Monday, January 7, 2013

Queen Victoria's Wedding (Part 28): Their Reception at Windsor

The welcoming archway near St. Lawrence's (Chiswick Local Studies Library)
On the Road to Windsor, February 10, 1840
Photo Source: Brentford + Chickwick Local History Society
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

In the dimming of evening’s light, their reception at Windsor would prove to be the most dazzling along their route. The outer walls of nearly every home “glowed with the brilliancy of gas in the form of crowns, stars and every imaginable device” {Hope, Anecdotes, p. 794}, including transparent representations of Prince Albert and the Queen, to express the loyalty and affection of the residents of Windsor.

The light played beautiful across the faces of the populace, which spilled out over the roads and cheered  from balconies as the Royal suite wend its way through the crowded streets. Handkerchiefs, top hats, and flags waved from balconies decorated with laurels, mottoes, and artificial flowers. The sonorous peals of the parish church bells filled the air with merry song, as the procession approached Eton College.

A flight of rockets shot across the sky, surely competing with the marvelous display those clever boys had erected for Her Majesty’s pleasure. Opposite the campus, several thousand gas lamps lit a perfect replica of the fa├žade of the Parthenon of Athens. Six bold columns awash in the bright yellow light of the many gas lamps, which were surmounted by the Queen’s coat of arms. The device was crowned with seven flags, and beneath the Queen’s crest brilliantly colored lights spelled out the words ‘Gratulator Etona Victorie et Alberto’*.

*Rough Translation: “Eton Congratulates Victoria and Albert”

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