Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's Trip to Scotland
Chapter IX. Dalmeny Park

Queen Victoria having now left the city, the Lord Provost and Magistrates, and all the official persons, retired from the procession. The Celtic Society, also, headed by Campbell of Islay, and soon afterwards the Archers, fell out, and marched back to town; and Her Majesty then proceeded at a quickened pace, followed by three carriages, containing the Duchess of Buccleuch, Sir Robert Peel, and Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence. Having swept down that fine broad sloping terrace, whence so extensive a view of the rich country, the Firth of Forth, and the Fife coast is enjoyed, the carriage stopped at Blackhall to change horses. This place is near the Craigleith Quarries, so remarkable for the immense depth of their excavations, as well as for the great fossil tree discovered there a feu years ago. The road for some miles was lined with ea^er and anxious spectators, and the heights all around were densely covered with people. Beyond this, on the left hand, at about half-a-mile’s distance, stands Craigcrook, with its ancient Scottish pinnacles and towers, the residence of Lord Jeffrey, some years ago Lord Advocate for Scotland, and known over the world for his gigantic literary powers. It nestles snugly amongst its old timber trees, in the retiring bosom of the lovely Corstorphine hills, their wooded heights contrasting finely with their green sloping lawns.

A little way farther on, the Queen entered the new part of the road leading towards Queensferry, and at the corner of Mr. Ramsay of Barnton’s wall, she passed a prettily conceived bower, decorated with flowers and evergreens, occupied by the family and their friends. This road through the county of Edinburgh, may challenge comparison as a public way, with anything of a similar kind in the world ; and if those members of the Scottish Privy Council in the days of Charles I., who found it necessary, previous to the coming of that king, to promulgate an Act, “Anent the hie wayes within the bounds of the Shirefdome of Edinburgh, April 15, 1629,—for causing the same to he enlarged and mendit, and made passable for hors and coaches,”—had been alive at this time, to have beheld the rapidity of Her Majesty’s passage along it, they would have seen no occasion for any such announcement. How very much they would have been astonished, indeed, could they have been permitted to revisit the earth for one moment, and, airy beings though they now are, to have followed with some degree of difficulty Her Majesty’s carriage, as it spun along the cut through the wifiinstone rocks, and so on in one broad and level straight line to the grand bridge over the Almond. As the Queen passed the grounds of Miss Watson of Saughton, on the left, a flag was observed to wave from the summit of her mansion. The Almond is a most romantic stream, here dividing the county of Edinburgh from that of Linlithgow. The beauty of its natural scenery is much increased above the bridge, by the extensive pleasure-grounds of Mr. Hope Vere’s beautiful place of Craigiehall; and below it, all the way down to its junction with the sea, by those of Dalmeny Park, of which it forms the eastern boundary.

A little way beyond the bridge, the carriage turned in at one of the many gates of Dalmeny Park, the grounds of which magnificent residence extend from the mouth of the Almond for about six miles along the Firth of Forth to Queensferry, bounded on the south bv the Queensferry road. Nothing can be finer or more varied than the views from the approach, which passing for a great part of the way along a high wooded terrace, running nearly at right angles to the trend of the Firth, leads the eye through occasional breaks down a long cultivated slope, to the rocky bed of the Almond, while beyond, appears a middle distance, enriched by the extensive grounds of Barnton and Cramond, and, farther off, the environs of Edinburgh are seen, with portions of the city and its various beautiful hills, and the whole expanse of the Firth, with all its interesting accessories. The road then turns to the left, down a hill, embowered in the deep shades of ancient trees. After this the wide expanse of the wooded park opens at once, with the house, a fine specimen of the Tudor style, seen at the distance of a mile, surrounded by very noble trees, with beautifully wooded hills behind, and the lawn below extending to the ancient ruined towers of Barnbougle Castle, rising close to the margin of the sea.

The Earl of Rosebery, being desirous that not only his tenantrv, but all his neighbours, of every class, should have a full opportunity of partaking in the universal joy produced by the Queen’s visit, kindly gave directions, that every gate of his extensive demesne should be thrown open, and consequently thousands of people collected at an early hour along the approach, and on the lawn in the vicinity of the house; but it unfortunately rained so heavily, that when the Royal carriage, with its escort, appeared from the thick covert of the woods, all were disappointed to perceive that it was partly closed. The people pressed forward, however, to have one glimpse of Her Majesty; and happy was the individual who succeeded in obtaining it.

The Queen and Prince Albert were received by the Earl and Countess of Rosebery, Lord Dalmeny, the Hon. Bouverie Primrose, and the Ladies Anne and Louisa Primrose, at the grand entrance, laid with scarlet cloth for the occasion, and were conducted thence through the magnificent hall and corridor. The suite of apartments at Dalmeny is very fine. The billiard-room, entering from the grand corridor, forms an ante-room to the dining-room, as well as to the drawing-room, from which a door opens into the library. All these rooms have windows commanding beautiful views over the park in the direction of a bay, which washes its margin at some distance beyond a pervious grove of fine park trees. The Earl conducted the Queen through the ante-room into the drawingroom, where were assembled, or speedily arrived to meet Her Majesty, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, the Duchess of Norfolk, the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, the Marquess and Marchioness of Abercorn, the Earl of Liverpool, the Earl of Aberdeen, the Earl and Countess of Morton, the Earl and Countess of Hopetoun, Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence, Sir Robert Peel, the Earl and Countess of Cawdor, Lord and Lady Belhaven, Lord and Lady Dunfermline, the Marquess of Lorn, Lady Emma Campbell, Lord Aberdour, Lord Dalmeny, the Hon. Bouverie and Mrs. Primrose, the Ladies Anne and Louisa Primrose, Lady Ellen Douglas, Lady Mary Campbell, Lord and Lady Robert Kerr, and Miss Kerr, Mr. and Lady Mary Dundas, and Miss Dundas, Mr. and Hon. Mrs. Anson, Hon. Miss Paget, General Wemyss, Colonel Bouverie, Mr. Rutherfurd, M.P., and Mrs. Rutherfurd, Miss Hope Johnston, and Miss Rice. His Grace the Duke of Hamilton was prevented by indisposition from being present.

After a short time spent in the drawing-room, during which the Queen conversed with the distinguished persons assembled, the Earl conducted Her Majesty to the dining-room, whilst His Royal Highness gave his arm to the Countess, and the Royal party sat down to a dejeuner, where covers were laid for twenty-two persons, in a style of elegance and good taste worthy of the roof under which it was given. The eighteen distinguished persons first named in the above list, together with the Queen and Prince and their noble host and hostess, formed the Royal party at luncheon.

The unfavourable state of the weather prevented the Queen from enjoying a walk in the vicinity of the house. This was much to be regretted, as well as that Her Majesty’s time did not admit of her drive being extended through the grounds, where park scenery of the most varied description, clothed with the finest possible timber, is continually opening on grand marine prospects. There are few places, indeed, so remarkable for multiplicity of feature, as Dalmeny Park; and every Scotsman must regret that the unfavourable weather prevented the Queen from carrying away a more perfect impression of its beauty. By the time that Her Majesty arose to return to the drawing-room, the rain fell so fast, that any attempt to move out became perfectly hopeless.

The Royal party adjourned to the library, the windows of which open upon the lawn, where the band of the Inniskilling Dragoons was playing, and where stood an immense crowd of anxious people, bidding defiance to the drizzling rain, in their anxiety to enjoy another sight of their Queen. Her Majesty at once signified her desire to gratify them, and taking the Prince’s arm, she advanced to a window which Lord Rosebery had opened, and remained there for some time, in spite of the damp air, influenced alone by the kind wish of giving all the gratification in her power to all ranks of her subjects. Well did the good people without doors appreciate this kindness of their Queen, and she was hailed with the most enthusiastic cheers of heartfelt loyalty and affection. Her Majesty on her part expressed to those around, how deeply she felt the reciprocal influence of the scene, and her feelings on this interesting occasion, were largely partaken by Prince Albert. As the people pressed forward with an eagerness which the police considered it necessary to restrain, Lord Rosebery ever and anon interfered writh much kindness in their behalf.

About four o’clock, the Queen and the Prince appeared at the great entrance, and Her Majesty was immediately afterwards handed into the carriage by Lord Rosebery, and the Prince having taken his seat, they drove off, followed by the other carriages, amidst the heartiest cheers from the multitudes assembled, who followed them with their eyes along the road that wound through the park, until they disappeared among the wood. The day continued wet, and Her Majesty retraced at a rapid pace the route she had travelled, until she turned off into the new road from Queensferry to Leith.

The Provost and Magistrates of Leith had been made aware on the previous evening, that it was the Queen’s gracious intention to pass through their good town on her return to Dalkeith, and accordingly they made such preparations for her reception, as the short intervening time admitted. Amongst other things done, a triumphal arch was erected in front of Bell’s School, spanning the whole width of Great Junction-street. It was surmounted by a large gilded crown, and decorated with flowers and evergreens, with the initial letters V. and A. executed in dahlias and African marigolds, and bearing the inscription—“Welcome our beloved Queen!”

On Saturday the 3d, all the public bodies of Leith assembled in the Links, opposite the High School, by one o’clock, whence they proceeded to Great Junction-street, with a large cavalcade of carters before them, and took up the particular positions previously assigned. About four o’clock, Major Hill arrived at the head of a detachment of the Fifty-third Regiment, accompanied by Lord Robert Kerr, Deputy-Adjutant-General of the Forces, and the soldiers lined the road the whole way from the bridge at Leith Mills, to the foot of Leith Walk. Notwithstanding the duty which the Royal Archers had undergone in the morning, they appeared about half-past three o’clock, under the command of Lord Elcho and the Earl of Dalhousie, preceded by their bands, and took up their position to await the Queen’s arrival at the bridge at the northern end of .Junction-street. An immense crowd had assembled, and a man was placed on the spire of North Leith Church, to announce the Royal approach by ringing the bell.

The Queen’s carriage, with its attendant cortege, drove rapidly along the road leading between lines of villas, till the bells, and the guns of Leith Fort, announced that Her Majesty had reached the toll-bar, and was now entering the precincts of this ancient town, which had been so frequently honoured by the presence of its sovereigns. As the carriage came to the place where the Royal Archers were drawn up, it was again enclosed within their faithful ranks, and it then proceeded at a slow pace through the assembled multitudes, amid the most enthusiastic cheering, and other demonstrations of the joy and loyalty of the people. Although a pool of water filled the front cover of the carriage, the Queen would not permit the hood to be drawn farther forward, than was just sufficient to screen her head, lest it should disappoint the people, who, fully sensible of Her Majesty’s kind consideration, energetically expressed their feelings, and as she graciously continued to acknowledge the compliments paid to her, she appeared to be highly gratified. As Her Majesty approached the triumphal arch, the band played “God Save the Queen,” and Provost Reoch, and the Magistrates and Members of the Council of Leith, who were stationed on a platform near to it, in Court dresses, and clad in their official robes, descended from their position, and the Royal carriage having immediately stopped, they advanced towards it, and the Provost delivered the following address :—

“Most Gracious Majesty,

“Permit me as the Chief Magistrate of this your ancient Port of Leith, to express the joy and heartfelt pleasure which pervade all classes of your Majesty’s subjects in this town, on this your Majesty’s first visit to your ancient kingdom of Scotland. Accept our thanks for your Majesty’s condescension in honouring our town with your presence, and receive our most sincere assurances of continued loyalty and devoted attachment.”

Her Majesty was pleased to reply most graciously to the Provost’s speech; and he then addressed Prince Albert thus:—

“Most Illustrious Prince,

“Permit me to congratulate you on this your first visit to Scotland, and to express my earnest hope, that you will realize all the pleasure and satisfaction which you anticipated in your visit to the land of the mountain and the flood.”

His Royal Highness replied in a few gracious words; and the Provost, overcome by his feelings of love and loyalty, then exclaimed, “May God bless your Majesty and your Royal Consort!” This strong expression of genuine feeling more deeply affected the royal pair than the most eloquent harangue could have done.

After these addresses and replies, Her Majesty’s carriage again proceeded, the rain still continuing. His Royal Highness Prince Albert remarked to one of the officers of the Archers, that “he was afraid they would get very wet,” to which the officer replied, “that, it was of no consequence to them, whilst employed in a duty so very agreeable.” On this the Prince smiled, and said, that “he supposed that this was merely what they called a Scottish mist,” an observation which excited a laugh from Her Majesty. After the delivery of the addresses, Provost Reoch and the Magistrates got into their carriages, and followed that of the Queen all the way to the limits of their jurisdiction at Seafield toll-bar. The spectacle, on entering the Links, was most imposing, that large space being covered with one mass of carriages, and every elevation thickly planted with people. The Provost and Magistrates were preceded by the High Constables of Leith, headed by their Moderator, who carried the splendid baton of office, recently given to them by their distinguished parliamentary representative, Mr. Rutherfurd. Nothing could be more gratifying than the whole of the proceedings at Leith, both as regarded the authorities, and the conduct of the people under them; and the Magistrates were highly complimented by Lord Elcho and Lord Dalhousie, for the admirable arrangements they had made for the reception of Her Majesty, and the order they had preserved. But that which was the most of all to be admired, was the excessive kindness and consideration of the Queen herself, who setting at naught all thoughts of her own discomfort, continued to keep the carriage open, in defiance of the rain, all the way from the Queensferry Road to the Seafield Baths. There the Magistrates and the other public functionaries halted, and the carriage being closed, the whole cortege proceeded by the seaside, at a rapid pace, towards Portobello, and so on by the same road they followed on Thursday to Dalkeith Palace.

The popular manifestations exhibited during this day, throughout every part of Her Majesty’s route, were of a nature infinitely beyond those which are merely paid to royalty. They exhibited a certain degree of uncontrollable warmth and depth of feeling, which showed that much as the people were disposed to do homage to the high station of the Queen, they now gave their heartfelt offering of love, more to the well known virtues of the Royal person to whom it was paid, than to the crown she wears. Her Majesty doubtless felt them to be such, for during the course of that evening, she repeatedly expressed the high gratification and delight she had experienced from the honest, cordial, enthusiastic, and most loyal reception which she had that day met with from all ranks of her subjects everywhere assembled.

The Royal dinner-party at the Palace consisted of—

The Queen and Prince Albert.
The Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, The Duchess of Norfolk,
The Earl and Countess of Dalhousie,
The Earl and Countess of Cawdor,
The Earl of Morton,
The Earl of Aberdeen,
The Earl of Liverpool,
Lord and Lady John Scott,
Lord and Lady Belhaven,
Lady Mary Campbell,
Sir Robert Peel,
The Hon. Miss Paget,
Hon. Captain Dundas and Miss Dundas,
Mr. and Lady Georgina Balfour,
The Lord Justice-General,
The Lord Justice-Clerk,
The Lord-Register,
General Wemyss,
The Lord-Advocate of Scotland,
Sir John Hope, Baronet,
Colonel Bouverie,
Mr. George Edward Anson,
Sir Janies Clark,
Mr. Sheriff Speirs,
Lieut.-Col. White, Inniskilling Dragoons,
Lieut.-Col. Hill, 53d Regiment.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus