To the external Empire, as constituted at the beginning of the twentiethcentury, the Crown is a many-sided factor. The personal and diplomaticinfluence of the Sovereign is obvious and was illustrated by QueenVictoria in such historic incidents as the personal relations with KingLouis Philippe which probably averted a war with France in the earlyforties; in the later friendship with Louis Napoleon which helped tomake the Crimean War alliance possible; in the refusal by the Queen toassent to a certain casus belli despatch during the American War whichsaved Great Britain from being drawn into the struggle; in her influenceupon the Cabinet in connection with the Schleswig-Holstein question,which was exerted to such an extent (according to Lord Malmesbury) as tohave averted a possible conflict with Germany.
Upon her accession the Queen retained out of the old Crown Lands, orrevenues, those of the Duchy of Lancaster and they have risen in valuefrom £20,000 to £50,000 per annum. The Royal palaces are maintainedapart from the Civil List and the building of Royal yachts and othersimilar expenses are considered as additional items. The revenues of theDuchy of Cornwall, which have always pertained to the Prince of Wales,and the incomes or special sums voted to the members of the Royalfamily, make up an amount nearly as[Pg 29] large as the Civil List. But theseapparently large sums have not in recent years created any feeling ofdissatisfaction; nor has any been expressed save by certain individualsof the Labouchere type, who possess little influence and less sincerity.Upon the whole the situation in this connection possesses considerableinterest to the student of history, or of popular sentiment, as showinghow a practical, business-loving, money-making people can become devotedto an institution which must in the nature of things be expensive andwhich, in the ratio of its dignity and effectiveness as an embodiment ofgrowing national power, must be increasingly so as the years roll on.
During the early part of the trip there was not much that wasinteresting; apart from the shooting expeditions which were undertakenfrom time to time. The sight of frightened children, timid women,labouring slaves, mosques and villages of huts and occasional ruins ofmore or less interest were all that was visible along the low banks ofthe river as they passed. The caves, or grottoes, of Beni Hassan werevisited on February 10, and the life of ancient peoples seen in apanorama of carved monuments. Then came a more beautiful, cultivated andpopulous part of the region watered by the Nile. Thebes, Luxor, Karnak,however, were names and places which made up for much. For two days,ending February 19th, the heir to a thousand years of Englishsovereignty wandered amidst these tombs and monuments of the rulers ofan African empire which had wielded vast power and created works ofwonderful skill and genius three, and five thousand years before. Thegreat hall and collonades and pillars of Karnac, the obelisk of Luxor,the famous tombs of the Kings, the Temples of Rameses, the colossalstatues of Egyptian rulers, were visited by daylight, and, in somecases, the wondrous effect of Oriental moonlight upon these massiveshapes and memorials of a mighty past was also witnessed.
On the following day His Royal Highness held another reception forChiefs attended by envoys from the King of Burmah, the Maharajah ofPunnah in person, an embassy from[Pg 152] Nepaul, the noble-looking Rajah ofJheend, the Maharajahs of Benares, Nahun, and Johore. This was the lastof the Chiefs, for the moment, and the Prince and his wearied suitecould rest from a succession of sights and ceremonies in whichdark-featured magnates with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls and aninfinite variety of Sirdar escorts, must have come to be a merepicturesque and confused medley. Many splendid presents were receivedand on the two following days return visits were paid in state. OnDecember 21st the Prince witnessed a tent-pegging exhibition by the 10thBengal Cavalry, made a round of the hospitals and asylums, and wound upwith a garden party at Belvidere and a dinner and grand ball atGovernment House.
At noon on the following morning the Royal couple left for Winnipegthrough crowded streets and cheering people. Before her departure theDuchess of Cornwall was given a handsome cape by the women of Ottawa.The presentation was made by Lady Laurier, on behalf of thecontributors, at Government House. In Montreal a beautiful gift had alsobeen made to her in the shape of a corsage ornament composed of a[Pg 332] sprayof maple leaves made of enamel and decorated with 366 diamonds and onelarge pearl. It was presented by Lady Strathcona and Mrs. George A.Drummond. The Royal journey across the continent commenced with thedeparture from Ottawa and, between the capital of the Dominion and themetropolis of the West, a number of places were passed at a few of whichthe Royal visitors paused for a brief time. At Carleton Place there wasa cheering crowd and gaily decorated station and singing schoolchildren; at Almonte the town was en fête and cheering could be heardfrom even the roofs of the distant cotton mills; at Arnprior the wholepopulation turned out and the decorations were extensive; at Renfrew andPembroke the same thing occurred; at Petawawa and Chalk River crowds ofcountry people had gathered; at Mattawa and North Bay the stations weregaily decorated and bands played their welcome.
The day opened with brilliant promise and bright sunshine, but becameovercast and gloomy by the time the Royal progress from the Palace hadcommenced. The crowds gathered early, and soon every seat in the manystands were filled[Pg 406] with expectant and interested people who numbered inthe end fully half a million. Picked troops, chiefly Household Cavalryand Colonial and Indian soldiers of the King, to the number of 30,000,guarded the route, with a picturesque line of white, black, brown andyellow men of many countries and varied uniforms. When the King andQueen appeared in their gorgeous state coach from out the gates ofBuckingham Palace they were greeted with tremendous cheers from themultitude, and these cheers continued all along the way to the Abbey. Inthe Royal procession were the Prince and Princess of Wales withthirty-one other members of the Royal family. The Princess was beautifulin a long Court mantle of purple velvet trimmed with bands of gold and aminever cape fastened with hooks of gold over a dress of white satinembroidered in gold and jewelled with diamonds and pearls. Then followedLord Knollys and Lord Wolseley and Admiral Seymour, Lord Kitchener andGeneral Gaselee and Lord Roberts, with many other notabilities. TheIndian Maharajahs, who acted as Aides-de-Camp to the King, werebrilliant in red and white and brown and blue and gold and jewels.Immediately in front of the King was the Royal escort of Princes andEquerries with a body of Colonial and Indian troops. The arrival at theAbbey was marked by great enthusiasm in the massed multitudessurrounding the famous building and seated in the crimson-covered standswhich had been built on every side. 781b155fdc