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EMINENT PERSONS DECEASED IN 1901.
Queen Victoria.-Alexandrina Victoria, only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III., by his marriage with Victoria, daughter of Francis, Duke of Coburg, the widow of Carl Ludwig, Prince of Leiningen, was born at Kensington Palace on May 24, 1819. Her father died early in the following year, almost at the same time as George III. At this time the Princess Charlotte, the Prince Regent's daugh. ter, was living, and in 1820 a daughter was born to the Duke of Clarence (afterwards William IV.), so that the Princess Victoria's chance of succeeding to the throne appeared remote. Her mother continued to live quietly at Kensington, but in 1828 she was a spectator at a Drawing Room, where the young Queen of Portugal was present, and in the same year George IV. gave a juvenile ball in her honour. After this time, although the greater part of the year was spent at Kensington, the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria usually passed the autumn at Ramsgate, Broadstairs, St. Leonardson-Sea, the Isle of Wight, or at Tunbridge Wells. The Princess Victoria's name appeared in the Regency Bill passed on the accession of William IV. as heir-presumptive to the throne. On the acceptance of the Crown of Belgium by her brother, Prince Leopold, the Duchess of Kent took up her abode at Claremont, where she had occasion. ally resided with him. There she pushed her daughter's education far beyond the ordinary limits of girls of those days, the Princess becoming proficient in both French and ItalianGerman, of course, she knew-and an accomplished musician, whilst she also devoted some of her time to the study
of mathematics, Latin and Greek. In 1837 the Princess Victoria, now heirapparent, attained her legal majority, and the event was celebrated by great rejoicings in London and elsewhere. A grand ball was given at St. James's Palace, when the Princess for the first time took official precedence of her mother. Less than a month later, June 20-21, she became Queen. The announcement was made to her at 5 A.m. by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Howley) and the Lord Chamberlain (Marquess of Conyngham), who had her roused from bed to receive their news. She received them in her nightgown and shawl, her feet in slippers, and her hair falling upon her shoulders. On the following day the Queen was proclaimed in the City and at St. James's by the title of Victoria, and a few days later went to prorogue Parliament, which was then, in accordance with the existing constitutional law, dissolved. In her first speech she said, “I ascend the Throne with a deep sense of the responsibility which is imposed upon me; but I am supported by the consciousness of my own right intentions, and by my dependence upon the protection of Almighty God.” In the following November she dined with the Lord Mayor at the Guildhall, and shortly afterwards opened in person the new Parliament. One of its first acts was to settle the Queen's Civil List, which was fixed at 385,0001., and her Privy Purse at 60,0001. At the same time Parliament settled 30,0001. a year upon the Duchess of Kent. In the following summer, on June 28, she was solemnly crowned in Westminster Abbey, Archbishop Howley placing the crown upon her head and anointing her
hands, and she returned to Bucking supervision of Prince Albert, and they ham Palace wearing her crown. In entered upon its occupation on Sep1839 there occurred the incident known tember 7, 1855. as the “Bedchamber Plot." The Mel
Among the untoward incidents of the bourne Ministry having resigned on a Queen's life must be mentioned the question connected with the govern. various attempts made upon her person ment of Jamaica, in the negotiations -all of which were happily unattended which ensued Sir Robert Peel stipu. with any serious injury, and all the lated that if he took the Premiership acts of lunatics. The first was in 1841 the ladies of the household-mainly of when she was fired at by Edward Whig families--should be replaced by Oxford while driving in Hyde Park. Tories. The Queen being personally In the following year a man named attached to the ladies in question, Francis and a deformed lad named resisted this requirement—a course in Bean were the assailants, and three which she was encouraged by her subsequent attempts were made at long uncle, the Whig Duke of Sussex - with intervals. In all cases these attempts the result that Lord Melbourne re excited intense public aversion and turned to office. The young Queen's anger, only mitigated by their unvary. action in this matter, though natural, ing futility. The personal popularity was disapproved in many quarters, and of the Queen was a powerful element she never repeated it. In December of among the influences which kept the same year an announcement was England free from any dangerous dismade that the Queen had resolved to turbances in 1848, when Continental marry her first-cousin, Prince Albert, thrones were almost everywhere totteryounger son of Duke Ernest of Saxe
ing, if not actually overthrown. Louis Coburg and Gotha. The announce Philippe, the fallen French King (whom ment was well received by the nation, the English Queen had visited at the and the marriage, which was celebrated Château d'Eu in 1843), took refuge in at the Chapel Royal, St. James's, on this country, was pecuniarily assisted February 10, 1840, was the occasion of by Queen Victoria, and subsequently general popular rejoicing. The Queen's had Claremont assigned as his resieldest child, the Princess Royal, was dence. born in the following November, and In August, 1849, the Queen, accomthe Prince of Wales a year later. Seven panied by Prince Albert, and the little other children followed at intervals Princess Royal and Prince of Wales, down to 1857, the youngest being the visited Ireland, sailing from the Isle Princess Beatrice. Up to her marriage of Wight to the Cove of Cork (thence and for a short time afterwards, the renamed Queenstown), and was Queen, when not in London or at ceived with great enthusiasm both at Windsor, passed most of her time at Cork and in Dublin, though so short & Claremont, which she loved, or at time had passed after the abortive Brighton, which she disliked; but in rising of Smith O'Brien. On August 1841 she purchased Osborne House, 12, 1850, the Queen found it necessary near Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, and to write a very strong letter requiring, from time to time added to it by the through the Prime Minister, Lord J. purchase of adjoining property. In Russell, that the Foreign Secretary, 1842 the Queen and Prince Albert paid Lord Palmerston, should distinctly their first visit to Scotland, staying state what he proposed in any given with the Duke of Atholl at Dunkeld, case of foreign policy, and that when the Duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith, she had sanctioned any measure it and others of the Scottish nobility. should not be arbitrarily altered or They had previously paid visits to the modified by the Minister," and generDuke of Bedford at Woburn, to Earl ally that she should be kept informed Cowper at Panshanger, and Lord Mel of what passed between him and foreign bourne at Brocket Hall. During a Ministers. Ultimately, in consequence tour in Scotland, in 1847, they first of his sending a friendly despatch saw Balmoral, and were so charmed without the sanction or knowledge with the spot and neighbourhood that of the Queen or the Premier, with they decided, if possible, to become its reference to Louis Napoleon's coup owners. After protracted negotiations d'Etat (Dec. 2, 1851), Lord Palmerston the estate was finally purchased from was dismissed from office. These inthe Fife trustees in 1852, and the old cidents illustrated the conscientious castle was inhabited by them in the manner in which, mainly doubtless autumn of that year. In the course under her husband's advice during his of the three following years the new lifetime, but later on her solitary castle was erected under the direct responsibility, the Queen exercised her
constitutional supervision over the conduct of foreign affairs.
In 1851 the Queen opened in state the “Great Exhibition" in Hyde Park, which had been mainly brought about by the influence of Prince Albert, in the hope of inaugurating a reign of peace, and of encouraging art and industry, and in the following year she opened an International Exhibition in Dublin. When the exhibition building, subsequently to be known as the Crystal Palace, was removed in 1854 to Sydenham, the Queen re-opened it there. In March of the same year, on the eve of the outbreak of the Crimean war, she reviewed the Baltic fleet. During the progress of the war she entertained (April, 1855) herally Napoleon III. and the Empress Eugénie at Windsor, and in the course of the same year paid a return visit to them. Her interest in the sick and wounded of the war was displayed in her superintendence of relief committees of ladies, in her frequent visits to the hospitals, and in the exercise of her influence for the building of Netley. In June, 1857, she distributed in Hyde Park to some sixty members of both services the new decoration of the Victoria Cross, for personal valour in action. In the following year the Queen and Prince Albert paid visits to Birmingham and Leeds, and also (at Potsdam) to the Princess Royal, who had been married a few months previously to Prince Frederick William of Prussia. In 1859 the Queen's husband received the title of Prince Consort. In 1860 the Queen reviewed 18,000 Volunteers in Hyde Park (the Volunteer movement having been started in the previous year), and with her husband again visited their daughter in Prussia. In March, 1861, the Queen's mother, to whom she was devotedly attached, died; and in the following December the happiness of her life was wrecked by the death of her husband from gastric fever. He had outlived the prejudices long entertained against him in various quarters, and the admirable wisdom and tact with which he had discharged the difficult and delicate duties of his station were universally recognised. Almost his last public act was to write suggestions with a view to the framing of Lord John Russell's despatch on the Trent affair on lines facilitating the acquiescence of the United States in the just and necessary demands of this country.
The Queen's bereavement was crushing, and it was feared that she would never recover from it, but her strong sense of duty and her devotion to her
subjects enabled her by degrees to resume her official functions, although she ever afterwards held aloof from Court festivities. On the occasion of the marriage of the Prince of Wales, in March, 1863, she looked down from the royal pew in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, on the ceremony, but it was long (not until 1868) before she could undertake the duties of a Drawing
Her heart, however, was always open to every sorrow which fell upon any section of her subjects, and the tender womanly sympathy which she invariably expressed with the sufferers from any calamity endeared her profoundly to the popular mind. As soon, also, as her strength allowed she followed public affairs, at home and abroad, with close and wise vigilance. Her personal influence was exercised with powerful effect in 1867 by letters to the Emperor Napoleon and the King of Prussia, towards the peaceful neutralisation of the Duchy of Luxemburg. In 1869 she interested herself actively, through Archbishop Tait, whose appointment she had strongly favoured, in preventing a conflict between the two Houses of Parliament over the bill for the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. She regretted that Mr. Gladstone had thought it necessary to raise the question, but in view of the decisive result of the general election of that year she felt that further resistance to the Disestablishment policy would be unwise.
It was in 1868 that the Queen commenced the custom, which later became an annual one, of going to the Con. tinent in the early spring. The Lakes of Lucerne and Maggiore were her first selected spots, and in the following year she stayed for some time at the summit of the Furka Pass near the Rhône Glacier. In 1868 also there appeared the touching tribute to the Queen's married life, in which she took her people into her confidence by showing how simple and domestic were the ways of royalty. ** Leaves from a Journal of Our Life in the Highlands," was edited by Sir Arthur Helps, and illustrated by sketches from her Majesty's own pencil, and it at once took hold of the public heart. In December, 1871, the Prince of Wales was brought to the verge of death by an attack similar to that which ten years earlier had been fatal to his father. The Prince, however, happily recovered, and in March, 1872, the Queen, accompanied by her son, went in state to St. Paul's to return thanks to God for his safety. From this time the Queen occasionally appeared
in public for some important ceremony, state. From the period of her great like the opening of the new Blackfriars bereavement the Queen divided her Bridge and the Holborn Viaduct, or time between Windsor, Osborne and laying the first stones of the new St. Balmoral, only coming to London for Thomas's Hospital and the new wing a day or two at a time for special of the East London Hospital. In 1876 functions at Buckingham Palace. and again in 1877 she opened Parlia In June, 1887, the completion of ment in person, although she did not the fiftieth year of her reign was celewear her robes, and deputed the Lord brated by a public thanksgiving serChancellor to read her speeches. This vice in Westminster Abbey, and was was during the Premiership of Lord made the occasion of general festivi. Beaconsfield, who exercised a consider ties throughout the nation. She was able influence over her. He had greatly escorted through the streets from the encouraged the idea of the Prince of Palace to the Abbey by the heirs. Wales's visit to India in the winter of apparent of all the Thrones of Europe, 1875-6, and on January 1, 1877, at a attended by brilliant suites, and on a great durbar of the Princes and Rulers subsequent day a general review of the of India, the Queen was proclaimed Fleet was held at Spithead, the Queen Empress of India, “in order to testify steaming through the lines. Statues the satisfaction felt by her Majesty at were erected, and hospitals and charitthe reception given to her son in the able institutions were founded in many Far East, and also to emphasise at the places in honour of the event. In same time the object of his visit." March, 1888, the Queen went to Flor. The additional title was not at first ence, where she spent nearly two favourably received in England, and months, and there received alarming Mr. Disraeli endeavoured to reconcile news of the health of her son-in-law, public opinion to the change by hint the Emperor Frederick of Germany. ing that it was intended for use in On her way to Charlottenburg she was India only. This restriction gradually met by the Emperor of Austria at Innsdisappeared, and the Queen came brück, and at Berlin she had several habitually to sign formal documents interviews with, and by her political “ Victoria R.I.” The political wisdom, capacity greatly impressed, Prince Bisfrom the Indian point of view, of the marck, between whom and the Emperor assumption of the new title was latterly Frederick there had been much friction, recognised, even by those who had been and the Queen's influence was exerstrongly averse to it.
cised in promoting a better understandIn December, 1878, on the anniver ing between the Chancellor and his sary of her father's death, Princess dying master. Alice, who had married the Grand The years intervening between the Duke of Hesse, died of typhoid fever first and the second jubilees of the at Darmstadt, and the blow was felt Queen's reign were by no means most acutely by the Queen, who exempt from family sorrow in her case. subsequently addressed a letter to She felt very deeply both the death of her people expressing her “ heartfelt the Prince of Wales's eldest son, the thanks for the universal and touching Duke of Clarence, in 1892, and that sympathy of all classes of her subjects." of Prince Henry of Battenberg, the
In 1879 the Queen spent a month at husband of her youngest daughter, Baveno on Lago Maggiore, and in the Princess Beatrice, from a fever confollowing year was present at the con tracted by him when on an expedition firmation of the two daughters of the against Ashanti in the winter of 1895-6. Princess Alice at Darmstadt. In 1882 Prince Henry with his wife had shared she paid a state visit to the entrance of the Queen's home life, and he was the City in order to open the new Law very greatly missed. The health and Courts, but early in 1884 the death, strength of the Queen, however, were at Cannes, of her youngest son, the throughout this period marvellously Duke of Albany, who had long been in maintained, partly, no doubt, by the delicate health, was another blow which aid of a visit each spring to the South of confirmed the Queen's ways of retire. Europe-Biarritz and San Sebastian, ment. In 1886, however, she came Aix-les-Bains, Grasse, Costebelle, near to London to open the Colonial and Hyères, Florence once more, and Cimiez, Indian Exhibition at South Kensing. near Nice, being visited in different ton; a few weeks later she went to years. Her subjects saw much more Liverpool to open some public build of her on public occasions than during ings, and in the autumn she spent a the earlier years of her widowhood. couple of nights at Holyrood, and There may be mentioned, for example, visited the Edinburgh Exhibition in visits paid to Eton on the Fourth of
June, and to Glasgow and Paisley (1889), the launching of two battleships at Portsmouth (1891), the marriage of the Duke of York to Princess May of Teck, and the opening of the Imperial Institute at Kensington (1893), and the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal (1894). More than once the Queen received visits from her grandson, the Emperor William II. of Germany, and in 1896 she entertained, at Balmoral, the Tsar of Russia, who had married her granddaughter, Princess Alix of Hesse, and also received the members of the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company of Boston, U.S.A., and their wives at Windsor.
On the completion of sixty years of her reign, the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in a way totally distinct from that by which the Golden Jubilee of 1887 had been observed. It was made the fête day of the British Empire, on which representatives of all her colonial dominions and dependencies were represented. The procession through the densely thronged and beautifully decorated streets passed from Buckingham Palace through Piccadilly, Pall Mall, the Strand and Fleet Street to St. Paul's Cathedral, where a brief thanksgiving service was held outside the cathedral, and then, passing over London Bridge, returned through the main streets south of the Thames, over Westminster Bridge to the Palace. Colonial troops from Canada, Australia and South Africa, and Chinamen from Hong-Kong, Hausas, Dyaks, Sikhs, and Imperial Service troops sent by the native Princes of India, all held places of honour along the route or in the procession, and the Queen's reception from the crowd was such that in her subsequent letter to her people she said that the enthusiasm manifested could never be effaced from her heart. “It is, indeed, deeply gratifying," she added, “after so many years of labour and anxiety to find that my exertions have been appreciated throughout my vast Empire. In weal and in woe, I have ever had the true sympathy of all my people, which has ever been warmly reciprocated. I shall ever pray God to bless them, and to enable me to discharge my duties to their welfare as long as life lasts."
During the succeeding three weeks there was a constant succession of ovations and receptions at Windsor, the presentation of addresses from both Houses of Parliament at Buckingham Palace, a grand review of troops at Aldershot, and a splendid naval pa
geant at Spithead—the Queen attend. ing all but the last named.
The completion of her eightieth year, June 24, 1899, was also made the occasion of general but less formal rejoicing, and her reception whenever she appeared in public showed the warmth of the attachment she inspired. The breaking out of the war in South Africa was, however, destined to put a severe strain upon her health and strength. The autumn visit to Bal. moral was given up, and the Queen remained at Windsor to be in close touch with her Ministers, to review and to encourage by a few words the soldiers who were being rapidly sent to the front, and to visit and comfort those who returned maimed or sick. At the same time she did not forget those in the field, and a box of chocolate specially designed was sent to every soldier on service in South Africa. Her thoughts were constantly with her army, and she expressed in many ways her unfailing interest in them. Brushing aside the petty restrictions of the War Office, and thoughtful of the feelings of her brave Irish soldiers, she issued an order early in 1900 that on St. Patrick's Day of each year they should wear the shamrock. On her visits to London during the year 1900, she drove through quarters of the metropolis which had been neglected on the occasion of both jubilees, and showed herself to her poorer subjects, meeting everywhere the warmest reception. The spring journey to the Continent was given up, and in its place a visit was arranged to Dublin, where she spent "a most agreeable time," as she said in her letter addressed to the Irish people through the Viceroy. During her stay she had been received with enthusiasm and affection, and she “ carried away a most pleasant and affectionate memory of the time she spent in Ireland."
But there were other events of a sadder kind which marked the Queen's last year,--the protracted struggle in South Africa, the attempt upon the life of the Prince of Wales at Brussels, the death of her son, the Duke of SaxeCoburg and Gotha, followed by that of Prince Christian Victor of SchleswigHolstein from fever in South Africa, and finally, on Christmas Day, that of her old friend, Lady Churchill, which occurred at Osborne. Of the gradual ebbing of her strength the public were kept in ignorance, and even when a week or two later the symptoms became more threatening, she refused to allow her illness to be made known,