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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Journal- The Wedding of Victoria, Princess Royal and Prince Frederick of Prussia, 25th January 1858

The wedding of the Princess Royal and Prince Frederick William of Prussia 1858 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

On the 25th of January 1858, Victoria, Princess Royal, the oldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She married Prince Frederick of Prussia, later Frederick III, German Emperor and King of Prussia, son of Prince Wilhelm (heir-presumptive to the Prussian throne) and Augusta of Saxe Weimar Eisenach were married at Chapel Royal, St. James's, London, England.

The wedding match was designed to align the fortunes of Europe's two most important powers, Great Britain and Germany's chief principality, Prussia.

Queen Victoria wrote about the event in her diary -

"The 2nd most eventful day in my life, as regarded feelings, for I felt almost as if it were I that was being married over again, only much more nervous, — A thick fog, & a sharp frost early. — Whilst dressing dear Vicky came in to see me, looking, composed, & in a fine, quiet disposition. This relieved me greatly. We went down to breakfast with dear Alexandrine. Of course Fritz, whom I tenderly embraced, & who was much moved, was there too. The dear Princess also came in for the moment. — My Dressing room was arranged for Vicky & she began dressing at about ½ p. 10. Our hair was done by Nestor, one after the other. When she was ready she came through in her bridal attire, looking very pretty & nice. Her dress was of white moire antique, trimmed with 3 flounces of Honiton lace & wreaths & spray of orange flowers & myrtle. The wreath & veil were to match & the train was the same as the dress. My dress was of mauve moire antique & silver, trimmed with Honiton lace. I wore my Regal Diadem & the crown diamonds. My train was of velvet also trimmed with lace. Vicky was daguerreotyped in my room, & she & her dear father & I, together, but I trembled so that it has come out indistinct. Then, it was time to go. The sun shining brightly, 1000s out, since very early, — shouting, — ringing of bells, &c. — Albert, Uncle & the 2 Boys went 1rst, then the 3 girls in pink satin trimmed with Newport lace, Alice with a wreath of cornflowers & marguerites, the 2 others only with sprays of them, in their hair. The 4 Boys wore Highland dress. The Hall was full of people. The flourish of trumpets & cheering of thousands, made my heart sink within me, & I could hardly command myself. Vicky drove in the carriage with me, sitting opposite.

At St. James's Palace we want into a prettily arranged retiring room, where Uncle, my dear Albert & the 8 Bridesmaids were waiting. They looked so nice, in white tulle dresses with wreaths & bouquets of pink roses & white heather. Then went into the Closet where Mama (looking so handsome, in violet velvet, trimmed with ermine), & the Cambridges were. All the foreign Princes & Princesses excepting Uncle, the Prince, & Pce Albert had already taken up their places in the Chapel. A Procession was formed, just as at my wedding, only how small the older Royal Family had become! Mama came last, just before me, then Ld Palmerston, with the Sword Of State, Bertie & Affie, — I, with the 2 little Boys (on either side of me), which they say had a most touching effect, & the 3 girls following. The Chapel, though too small, looked very imposing & well, filled with so many Clergy, Officers, in bright uniforms, & elegantly dressed Ladies. The drums & trumpets played Marches, the organ playing others, as the Processions approached & entered. There was of course a slight pause between each, & the effect was thrilling & striking as one heard the music coming nearer & nearer. Fritz behaved with the greatest self possession, as he came in, bowing to us, & then kneeling down before the altar, in a most truly devotional manner. Last came theBride's Procession, our darling "Flower" looking very touching & lovely, with such an innocent, confident & serious expression, on her dear face. She walked between her beloved Father & dear Uncle Leopold, who had been present at both her Christening & Confirmation. My last fear of being overcome, vanished, when I saw Vicky's calm & composed manner. It looked beautiful seeing her kneeling beside Fritz, their hands joined, her long train born by the 8 young ladies, who looked like a cloud of young girls hovering round her, as they knelt near her. How it reminded me of my having similarly, proudly, tenderly, confidently knelt beside my beloved Albert, in the very same spot. The Children, (the 3 girls) were a good deal "énnu" & Alice cried dreadfully. The Archbishop was very nervous. Both Vicky & Fritz spoke very plainly. When the service was over we tenderly embraced the young couple, & then Vicky went to her new Parents & we crossed over to the dear Prince & Princess, who were much moved. After this the Bride & Bridegroom left the Chapel hand, in hand, followed by their supporters, Mendelssohn's Wedding march being played, & we all went up to the Throne Room, where the Register was signed. Here there were general congratulations & shaking of hands, with all the relations. After all the Royalties had signed their names, the Clergy, Ministers &c. followed, & the young couple returned to Buckingham Palace together. I drove with Uncle & the Princess, whom I asked to call me "Du". Tremendous crowds, & cheering & we went with the young couple to the celebrated window, from which they stepped out on to the balcony to show themselves, we, Uncle, & the Pce & Pss also coming out. We all went to the White Drawingroom, where we were met by Hélène Orléans, her 2 sons, the Aumales & Princess de Salerno, then, came the wedding breakfast

"en famille", in which were included Pce John of Holstein & our 6 other Children! The young couple sat together, opposite us, but hid by a splendid wedding cake. I, sat between Uncle & the Pce of Prussia, Ld St. Germans, who sat at the bottom of the table, was the only other person there. The Band played. At dessert, Leopold & the darling Baby, dressed in pink, like her sisters, with a little bunch of cornflowers & marguerites in her cap, came in. After luncheon we separated almost immediately, for the young couple to change their clothes. I also changed my dress, & at 20 m. p. 4, Vicky came to my room, to bid me goodbye, much "en larmes", poor dear child. She was dressed in white velour épinglé, mantle of the same, trimmed with grèbe & a white bonnet with orange flowers, & a fine lace veil, which she put down. Embraced & gave her my blessing, & she became calmer. In the Audience Room all the family & royal guests were assembled. In embracing Fritz, I gave him my blessing & told him that I gave our child with perfect confidence into his hands. We accompanied the young couple to the door, being joined here by Uncle. The whole Court were there, having come to see them leave. After one more embrace saw them drive off with an Escort, & amidst much cheering. We ran up to look out of the window, but they had already disappeared! Jane Churchill, Sir F. Stovin, Col. Seymour & Herr von Schweinitz went with them. — My dear kind friend, the Princess came to see me, & we had a most pleasant, & satisfactory confidential talk about our dear Children. She is a great comfort & support to me. — We dined "en famille", & felt so lost without Vicky.

Received a dear kind little letter from our beloved Child, full of peaceful happiness. There had been enormous crowds, such enthusiasm, flowers & illuminations everywhere. The Eton Boys had dragged the carriage up to the Castle & made an immense noise. — At near 10 we went into the White Drawingroom, where all were assembled, Alice& Affie also appearing, & the Maharajah. I wore white & gold moire antique, trimmed with red velvet bows, a diamond diadem & ornaments, including the Koh i Noor. A State Concert took place in the Ball Room. The following pieces were performed: Part of Handel's Coronation Anthem, — Quartette "Placido e il Mar" by Mozart; (MlleCl. Novello, Guiglini, Weiss, &c. —) — Chorus, "The Heavens are Telling" from Haydn's "Creation"; — "Della sua Pace" from Don Giovanni; Mozart; (sung by Guiglini) — Choral Fantasia by Beethoven (all, singing, & Mrs Anderson at the piano.) Bridal Procession & March from Wagner's, "Lohengrin"; — Air from Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, "Toi que j'aime (sung by Clara Novello); — Finale from the "Loveley" (solo, sung by Miss Pyne); — Serenata "The Dream", composed specially for the wedding by Costa, & led by him (Tolos, Clara Novello, Sims Reeves, Weiss, &c — singing). Everyone I spoke to, was most kind & feeling & all the Prussians & Princes so pleased & impressed with the ceremony. Only got to our rooms at ½ p. 1. So thankful all had gone off so well. We thought much, on retiring to rest of our young couple, praying God to bless them & bring them much happiness"

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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