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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Sunday, 2 February 2014

State occasion

Saturday, February 2nd., Trinity Hall Farm, Hockliffe.

This morning I saw what I could, over the heads of a vast crowd, of the funeral procession of Queen Victoria. The people were not, on the whole, deeply moved, whatever journalists may say, but rather serene and cheerful.

Queen Victoria had left very detailed instructions as to how she wanted her funeral. This included very specific things she wanted inside her coffin. Many of the items were from her beloved husband, Albert, who had died 40 years earlier in 1861. On January 25, 1901, Dr. Reid carefully placed the items that Queen Victoria had requested in the bottom of her coffin. These things included Albert's dressing gown, a plaster cast of Albert's hand, and photographs. When that was done, Queen Victoria's body was lifted into the coffin with the help of her son Albert (the new king), her grandson William (the German Kaiser), and her son Arthur (the Duke of Connaught). Then, as instructed, Dr. Reid helped place Queen Victoria's wedding veil over her face and, once the others had departed, placed a picture of John Brown in her right hand, which he covered with some flowers. On February 1, 1901, Queen Victoria's coffin was moved from Osborne House and placed on the shipAlberta, which carried the queen's coffin across the Solent to Portsmouth. On February 2, the coffin was transported by train to Victoria Station in London. From Victoria to Paddington, the queen's coffin was carried by gun carriage, since Queen Victoria had requested a military funeral. She had also wanted a white funeral and so the gun carriage was pulled by eight white horses. The streets along the funeral route were crowded with spectators who wanted to get a last glimpse of the queen. As the carriage passed by, everyone remained silent. All that could be heard were the clattering of the horses' hooves, the jangling of swords, and the distant boom of gun salutes. Once at Paddington, the queen's coffin was placed upon a train and taken to Windsor.

Afterwards, Legge, Fred Terry, and Hooley, lunched with me at the Golden Cross Hotel, and all was very agreeable and merry. Terry explained that they wished the third act of "The Chancellor" altering somewhat, but not at all radically.

Additionally for February 2nd., see 'Subject for a novel?'

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