitled
Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands, and in
1874 appeared the first volume of The Life and Letters of the
Prince Consort (2nd vol. in 1880), edited by Sir Theodore Martin.
A second instalment of the Highland journal appeared in
1885. These literary occupations solaced the hours of a life
which was mostly spent in privacy. A few trips to the Continent,
in which the queen was always accompanied by her youngest
daughter, the Princess Beatrice, brought a little variety into
the home-life, and aided much in keeping up the good health
which the queen enjoyed almost uninterruptedly. So far as
public ceremonies were concerned, the prince and princess of
Wales were now coming forward more and more to represent
the royal family. People noticed meanwhile that the queen
had taken a great affection for her Scottish man-servant, John
Brown, who had been in her service since 1849; she made him
her constant personal attendant, and looked on him more as
a friend than as servant. When he died in 1883 the queen’s
grief was intense.

From 1880 onwards Ireland almost monopolized the field
of domestic politics. The queen was privately opposed to
Gladstone’s Home Rule policy; but she observed in public
a constitutional reticence on the subject. In the year, however,
of the Crimes Act 1887, an event took place which was of more
intimate personal concern to the queen, and of more attractive
import to the country and the empire at large. June
2oth was the fiftieth anniversary of her accession to biiee.
the throne, and on the following day, for the second
time in English history, a great Jubilee celebration was held
to commemorate so happy an event. The country threw



itself into the celebration with unchecked enthusiasm; large
sums of, money were everywhere subscribed; in every city,
town and village something was done both in the way of
rejoicing and in the way of establishing some permanent
memorial of the event. In London the day itself was kept by
a solemn service in Westminster Abbey, to which the queen
went in state, surrounded by the most brilliant, royal, and
princely escort that had ever accompanied a British sovereign,
and cheered on her way by the applause of hundreds of thousands
of her subjects. The queen had already paid a memorable visit
to the East End, when she opened the People’s Palace on the
I4th of May. On the 2nd of July she reviewed at Buckingham
Palace some 28,000 volunteers of London and the home counties.
On the 4th of July she laid the foundation stone of the Imperial
Institute, the building at Kensington to which, at the instance
of the prince of Wales, it had been determined to devote the
large sum of money collected as a Jubilee offering, and which
was opened by the queen in 1893. On the pth of July the
queen reviewed 60,000 men at Aldershot; and, last and chief
of all, on the 23rd of July, one of the most brilliant days of
a brilliant summer, she reviewed the fleet at Spithead.

The year 1888 witnessed two events which greatly affected
European history, and in a minor, though still marked, degree
The queen the life of the English court. On the gth of March
and the emperor William I. died at Berlin. He was

Bismarck. succee d e d by his son, the emperor Frederick III.,
regarded with special affection in England as the husband
of the princess royal. But at the time he was suffering
from a malignant disease of the throat, and he died on the
1 5th of June, being succeeded by his eldest son, the emperor
William II., the grandson of the queen. Meanwhile Queen
Victoria spent some weeks at Florence at the Villa Palmieri,
and returned home by Darmstadt and Berlin. In spite of the
illness of the emperor Frederick a certain number of court
festivities were held in her honour, and she had long con-
versations with Prince Bismarck, who was deeply impressed
by her majesty’s personality. Just before, the prince, who
was still chancellor, had taken a very strong line with regard to
a royal marriage in which the queen was keenly interested
the proposal that Prince Alexander of Battenberg, lately ruler
of Bulgaria, and brother of the queen’s son-in-law, Prince Henry,
should marry Princess Victoria, the eldest daughter of the
emperor Frederick. Prince Bismarck, who had been anti-
Battenberg from the beginning, vehemently opposed this mar-
riage, on the ground that for reasons of state policy it would
never do for a daughter of the German emperor to marry
a prince who was personally disliked by the tsar. This affair
causod no little agitation in royal circles, but in the end state
reasons were allowed to prevail and the^chancellor had his

The queen had borne so well the fatigue of the Jubilee that
during the succeeding years she was encouraged to make some-
what more frequent appearances among her subjects.
In May 1888 she attended a performance of Sir Arthur
Sullivan’s Golden Legend at the Albert Hall, and in August she
visited Glasgow to open the magnificent new municipal buildings,
remaining for a couple of nights at Blythswood, the seat of
Sir Archibald Campbell. Early in 1889 she received at Windsor
a special embassy, which was the beginning of a memorable
chapter of English history: two Matabele chiefs were sent
by King Lobengula to present his respects to the ” great White
Queen,” as to whose very existence, it was said, he had up
till that time been sceptical. Soon afterwards her majesty
went to Biarritz, and the occasion was made memorable by a
visit which she paid to the queen-regent of Spain at San Sebas-
tian, the only visit that an English reigning sovereign had ever
paid to the Peninsula.

The relations between the court and the country forme’d
matter in 1889 for a somewhat sharp discussion in parliament
and in the press. A royal message was brought by Mr W. H.
Smith on the 2nd of July, expressing, on the one hand, the
queen’s desire to provide for Prince Albert Victor of Wales, and,

on the other, informing the house of the intended marriage of
the prince of Wales’s daughter, the Princess Louise, to the
earl (afterwards duke) of Fife. On the proposal of
Mr Smith, seconded by Gladstone, a select committee meatar y
was appointed to consider these messages and to grant to
report to the house as to the existing practice and as the prince
to the principles to be adopted for the future. The ‘

evidence laid before the committee explained to the
country for the first time the actual state of the royal income,
and on the proposal of Gladstone, amending the proposal of
the government, it was proposed to grant a fixed, addition of
36,000 per annum to the prince of Wales, out of which he
should be expected to provide for his children without further
application to the country. Effect was given to this proposal
in a bill called ” The Prince of Wales’s Children’s Bill,” which
was carried in spite of the persistent opposition of a small group
of Radicals.

In the spring of 1890 the queen visited Aix-les-Bains in the
hope that the waters of that health resort might alleviate
the rheumatism from which she was now frequently i/Mn-gi
suffering. She returned as usual by way of Darmstadt,
and shortly after her arrival at Windsor paid a visit to Baron
Ferdinand Rothschild at Waddesdon Manor. In February
she launched the battleship ” Royal Sovereign ” at Portsmouth;
a week later she visited the Horse Show at Islington. Her
annual spring visit to the South was this year paid to the little
town of Grasse.

At the beginning of 1892 a heavy blow fell upon the queen
in the death of the prince of Wales’s eldest son Albert Victor,
duke of Clarence and Avondale. He had never been p^^
of a robust constitution, and after a little more than of the
a week’s illness from pneumonia following influenza, *”* of
he died at Sandringham. The pathos of his death Clmn
was increased by the fact that only a short time before it had
been announced that the prince was about to marry his second
cousin, Princess May, daughter of the duke and duchess of

The death of the young prince threw a gloom over the
country, and caused the royal family to spend the year in
such retirement as was possible. The queen this year paid a
visit to Costebelle, and stayed there for some quiet weeks.
In 1893 the country, on the expiration of the royal mourning,
began to take a more than usual interest in the affairs of the
royal family. On the igth of February the queen
left home for a visit to Florence, and spent it
in the Villa Palmieri. She was able to display remarkable
energy in visiting the sights of the city, and even went as
far afield as San Gimignano; and her visit had a notable
effect in strengthening the bonds of friendship between the
United Kingdom and the Italian people. On 28th April
she arrived home, and a few days later the prince of Wales’s
second son, George, duke of York (see GEORGE V.), who by his
brother’s death had been left in the direct line of succession to
the throne, was betrothed to the Princess May, the marriage
being celebrated on 6th July in the Chapel Royal of St James’s

In 1894 the queen stayed for some weeks at Florence, and
on her return she stopped at Coburg to witness the marriage
between two of her grandchildren, the grand duke
of Hesse and the Princess Victoria Melita of Coburg.
On the next day the emperor William officially announced
the betrothal of the Cesarevitch (afterwards the tsar Nicholas II.)
to the princess Alix of Hesse, a granddaughter whom
the queen had always regarded with special affection. Aftei
a few weeks in London the queen went northwards and stopped
at Manchester, where she opened the Ship Canal. Two days
afterwards she celebrated her seventy-fifth birthday in quiet
at Balmoral. A month later (June 23) took place the birth
of a son to the duke and duchess of York, the child receiving
the thoroughly English name of Edward.

In 1895 the queen lost her faithful and most efficient private
secretary, General Sir Henry Ponsonby, who for many years


had helped her in the management of her most private affairs
and had acted as an intermediary between her and her ministers
Death of w ‘ tn Sm 8 u ‘ ar ability and success. His successor was
Prince Sir Arthur Bigge. The following year, 1896, was
Henry of marked by a loss which touched the queen even more
f* tten ‘ nearly and more personally. At his own urgent
request Prince Henry of Battenberg, the queen’s
son-in-law, was permitted to join the Ashanti expedition, and
early in January the prince was struck down with fever. He
was brought to the coast and put on board her majesty’s ship
” Blonde,” where, on the aoth, he died.

In September 1896 the queen’s reign had reached a point
at which it exceeded in length that of any other English
The sovereign; but by her special request all public

Diamond celebrations of the fact were deferred until the follow-
Jubilee. m g j une> which marked the completion of sixty
years from her accession. As the time drew on it was
obvious that the celebrations of this Diamond Jubilee, as
it was popularly called, would exceed in magnificence those
of the Jubilee of 1887. Mr Chamberlain, the secretary for the
colonies, induced his colleagues to seize the opportunity of
making the jubilee a festival of the British empire. Accordingly,
the prime ministers of all the self-governing colonies, with
their families, were invited to come to London as the guests
of the country to take part in the Jubilee procession; and
drafts of the troops from every British colony and dependency
were brought home for the same purpose. The procession
was, in the strictest sense of the term, unique. Here was a
display, not only of Englishmen, Scotsmen, Irishmen, Welsh-
men, but of Mounted Rifles from Victoria and New South
Wales, from the Cape and from Natal, and from the Dominion
of Canada. Here were Hausas from the Niger and the Gold
Coast, coloured men from the West India regiments, zaptiehs
from Cyprus, Chinamen from Hong Kong, and Dyaks now
civilized into military police from British North Borneo.
Here, most brilliant sight of all, were the Imperial Service troops
sent by the native princes of India; while the detachments
of Sikhs who marched earlier in the procession received their
full meed of admiration and applause. Altogether the queen
was in her carriage for more than four hours, in itself an
extraordinary physical feat for a woman of seventy-eight.
Her own feelings were shown by the simple but significant
message she sent to her people throughout the world: ” From
my heart I thank my beloved people. May God bless them.”
The illuminations in London and the great provincial towns
were magnificent, and all the hills from Ben Nevis to the South
Downs were crowned with bonfires. The queen herself held
a great review at Aldershot; but a much more significant
display was the review by the prince of Wales of the fleet
at Spithead on Saturday, the 26th”of June. No less than 165
vessels of all classes were drawn up in four lines, extending
altogether to a length of 30 m.

The two years that followed the Diamond Jubilee were, as
regards the queen, comparatively uneventful. Her health
remained good, and her visit to Cimiez in the spring of 1898
was as enjoyable and as beneficial as before. In May 1899,
after another visit to the Riviera, the queen performed what
proved to be her last ceremonial function in London: she
proceeded in ” semi-state ” to South Kensington, and laid the
foundation stone of the new buildings completing the Museum
henceforth to be called the Victoria and Albert Museum
which had been planned more than forty years before by the
prince consort.

Griefs and anxieties encompassed the queen during the last
year of her life. But if the South African War proved more
Tae serious than had been anticipated, it did more to

queen’s weld the empire together than years of peaceful
last year, progress might have accomplished. The queen’s
frequent messages of thanks and greeting to her colonies
and to the troops sent by them, and her reception of
the latter at Windsor, gave evidence of the heartfelt joy
with which she saw the sons of the empire giving their lives

for the defence of its integrity; and the satisfaction which
she showed in the Federation of the Australian colonies was
no less keen. The reverses of the first part of the Boer cam-
paign, together with the loss of so many of her officers and
soldiers, caused no small part of that ” great strain ” of which
the Court Circular spoke in the ominous words which first
told the country that she was seriously ill. But the queen
faced the new situation with her usual courage, devotion and
strength of will. She reviewed the departing regiments; she
entertained the wives and children of the Windsor soldiers who
had gone to the war; she showed by frequent messages her
watchful interest in the course of the campaign and in the
efforts which were being made throughout the whole empire;
and her Christmas gift of a box of chocolate to every soldier in
South Africa was a touching proof of her sympathy and interest.
She relinquished her annual holiday on the Riviera, feeling
that at such a time she ought not to leave her country. Entirely
on her own initiative, and moved by admiration for the fine
achievements of ” her brave Irish ” during the war, the queen
announced her intention of paying a long visit to Dublin; and
there, accordingly, she went for the month of April 1900,
staying in the Viceregal Lodge, receiving many of the leaders
of Irish society, inspecting some 50,000 school children from
all parts of Ireland, and taking many a drive amid the charming
scenery of the neighbourhood of Dublin. She went even further
than this attempt to conciliate Irish feeling, and to show her
recognition of the gallantry of the Irish soldiers she issued an
order for them to wear the shamrock on St Patrick’s Day, and
for a new regiment of Irish Guards to be constituted.

In the previous November the queen had had the pleasure
of receiving, on a private visit, her grandson, the German Em-
peror, who came accompanied by the empress and by two of
their sons. This visit cheered the queen, and the successes of
the army which followed the arrival of Lord Roberts in Africa
occasioned great joy to her, as she testified by many published
messages. But independently of the public anxieties of the
war, and of those aroused by the violent and unexpected out-
break of fanaticism in China, the year brought deep private
griefs to the queen. In 1899 her grandson, the hereditary prince
of Coburg, had succumbed to phthisis, and in 1900 his father,
the duke of Coburg, the queen’s second son, previously known
as the duke of Edinburgh, also died (July 30). Then Prince
Christian Victor, the queen’s grandson, fell a victim to enteric
fever at Pretoria; and during the autumn it came to be known
that the empress Frederick, the queen’s eldest daughter, was
very seriously ill. Moreover, just at the end of the year a loss
which greatly shocked and grieved the queen was experienced
in the sudden death, at Windsor Castle, of the Dowager Lady
Churchill, one of her oldest and most intimate friends. These
losses told upon the queen at her advanced age- Throughout
her life she had enjoyed excellent health, and even in the last
few years the only marks of age were rheumatic stiffness of the
joints, which prevented walking, and a diminished power of
eyesight. In the autumn of 1900, however, her health began
definitely to fail, and though arrangements were made Death
for another holiday in the South, it was plain that her
strength was seriously affected. Still she continued
the ordinary routine of her duties and occupations. Before
Christmas she made her usual journey to Osborne, and there
on the 2nd of January she received Lord Roberts on his return
from South Africa and handed to him the insignia of the Garter.
A fortnight later she commanded a second visit from the field-
marshal; she continued to transact business, and until a week
before her death she still took her daily drive. A sudden loss
of power then supervened, and on Friday evening, the i8th of
January, the Court Circular published an authoritative announce-
ment of her illness. On Tuesday, the 22nd of January 1901,
she died.

Queen Victoria was a ruler of a new type. When she ascended
the throne the popular faith in kings and queens was on the
decline. She revived that faith; she consolidated her throne;
she not only captivated the affections of the multitude, but


won the respect of thoughtful men; and all this she achieved
by methods which to her predecessors would have seemed im-
practicable methods which it required no less shrewdness to
discover than force of character and honesty of heart to adopt
steadfastly. Whilst all who approached the queen bore witness
to her candour and reasonableness in relation to her ministers,
all likewise proclaimed how anxiously she considered advice
that was submitted to her before letting herself be persuaded
that she must accept it for the good of her people.

Though richly endowed with saving common sense, the
queen was not specially remarkable for high develcpment of
any specialized intellectual force. Her whole life, public and
private, was an abiding lesson in the paramount importance
of character. John Bright said of her that what specially
struck him was her absolute truthfulness. The extent of
her family connexions, and the correspondence she maintained
with foreign sovereigns, together with the confidence inspired
by her personal character, often enabled her to smooth the
rugged places of international relations; and she gradually
became in later years the link between all parts of a demo-
cratic empire, the citizens of which felt a passionate loyalty for
their venerable queen.

By her long reign and unblemished record her name had
become associated inseparably with British institutions and
imperial solidarity. Her own life was by choice, and as far
as her position would admit, one of almost austere simplicity
and homeliness; and her subjects were proud of a royalty
which involved none of the mischiefs of caprice or ostentation,
but set an example alike of motherly sympathy and of queenly
dignity. She was mourned at her death not by her own country
only, nor even by all English-speaking people, but by the
whole world. The funeral in London on the ist and 2nd of
February, including first the passage of the coffin from the Isle
of Wight to Gosport between lines of warships, and secondly a
military procession from London to Windsor, was a memorable
solemnity: the greatest of English sovereigns, whose name
would in history mark an age, had gone to her rest.

There is a good bibliographical note at the end of Mr Sidney Lee’s
article in the National Dictionary of Biography. See also the Letters
of Queen Victoria (1907), and the obituary published by The Times,
from which some passages have been borrowed above. (H. CH.)