Saturday, May 02, 2009

06Feb1866, The Queen Opens Parliament

LONDON, February 6th, 1866.
—A notable red-letter day. The dear Queen opened Parliament in person for the first time since her widowhood ; going in great state, drawn by 8 cream-colours, all her other carriages with 6 horses ; a large escort attending her. I went to the terrace of No. 11 and saw famously. She looked out, and bowed incessantly—her own gracious bow ; the enthusiasm was great among the big crowd ; and she had "Queen's weather." Arthur, to his great delight, was in waiting, and arrayed himself here, which gave much enjoyment to our household ! According to his report, the Queen wore pale lilac (qu. grey ?) silk, but according to Papa, it was black, and according to others it was to have been purple velvet ; so my ideas are not very clear on the subject. As she seated herself on the Throne it appears that she wrapped herself in the state mantle which was laid ready for her. She did not read the Speech herself : it was uncommonly long. My great excitement of hearing F. move the Address came off about 5. He was nervous, but got through it very well ; his voice much better and clearer than I expected, and plenty in his speech, which has received enough compliments to turn my head : "full of thought"—"the stuff to make a good speaker"—"the best mover and seconder speeches in somebody's recollection." Mr. Graham, the seconder, was very successful, and a good deal the most fluent. The funny thing was that old Yankee Freddy entirely forgot to allude to the American peace and the abolition of slavery ! after carefully preparing his say on that point. But he spoke nearly 1/2 an hour, which was long enough. Great is my repose and relief to-night, and I am proud of my Fred. He went off to the House after dinner, a fate which must inevitably befall me very often, and I sat solitary.

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