Maria's Diary 21-22
The new Queen
Keep the unity of spirit,
Keep it in the bonds of peace,
So alone shall we inherit
Hope, and truth, and blessedness.
28 June 1838
The new Queen is being crowned today. We have all joined the thousands on the streets to get a glimpse of her procession in the State Coach with the Duchess of Sutherland and Lord Albemarle. It is a fine day, and the crowds of people exceed what I have ever seen; seemingly millions assembled in every spot to witness the Procession. I expect people will be crushed and squeezed on account of the tremendous rush and pressure.
I decided that I would make use of the newspapers to write what I consider the most interesting bits of the day.
They reached the Abbey amid deafening cheers at a little after half-past eleven; The Queen went into a robing-room quite close to the entrance where she collector her eight train-bearers - all dressed alike and beautifully in white satin and silver tissue with wreaths of silver corn-ears in front, and a small one of pink roses around the plait behind, and pink roses in the trimmings of the dresses.
Then followed all the various things; when the Crown was being placed on her head all the Peers and Peeresses put on their coronets at the same instant. Lord Melbourne, who stood very close to her throughout the whole ceremony, was completely overcome at this moment, and very much affected; he gave her a fatherly look.
The shouts, which were very great, the drums, the trumpets, the firing of the guns, all at the same instant, rendered the spectacle most imposing. The Archbishop had (most awkwardly) put the ring on her wrong finger, and the consequence was that she had the greatest difficulty to take it off again, which she at last did with great pain.
At about half-past four The Queen re-entered her carriage, the Crown on her head, and the Sceptre and Orb in her hands, and they proceeded the same way as they had come - the crowds if possible having increased.
Here are some more details about the music, her dress and the crown.
The music was directed by Sir George Smart who attempted to conduct the musicians and play the organ simultaneously: the result was less than effective. Smart's fanfares for the State Trumpeters were "a strange medley of odd combinations". Smart had tried to improve the quality of the choir by hiring professional soloists and spent £1,500 on them (including his own fee of £300).
Although William Knyvett had written an anthem, "This is the Day that the Lord hath made", there was a great reliance on the music of George Fredrick Handal: no less than four of his pieces were performed, including the famous Hallelujah Chorus.
Not everyone was critical. The Bishop of Rochester wrote that “the music was impressive and compelled all to realize that they were taking part in a religious service – not merely in a pageant."
A smaller Imperial State Crown was made for her using a total of 3,093 gems. Victoria wore the George the IV diadem in the returning procession.
For the journey to Westminster Abbey, Victoria wore a crimson velvet robe over a stiff white satin dress with gold embroidery. The train of her robe was extremely long and was later described as "a very ponderous appendage". Having been proclaimed Queen by the assembly in the Abbey, Victoria retired to a special robing room where she replaced the crimson cloak with a lighter white linen gown trimmed with a very deep flounce of Honiton lace,. She had a wreath of orange blossom on her head and wore a diamond necklace and earrings, with Albert’s wedding present of ‘a beautiful sapphire brooch’.
Not a cloud her joy o'ershade,
Not a joy decay;
Holy is that gentle maid
As the light of day.
This year, when I turned twenty Papa reminded me that there was money put aside for each of the children to have an educational boost. I said I rather fancied going to France for a while to improve my language skills, and also to absorb some of their culture. Both parents felt it was a good idea.
I saw an advert in the London Courier. “An English lady who resides in Paris for the education of her only daughter wishes to meet with two young ladies who would be provided with room and board and whose education she would be happy to supervise at the same time.” Then it gave the address as “AB at Mr. Nesbitts 21 Berner St off Oxford Street. References required, and given.”
So I sent her a letter saying that I was interested and asking for more details. It turned out she lives in Paris term time, and returns to England for the long educational breaks, so she was able to see me on Tuesday of the next week. Moma agreed to accompany me and we were very impressed by her poise and demeanor and her qualifications, as she teaches both piano and singing, which gave me another reason for being excited at the idea. We met her daughter too, who is in her final year of education in Paris. She also thinks there is another girl, about my age, who would make up the full house. Her name is Sarah Kellat and she is from Ireland.
It all went to plan, and we were happily ensconced in our house in Paris, from October to December. Our professor of languages was a man called Victor de Stains. He was a very good tutor, but unfortunately Sarah fell in love with him. When our three months ended, Victor came back with Sarah, intending to become her husband.
While I was there, we saw all the usual bits of Paris that all tourists see - the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Opera. We went on two occasions, on the 25 October to see Miss Kelly Ou la Lettre et L'engagement , comedy and prose, with Paul Dupont taking the leading role.
On November 15, we went La Danse d’honneur, another comic opera.
Both were directed by Eduard Monnais, and very enjoyable they were too. I was proud to be able to say I understood all the French.
Before we arrived, there had been an Exposition, and although it was not any longer open, we were able to see a selection of the things from it. They had exhibits in fabrics, chemicals, metals and minerals, fine arts, agricultural utensils, ceramics, and precise and musical instruments. There was a very elaborate and fine Pleyel piano that I took a great interest in. Apparently Chopin said that the Pleyel company manufactures the best pianos he has ever used.
But the entire city was taken over by the work of Mssr. Daguerr who has made a picture of a person or a scene available, through a copper plate coated with silver iodine. His work was everywhere, and there was even at La Galerie Paris, an art space for all his daguerreotypes, which are also called photographs. We may well have featured in his work without knowing, because he was everywhere, taking pictures of everything and then displaying them.
When I got home the children all commented on how much better my siinging and piano playing had become, and I think they were pleased to see me back.
Papa gave us all this advice, “You have all been trained not in hardshell but in love – not with severity to enforce submission and obedience – but in trust and hope of gentleness.”