≈Leopold George Duncan Albert Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, 1st Duke of Albany
Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, Fourth and youngest son of Queen Victoria. The birth of Leopold was the first at which Victoria used chloroform, thus sanctioning the use of anaesthesia recently developed by James Young Simpson. Leopold inherited the disease of haemophilia from his mother and spent most of his childhood as a semi-invalid. He also suffered from epilepsy, an illness that affected the course of his life. Unable to pursue a military career because of his illness, he instead became a patron of the arts and literature and served as an unofficial secretary to his mother. He died on 28 March 1884 at age 30 at Villa Nevada, Cannes, France, from haemophilia, after a fall where he bumped his knee.
His son became Duke of Saxe-Coburg. He is considered by many to have been the most intelligent and probably most interesting of Victoria's sons. He had an immense thirst for life, which despite his illnesses, studied at Oxford and became friends with Lewis Carroll, John Ruskin and Oscar Wilde. He acted as an unofficial secretary of the Queen, so it is interesting to conject what his influence was on her. His brief experience of happiness during his marriage was cut short by his death.
The morning of Saturday 13 October 1883 promised fine weather for what was to be a day to remember in the history of Huddersfield. The town was to host its first Royal visit, by HRH Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (the youngest son of Queen Victoria), and his wife Princess Helene, Duchess of Albany, for the official opening of Beaumont Park. The Council had allocated £1,000 - roughly equivalent to £72,000 today - for the event, and no expense was to be spared.
The Royal couple were met at the Railway station - grandly decorated for the occasion - by a small party, led by Mayor John Brigg and Mr Beaumont, the benefactor, who had given his name to the new park. After a brief official welcome the visitors were escorted to the Fine Arts and Industrial exhibition at the recently opened Technical Schoool (now part of Huddersfield University), before proceeding to the Town Hall. There, the Royals were joined in a lavish luncheon not only by 150 fellow diners, but also by ticket-holding members of the public, who were admitted to spectate from the balcony!
The procession from the Town Hall to Beaumont Park set out at 1.30pm. All the roads on the processional route had been decked out with streamers, flags and bunting; the centrepiece of the decoration was a triumphal arch in Buxton Road, set in the style of a Norman Castle and with the motto "God Bless the Royal Pair" stretched across the battlements. Thousands of people lined the roads, anxious to get their first glimpse of Royalty. Headed by mounted police and 8 local brass bands, the procession was a spectacular assembly of wagons and floats showcasing local societies and trade exhibits, as well as private carriages; it was 4000 strong, and a mile and half long. Unfortunately, by the time it had reached Lockwood Road, the initially well-ordered parade had started to fall apart, as different modes of transport travelling at different speeds began to overtake or fall behind. Confusion reigned!
Nonetheless, the Royal party's arrival at the Park was delayed by only 30 minutes. Once there, the Duke's first task was ceremonially to open the gates (by the Park Keeper's Lodge) using a solid gold key, encrusted with 10 diamonds, 3 rubies, 2 emeralds, 30 pearls, and 30 turquoise, made for the occasion at the cost of £24. The visitors then walked down the main drive, amid cheering crowds, to the Butternab Road end of the Park, where they settled in a specially erected Pavilion in readiness for the official opening. Outside, things continued to run not entirely to plan. The area directly in front of the Pavilion was reserved for participants in the procession but the spectators in the Park began to stream into it. The police pushed the crowd back, but the parade was at this stage so widely spread out that it was another hour before everyone was in place.
Finally, having been introduced by Mayor Brigg, the Duke took the platform and publicly declared the Park open. Mr Beaumont and Alderman Hirst, Chairman of the Park Committee, responded to the Duke's speech. The Royal party then walked across to the newly constructed lake, where the Duchess completed the ceremonies by planting a sycamore tree, using a specially commissioned solid silver spade. The sycamore still flourishes in Beaumont Park.
The two distinguished visitors returned to their carriage for the journey back into Town, this time through Crosland Moor and Longroyd Bridge. It had started to rain, but even that could not dampen the spirits of the crowds of townsfolk still waiting along the roadsides. The first Royal visit was a truly memorable occasion for the Town and Huddersfield's first public park was now open.
The Marriage of H.R.H. Prince Leopold and the Princess Helene of Waldeck-Pyrmont
The Princess Helena Fredrica Augusta, Duchess of Albany, is the third daughter of His Serene Highness Prince George Victor, Prince of Waldeck Pyrmont, and the Princess Helena of Nassau. Waldeck Pyrmont is a principality in the north-west of Germany. The reigning family is very ancient, the founder being Count Nidekind of Sochwalenberg, in 1 137. In 1692, Count George Frederick Waldeck was created a Prince of the Empire by the Emperor Leopold II. of Germany. On the 18th of July, 1867, an arrangement was made giving the administration of the county to Prussia.
The bride's eldest sister, Princess Pauline, married the heir to the dukedom of Wurtemburg; this lady died on the same day that her sister's marriage took place in England. Her next sister, Emma, married at twenty-one the King of the Netherlands. Her youngest sister is now nine, and her only brother is seventeen years of age. It is said the marriage of the Duke and Duchess is one of pure affection. On the 22nd of February, Prince Leopold, who had been staying at Arolsen, the home of the Princess, accompanied her and her father on a private visit to the Queen; and during this visit the betrothal took place. When the Princess first arrived in England, she was dressed in a myrtle green silk dress, and velvet mantle trimmed with fur; the hat was green, so also the veil. The Princess Beatrice met her future sister-in-law at the Windsor station, and affectionately greeted her. After a ten days' visit, the bride elect and her father returned to Arolsen; and on the 22nd of April they again set out on their journey to England. As they left Arolsen, the path of the Princess was strewed with flowers by a band of little orphans. Her father and Baron Holden occupied one carriage; the Princess of Waldeck (her mother), herself, and her sister Elizabeth occupied the second, drawn by four horses decorated with flowers. A favourite pet dog, her inseparable companion, accompanied the Princess Helena. Four wagons, laden with eighty trunks of baggage, preceded the travellers to Scherfield, the nearest railway station, fifteen miles distant. At this station, two young girls, whom the Princess kissed, presented her with bouquets; and wherever the train stopped during the ten hours' journey to Middleburg, flowers were presented to her. Arrived at Flushing, the Queen's Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert received the party at eight in the morning; and all safely landed at Queenborough pier at eight in the evening. Here the Princess Elizabeth and her brother recognising their English nurse, the Prince met, and shaking hands with her, took her to his sister. At ten o'clock, the Commander-in-Chief at the Nore and some naval officers arrived in the admiral's barge; and a special train half-an-hour later brought down Prince Christian, of Schleswig and Holstein, and his retinue. As soon as the Princess landed, the mayor and corporation of Queenborough presented an address. The Princess Helena, who seemed invigorated rather than otherwise by her voyage, wore a dolman of peacock blue velvet, with deep chenille fringe; dress of peacock blue silk, embroidered with peacock bronze; and a bonnet of bronze velvet, with bronze and gold balls, and bronze leaves; a bunch of pink roses under the brim.
Windsor within two hours. At Windsor station the travellers were met by Prince Leopold, Princess Christian, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, and the Princess Louise, together with several of the nobility, and the mayor and corporation of Windsor. As soon as the train stopped, Prince Leopold handed the Princess from the carriage, saluted her, and introduced her to the mayor. Outside the station there was a guard of honour of the second battalion of Scots' Guards, and an escort of the 2nd Life Guards: and another guard of honour of the Scots' Guards received the royal party in the quadrangle of the castle. As the carriages drew up at the entrance to the castle, the Queen and her grandchild, the Princess Victoria of Hesse, were seen as if imbedded in a grove of flowers, waiting to welcome the future bride. The Queen kissed and warmly welcomed the Princess Helena, and greetings being exchanged with the illustrious party, they all proceeded to luncheon. Afterwards, all but Her Majesty visited the white drawing-room, where all the splendid presents were displayed. On the next day, the eve of the wedding, the King and Queen of the Netherlands (sister of the bride) arrived at Windsor to take part in the ceremony. A banquet was given by Her Majesty, in the Waterloo Gallery, to welcome her royal guests. In the afternoon of this day, the mayor and corporation of Windsor arrived in procession at the castle, to present an address to Prince Leopold, and a diamond bracelet to Princess Helena. The 27th of April was the wedding morn. Guards of honour were stationed in the quadrangle, and the castle yard was kept by a regiment of the Seaforth Highlanders, the Duke of Albany's own. Every available space was filled by crowds of people anxious to view the procession. At last twelve o'clock arrived, and as a royal salute was fired by the artillery stationed in the Long Walk, the first procession appeared, consisting of twelve dress carriages, closed, each drawn by a pain of horses, conveying the royal family and royal guests. Very demonstrative greetings were given to all, but more particularly to the Princess of Wales and her three daughters. The Princess of Waldeck (the mother of the bride), with her son, her youngest daughter, and the Queen of the Netherlands, were also loudly cheered. The second procession was that of the Queen, who, accompanied by Princess Beatrice and the Princes Victoria, were in a carriage drawn by four greys with postilions. Her Majesty was received with shouts of welcome, which threw into silence the roar of the cannon.
The third procession was that of the bridegroom and his escort, who occupied the first three carriages. In the fourth sat Prince Leopold with his "best men,' the Prince of Wales and the Grand Duke of Hesse Darmstadt. Of course their inmates were loudly cheered, the Prince of Wales equally with the bride groom.
The fourth procession was that of the bride and her escort, the bridesmaids, in four carriages. In the last carriage sat the bride, with her father the Prince of Waldeck Pyrmont, and her brother-in-law, the King of the Netherlands. At the moment the bride reached the doors of St. George's Chapel, a burst of splendid sunshine illuminated the whole scene, and the shouts of welcome were prolonged and loud. Some hundreds of ladies and gentlemen had been accommodated with seats in the nave, where, however, the marriage ceremony was invisible, but where they could view the splendid processions as they walked through the nave from the west door to the choir.
The space required for the processions was kept by a double line of Buffetiers, clad in their well-known garb, so familiar to visitors to the Tower of London —the quaint Henry .VIII. garb, picturesque and brilliant in colouring. Near the western door, stood the royal trumpeters, and a group of Gentlemen-at Arms.
The choir, reserved for the Ministerial, Diplomatic, and Military Dignitaries, with their wives, was extremely brilliant. As each procession arrived, it was announced by the blare of the silver trumpets. The Princesses and Royal Duchesses wore long trains, borne by ladies, also with long trains; the Princes being in uniform. Each procession was arranged in inverse order of precedence, those of the highest rank coming last in procession.
A festal march was played as each procession was conducted to their respective places. Her Majesty wore a robe of black satin, trimmed with chenille, and the Honiton lace and veil she wore at her own marriage. The veil was surmounted by a diadem of pearls and diamonds, a necklace and earrings of large diamonds, and the Koh-i-noor as a brooch and pendant, and the usual Orders. The Queen was followed by the Princess Beatrice and the Princess Victoria of Hesse Darmstadt. Princess Beatrice wore a train and bodice of pom padour satin, trimmed with roses of various shades, and a tunic of Honiton lace, over salmon pink satin. Head-dress, feathers, a lace veil, and diamond bees. The Princess of Hesse wore a pale lilac dress, and lace; trimmed with single narcissus. The bridegroom's procession consisted of the Heralds of Chester and Lancaster, and the gentlemen of his household. Then came the Duke of Albany, supported by his brother, the Prince of Wales, and his brother-in-law, the Grand Duke of Hesse Darmstadt. On reaching the haul pas, where the Queen was seated, he made a low bow to Her Majesty, and then turned to his glace; his supporters remained standing.
The bride's procession was magnificent. First came the heralds, then the Lord Chamberlain and the Vice-Chamberlain; then the bride, conducted by her father and by the King of the Netherlands - one hand supported by each. The train of the Princess was borne by eight unmarried daughters of Dukes, Marquises, and Earls, followed by the ladies and gentlemen in attendance. The bridal robe of the Princess was the gift of her sister, the Queen of the Netherlands; it consisted of a petticoat of white satin, trimmed with two robings of the finest and costliest Alencon lace, in which nestled orange blossoms and myrtles. The train, six yards long, was embroidered in silver, with raised sprays of lilies, and edged with coquilles of white satin and point d'Alencon. Low bodice and sleeves, trimmed with orange blossoms and myrtles. The veil was of the same costly material, and the wreath of orange blossoms and myrtles. The bridesmaids' costumes were of white satin, lace, and white moire, and trimmed with primroses, violets, and white heather. First there was a petticoat of white moire, near the hem a deep flounce of lace, heading this were groups of violets, then above a group of primroses, and the point was white heather. Again, a repetition of this, forming two rows of trimming. Above this a pompadour arrangement of white satin, a pointed bodice of moire, with bunches of the flowers arranged in a similar manner. The hair was arranged in a number of small curls, over the brow, and twisted in a low coil at the back; in this coil the flowers were placed, and a tulle veil below the flowers. As the bride's procession passed towards the altar, the special Nuptial March, composed by M. Gounod, was played, and when the bride knelt, with her bridesmaids also kneeling behind her, and the bride groom had taken his place, the Archbishop of Canterbury proceeded to perform the service. Precisely at this moment the sunlight streamed through the stained-glass windows, and cast the most beautiful colours over the bridal group. The reponses of the bride were made with remarkable clearness, but those of the Duke of Albany were not so distinctly audible. The bride was given away by her father, and then Prince Leopold placed the ring on her finger. At twenty minutes past one the ceremony was completed. The Prince then conducted his wife to the Queen, who cordially kissed her new daughter and the Prince. The bridegroom then turned to the father and mother of the bride, and embraces and congratulations occupied a few minutes. Then Mendelssohn's Wedding March pealed its joyous strains, and the newly- wedded pair walked down the choir and the nave to the west door, the bridesmaids holding the bride's train. In a few moments the Queen and the Princess Victoria of Hesse followed, then the other Princesses and Royal Duchesses entered the carriages, and drove back to the Castle, where the marriage register was signed by the bride and bridegroom, and attested by the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the royal family.
The Queen, with the bride and bridegroom, then proceeded to the grand reception room, where the guests invited to take part in the ceremony were received. Then passing through the Waterloo gallery to the great dining room, the bride and bridegroom received the congratulations of the company; and then seating themselves at the table, the royal party took their places. The only toasts proposed were four— "The Bride and Bridegroom;" "The Reigning Prince and Princess of Waldeck and Pyrmont;" "The King and Queen of the Netherlands;" and lastly, "The Queen." About four o'clock in the afternoon, the departure of the bride and bridegroom for Claremont took place amid the strains of the National Anthem, and the Waldeck and Pyrmont Hymn; a shower of rice being thrown at the Duke and Duchess. The latter wore a costume of ivory-white embossed velvet, trimmed with satin and point d' Alencon lace. A Dolman of ivory Sicilienne (very thick and soft silk), trimmed with chenille fringe, each strand tipped with a gold bead. An ivory Sicilienne bonnet, trimmed with lace. The royal couple were attended by the Hon. A. Yorke, and the Hon. Mrs. Morton, and were escorted by a detachment of the Second Life Guards. The carriages were driven a circuitous route through the streets, that the bridal party might witness the decorations, and their presence gratify the public. When the carriages arrived at the entrance to the Long Walk, and which they were about to pass, the Princesses again met the bride and bridegroom; they had hurried on foot, and without bonnets, down the Long Walk, to give the Duke and Duchess another adieu, by waving their handkerchiefs, the bridal pair responding in the same fashion. The first halt was made at Old Windsor, at the Tapestry Works, where a triumphal arch had been erected, and here a tiny girl, the youngest daughter of the oldest workman there, was lifted up to the carriage, and presented a bouquet to the bride, who kissed her, whereat there was such loud cheering from the people, that the horses became frightened. The next break was at the Beaumont Jesuit College. At Chertsey, the horses were changed, and there, and at Weybridge and Esher, and all along the route the demonstrations of loyalty and welcome were continuous till Claremont House was reached. This mansion, once Crown property, was the abode of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, and Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg, after their marriage; and here the lamented Princess died in her accouchement.
Claremont also received Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, after their marriage, and the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. Since this last, the Queen has purchased the house and grounds from the Commissioners of the Crown Lands, and it will no longer form part of these same Crown Lands, but be here after Her Majesty's own property, which she can dispose of as she pleases, and will never revert to what is termed Crown property. After the purchase, the basement of the house underwent complete sanitary inspection and renovation, and new rooms were added for the accommodation of the Duke and Duchess of Albany, to whom the Queen has offered it for their special residence. The rooms have been decorated in white and gold, and delicate ornamentation, in what is known as the "Adams' style" - the style which the brothers John, Robert, James, and William Adams introduced, when they built, in 1768, the streets named after them in the Strand, London, now known as the Adelphi locality, that is "the brothers' streets." It is probably a reproduction of a Pompeian style; Pompeii having been discovered, and the main street and houses cleared in 1750. A part of the Pavilion, in Brighton, is so decorated. The new suite of rooms includes the Duke's study, the boudoir and dressing-room of the Duchess, a bedroom, two dressing and two bath-rooms. The prevailing colour of the bed-rooms is reseda - a pale mignonette, or sage green of extremely pale tint, and white and gold; all the furniture being most delicately painted. The Duchess' dining-room is in red, white and gold, with silken hangings of pale rose colour, the furniture painted with flowers. The Duchess' boudoir is in peacock blue and gold, the ceiling delicately ornamented and coloured, and the upholstery of brocades and Windsor tapestry work.
The dressing-room of the Duke is in blue and white, with linen hangings embroidered in various shades of blue. This was done by the members of the "Ladies' Work Society," under the inspection of the Princess Louise (Marchioness of Lorne), who is the President. The Duke's bath-room is furnished in geranium red and white hangings, the furniture of ornamented wood work.
The trousseau of the Duchess was very beautiful; many of the dresses were made by London modistes. One presented to the bride by Her Majesty, was a train and bodice of turquoise-blue velvet, brocaded on a blue satin ground, the design being of roses with foliage ; the train was lined with a rich maize satin, and edged with a pleating of the same and blue. The petticoat of blue satin, covered with Honiton lace flounces, each being six inches in depth. This lace was made expressly for the occasion by order of the Queen. Each flounce headed by gold and pearl embroidery, the design of pines. In the front this petticoat was open and displayed a petticoat of maize satin. The paniers were turned from the front in Pompadour style, and formed the train at the back. The low bodice was trimmed with lace and embroidery to match. Prince Leopold presented his bride with two dresses, one of pale blue satin, trimmed with iridescent embroidery and lace; the low bodice surrounded by roses, so also the train of blue satin lined with blue and with lace. The second dress was without a train. The jacket was of Oriental brocade, having blue, red, and gold threads interwoven. This opened over a vest of ivory-satin, which seemed to be a portion of the ivory-satin petticoat, with satin paniers, Pompadour style. The trimming was of Hesse, with gold threads. A matinee was of shot silk, of the palest blue and pink, resembling the colour, beautiful and delicate, of a pigeon's breast-feathers—it was trimmed with the palest pink silk and paleficelle (twine colour) lace. A Tea Gown was of shot silk, the palest grey and gold; the grey of the colour of the Peking silks. This had wide stripes of grey satin, and on the stripes and embroidery of pink flowers and pink leaves. This was trimmed with ivory-lace. One of the simplest dresses was also remarkably stylish. The skirt was the finest and palest grey alpaca, with fan pleating’s round the skirt, which opened in the front over a petticoat of gamete satin. A long coat bodice lined with similar satin. By the marriage articles signed previous to the wedding of the Princess Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the Prince, her father, stipulated to give his daughter a dowry of one hundred thousand marks, £5,000, to be delivered within four weeks after the marriage, and to provide his daughter with princely apparel, jewels, and an outfit suitable to a Princess of Waldeck and Pyrmont. On the other hand, Her Britannic Majesty agreed that H.R.H. Prince Leopold shall secure to the Princess of Waldeck, out of any revenues belonging to His Royal Highness, or granted to him by Parliament, the sum of £1,500 annually, for the Princess' sole and separate use, but without power to anticipate any part of this sum till it becomes due. Should the Princess, now Duchess of Albany, become a widow, she will have £6,000 per annum, from the day of the death of her husband Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.
The Marriage Presents to the Duke and Duchess of Albany
From the Queen – Pearl and diamond necklace’ amethyst and diamond necklace; parure of coral cameos; old enamel and diamond brooch and earrings; old Argenton lace; Irish lace; velvet dress with Honiton lace, Indian shawls; picture of the bride in oils, by C. Sohn.
The, Fürst and Fürstin zu Waldeck und Pyrmont (parents of the bride) – Necklace and sun-rays in diamonds; silver gilt breakfast service.
The King and Queen (sister of the bride) of the Netherlands – Large diamond sprays; Deventer carpet.
The Bridegroom – A necklace of diamonds; large diamond star; a ruby bracelet; a ruby and diamond bracelet; sapphire and diamond earrings; Spanish lace.
The Prince and Princess of Wales – Diamond Fleur de Lys; Russian silver gilt tea service.
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh – Ruby and diamond bracelet; Russian silver gilt liqueur service.
The Grand Duke von Hesse und bei Rhine, the Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke and Duchess of Connaught, Prince and Princess Christian, Princess Louise, and Princess Beatrice – Diamond wheatears.
The Grand Duke von Hesse und bei Rhine – Old silver and enamel watch.
Princess Victoria von Hesse und bei Rhine – China dish.
Princess Louise (Marchioness of Lorne) – Dutch landscape in oils.
The Marquis of Lorne – Oil painting of Quebec.
Princess Beatrice – Water colour painting.
The Kronprinz and Kronprinzessin von Germany, (Princess Royal) – Marble bust of the Kronprinz.
The Prinz and Prinzessin Wilhelm von Prussia, (son of the Kronprinzessin) – Diamond ring.
The Erbprinzessin von Saxe-Meiningen, (daughter of the Kronprinzessin) – Florentine hanging lamp.
The Kaiserin von Germany – Pearl and diamond pin.
The Empress Eugénie – A set silver plates; a diamond ring.
The Grand Duchess von Mecklenburg und Strelitz – Silver gilt sugar basin.
The Hereditary Grand Duke von Mecklenurg und Strelitz – Brass clock.
The Duchess of Cambridge – Silver salver.
The Duke of Cambridge – Old silver gilt kettle.
Prinzessin Frederica von Hanover – Silver gilt candle-sticks.
The Duke and Duchess of Teck – Silver goblet.
Prinz and Prinzessin Philipp von Saxe-Coburg und Gotha – Hungarian dessert service.
The Duke von Nassau-Weilburg – Diamond, ruby and sapphire butterfly.
Prinz and Prinzessin Wilhelm of Wurttemberg – Pearl and diamond butterfly.
The Funeral of Leopold, The Duke of Albany
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