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back stairs to be received by his mother. To St. James's many years after he bore his wife, already suffering the pangs of travail, in his headlong flight from Hampton Court, and here half an hour after her arrival the Princess gave birth to the little rat of a girl,' as Queen Caroline called her, who afterwards became Duchess of Brunswick. In this same palace a few months later the illustrious Queen Caroline breathed her last. The grim story of her deathbed is too well known to need re-telling here—the King sobbing and weeping over his dying wife; her advice to him to marry again; his 'Non, non, j'aurai des 'maîtresses !' and her pathetic rejoinder, Mon Dieu, cela 'n'empêche pas.'
St. James's as a place of residence did not long enjoy the royal favour after the accession of George III. But it was to St. James's that Princess Charlotte of MecklenburgStrelitz came as the bride of the young King. When she first saw the palace she turned pale and trembled. The Duchess of Hamilton, who had been sent to attend her, reassured her with a smile. "My dear Duchess,' said the young Princess tartly, you may laugh, for you have been
married twice, but it is no joke to me. When the coach stopped, and the King came forth to meet her, she trembled and would have knelt at his feet, but he gallantly prevented this and embraced her. It is said that for a momentonly for a moment-he started with dismay, her portraits had made her so much fairer than she proved to be. But it was too late to draw back, and the plain, awkward
German girl' became 'good Queen Charlotte,' of penurious and shrewish memory.
The eldest son of this union, George IV., was born at St. James's, and here for a short time King George and Queen Charlotte resided when in London, and held levees and drawing-rooms. But in 1763 they moved their household to Buckingham House. From that date St. James's Palace has never been the residence of the reigning sovereign, and for a time it fell into disfavour. King Christian VII. of Denmark, the husband of the unfortunate Caroline Matilda, came to England in 1768, and was lodged in St. James's. When his favourite, Count Holck, a gay, extravagant young noble, first saw the palace, he exclaimed, “By God! this will never do; it is not fit to
lodge a Christian in !' The reproach was undeserved, for, though St. James's has a somewhat gloomy exterior, its quaint courts and time-worn walls have a charm which is all their own.
Kensington Palace will be chiefly known to future generations as the birthplace and early home of Queen Victoria. The original mansion, of which, it is probable, some portion still stands, was the residence of Lord Chancellor Finch, afterwards Earl of Nottingham, and bore the name of Nottingham House. The estate included some park land, now known as Kensington Gardens. King William III. bought it from the second Lord Nottingham, as Northouck writes, 'for its convenience and healthy situation, and for the King to reside in during the sittings of Parliament.' Evelyn, in his Memoirs,' under date February 25, 1690–91, writes : 'I went to Kensington, · which King William has bought from Lord Nottingham,
and altered. It is yet a patched-up building, but with the • gardens, however, a very neat villa. The palace was considerably enlarged by William III. and Queen Mary, from designs by Sir Christopher Wren, and prim gardens with straight paths and formal flower-beds were laid out in the approved Dutch fashion. William and Mary were very fond of Kensington, and spent large sums in altering and improving their newly acquired estate. Before the work was completed, Queen Mary died at Kensington of smallpox, December 28, 1694. When the nature of her illness was communicated to her she realised that there was no hope, and locked herself in her closet, where she spent the night in sorting and burning her private papers. A few days later she died.
William III. usually held his levees at Kensington, and though his court was a gloomy one, especially after the death of his consort, thither came from time to time some of the brightest wits and courtiers of the day. To Kensington came Dorset, the friend and patron of Prior; Prior himself, then one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber; Congreve, whose plays had been admired by Queen Mary; Swift and Sir William Temple; Bishop Burnet, the Whig historian; Lord Monmouth, afterwards Earl of Peterborough, the great diplomatist and courtier; and Lord Halifax, who was spoken of as 'a minor wit, but no mean
statesman.' Last, but not least, came Peter the Great, the genius and semi-barbarian monarch, who was then in England to study shipbuilding. Peter the Great dined at Kensington Palace with William III., and on one occasion he witnessed a ball in the king's gallery, from a closet prepared for him so that he could see and not be seen. He suffered from a natural shyness which was with difficulty overcome. William III. died at Kensington Palace a few days after his accident when riding in Hampton Court park. Readers of Macaulay will remember the picture he draws in the last page of his history, when William, knowing that his death was approaching, sent for his friends. After his death a small bag of black silk was found next his heart. A lord-in-waiting ordered it to be opened ; it contained a gold ring and a lock of Queen Mary's hair.
Anne was even more attached than her predecessors to Kensington, and though she did little to improve the palace, she devoted much time and thought to beautifying and enlarging the gardens, and spent hours pottering among her plants and flowers. The beautiful greenhouse or orangery was built by Sir Christopher Wren at her command. If there be such a thing as a 'Queen Anne' style of architecture, this building may be regarded as its highest expression. It shows Sir Christopher Wren at his best. Queen Anne used to come to the orangery sometimes to drink tea, and here she often sat squabbling with the haughty Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, or gossiping with the cunning Abigail Hill, Lady Masham. Anne died at Kensington from a stroke of apoplexy, brought on by the strife and contention of her ministers, and her sudden death defeated the ill-matured plans of the Jacobites. The Queen moaned often in her illness, O my brother, my • poor brother, what will become of you?' Her last act was to give the white staff of the Lord Treasurer into the hands of Shrewsbury and to bid bim, with that sweet voice which had always been her greatest charm, 'to use it for *the good of my people.
George I. was fond of Kensington, which reminded him, more than other English palaces, of his beloved Herrenbausen. Sir Christopher Wren having been turned out of his place by a base court intrigue, William Kent, a man immeasurably his inferior, was appointed in his stead, and to him George I. gave orders for the erection of a new and additional suite of state rooms, including the famous cube or cupola room, a gorgeous chamber of the pseudo-classical style, with painted and gilded walls, and à gaudy domed ceiling of blue and gold. Caroline Princess of Wales took to walking at Kensington, in preference to St. James's Park, which she found too crowded, and the gardens soon became a fashionable promenade. The general public were admitted only by ticket, but persons of fashion came in great numbers, and when the Prince and Princess of Wales paced
she held she who to the Serpenfler avem were revived
the walks in Kensington Gardens they were attended by a numerous suite, and passed between avenues of bowing and smiling courtiers. After the quarrel between George I. and his son, Kensington saw the Prince and Princess of Wales no more for a time. The old King came hither but seldom, and always in seclusion, attended only by his German mistresses.
On the accession of George II. and Queen Caroline Kensington became one of the favourite residences of the court. Queen Caroline's drawing-room, built and decorated by Kent, was the scene of many an interview between her and Walpole. Here together they concocted schemes for the management of the King, and here, too, Caroline would often give audience to malcontent nobles, like Lord Stair, and endeavour to win them over to the side of the Government. Caroline was devoted to gardening, and with the assistance of Kent, who was a better landscape gardener than an architect, she planned many alterations in Kensington Gardens. It was she who made the Round Pond, turned a string of smaller ponds into the Serpentine, and laid out the Broad Walk and many of the smaller avenues. Under Queen Caroline the Kensington promenades were revived, and became more frequented than ever. The King and the Queen were very fond of walking, and, accompanied by the princesses and attended by a numerous body of courtiers, they would give many informal audiences in Kensington Gardens in the course of their morning walk. George II, died at Kensington Palace twenty-three years after the death of his queen. With him the glory of Kensington as a royal residence to a great extent departed.
George III. rarely, if ever, occupied the palace throughout his long reign, but some members of his family were from time to time given suites of apartments in it. The most notable of these was the unfortunate Caroline of Brunswick, consort of George IV., who lived here when Princess of Wales for four years, from 1810 to 1814, when she removed to Connaught Place. Here she held a sort of rival court, and kept up with spirit the quarrel with her husband. Her lack of dignity and wayward conduct scandalised the more sober-minded of her friends. “She kept a sort of open house,' we are told, receiving visitors in a dressing-gown,
and sitting talking about herself to strangers on the • benches in the garden at the risk of being discovered.' By these and similar indiscretions she alienated her best friends, and those who were left merely came for what they
could get. The Princess of Wales was shrewd enough to see that their conduct was not disinterested. Unless I do o show dem a knife and fork,' she said, 'no company is come 'to Kensington or Blackheath, and neither my purse nor
my spirits can always afford to hang out de offer of “an 6"ordinary.”.
But the chief glory of Kensington Palace is that Queen Victoria was born here on May 24, 1819. Baron Stockmar in his Memoirs thus writes of the event: 'A pretty little . princess, plump as a partridge, was born. The Duke of ·Kent was delighted with his child, and used to show her
constantly to his companions and intimate friends, with the words, “ Take care of her, for she will be Queen of ““ England.”! She was christened a month after her birth by the names of Alexandrina Victoria, but the Queen on her accession commanded that she should be proclaimed as Victoria only. In the gardens when a child Princess Victoria used to walk daily, or drive in a goat or donkey carriage, attended by her nurses, and a 'magnificent foot'man in scarlet'—to quote Leigh Hunt.
A memorable scene was enacted in Kensington Palace in the early morning of June 20, 1837. King William IV. died at Windsor at twelve minutes past 2 o'clock, and immediately afterwards the Archbishop of Canterbury with Lord Conyngham, the Lord Chamberlain, posted from Windsor to Kensington, where they arrived at 5 o'clock in the morning.
They knocked, they rang, they thumped' (says "The Diary of a Lady of Quality '), and it was a considerable time before they could rouse the porter at the gate. They were again kept waiting in the courtyard ; they hurried into one of the lower rooms, where they seemed forgotten by every one. They rang the bell, and desired that the attendant of the Princess Victoria might be sent to inform Her Royal Highness that they requested an audience on business of importance. After another delay and another ringing to inquire the cause, an attendant was summoned, who stated that the Princess was in such sweet sleep that she could not venture to disturb her. Then they said, “We are come to the Queen on business of State, and even her sleep must give way to that.” It did, and, proof that she did not keep them waiting, in a few minutes she came into the room in a loose white nightgown and shawl, her nightcap thrown off and her hair falling upon her shoulders, her feet in slippers, tears in her eyes, but perfectly collected and dignified.'
At 11 o'clock the same morning Queen Victoria held her first Council, of which Greville has left so admirable a description.