Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol III (1901).djvu/453
sole and supreme, to the injury of her prerogative. But her immediate ambition was to confirm the personal connection between the army and herself. She therefore induced Palmerston to sanction the appointment of her cousin, George, The Duke of Cambridge. Duke of Cambridge, as commander-in-chief, in succession to Lord Hardinge (14 July 1860). The duke had held a command in the Crimea, and the queen's recent displays of attachment to the army rendered it difficult for her advisers to oppose her wish. But the choice was not in accord with public policy, and in practical effect ultimately weakened the military prerogative which she sought to strengthen.
Public and private affairs justified a season of exceptional gaiety. The Princess Royal had been confirmed on 20 March and her betrothal became generally known, when in May Prince Frederick William, again accompanied by Von Moltke, paid the court another visit. The queen's spirits ran high. On 7 May she gave a great banquet to the Court festivities. leaders of both parties and their wives, and she was amused at the signs of discomfort which made themselves apparent. But Lord Derby told the prince that the guests constituted 'a happy family' (Malmesbury, Memoirs}. Balls were incessant, and at them all the queen danced indefatigably. On 9 May the new ball-room and concert-room at Buckingham Palace, which Prince Albert had devised, was brought into use for the first time on the occasion of a ball in honour of the Princess Royal's debut. On 27 May the queen attended a ball at the Turkish ambassador's, and, to the ambassador's embarrassment, chose him for her partner in the first country dance. At a ball in the Waterloo Gallery at Windsor on 10 June the queen danced every dance, and finally a Scottish reel to the bagpipes (Moltke, Letters, vol. i. passim ; Malmesbury, Memoirs, pp. 380 sqq.) On 20 June she entertained Sir Fenwick Williams of Kars at Buckingham Palace. On 26 June the Duke of Westminster gave a great ball in her honour at Orosvenor House. On 9 July there was a state reception by her of the guards on their home-coming from the Crimea. From 10 to 28 Aug. the prince and princess of Prussia, the father and mother of her future son-in-law, were her guests, and later in the autumn the queen received at Balmoral Miss Florence Nightingale, to whom she had sent in the previous January a valuable memorial jewel. In November 1856 the family were plunged in mourning by the death of Prince Leiningen,the queen's half-brother and a companion of her youth.The next year (1857) involved the queen in a new and great public anxiety, and the serious side of life oppressed her. Parliament was opened by commission on 3 Feb., and before the end of the month the country heard the first bitter cry of the Indian mutiny. Next month Palmerston was defeated in the House of Commons on Cobden's motion condemning his warlike policy in China. The queen, with characteristic reluctance, assented to his demand for a dissolution. His appeal to the country received a triumphant answer, and the new parliament assembled with a majority of seventy-nine in his favour—a signal tribute to his personal popularity. On 14 April the queen's youngest child, Princess Beatrice, was born at Buckingham Palace, and on the 30th the queen suffered much grief on the death of her aunt, the Duchess of Gloucester, the last surviving child of George III ; 'we all looked upon her,' said the queen, 'as a sort of grand-mother.' At the time the forthcoming marriage of her eldest daughter began to occupy her thoughts. On 16 May the betrothal was formally announced at Berlin, and on the 25th the queen sent a message to parliament asking for a provision for the princess. It was her earliest appeal to the nation for the Grant to Princess Royal. to pecuniary support of her children. The request was favourably entertained. The government proposed a dowry of 40,000l. and an annuity of 8,000l. Roebuck raised the objection that the marriage was an 'entangling alliance,' and opposed the grant of an annuity. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, the chancellor of the exchequer, called attention to the fact that the queen's recent expenses in connection with the French visits were defrayed out of her income, and that the eldest daughters of George II and George III each received a dowry of 80,000l. and an annuity of 5,000l. All parties finally combined to support the government's proposal, which found in its last stages only eighteen dissentients. The royal betrothal continued to be celebrated by brilliant and prolonged festivities. In June and July Prince Frederick William once more stayed at court, and Von Moltke, who was again his companion, declared the succession of gaieties to be overpowering. One day (15 June) there was a state visit to the Princess's Theatre to see Kean's spectacular production of Shakespeare's 'Richard II.' Next day the infant Princess Beatrice was baptised. On 11 June the Ascot ceremonies were conducted in full state, and among the royal guests was