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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Journal - The landing of Prince Albert, 7th February 1840

On the 7th February 1840, Prince Albert arrived in England after an incredibly uncomfortable 9 day journey from Coburg to Dover. His father and brother accompanied him on the journey, they set off from Coburg on the 28th January and arrived on the 7th February in Dover.

Dover - The Landing of Prince Albert by William Adolphus Knell © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

Queen Victoria recorded the day in her journal:

"When I had only just got to bed, Lehzen came in with a letter from Grey from Dover, saying they had arrived there at ½ p.4 after a rough passage of 5 hours and had been most enthusiastically received. Poor dear Albert had been very sick.

Got up at 20 m. p.9 and breakfasted at 10. Wrote to Lord M.; to Lord Uxbridge, Aunt Augusta, and Aunt Mary. Lay down. Wrote to Fiddy. Read despatches. Lady Sandwich brought her dear Baby in, who is grown such a fine child. Dearest Daisy went to Windsor at 1. At 1 the Duchess of Cambridge came and presented Lady Augusta Somerset, as her lady in waiting. Wrote my journal. At 10 m. to 2 Lord Melbourne came and stayed with me till 20 m. to 3. He was better, he said, but still had cough. Talked of dearest Albert's safe arrival; his having a day to rest; the Chancellor's coning to him at 5. Lord Hill he (Ld.M.) had written to, about the Commission; talked of inviting people to the Chapel; that I couldn't invite the Duke of Richmond after his having forced his brother to vote against Government on the Vote of Confidence; that Arthur Lennox had sent to let me know he was forced. George Lennox would be a fit person, Lord M. said, to put about Albert, but Lord M. wished to submit the whole to A. before he appointed any. I then gave Lord M. this Statement about Gardner, which he read, and when he had done so, he said: “It's abominable”; Gardner's never complained to her or to anybody of there being anything in Lady Gardner which he disliked, and when Lord Dinorben announced to him his Marriage with Miss Smyth, he offered to treat him as kindly as ever in his house, and Gardner thanked him for his kindness, but wished to have time to consider, having already then written the letter to Lord Dinorben which arrived afterwards in which he states that he must separate from poor Lady Gardner, as circumstances were altered and he could no longer bear what he had before borne, and in short dine in a shocking manner; and I told Lord M. I heard also that Gardner had behaved very ill at a ball of mine. “I think it's best he should resign,” Lord M. said, and we thought best that he shouldn't attend the marriage. “It's best he should resign,” Lord M. said, “I'll try and settle it through Lord Carrington,- only he's such a strange man himself.” He said I had best send the Statement back to the Duke of Sussex; I feared Lady Stanhope would take with Gardner, but Lord M. said: “Oh! no, she won't, she don't like Gardner.” &c. - Talked of this unfortunate Mdlle de Stein, who the Landgravine has left destitute,(she having served her 20 years), the Landgrave refuses to give her a Pension, and her brother and sister won't take her in, as she is turned Protestant. Lord M. thinks I might give her £50 a year. Of Lady Cecilia Underwood, and it's being such a dreadful thing - “awkward thing” - and that my Aunts would be so shocked; for Lord M. said, though there might be a marriage to satisfy her conscience and that of her friends, ”still it's null and void, and she has been living with him like his Mistress; therefore it would be not only giving your consent to a marriage with a person of inferior rank, but also to a person who has been living with him, not being married, which would be a very awkward thing”; which is very true.

Talked of the merits and demerits of the Marriage Act, and what people the Princes would have married if they could; he thinks William IV would have married Mrs.Jordan if he could, but what a thing that would have been! I asked if Lord M. was going to sit: “I shall just call in,” he said. He looked at my Bust by Chantrey, which was placed in my room, and which he thought so very like; he was coming to dinner; Brougham gone to Rome for 2 months!! “I can't understand it,” Lord M. said. - At near 3 I went with the Duchess of Sutherland, Lady Sandwich, Lord Uxbridge, and Lord Alfred to St.James's; the rooms are uncommonly well managed, and so is the Chapel; we came home at ½ p.3.

Just before I went out I received a dear delightful letter from dearest Albert from Dover, written in the morning; he suffered most dreadfully, poor Angel, coming over; he is much pleased with the very kind reception he met with at Dover. Lay down. At a little after 4 Aunt Augusta came to me and brought me a very handsome diamond bracelet with an immense emerald in the middle, which is a Wedding Gift from her and my other Aunts. Lay down. Wrote, &c. Wrote my journal. At 8 we dined. Lord Melbourne, and Lord Erroll dined here. Lord Melbourne led me in, and I sat between him and Lord Byron. Talked of the Answers to the Addresses at Chatham, which Lord Melbourne had written in a great hurry before dinner; “They require some nicety,” Lord M. said, “for they are Political Addresses.” Talked to Lord M. of Albert's letter, and one from Torrington saying dearest Albert's reception had pleased him so, as A. feared he wouldn't be well received, but Lord M. agreed with me that a Vote of the H. of Commons had nothing whatever to do with that. Talked of A.'s seeing the Cathedral at Canterbury; of Aunt Augusta &c.; of Anson's having gone to Col: Anson about Gardner,&c. Lord Sudeley to be invited to the Chapel; of the Beauforts and the noses in the family, about which Lord M. was so very funny; of my having so much to do, and feeling well but tired; “You must keep yourself as quiet as you can,” he said kindly. He was very well. At this moment I received a letter, and a dear one, from dearest Albert from Canterbury, where he had just arrived, and where he had also been very well received, as I told Lord M. who said (with tears in his eyes:) “I've no doubt; his reception has been such that he must take care not to be intoxicated by that”; which I said I was quite sure he needn't fear; Lord M. laughed much at Stockmar's having talked to him of what he (A.) had thought of “in early life”; as if now wasn't early life for A. - at 20!! Talked of Soult and his reception here having made him so friendly to England; of Sebastiani's removal; of Guizot; “You can always tell him you have read his book,” Lord M. said laughing, &c.

After dinner Lady Sandwich sung to us. Lord Melbourne talked of these Addresses. Ma. went away after dinner. We were seated as usual, Lord Melbourne sitting near me. Talked of bull-dogs,&c.; of the Marriage Ceremony; my being a little agitated and nervous; “Most natural,” Lord M. replied warmly; “how could it be otherwise?” Lord M. was so warm, so kind, and so affectionate, the whole evening, and so much touched in speaking of me and my affairs. Talked of my former resolution of never marrying; “Depend upon it, it's right to marry,” he said earnestly; “if ever there was a situation that formed an exception, it was your's; it's in human nature, it's natural to marry; the other is a very unnatural state of things; it's a great change,- it has its inconveniences; everybody does their best, and depend upon it you've done well; difficulties may arise from it” as they do of course from everything. All this is so true. Talked of popular assemblies, of my having grown so thin; “You look very well,” he said, “after all,” he continued much affected, “how anybody in your situation can have a moment's tranquillity! - a young person cast in this situation, is very unnatural! “There was a beautiful account in a Scotch paper,” he said, “on your first going to prorogue Parliament; ‘I stood close to her’, it says, ‘to see a young person surrounded by Ministers and Judges and rendered prematurely grave was almost melancholy’;” the tears rolled down dear Lord M.'s face as he spoke; he went on with the description of me: “‘A large searching eye, an open anxious nostril, and a firm mouth’,” Lord M. repeated this several times, looking so kindly and affectionately at me; “A very true representation,” he said, “Can't be a finer physiognomy”,- which made me smile, as he said it so earnestly. Talked of Albert's being a little like me; of the Addresses and dinners A. would be plagued with; of my taking him to the Play soon; “There'll be an immense flow of popularity now,” Lord M. said. Talked of the difficulty of keeping quite free from all Politics; I was sure Albert would let himself be guided by me. Talked of Uncle Ferdinand. Lord M.'s new Coat, and his Tailor having gone about in the morning when Lord M. was obliged to try it on, saying: “Admirable!” which made us laugh much. I begged Lord M. much to manage about Thursday, which he promised he would, as I said it always made me so happy to have him. “I am sure none of your friends are so fond of you as I am”, I said. “I believe not,” he replied, quite touched, and I added also he had been always so very kind to me I couldn't say how I felt it. Talked of my Uncles and my not seeing the Duke of Cambridge next day; of the late King being as Lord M. said, a cleverer man than either the Duke of Sussex or the Duke of Cambridge. Stayed up till a ¼ p.11"

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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