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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Journal - The Christening of Princess Alice, 2nd June 1843

On this day, 2nd June 1843, Princess Alice, third child of Queen Victoria, was baptised in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace.

She was given the names Alice Maud Mary and later gained the nicknames “Alee” and “Fatima”. Her godparents included: Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover; Princess Feodora of Leiningen; Prince Ernest of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; and Princess Sophia of Gloucester.

The christening of Princess Alice in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace

Queen Victoria’s journal:

“A very wet morning. — No mourning worn all day today, an account of the Christening, & I was in white. — Albert had so much to do, as always on occasions of any ceremony & all was bustle & excitement. This ceremony is indeed a holy & most important one, — “an outward & visible sign of an inward & spiritual grace” & may God bless our dear little Child. — Still no news of the King of Hanover! Began dressing at ¼ to 12. Wore my Tiara of Turkish diamonds & Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch, a dress of white watered silk, with my wedding flowers. Albert was in his Field Marshal’s uniform, with high boots, & the Collars of the Orders. He went down 1rst to the Royal Family, I remaining upstairs & the Baby was brought in, wearing the same role & cap, her sister & brother had done at their Christening. Albert fetched me at ¼ to 1, & we went into the Drawing Room, downstairs, where were assembled, the Queen DowrAunt Gloucester, the Crown Pce of Württemberg, the Cambridges & Cousins George, Augusta & Mary, Fritz Mecklenburg, & Edward Weimar. Pss Sophia Matilda only arrived punctually at 1, which certainly was in time for the Ceremony, but considering that the others had been waiting so long, we could not help smiling, when the good Princess said, “I hope I am punctual.” The Sponsors were the 1rst to enter the Chapel, Uncle Cambridge (representing the King of Honour) leading Mama (representing Feodora, & Fritz Mecklenburg (representing Ernest), leading Pss Sophia Matilda. We all followed, Albert & I walking 1rst, with the Heralds preceding us, which had a very good effect.

Princess Alice by Sir Edwin Landseer, dated 1843 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

The Chapel looked exceedingly nice. We took up our places, near the altar, opposite to the Sponsors. The Service began with saying of dearest Albert’s Chorale, set to English words, which was beautiful. The Band & Choir were stationed, in the Gallery, in which we generally sit, & the organ is on one side of the altar. All the music was beautiful. When the Chorale & Hymn had been sung, the LdChamberlain, bowing to me, asked if he should summon the Child, he accordingly went out, returning with her. She was carried by the nurse Mrs Sly, followed by Ly Lyttelton &c. The Service then began, the Archbishop of Canterbury & Bishop of London officiating. When the time for the actual Baptism came, LyLyttelton took the child & gave her to the Archbishop. He, poor man, was so confused that he was giving to baptize her, without any name. I heard the Bishop of London whisper the names to him, also the Archbishop was going to forget to sign the cross on the forehead, when the Bishop again reminded him; Pss Sophia then named the child, Alice, Maud, Mary, Uncle Cambridge having prompted her. Another clerical misfortune arose, when the leaves of the Prayer Book stuck together, neither the Archbishop or Bishop being able to turn them over, & there was a dead stop!

Alice and Alfred by Queen Victoria, dated September 1845 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

The good little Baby was fast asleep & never moved. The same Font in which “Pussy” & the Boy were christened, was again used & placed on a marble pedestal at the foot of the altar steps. When the Ceremony was over the Child was taken away just in the same manner as she came, Beethoven’s splendid Hallelujah Chorus from his Oratorio “Christ on the Mount of Olives”, was sung, which we are so fond of. We returned, just as we came. I felt much impressed by the whole Service, & prayed that our dear little Alice might grow up in virtue & goodness, & be preserved from all dangers. Sat for a little while in the Yellow Drawingroom upstairs, & then went into the Throne Room where all the Company were assembled, & from there to luncheon, which was served in the Gallery. The table was covered with beautiful flowers & all the gold plate looked very handsome. The Band played, being concealed behind flowers. Albert led in the Queen Dowr, & the Crown Pce of Württemberg me, Uncle Cambridge sitting on my other side. The healths given were, 1rst H.R.H. PssAlice, the Band playing “Rule Britannia”, 2ndly H.M. Queen Adelaide & 3rdly my health, when “God save the Queen” was played, followed by Albert’s & The “Coburg March”. After luncheon, we all went into the Saloon & Ly Lyttelton fetched the 3 Children, who did look so pretty, all in white. They behaved so very well, & we felt quite proud of them. It was a great trial for the poor little things to he stared at such by such a number of people, & they clung to us for support, but did not cry. Albert led them round. Little “Puss” was very serious, but she has such a gentle little manner, when she is shy, & she was much admired. It seemed to give the people great pleasure to see the Children, who certainly did look very nice & “distingués”. […]

Princess Victoria and Princess Alice, dated January 1852 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

At ½ p. 3 everyone went away, & we went to our rooms. We both felt much pleased at everything having gone off so well. — Took a drive with Albert, but were driven in by the rain. we had scarcely come home, when we heard that the King of Hanover had just arrived, & just too late! And at ½ p. 6, we heard he was at the door! Albert ran down to receive him & brought him & Aunt Gloucester up to the Audience Room. The King is very much changed, so He only remained a few minutes. He said he had tried all he could; to be in time but he only landed at 3! — Rested, & read. — Mama, &c., Sir Robert Peel Ly Lyttelton, Ld Liverpool & Capt: Spencer dined with us. I wore a white muslin dress, with my orange blossom ornaments I am so fund of, & a spray of large orange flowers in my hair, with a good many leaves to it & 2 little oranges, This is now worn in Paris. I do so love orange flowers. Sir R. Peel sat next to me, & was so pleased with this morning’s ceremony, the luncheon, &c, & admired the Children so much. In talking of Ireland. I repeated to Sir Robert that he might make use of my name in any declaration he might wish to make. He thanked me, saying he wished to confine any expression of the Sovereign’s feelings to Repeal only. He thinks O’Connell the most powerful Speaker to a mob, imaginable.”

©Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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