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Queen Victorias Funeral Was Almost a Majestic Mess

Years before Queen Elizabeth II passed on at her beloved Balmoral on September 8, 2022, hawaii plans on her behalf death, dubbed Operation London Bridge, were already concrete. This foresight, so typical of the queens pragmatic, no-nonsense personality, was a long way off from the confusion that greeted the death of Englands last great queen.

In January 1901, 81-year-old Queen Victoria lay dying at Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight. In accordance with Stewart Richardss fascinating Curtain Down at Her Majestys, because the queen lay peacefully while surrounded by family, in another room courtiers were frantically wanting to find out what came next.

Because the last death of a sovereign had occurred in 1837, no-one seemed to know very well what the task was, wrote Sir Frederick Ponsonby, the queens harried equerry in ordinary and assistant private secretary. We spent the evening finding out about what have been done when George IV and William IV had died.

Without photos for reference, and few people alive who remembered the final sovereigns death, royal servants were baffled. The ignorance of historical precedent in men whose business it really is to learn is wonderful, Reginald Brett, Viscount Esher wrote cheekily.

That they had little time to discover. At 6: 30 p.m. on January 22, Queen Victoria died while being held by her grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II. Though Victorias oldest son, now King Edward VII, tried to regulate the narrative by releasing news of his mothers death, a media frenzy quickly took hold. I was told the scene on the hill right down to Cowes [on the Isle of Wight] was disgraceful, Ponsonby wrote, per Richards. Reporters in carriages and on bicycles were seen racing for the postoffice in East Cowes, and men were shouting because they ran, The queen is dead.

Right away, things appeared to fail. The queen had requested that she not be embalmed, so a coffin needed to be ordered quickly. However, once the undertakers assistant arrived, it had been discovered that he previously not brought the expected coffin, as he claimed he had a need to take the deceased queens measurements.

The pugnacious Kaiser Wilhelm, already despised by the majority of his British relatives for his unpleasant personality, was disgusted. It is usually such as this, he raged, per Richards. When a typical, humble person dies, everything is arranged without difficulty sufficient reason for reverence and care. Whenever a personage dies, you fellows all lose your heads and make stupid mistakes that you should be ashamed of. Exactly the same happens in Germany as in England: You’re all alike!

Unwilling to allow uncouth assistant touch the hallowed queen, the kaiser along with other courtiers took matters to their own hands.

If the occasion have been a less grave and solemn one, there could have been much that has been humorous in the emperors harangue to the rather dull undertakers assistant, Randall Davidson, Bishop of Winchester recalled. The emperor frightened the indegent fellow into helpless obedience. The person was simply terrified. He was so unsuitable an individual, as it seemed to me, that people declined to leave him (as he wished) in the area to take the required measurements, so when a matter of known fact the measurements were taken by the emperor, [Sir James] Reid, and myself, beneath the direction of the person, who stood by and told us just what he wanted. It had been altogether a curious scene.

A fight also broke out between Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk and Edward Hyde Villiers, Lord Chamberlainover who had the royal to arrange the funeral. The Duke of Norfolk, also the earl marshal, prevailed (today’s earl marshal, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, happens to be arranging the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II), causing bad blood between your two camps. GOD, THE FATHER Chamberlain is quite sorry, and will probably decline to provide assistance, one contemporary noted, per Richards. Indeed, it’ll be lucky if both of these ceremonial dignitaries dont arrived at loggerheads.

The Duke of Norfolk luckily had some guidance. 3 years before her death, Queen Victoria wrote that she wanted circumstances funeral with military honorsthe same template royal funerals follow even today. She wanted it finished with respect but merely. Curiously, for a female enthusiastic about death and mourningwho had worn black for many years honoring her beloved husband Prince Alberts early deathVictoria requested a white funeral, without public lying in state no hearse to transport her coffin.

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