Sunday, February 19, 2017

Queen Victoria's Christmas

Queen Victoria and her husband were the guests of the Duke of Buckingam at his palatial establishment at Stowe at the beginning of 1845. The journey would take the by railway from Euston to Wolverton and thence by carriage to Stowe. For the railway and North Bucks residents this was a great occasion and great efforts were made. A waiting room was re-decorated for her Majesty and the roads were scraped and levelled. Most of the towns and villages along the route were decorated. This report from the Morning Chronicle details the return journey.
The newly refurbished waiting room at Wolverton


Morning Chronicle January 20 1845

Her Majesty’sVisit to Stowe
Return of Her majesty
(From our reporter.)

The principal entertainment provided for her Majesty at Stowe on Friday evening by the care of her noble host, was a concert in which the Messrs. Distins were the performers.
To this concert the invitations were very numerous. The list was given in Saturday’s paper.
As the company arrived, something like a drawing-room was held – the guests, on being announced, passing in long array before her majesty, who occupied a throne-like chair in one of the principal apartments.
The Earl of Delawarr and the Duke of Buckingham stood on either side of her Majesty.
During the evening the Queen, observing that some inconvenience was experienced by several of the ladies and gentlemen as they were introduced in approaching sufficiently near to the place she occupied, rose, and herself attempted to move her seat to a more desireable position. The motion was of course anticipated by the watchfulness of her Majesty’s attendants, and the position of the chair duly altered.
The concert went off extremely well, her majesty expressing herself as much gratified. The following was the programme:-
Quintet: “Robert toi que j’aime” Meyerbeer.
Quartet: Prize glee, “Harmony” Beale
Fantasia: Trumpet, Mr. Distin, “The Soldier Tired,” accompanied on the pianoforte by Mr. James Perring Dr. Arne
Quintet: Etude, “Le Penitent Moir” Bertini
Quintet: “Fra poco a me” (Lucia) Donizetti
Quintet: Air de Joseph Meehul
“God Save the Queen.”
About half-past elen o’clock her Majesty and the Prince, attended bythe Duke of Buckingham and the Duchess, passed into the supper room, where they remained for about half an hour.
Shortly after twelve o’clock the Queen and the Prince retired for the night, and the company generally took their departure shortly after one o’clock.
Stowe House in 1829

At an early hour on Saturday morning the note of preparation for the departure of the Queen and her Royal Company was sounded.
The portion of the Bucks Yeomanry not selected for escort duty was drawn up near the mansion of Stowe.
The artillery troop took up a favourable position for firing a royal salute.
In Buckingham something like the bustle for the day of arrival was visible. From an early hour the church bells tolled merrily. The flags and banners, which had been kept flying, and the arches and evergreen decorations which had not been removed,looked as fresh and gay as ever. Most of the inhabitants wore ribbons and favours, and the stand erected for spectators was again partially crowded.
Shorty after ten o’clock the royal cortege left Stowe, both her Majesty and the Prince having expressed their delight at the reception they had met with, and their appreciation of the efforts made for their entertainment by their noble host. Bothe The Duke of Buckingham and the Marquess of Chandos rode alongside the royal carriage.
The party passed through the double lines of the yeomanry, the artillery meanwhile saluting, and the band playing the National Anthem.
At Buckingham they were met by townspeople in procession, formed into a somewhat similar order as on the day of arrival.
The usual demonstrations of loyalty and affection were vociferously bestowed on all hands.
After leaving Buckingham, the party proceeded rapidly towards Wolverton.
The escort duty was arranged as before.
At the different arches along the road, groups of the peasantry living in the neighbourhood had assembled, and vociferously cheered the Queen and Prince as they passed by.
At Page-hill the Duke of Buckingham stopped and took leave of his royal guests, returning to Stowe. The Marquess of Chandos accompanied them to Wolverton.
At Stony Stratford, the royal party was met by Lord Carrington, the lord-lieutenant of the county, on horseback. The cavalcade proceeded slowly through the little town, the denizens of which greeted it right loyally. As at Buckingham the evergreens, flags, and ivy still decorated the streets.
The distance from Stony Stratford to Wolverton was soon accomplished, and the cortege drove to the station at a rapid rate.
Inside the station, the staff of the Royal Bucks Militia, and a dismounted party of the yeomanry, under Major Lucas, were drawn up. A number of respectable people had also been admitted to view the arrival and departure of royalty. The usual preparations had been duly made. Crimson cloth was laid over the platform, and the apartment destined for the reception of her Majesty arranged as on the journey down.
Mr Glynn, the chairman of the company, Mr. Creed, the secretary, and several of the principal officials of the railway were in attendance.
The royal party arrived shortly before twelve o’clock.
Her Majesty and the Prince retired for a short time to the apartment provided for them, and then, the special train being reported in readiness, proceeded to the royal carriage. On the platform they took leave of the Marquess of Chandos and Lord Carrington. Prince Albert conversed for some time with the former nobleman, who stood close to the door of the royal carriage.
At twelve o’clock the train was set in motion. Mr. Berry drove the engine. The distance from Wolverton to Euston square, fifty-to miles, was performed in an hour and twenty-five minutes.
On the arrival of the train Mr. Boothby, one of the principal directors was in attendance to receive it, and many ladies were assembled on the platform to greet her Majesty on her return.


The whole of the coachmakers and other mechanics working at the terminus, as well as the servants of the company, were also assembled, amounting in all to between three and four hundred, drawn up on the platform. The assemblage cheered lustily as the train stopped, and her Majesty and the Prince stepped across the platform into the apartment provided for them.

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