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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 qf 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 '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 '"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.
'She bowed to the Lords, took her seat, and then read her speech in a clear, distinct, and audible voice, without any appearance of fear or embarrassment. She was quite plainly dressed, and in mourning. . . . Peel said how amazed he was at her manner and behaviour, at her apparent deep sense of her situation, her modesty, and at the same time her firmness. She appeared, in fact, to be awed bnt not daunted, and afterwards the Duke of Wellington told me the same thing, and added that if she had been his own daughter he could not have desired to see her perform her part better.'
The state rooms at Kensington Palace have been carefully restored, and by command of her late Majesty are now open to the public. Here may be seen Queen Mary's privy chamber, Queen Anne's private dining room, the magnificent king's gallery, the cupola room, Queen Victoria's nursery, and many other apartments. But the most interesting of all, the room in which Queen Victoria was born, and the room in which she held her first Council, are not shown.
Buckingham Palace has been left to the last, for it possesses few historic memories and has the reputation of being the ugliest royal palace in Europe. The reputation is not altogether deserved, as those who have witnessed the gloomy and forbidding barracks which do duty as royal palaces in some of the capital cities of Europe can testify. Prom the garden front, at least, Buckingham Palace has a certain stateliness which is not unworthy of the principal London residence of the King. In the far-away days when the court disported itself at Whitehall the site of Buckingham Palace was known as the Mulberry Garden. This garden was a fashionable resort during the reign of Charles I. and of Charles II., and was the scene of many gay comedies. There was a house adjoining the Mulberry Garden known as Goring House, which was later purchased by Lord Arlington, and rebuilt on a larger scale, and styled Arlington House. This was demolished in 1703, and upon its site John Sheffield, the magnificent Duke of Buckingham, built a mansion and named it Buckingham House, situated, as he says, 'in a little wilderness full of blackbirds and 'nightingales.' The Duke of Buckingham had no liking for the Hanoverian succession, and when George I. came from Hanover to take up his residence across the park at St. James's, the proud Duke remained aloof in splendid isolation at Buckingham House. He married secondly Catherine Darnley, natural daughter of James II., and the Duchess, after her lord's death, continued to live at Buckingham House with pomp which was almost regal. This was the lady whom Queen Caroline dubbed ' Princess Buckingham,' and of whom Horace Walpole wrote: 'She is more mad 'with pride than any mercer's wife in Bedlam.' The duchess was a devoted adherent of the Stuarts; every year she made a pilgrimage to Paris to weep over the body of James II., and many were the plots in which she was engaged to bring back the king over the water. After her death Buckingham House was acquired by the Crown.
George III. and Queen Charlotte were looking about for a mansion which would serve them as a London residence in the place of St. James's Palace, which they both disliked. Buckingham House was therefore purchased by the King and settled upon Queen Charlotte as her especial property and called Queen's House. The royal pair entered in possession of their new London home, which was then a commodious red brick mansion surrounded with beautiful gardens. To make the grounds even larger a portion of the Green Park was added. Here • Farmer George' and his queen lived the quiet domestic life they loved so well, all state functions taking place at St. James's Palace; but later, when the grand saloon at Buckingham House was fitted up as a throne-room, Queen Charlotte held her smaller drawing-rooms there. The etiquette of Queen Charlotte's dull court was rigid, but at first she was not such a martinet as she became in later years. In her early days in England she had great difficulty in conforming to the strict observance of the English Sunday. 'If I read all day,' she told Lady George Murray, ' my poor eyes get tired. I do not like to 'go to sleep, so I lock my door (that nobody may be shocked) 'and take my knitting for a little while, and then I can 'read my good books again.' At Queen's House most of George III.'s many children were born, and we can picture the homely King and Queen sitting down to their frugal dinner there, with the numerous little princes and princesses ranged in order of age on either side, and forbidding them to touch the strawberries and other delicacies which made their appearance on the royal table only to be taken away. Queen Charlotte firmly believed in corporal punishment, and often gave her children a flogging, the King standing by and approving. On one occasion a great lady, moved by the cries of the youthful delinquent, ventured to plead for him. 'Ah !' said the King, 'if all mothers in this country followed 'the example of her Majesty, there would be better manners 'in England.' Fanny Burney bears witness at the time to the good behaviour of the royal children. 'How excellently 'well,' she exclaims,'are all these children brought up!' But the after results of this Spartan training can hardly be said to have justified it.
The King and Queen were at Queen's House the night when the Gordon Riots were raging, and the troops which guarded the palace had no straw to lie upon. 'My lads,' said the King, 'my crown could not purchase straw for you 'to-night, but depend upon it I have given orders that a 'sufficiency shall be sent here by to-morrow noon. As a 'substitute for the straw my servants will instantly serve 'you with a good allowance of wine and spirits to make 'your situation as comfortable as possible, and I shall my'self keep you company till to-morrow morning.' He kept his word, and sat up all night with the officers in the Queen's Riding House, sending messengers every now and again over to St. James's Palace to report on the proceedings of the rioters who were trying to force an entrance there.
When George IV. came to the throne, the 'Queen's 'House ' was in a very dilapidated condition, and the King determined to rebuild it. He had not long finished his grotesque pleasure house, the Pavilion at Brighton, and as there was a little difficulty about getting the necessary supplies from Parliament to build a new palace in London, he cunningly asked for a grant for 'the enlargement and 'repair of the Queen's House and got it.' Nash, the architect, had the King's command to keep up the fiction of repair, but very soon the Queen's House was transformed into the King's Palace at Pimlico. George IV., with all his faults, had a sense of the magnificent, and he dreamed of a palace which should rival those of ancient Rome. The palace grew and grew, and a notable feature of the 'repairs' was the magnificent marble arch copied from that of Constantine at Rome, upon which an equestrian statue of the King was to stand. This statue was never placed there, and, shortly after Queen Victoria's accession, the Marble Arch was banished to the Oxford Street entrance of Hyde Park. The King's repairs and additions cost half a million of money, and by the time they were finished every trace of the original structure of Buckingham House was lost. The work was not ended when George IV. died, and his successor, William IV., swore that the palace was a monstrosity, and declared that nothing would induce him to live in it. So it remained uninhabited and deserted, surrounded by a wilderness of sandy gravel, until Queen Victoria came to the throne.