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Prince," wrote General Bruce to his sister, "takes great delight in the new world on which he has entered, and Dr. Stanley is a great
acquisition." They visited the Pyramids together, and then resumed their voyage, the Prince characteristically persuading Dr. Stanley to
read East Lynne, a book which had greatly struck his imagination. When recording the circumstance, Dr. Stanley adds:
"It is impossible not to like him, and to be constantly with him. brings out his astonishing memory of names and persons. . . . I am more and more struck by the amiable and endearing qualities of the Prince. His Royal Highness had himself laid down a rule that there was to be no shooting to-day (Sunday), and though he
THE PRINCE OF WALES'S RECEPTION BY SAID PACHA, VICEROY OF EGYPT,
was sorely tempted, as we passed flocks of cranes and geese seated on the bank in the most inviting crowds, he rigidly conformed to it; a crocodile was allowed to be a legitimate exception, but none appeared. He sat alone on the deck with me, talking in the frankest manner, for an hour in the afternoon, and made the most reasonable and proper remarks on the due observance of Sunday in England."
A sad event which occurred in March was destined to draw
closer together the ties which were now binding His Royal Highness and his chaplain, for on 23rd March the news was broken to Dr. Stanley that his mother was dead. The Prince of Wales showed the kindest and most tender consideration for his bereaved travelling companion, and was much gratified that Dr. Stanley very wisely made up his mind to continue the journey instead of hurrying home
A few days later the Royal party reached Palestine, and it is interesting to note that this was the first time that the heir to the English throne, since the days of Edward I. and Eleanor, had visited the Holy City. The Prince of Wales landed at Jaffa on 31st March, and both on his entrance into the Holy Land and during his approach to Jerusalem he followed in the footsteps of Richard Cœur de Lion and Edward I. The cavalcade, escorted by a troop of Turkish cavalry, climbed the Pass of Bethhoron, catching their first glimpse of Jerusalem from the spot where Richard is recorded to have hidden his face in his shield, with the words, "Ah, Lord God, if I am not thought worthy to win back the Holy Sepulchre, I am not worthy to see it!"
The Prince, accompanied by Dr. Stanley, carefully explored Jerusalem and its neighbourhood, riding over the hills of Judæa to Bethlehem, walking through the famous groves of Jericho, and staying some time at Bethany.
Late in the afternoon," writes Dr. Stanley, "we reached Bethany. I then took my place close beside the Prince. Every one else fell back by design or accident, and at the head of the cavalcade we moved on towards the famous view. This was the one half-hour which, throughout the journey, I had determined to have alone with the Prince, and I succeeded."
During Dr. Stanley's previous journey to the Holy Land he had not been permitted to visit the closely-guarded cave of Machpelah, but on this occasion, thanks to the diplomacy of General Bruce, not only the Prince of Wales, but also his chaplain, was allowed to set foot within the sacred precincts. Even to Royal personages the Mosque of Hebron had remained absolutely barred for nearly seven hundred years, and on the present occasion the Turkish official in charge declared that "for no one but for the eldest son of the
Queen of England would he have allowed the gate to be opened; indeed, the Princes of any other nation should have passed over his body before doing so."
His Royal Highness, with his usual thoughtfulness, had made Dr. Stanley's entrance with himself a condition of his going in at all, and when the latter went up to the Prince to thank him and to say that but for him he would never have had this great opportunity, the young man answered with touching and almost reproachful simplicity, “High station, you see, sir, has, after all, some merits, some advantages." "Yes, sir," replied Dr. Stanley, "and I hope that you will always make as good a use of it."
On the party's return to Jerusalem, they witnessed the Samaritan Passover, and Easter Sunday, 20th April, was spent by the shores of Lake Tiberias.
During the journey from Tiberias to Damascus the Prince and his escort lived in tents, an experience which His Royal Highness seems to have thoroughly enjoyed. From Damascus the party turned westward, reaching Beyrout on 6th May, and after visiting Tyre and Sidon they proceeded to Tripoli. On 13th May His Royal Highness left the shores of Syria, visiting on his homeward journey Patmos, Ephesus, Smyrna, Constantinople, Athens, and Malta.
It was very characteristic of the Prince that wherever he went he collected a number of flowers or leaves from every famous spot, which, after having been carefully dried by him, were sent to his sister, the Princess Royal.
It was very soon after his return from the East that the Prince of Wales played for the first time an important part in a family gathering the wedding of his favourite sister, Princess Alice, to Prince Louis of Hesse. The bride was given away by her uncle, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but the young Prince of Wales acted as master of the house during the quiet week which preceded the ceremony.
THE PRINCE OF WALES'S MARRIAGE
As is very generally known, the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark was brought about in quite a romantic fashion. It is said that long before His Royal Highness saw his future wife he was very much attracted by a glimpse of her photograph, shown him by one of his friends. Be that as it may, it is certain that though many Princesses had been spoken of in connection with the Prince, and at one time there were actually negotiations impending with the view of his engagement to the daughter of a German Royal House, all such schemes were instantly abandoned after he had seen the beautiful Danish Princess.
The first informal meeting took place in the Cathedral of Worms during the Prince's foreign tour in 1861. The Prince, accompanied by his tutor and equerry, had gone to examine the frescoes, and when wandering through the beautiful old Cathedral they met Prince Christian of Denmark and his daughter intent on the same object. Somewhat later His Royal Highness again met his future wife when he was staying with his sister, the Crown Princess of Prussia, at Heidelberg, and the Prince Consort puts on record in his diary that "the young people seem to have taken a warm liking for each other."
Later, after the Prince Consort's death, during a short visit which he paid to his cousin, the King of the Belgians, the Prince again met Princess Alexandra, and it is said that King Leopold had a considerable share in arranging the preliminaries of the marriage, for it was while the Prince and Princess were both staying at Laeken that the Queen's formal consent to her son's making a Danish alliance was granted.