Queen Victoria - First Media Monarch

Lanark a Life In Books

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert,
page 4 of 13

was an auspicious event which rendered 1849 a year of more than ordinary interest and distinction in the annals of our city. This was the visit of the Queen, the Prince Consort, and the royal family, which took place on the 14th August, 1849. The last time royalty had visited Glasgow was when the Duke of York, afterwards James II., was entertained in it in 1681. Prince Charlie, too, had visited the city in 1745, and had his head-quarters in a mansion-house situated at the junction of Glassford Street with Trongate, where he remained four days. Cromwell, too, had visited the city, compassed with the awe-inspiring presence, if not with the pageantry, of a king. The last reigning sovereign, however, who visited Glasgow was James VI., in 1617. The Queen, previous to her visit to Glasgow, had been making a tour in the West Highlands, and, when it was known that she intended visiting the city, the utmost gratification prevailed. The royal steamer and the vessels forming the guard of honour anchored in the Gareloch, whilst the Queen and the royal party sailed up the Clyde to Glasgow, where they were met by the Lord Provost (whom she that day knighted as Sir James Anderson), the Magistrates, the Principal and Professors of the University, the members of the Trades’ House and Chamber of Commerce, and of the various Church Presbyteries. Notwithstanding that the Magistrates had only twenty-four hours’ notice of the exact time in which the official visit was to take place, the arrangements were perfect, and, throughout a crowd comprising four hundred thousand people not a single accident or untoward incident occurred. The enthusiasm was unbounded, as the royal party drove through the city, General Riddel and Sir Archibald Alison, then Sheriff of Lanarkshire, riding by the side of the carriage, the latter pointing out to the Queen and the Prince Consort the chief objects of interest in the route. Altogether, the visit was an unbounded success, and the memory of it was long treasured by those who were fortunate enough to witness the pageant and to experience the enthusiasm which it called forth.

The impression which the Prince Consort made on the minds of the people of this country was of the most favourable nature. It was early seen that not only was he a man of great intellectual powers and lofty aims, but that in all the conduct of his life he had the welfare of the nation deeply at heart. In all public action he was discreet to the most faultless degree, ever respecting institutions founded either on usage or law, and regarding with strict and unswerving reverence the constitution of our country. Above all, as behoved him, he kept aloof from all political parties, and rendered, by his life and conduct, anything like Court intrigue for party ends an impossibility. He never identified himself with politics, but wherever he could be of use in any Christian or philanthropic movement, he was unwearied in the exercise of his great energy and unbounded influence and tact. It was, however, in connection with the Great Universal Exhibition of 1851 that the name of Prince Albert was prominently brought before not only this country, but the whole of the civilized world.

To Prince Albert is due not only the conception, but the elaboration and final accomplishment, of the Universal Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, Hyde Park. It had as the Alpha and the Omega of its motive the sublime doctrine, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.” The idea was altogether so unique and daring that many treated it with sceptical sneers, whilst some with grim humour said that the Prince was surely endeavouring to ante-date the time of the


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