Queen Victoria eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about Queen Victoria.
This despatch, indiscreet in any case, was rendered infinitely more so by being communicated to Guizot.  Louis Philippe saw his opportunity and pounced on it.  Though there was nothing in Palmerston’s language to show that he either recognised or supported Prince Leopold, the King at once assumed that the English had broken their engagement, and that he was therefore free to do likewise.  He then sent the despatch to the Queen Mother, declared that the English were intriguing for the Coburg marriage, bade her mark the animosity of Palmerston against the Spanish Government, and urged her to escape from her difficulties and ensure the friendship of France by marrying Isabella to the Duke of Cadiz and Fernanda to Montpensier.  The Queen Mother, alarmed and furious, was easily convinced.  There was only one difficulty:  Isabella loathed the very sight of her cousin.  But this was soon surmounted; there was a wild supper-party at the Palace, and in the course of it the young girl was induced to consent to anything that was asked of her.  Shortly after, and on the same day, both the marriages took place.

The news burst like a bomb on the English Government, who saw with rage and mortification that they had been completely outmanoeuvred by the crafty King.  Victoria, in particular, was outraged.  Not only had she been the personal recipient of Louis Philippe’s pledge, but he had won his way to her heart by presenting the Prince of Wales with a box of soldiers and sending the Princess Royal a beautiful Parisian doll with eyes that opened and shut.  And now insult was added to injury.  The Queen of the French wrote her a formal letter, calmly announcing, as a family event in which she was sure Victoria would be interested, the marriage of her son, Montpensier—­“qui ajoutera a notre bonheur interieur, le seul vrai dans ce monde, et que vous, madame, savez si bien apprecier.”  But the English Queen had not long to wait for her revenge.  Within eighteen months the monarchy of Louis Philippe, discredited, unpopular, and fatally weakened by the withdrawal of English support, was swept into limbo, while he and his family threw themselves as suppliant fugitives at the feet of Victoria.

II

In this affair both the Queen and the Prince had been too much occupied with the delinquencies of Louis Philippe to have any wrath to spare for those of Palmerston; and, indeed, on the main issue, Palmerston’s attitude and their own had been in complete agreement.  But in this the case was unique.  In every other foreign complication—­and they were many and serious—­during the ensuing years, the differences between the royal couple and the Foreign Secretary were constant and profound.  There was a sharp quarrel over Portugal, where violently hostile parties were flying at each other’s throats.  The royal sympathy was naturally enlisted on behalf of the Queen and her Coburg husband, while Palmerston

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Queen Victoria from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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