|Close-up view of Dowager Queen Adelaide, c. 1840|
From painting by Sir George Hayter
From the upper galleries, the procession of Queen Adelaide must have been a breathtaking experience. Upon the sound of the first strains of ‘See the Conquering Hero Come,’ hailing the appearance of the Royal Bridegroom, the sacred procession had carried the audience sweetly and gently toward the Queen’s arrival. Once Prince Albert stood at the altar, it was Queen Adelaide’s turn.
As every noble lady and gentleman stood in her honor, the Queen Dowager’s entry through the Dean’s Vestry door struck a fine chord. The late King’s wife curtsied gracefully in her white satin dress, which was exquisitely ornamented with English lace over the bodice, the sleeves, and the deep flounce. Her luxurious velvet train, trimmed in ermine and lined with white satin, cascaded behind her in hues of rich violet.
As she turned to kneel at the altar for her private ministrations, the light would surely have set the little band of brilliants across her forehead shimmering. This little band featuring aigrettes was part of her demure headdress, which featured a small purple cap garnished with ostrich feathers.
As the Queen Dowager took her seat next to Prince Albert, she encouraged the anxious Bridegroom to take his seat and converse pleasantly with her until the Bride arrived. The rest of the guests spoke in low, hushed tones as the procession continued. It would not be long before the Royal Family would make their entrance.
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