Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

This is the peculiar glory of the present reign.

Happy and auspicious as this marriage was, it was nevertheless the first interruption to the pure home
bliss that hitherto had filled "the heart of the greatest empire in the world." The Princess Royal, with her

"man's head and child's heart," had been the dear companion of the father whose fine qualities she

inherited, and had largely shared in his great thoughts. Nor was she less dear to her mother, who had

sedulously watched over the "darling flower," admiring and approving her "touching and delightful"

filial worship of the Prince Consort, and who followed with longing affection every movement of the

dear child now removed from her sheltering care, and making her own way and place in a new world.

There she has indeed proved herself, as she pledged herself to do, "worthy to be her mother's child,"

following her parents in the path of true philanthropy and gentle human care for the suffering and the

lowly. So far the ancient prophecy has been well fulfilled which promised good fortune to Prussia and its

rulers when the heir of the reigning house should wed a princess from sea-girt Britain. But the wedding

so propitious for Germany seemed almost the beginning of sorrows for English royalty. Other betrothals

and marriages of the princes and princesses ensued; but the still lamented death of the Prince Consort

intervened before one of those betrothals culminated in marriage.

Another event which may be called domestic belongs to the year following this marriage - the coming of
age of the Prince of Wales, fixed, according to English use and wont, when the heir of the crown

completes his eighteenth year. Every educational advantage that wisdom or tenderness could suggest had

been secured for the Prince. We may note in passing that one of his instructors was the Rev. Charles

Kingsley, whom Prince Albert had engaged to deliver a series of lectures on history to his son. This

honour, as well as that of his appointment as one of Her Majesty's chaplains, was largely due to royal

recognition of the practical Christianity, so contagious in its fervour, which distinguished Mr. Kingsley,

not less than his great gifts; of his eagerness "to help in lifting the great masses of the people out of the

slough of ignorance and all its attendant suffering and vice" - an object peculiarly dear to the Queen and

to the Prince, as had been consistently shown on every opportunity.

When the time came that the youth so carefully trained should be emancipated from parental control, it
was announced to him by the Queen in a letter characterised by Mr. Greville or his informant as "one of

the most admirable ever penned. She tells him," continues the diarist, "that he may have thought the rule

they adopted for his education a severe one, but that his welfare was their only object; and well knowing

to what seductions of flattery he would eventually be exposed, they wished to prepare and strengthen his

mind against them; that he was now to consider himself his own master, and that they should never

intrude any advice upon him, although always ready to give it him whenever he thought fit to seek it. It

was a very long letter, all in that tone; and it seems to have made a profound impression on the Prince....

The effect it produced is a proof of the wisdom that dictated its composition."

We have chosen this as a true typical instance of the blended prudence and tenderness that have marked
the relations between our Sovereign and her children. Aware what a power for good or evil the characters

of those children must have on the fortunes of very many others, she and her husband sedulously

surrounded them with every happy and healthy influence, never forgetting the supreme need of due

employment for their energies. "Without a vocation," said the Prince Consort, "man is incapable of

complete development and real happiness": his sons have all had their vocation.

It was the same period, marked by these domestic passages of mingled joy and sorrow, that became
memorable in another way, through the various troublous incidents which gave an extraordinary impetus

 

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