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The table was laid for forty on the main deck (called the Windsor Long Walk), which was decorated with flags, trophies of arms, and ornaments. After the Queen had been honoured, Captain Glyn proposed the Prince's health and begged him to accept an album as a keepsake from himself and his officers. contained, besides a large photograph of every officer, photographed groups of the men and the Guard of Honour, views of different parts of the ship, and photographs of a few favourite animals.
The real popularity of the Prince's visit to India was significantly proved by the popular demonstrations which awaited him on his return. Enthusiastic greetings of welcome hailed him in the evening both at Victoria Station and in his drive round by Grosvenor Place, Piccadilly, and St. James's Street to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The appearance of the Prince and Princess at the Royal Italian Opera in the evening, within two hours of their reaching home, was a particularly graceful act of consideration. Nothing could surpass the enthusiasm with which their Royal Highnesses were greeted when they were seen in the Royal box.
During the days that followed, their Royal Highnesses received congratulatory visits from all the members of the Royal Family then in England, and from many distinguished personages. On the Sunday after the Prince's return, His Royal Highness, accompanied by the Princess, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Duke of Connaught, attended divine service at Westminster Abbey in the afternoon, when special thanksgivings were offered up for the safe return of the Prince from India.
Soon afterwards His Royal Highness was entertained at a banquet and ball given by the Corporation of the City of London at the Guildhall. The temporary building erected for this brilliant assembly, to which over five thousand were invited, occupied the whole of Guildhall Yard. The reception hall was on the basement floor, the ballroom being built above it, and was beautifully decorated and draped with Oriental hangings. A daïs had been erected for their Royal Highnesses; and the scene is described as a combination of quaintly medieval magnificence with modern luxury and elegance. The reception ceremony took place in the new library of the Guild
hall, where an address of welcome in a golden casket of Indian design was presented to His Royal Highness by the Lord Mayor. The Prince, in a brief reply, said that it was his highest reward and his greatest pride to have received from the citizens of London and
his countrymen such a welcome at the termination of a visit which had been undertaken with the view to strengthening the ties that bound India to our common country. The invitation tickets for this brilliant function were both beautiful and appropriate, the Star of India and the Taj Mahal at Agra figuring prominently in the design.
Among the other entertainments given in honour of the Prince's return may be mentioned a concert at the Albert Hall. The Prince and Princess on their arrival were received by a Guard of Honour of 120 bluejackets from the Serapis, the Raleigh, and the Osborne, under the command of Captain Carr Glyn, and in the vestibule were all the Council of the Albert Hall, wearing the Windsor uniform. At their head was the Duke of Edinburgh in naval uniform. The vast hall was crowded with a distinguished audience.
QUIET YEARS OF PUBLIC WORK, 1876–87—VISIT TO IRELANDTHE QUEEN'S JUBILEE
THE year 1876 was marked, in addition to the Prince of Wales's return from India, by a curious example of His Royal Highness's tact and courage. The Prince consented to preside at the special Jubilee Festival of the Licensed Victuallers' Asylum, and this action aroused an extraordinary amount of feeling in temperance circles. Before the day of the festival the Prince of Wales received more than 200 petitions from all over the kingdom begging him to withdraw his consent. His Royal Highness, however, attended the festival, and in his speech pointedly referred to his critics, urging that he was there, not to encourage the consumption of alcoholic liquors, but to support an excellent charity, which had enjoyed the patronage of his honoured father.
It is interesting to note the manner in which the Prince of Wales always refers to his father, with whom he undoubtedly has far more in common than is generally supposed. Perhaps the most conspicuous taste shared by the father and the son is a really keen and personal interest in exhibitions of all kinds. This was probably first realised by those about him twenty years ago, when His Royal Highness accepted the onerous duties of Executive President of the British Commission of the Paris Exhibition of 1878. He threw himself with ardour into this work almost immediately after his return from India, and during a short visit which he paid to France in that spring he received a considerable number of official personages connected with the approaching exhibition.
The Prince, accompanied by the Princess, unveiled in the following
July a statue of Alfred the Great at Wantage, the birthplace of the famous King. The statue was the gift of Colonel LoydLindsay (now Lord Wantage), the sculptor being Count Gleichen (Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg). The Prince of Wales is a lineal descendant of King Alfred by the intermarriage of the Saxon with the Norman reigning houses in the eleventh century, and it was most appropriate that he should have been invited to perform the ceremony.
In January 1878 the Prince of Wales, accompanied by Prince Louis Napoleon, visited the Duke of Hamilton at Hamilton Palace, in Lanarkshire. The Crown Prince of Austria was also a guest of His Grace at the time. The Prince greatly enjoyed this visit to the premier Peer of Scotland, who is of the ancient lineage of Scottish Royalty. The Royal visitors enjoyed some excellent sport in the historic Cadzow Forest-Cadyow having been granted by King Robert the Bruce after the battle of Bannockburn to Sir Gilbert Hamilton, the ancestor of the present Duke. Here still remain the few old oaks of the once great Caledonian Forest, immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in his ballad of "Cadyow Castle"; and here are also the wild white bulls of the same breed as preserved at Chillingham, and the famous Cadzow herd of wild cattle. The Royal visitors were deeply interested in all that was to be seen here, and greatly enjoyed their visit.
This year of 1878, so brilliant in Paris, brought to the British Royal family a bereavement which can only be compared for its suddenness and bitterness with the death of the Prince Consort. The Grand Duchess of Hesse (Princess Alice), after nursing her children through a malignant diphtheria, herself fell a victim to the same dread disease on the very anniversary of her father's death. The blow fell with peculiar severity on the Prince and Princess of Wales, with whom Princess Alice had been united in the bonds of the closest affection, especially since the Prince's illness, in which she had proved herself so devoted a nurse. The link between the Royal brother and sister is significantly shown by the fact that Princess Alice never visited England without paying long visits at Sandringham or at Marlborough House. The Prince of Wales was one of the chief mourners at the funeral in Darmstadt..