Ceremonies and Festivities

Louis Philippe

THE Queen and Prince Albert returned to Windsor to receive Louis Philippe on the occasion of the first voluntary visit of the King of France to the English Court. The King was delighted with everything, and amidst all that grandeur and festivity enjoyed chatting with the Queen about the experiences of his youth in exile—for instance, when he was a teacher in Switzerland earning twenty pence a day and cleaning his own boots. The King was duly entertained with banquets and festivities, and made a Knight of the Garter. His Minister, Guizot, accompanied him; and in his Memoirs he tells us how one night on retiring to his room he lost his way, and appeared to wander along miles of corridors and stairs. At last, believing he recognised the room door, he turned the handle, but immediately withdrew, on getting a glimpse of a lady sitting at a toilet table, with a maid busy about her mistresses hair. It was not till next day, from some smiling words addressed to him by the Queen, the horrified statesman discovered he had been guilty of an invasion of the royal apartments."

Opening of the New Royal Exchange

In October of this year there were grand doings in London on the occasion of the opening of the New Royal Exchange. The Queen, in white satin and silver tissue and sparkling with jewels, came in her State carriage with the cream-coloured horses through the streets, where her subjects in countless thousands assembled to greet her. At Temple Bar the Corporation of London were waiting in State to receive their liege lady—the Aldermen in scarlet robes, the Common Councilmen inblue cloaks, the Lord Mayor gorgeously arrayed in a robe of crimson velvet, a collar of S.S., and a Spanish hat and feather ! But over his shoes and stockings the cautious Lord Mayor had drawn on a pair of jackboots to keep the mud off his silk-clad calves till the right moment. The signal was given that the Queen was coming, but unfortunately the boots were too tight and wouldn't come off at once as intended. In his nervous efforts the Lord Mayor caught one of his spurs in the fur of an alderman's robe, and this of course produced more confusion. The Lord Mayor was standing with one boot off and with several men tugging at the other one. The Queen's carriage came nearer and nearer, and his lordship's agonies and fever of anxiety increased till at length he cried wildly to the men, with a spice of strong language, to have that other boot pulled on again.

He was only just in time to step forward in his muddy jack-boots and bow to Her Majesty. He offered her the City sword, which she touched in sign of acceptance, and then waved back. As for the poor Lord Mayor he had to wear those horrible boots until the banquet and only just managed to get rid of them before sitting down to table.

The royal procession swept through the City to the Exchange. The first Royal Exchange, built by Sir Thomas Gresham, was opened by Queen Elizabeth and destroyed in the Great Fire of London. The next was burnt down in 1838, and replaced by the present noble edifice. On the occasion we are now referring to the Queen made the tour of the building, received an address, gave the Lord Mayor her hand to kiss and promised to make him a baronet, and then partook, in company with an assemblage of noble and distinguished persons, of a grand banquet in the great room of the underwriters, ninety-eight feet long by forty wide. At two o'clock all assembled in the great central quadrangle, the heralds proclaimed silence, and the Queen, standing on the spot where her statue now stands, declared " It is my royal will and pleasure that this building be hereafter called The Royal Exchange.' " The royal party then went home, but at the Mansion House and the halls of the Livery Companies, festivities were kept up that night to a very late hour.

Christening of Victoria Cecil

At the close of 1844 and beginning of 1845 the Queen was engaged in a royal progress to the houses of some of her nobility. She went to Burghley, the seat of the Marquis of Exeter, and in so doing trod in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth. Queen Victoria attended as godmother the christening of an infant child of the marquis ; the little girl was then named " Victoria Cecil." Early in the new year the Queen and Prince Albert went to Stowe, the grand palace of the Duke of Buckingham. This visit became almost notorious for the tremendous slaughter of hares and pheasants by the gentlemen of the party. After a short return to Windsor the Queen visited the Duke of Wellington at Strathfieldsaye. This visit had more of a private and friendly character than is usual in visits of Sovereigns to their subjects. " There was much that was unique and kindly," says Miss Tytler, "in the relations between the Queen and the greatest soldier of the day. He had stood by her baptismal font ; she had been his guest, when she was the girl-princess, at Walmer ; he had sat in her first council; she was to give his name to one of her sons ; in fact, he had taken part in every event of her life. The present arrangements were a graceful, well-nigh filial tribute of affectionate regard for the old man who had served h is country both in the battle field and in the senate, who had watched his Queen's career with the keenest interest, and rejoiced in her success as something with which he had to do."

The Powder Ball

There was another great costume ball, which became known as " The Powder Ball," at Buckingham Palace, in 1845. All the guests dressed in the styled of 175o, when hair powder was in fashion.
Miss Burdett-Coutts wore a diadem and necklace that had once belonged to Maria Antoinette.

Queen Victoria Visits Germany

In the Autumn of 1845, the Queen paid her first visit to Germany. At Bonn, she saw the " little house" where her husband and his brother lived whilst they were students at the University. At Coburg there was a hearty public reception. Rosenau was given up to them, and the Prince showed the Queen the room which he and his brother used to occupy when children. " It is quite in the roof, " writes the Queen, " with a little tiny bedroom on each side, in one of which they both used to sleep with Florschutz, their tutor. The view is beautiful, and the paper is still full of holes from their fencing ; and the very same table is there on which they were dressed when little."

They visited Gotha, where the Queen was rejoiced to meet her old governess, Baroness Lehzen. In the adjacent forest, a barbarous "deer drive" took place in the German fashion. About thirty stags and other animals were driven from the forest into an enclosure, before which sat the royal and noble guests in arm chairs. There was a band of music, and in the intervals between the pieces, the gentlemen loaded their rifles and fired at their prey. The ladies had to sit and look on, but the Queen says in her journal: "As for the sport itself, none of the gentlemen like this butchery." Punch smartly satirised the whole affair in a poem, entitled "The Sportsman of Gotha."