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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Journal - Thanksgiving for the recovery of The Prince of Wales, 27th February 1872

Thanksgiving service for the recovery of the Prince of Wales from typhoid, St Pauls Cathedral, London, 27 February 1872 (chromolitho) Source: MeisterDrucke

Queen Victoria's eldest son, the Prince of Wales, had caught typhoid in November 1871 and had been dangerously ill. In her speech for the opening of Parliament in February 1872 the Queen announced she would be present at a service of Thanksgiving in St Paul's for his recovery.

On the 27th February 1872 a service of Thanksgiving was held at St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate the recovery from typhoid of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). Queen Victoria, the Prince and Princess of Wales and a number of other members of the Royal Family attended the service,

Queen Victoria recorded the event in her journal -

"Luckily a fine morning. — After breakfast went over to the luncheon room & saw such crowds already collecting. — Went to dress, & wore a black silk dress & jacket, trimmed with miniver, & a bonnet with white flowers & a white feather. Beatrice looked very nice in mauve, trimmed with swan's down. Awaited Bertie & Alix in the 44 room & they soon came with their 2 little Boys. Bertie was very lame & did not look at all well, I grieved to see. My 3 other sons were there, & the poor Empr Napoleon & Empress Eugenie, who were anxious to see the Procession quietly & whom I had specially invited to come to the Palace. The Boys with little George went on & got into an open carriage & 4, with Ld Ailesbury & in a few minutes I followed, taking poor Bertie's arm, for he could only walk very slowly, down to the Grand Entrance.

We entered an open state landau with 6 horses, ridden by 3 Postillions. Alix (in blue velvet & sable) sat next to me, & Bertie opposite, with Beatrice & little Eddy between them.We had a Sovereign's Escort, as on all state occasions. 7 open dress carriages with a pair of horses, went in front of us, & immediately in front, the Ld Chancellor in his carriage & the Speaker in his strange quaint old one. I have no time to describe at length the long Progress, the millions out, — the beautiful decorations, — the wonderful enthusiasm & astounding affectionate loyalty shown. The deafening cheers never ceased the whole way & the most wonderful order was preserved. We seemed to be passing through a sea of people, as we went along the Mall. Our course, going to St. Paul's was down the Mall, by Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, straight up the Strand, Fleet Street & Temple Bar, which was handsomely decorated. There were stands & platforms in front of the Clubs &c, full of well dressed people, & no end of nice & touching inscriptions. At the corner of Marlborough House, there was a stand on which stood Bertie's dear little girls, who moved their handkerchiefs. At Temple Bar the Ld Mayor, in a crimson velvet & ermine robe came up to the carriage to present the sword, which I touched & returned to him, after which he got on horseback, bare headed, & carrying the sword rode in front, preceded by by the Mace Bearer, City Marshall & 3 other Aldermen. This caused a little delay.

Everywhere troops lined the streets & there were 15 military Bands stationed at intervals along the whole route, who played "God save the Queen" & "God bless the Pce of Wales" as the carriages approached, which evoked fresh anthems of cheering. I saw the tear in Bertie's eyes & took & pressed his hand! It was a most affecting day & many a time I repressed my tears. Bertie was continually with his hat off. I still hear the ringing cheers, & never can I forget the enthusiasm. We went up Ludgate Hill, where there was a very handsome arch & in a short while reached St. Paul's by 5 m. to 1. The large inscription put on the top was: "I was glad when they said unto me, I will go into the House of the Lord". After we got out the Procession was formed, I walking between Bertie whose arm I took, & Alix, the former leading Eddy & the latter Georgia. Beatrice, Affie Arthur Leopold, George C. & all the Ladies followed, the Gentleman, the Bishop of London, & the Dean of St. Paul's preceding us. I thought that the interior fell rather flat after the exterior. The Cathedral itself is so dull, cold, dreary & dingy. It so badly lacks decoration & colour. It was stiflingly hot & though the Te Deum Anthem by Mr Goss were fine, the service appeared to me cold & too long, excepting the concluding beautiful Hymn, which was most touching & elevating! We of the family, went into the small waiting room prepared for us & waited till all the carriages had started, there we entered ours, the Ld Mayor not accompanying us this time, leaving St. Paul's at ¼ p. 2, proceeding by Ludgate Hill, by the old Bailey, past Newgate (very dreary looking) up Holborn, where the decorations were splendid, with so many pretty mottos. There was a beautiful effect of chains of flowers with small wreaths hanging from the lamp posts. Oxford Street was particularly brilliant. Every moment something new attracted one's attention.

At Regent Circus, there was a splendid arch. A long line of seats, covered & handsomely decorated, extended a long way from the Marble Arch & on both sides of the road, there were endless thousands, even the trees were full of people, & in some cases proved very dangerous to those who had climbed up into them. We went on to Hyde Park Corner, where there were immense crowds, as down Constitution Hill & outside the Palace, the deafening cheering never ceasing for an instant. Got back to the Grand Entrance at 20 m. to 4, & Bertie & Alix with their Boys, took leave in the Hall going straight home. I went upstairs & stepped out on the Balcony with Beatrice & my 3 sons, being loudly cheered. — Rested on the sofa after taking some tea. Could think & talk of little else, but today's wonderful demonstration of loyalty & affection, from the very highest to the lowest. — Arthur, Jane C., Horatia S. & Sir H. Elphinstone dined. — Felt tired by all the emotion, but it is a day that can never be forgotten! —"

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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