Friday, January 4, 2013

Queen Victoria's Wedding (Part 27): The Happy Crowd on the Road to Windsor

14th (King's) Hussar (Light Dragoons)
Photo Source: IBEW
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Attended by “outriders in scarlet liveries” and “escorted by a party of the 14th light Dragoons” {Hope, Anecdotes, p. 790-791}, the Royal coaches began their journey up Constitution Hill and on the road to Windsor. To Prince Albert’s great delight, the caravan picked up a secondary escort of cheering Londoners on horseback, in gigs*, and in carriages. Along the whole route, the streets were thick with men and women waving lily white handkerchiefs, decorated scarves, and ribbons. The happy crowd was shouting and singing in what the Queen would delightfully report as a deafening sound. {Hibbert, p. 123}

As they left the Palace and passed through the marble arch, the sun shone through the thick clouds and set a warm backdrop for the wild celebration which would carry them to Windsor. {Hope, Anecdotes, p. 790-791} The Queen and her dear Albert were touched by the outpouring of loyalty and devotion their very loyal subjects displayed. All along the way, great displays of affection included numerous “Vs” and “As” {Morris, p. 117-118}, elaborate diadems in evergreen boughs, illuminations of every kind possible, and always the thick and cheering crowds of Brits.

If the lively roads through Chiswich, Hounslow, and Colbrook were overwhelming to the proud and happy couple, their arrival in Kensington, the Queen’s hometown, must have made them nearly implode with the heady weight of adoration. High Street, Kensington was lined with “transparencies, illumination lamps, wreaths of laurel, flags, banners and loyal inscriptions” {Hope, Anecdotes, p. 791-92}. Not a single house lay dark, and every single one bore a tribute to the happy couple.

As the coach passed beneath the immense arch of evergreens erected over High Street, they would have caught sight (and sound) of the marching band which had been standing in the rain playing the most popular of Britain’s songs throughout the day. The Queen once again ordered the procession to slow, and at a parade’s pace the crowds were rapturous at “seeing her so lovely, so happy, so affable, seated beside her amiable Consort, the beloved and honourable husband of her choice”. {Hope, Anecdotes, p. 793}

Their journey, now nearly over, held one last and most exciting surprise in store for the Royal Pair.

*A gig is a two-wheeled carriage drawn by a horse.

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