Page images

On 9th November of the same year the Prince of Wales attained his eighteenth year, and became legally heir to the Crown. The Queen wrote him a letter announcing his emancipation from parental control, and he was so touched by its perusal that he brought it to General Wellesley with tears in his eyes, and we have the impartial testimony of Charles Greville as to the character of the epistle, which was, says the famous diarist, "one of the most admirable letters that ever was penned." On the same day he became a Colonel in the Army, and received the Garter, while Colonel Bruce became his governor.

Exactly a month after his birthday, the Prince started on a Continental tour, travelling more or less incognito as Baron Renfrew. He was accompanied by Mr. Tarver, who had just been appointed his chaplain and director of studies. The Prince stayed some time in Rome and visited the Pope, but on 29th April 1859 the Prince Consort wrote to Baron Stockmar : "We have sent orders to the Prince of Wales to leave Rome and to repair to Gibraltar." For it was very properly considered, that owing to the Franco-Italian and Austrian imbroglio, it was far better that the heir to the British throne should be well out of the way of international dissensions.

The Prince reached Gibraltar on 7th May, and visited the south of Spain and Lisbon, returning home in the middle of the next month; and then, after having seen something of the world, he again took up a very serious course of study, this time at Edinburgh. Meanwhile the education and training of the HeirApparent was being watched very carefully by the British public, and a good many people began to consider that their future King was being over-educated; indeed Punch, in some lines entitled "A Prince at High Pressure," undoubtedly summed up the popular feeling, not only describing the past, but prophesying, with a great deal of shrewd insight, the future course of the Prince of Wales's studies:

To the south from the north, from the shores of the Forth,
Where at hands Presbyterian pure science is quaffed,

The Prince, in a trice, is whipped to the Isis,

Where Oxford keeps springs mediæval on draught.

Dipped in grey Oxford mixture (lest that prove a fixture),
The poor lad's to be plunged in less orthodox Cam.,
Where dynamics and statics, and pure mathematics,

Will be piled on his brain's awful cargo of cram.

But the Prince seems to have borne his course of study very well, and after his son had been in Edinburgh some three months the Prince Consort wrote to Baron Stockmar: "In Edinburgh I had an Educational Conference with all the persons who were taking

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

part in the education of the Prince of Wales. They all speak highly of him, and he seems to have shown zeal and goodwill. Dr. Lyon Playfair is giving him lectures on chemistry in relation to manufactures, and at the close of each special course he visits the appropriate manufactory with him, so as to explain its practical application. Dr. Schmitz (the Director of the High School of Edinburgh, a German) gives him lectures on Roman history. Italian, German, and French are advanced at the same time; and three times a week the Prince exercises with the 16th Hussars, who are stationed in the city. Mr. Fisher, who is to be the tutor for

Oxford, was also in Holyrood. Law and history are to be the subjects on which he is to prepare the Prince."

The young Prince spent a delightful holiday in the Highlands, and made an expedition up Ben Muichdhui, one of the highest mountains in Scotland. Then, on 9th November, His Royal Highness's nineteenth birthday was celebrated with the whole of his family, for the Princess Royal had arrived from Berlin in order to spend the day with her brother.

The Prince of Wales was at that time very fond of the writings of Sir Walter Scott. He has always been a reader of fiction, French, English, and German, and as a youth he was studious and eager to learn.

On leaving Scotland he went to Oxford, being admitted a member of Christ Church. The Prince seems to have thoroughly enjoyed his life as an undergraduate. He joined freely in the social life of the University, and took part in all the sports, frequently hunting with the South Oxfordshire Hounds.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]




DURING the Crimean war, Canada, stirred, as seem to have been all the British colonies, by the direful stress of the mother country, levied and equipped a regiment of infantry. In return, the Canadians had asked Her Majesty to visit her American possessions; but it was considered undesirable that the Queen should be exposed to the fatigue and the risks of so long a journey.

Her Majesty was then asked to appoint one of her sons GovernorGeneral of the Dominion, but the extreme youth of all the Princes made that quite out of the question. The Queen, nevertheless, formally promised that when the Prince of Wales was old enough he should visit Canada in her stead. When the Prince was well on in his eighteenth year his parents decided that it was time for this promise to be fulfilled, the more so that it would enable the great railway bridge across the St. Lawrence at Montreal to be opened, and the foundation-stone of the Parliament buildings at Ottawa to be laid, by a Prince of the blood.

The Prince Consort, with the care and forethought which always distinguished him in such matters, made a most careful choice of those who were to accompany his young son. Both the Queen and he felt the greatest confidence in the Duke of Newcastle, and with him Prince Albert arranged all the details of the Prince's Canadian visit. The careful and kindly father forgot nothing that might be needed. Not only did he take special pains to secure that the young Prince should learn something of the history, customs, and prejudices

of the Canadian people, but he supplied the Duke with memoranda which might be found useful in drawing up the answers to be made to the addresses which were certain to be presented to the Prince of Wales during his progress through the Dominion. The best proof of the Prince Consort's wisdom is to be found in the fact that every one of these notes afterwards turned out to be simply invaluable, owing

[graphic][merged small]

to the peculiar aptness with which they had been framed to suit the circumstances of each locality where an address was likely to be received.

When it became known on the American Continent that the Prince of Wales was really coming to Canada, the President of the United States, Mr. Buchanan, wrote to the Queen explaining how cordial a welcome the Prince of Wales would receive at Washington should he extend his visit to the United States.

« PreviousContinue »