Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Queen Victoria in Darmstadt

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March 30, 1880

The special train carrying Queen Victoria arrived at ten minutes to 6 this evening, "punctual to the time announced," in Darmstadt. Victoria, who is traveling under the name Countess Balmoral, arrived from the Villa Hohenlohe, near Baden-Baden. According to Victoria's "express desire, not the slightest approach to a formal reception had been prepared for her," according to the Times.
The newspaper's correspondent noted "the neat and clean residential town, painfully mathematical to a stranger in the precision of its streets."

After the train had come to a stop, Princesses Victoria and Elisabeth of Hesse -- "the young ladies whose ceremonious confirmation to-morrow will be witnessed by their Royal Grandmother" -- entered the Queen's carriage to greet Her Majesty. Victoria was also welcomed by her son-in-law, Grand Duke Ludwig IV, dressed in plain clothes, who gave Victoria his arm and escorted her to the special waiting room before everyone proceeded to their carriages.

It was a beautiful, and Victoria, willing to relax her incognito, allowed to the closed carriage "to be flung open," as she was driven to the Grand Ducal Palace. She was accompanied by the Grand Duke and his eldest daughter, Victoria, and Princess Beatrice.

The crowd cheered "graciously" as the carriage wended its way toward the Palace.

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrived a few days ago in Darmstadt, and "were not in waiting" at the station. Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia arrived this evening from Berlin, and the Grand Ducal family of Baden will come tomorrow.

The Princesses' confirmation ceremony "promises to be stately and affecting." After the ceremony, the Queen is expected to "make a pious pilgrimage to the tomb" of Princess Alice.

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