Tuesday, January 13, 2009

11May1864, The Queen's Second Court

LONDON, Wednesday, May 11th, 1864.
—We all came up to London for the Queen's 2nd Court : a very small one, but very striking and imposing. It was held at Buckingham Palace. People may carp and sneer at the poor Queen for keeping on her mourning, but everyone must have thought her dress to-day most suitable and becoming. The gown was trimmed deeply on the skirt with crape, but was cut square, with white up to the throat ; long hanging sleeves. Her cap was Marie Stuart, showing her hair turned back, and with a row of pearls round the border ; broad white lappets reaching to the feet ; and she wore the Garter ribbon with a diamond brooch on the shoulder, a star, and a great pearl necklace in many rows. Altogether she looked just as a widowed Queen holding a State ceremonial ought to look. And it was beautiful to see her manner and her dear smile. The Princess of Wales looked terribly thin and pale, in deep black ; must be wretched at the reverses of the Danes, who have just lost Duppel. I had the honour of seeing the tiny Prince, [FN: Prince Albert Victor, afterwards Duke of Clarence.] the Queen sending for us to her room, where he was visiting her. A nice thriving-looking plump baby, with bright blue eyes, delicate features and pointed chin ; a nose that will be aquiline, I shd think, and a likeness to both parents. A very intelligent way of looking at one. He cried a good deal, poor fellow, being sleepy. At the reception, the D. of Argyll came and shook hands with me, saying very kindly, "I am so glad to have you for a cousin." After it, I had a snug visit in my room at B. Palace from At. C. and the girls. At. C. brought me a lovely little ring with a pearl cross. Then to Carlton Terrace, where I found Fred ; then pleasant talk with him ; a visit from C. Ebbett ; back to B. Palace for dinner with Prss. Helena, Ly. Carolina, and Emily. Then a grand concert, held by the Prince and Prss. of Wales. This was a dream of delight, though the music wasn't all good ! I sat with Papa for the 1st part, shooting F. before very long coming into the room, looking very nice in uniform, and peering about for me in vain for a long time. But at last I caught his eye ; and it was so very pleasant to see his dear face light up when that happened ! He got up to me after the 1st part. We ran through a tremendous tilt of congratulations. Saw At. Y. Was very, very happy. Slept at Buckingham Palace, attending on Princess Helena.

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