Friday, January 11, 2013

Queen Victoria's Wedding (Part 30): The Honeymoon

Queen Victoria + Prince Albert with their children
Painting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1846
Copyright The Royal Collection
Photo Source: Wikipedia

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

It is easy to imagine the waves of exhaustion that must have washed over Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as they took that first tour of their apartments at Windsor Castle. Their ears likely still rang with the lusty cheers of the throngs of people along their route from London.

In fact, after changing once again for their quiet evening in, Victoria notes in her diary that she took ill with a terrible headache that stole her appetite, but not her delight in being a wife to her “dearest dearest dear Albert.” Albert, wearing his new dark blue Windsor uniform, sat by her side on a footstool, holding her and caressing her all through the night.

His Windsor uniform consisted of a tail coat of dark blue with scarlet collar and scarlet cuffs featuring two buttons. The waist also has three buttons on the front and two at the back, and each of the tails has two buttons. The buttons are gilt and feature the garter star encircled by the garter crowned with the imperial crown. Beneath his coat, he wore a white single-breasted waistcoat with three identical gilt buttons and plain black pants. This uniform is worn only at Windsor Castle and is reserved for those in the Queen’s household and private service.

How safe Victoria must have felt slipping her hand into the hand of the one who most certainly would guard her life with his very own. One wonders if he was duty bound to wear it that night, or if his choice was made to send the clear message to his Bride that she would never have to worry so long as he was near.

Their honeymoon had a quiet beginning, but certainly as the highlight of the young Queen’s life. She wrote in her diary of that night: “I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening…his affection gave me feelings of heavenly love and happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before!”

On their second evening, Victoria, having fully recovered from the prior day’s events, called for a dance to be held in the halls of Windsor. A houseful of what Charles Morris calls “high-spirited young people” {p. 99} danced the night away in gay celebration. The next night, the couple received the closest members of their families, the Duchess of Kent and Albert’s father and brother. Another ball was held, and they once again danced to their hearts’ content.

The couple enjoyed one final night out of the public’s eye, and then returned to London to establish themselves in their newly refurbished apartments at Buckingham Palace before stepping directly into government business. The rest of their days together, far too short it would turn out, were spent working side by side to promote the arts, lavishing one another with gifts, and filling their home with Royal children.

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