GV: Part Two, Chapter 36: Love & War
King George V
Part Two, Chapter Thirty-Six: Love & War
Part Two, Chapter Thirty-Six: Love & War
King Louis-Philippe and his wife Queen Maria Amalia arrived in London aboard the paddle frigate Gomer, it's construction having been completed just a few weeks before the royal couple left France, in the first week of September 1841. The impressive vessel was akin to a floating palace with comfortable banquettes in rich red velvet trimmed with gold braid and heavy brocade draperies at the windows to keep out the sunlight to maintain a comfortable temperature in the relatively small berth. Unfortunately this did little to keep the devil of seasickness at bay and King Louis-Philippe, a life-longer sufferer from the condition, spent much of his voyage crying out for relief crouched on the floor with a bucket in his hands. When Their Majesties finally sailed into St Katharine Dock, the Duke of Sussex was forced to stand about in the blazing end of summer heat for almost two hours as the beleaguered King was so sodden with sweat that he could not pull himself into his uniform until he had been sponged down and dried off with great handfuls of cornflour. 
Fortunately for Louis-Philippe, he was spared further water-based excursions. Though King George V intended to use Hampton Court Palace as a venue for all future state visits (and indeed, the vast majority in his reign were hosted there), he opted to stick with Buckingham Palace for the time being so as to save the Queen the ordeal of the rattle and shake of a long carriage ride to Richmond. Not that Queen Louise wished to be accommodated in such a way, indeed, hosting the visit in London backfired on the King slightly because it presented far more opportunities for public engagements attached to the state visit than would have been forthcoming at Hampton Court. Yet none of this was up for discussion. The King and Queen were still very much at odds with each other over the programme set for King Louis Philippe’s visit and a stalemate had come to pass with neither prepared to compromise. As far as George was concerned, the Queen might well attend the welcome ceremony and the state banquet, these were hardly arduous activities and took place in their own home. Besides which, Louise would be sitting down for the majority of their duration. But the Queen was still insistent that she would accompany the French Queen consort to Petty France to conduct a series of engagements, something her husband was adamant must be cancelled.
In truth, the visit to Petty France was not an essential outing for the Queen. State visits, even today, are often misinterpreted as expensive gestures of friendship and whilst it is true that the ceremonial planned for the 1841 state visit of the King of the French was very much the foundations on which the event was built, it was the discussions to be had away from the ballroom that mattered most. The British had extended the invitation not just because it was felt the French couple were owed it given their own generous display of hospitality shown to King George and Queen Louise in Normandy in May 1840, but because the British wanted to secure French support (as they had in Berlin) ahead of the talks to be held in Vienna whereby the quotas set by the Straits Pact were to be agreed. The British were not actively working against the Russians in this, rather they wanted to ensure that that their own quota was as favourable as it could be, regardless of whether that meant it was more generous than that given to the Tsar. Such matters were to be resolved by ministers of both the British and French crowns in what is now Whitehall but to ensure the French were in no doubt as to the British desire for mutual support and co-operation, the hospitality offered by the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace was a strong reminder that the two countries desired a better relationship than they might previously have enjoyed or endured as the case may be.
As the French royal couple made their way inside the Palace to be greeted by their hosts, King George and Queen Louise stood in awkward silence, exchanging very few words. The atmosphere was thick with tension and both were thoroughly miserable. Still, their duty demanded they put on the best show possible and so it was that they welcomed their guests with all the bonhomie they could muster. The King insisted a chair be brought for Louise to sit in. It remained empty, much to his aggravation. After the usual pleasantries, a private luncheon was held attended by the Duke of Sussex and Princess Mary. It was clear to both that all was not well as the meal passed in almost complete silence, King Louis-Philippe hardly eating a thing and not yet recovered enough from his voyage to offer anything in the way of fascinating conversation. Queen Maria Amalia was brighter and offered one or two interesting points of discussion so that the meal was not a complete disaster but nobody present could ignore the fact that their hosts seemed very much set in an acrimonious sulk. This continued well into the presentation of gifts after luncheon but this exchange also served to remind the King of his wife’s considerable skills as a hostess. In the library, the gifts from both sides had been put on display but it was only when he saw them assembled that George realised he had no idea what he was actually giving his French guests as a present. The Queen always handled that side of things and had she not pressed ahead with her own arrangements, there could have been an embarrassing faux pas with no reciprocal gifts offered to Louis-Philippe and Maria Amalia.
A few hours later, the King was in his study with Major Smith. George was in short temper and was insistent that his insignia of the Ordre royal de la Légion d'honneur (presented to George V by King Louis Philippe ,somewhat begrudgingly, in May 1840) was not affixed to his Windsor coat in the right place. Because the breast star was quite heavy, it had been sewn to the coat and the King was picking at the thread with a paper knife, determined that it must be positioned slightly further over. Honest Billy had known the King since he was a boy and he knew that he was simply spoiling for an argument to blow off steam, his real source of anxiety being the prolonged absence from his wife. At that moment, Princess Mary sailed into the study unannounced, a surprised Charlie Phipps hovering in her wake.
“Oh now what?”, George snapped unkindly, “Can’t you see I’m busy with this blessed thing”
Princess Mary pointed her hand-fan at Major Smith and then pointed to the door. She said not a word, her wand of office telling him that he should make himself scarce.
“Give that to me”, Princess Mary said, offering to take the coat from the King.
“I am quite capable; I don’t need nurse maiding!”
“Oh?”, Mary said haughtily, “But Sunny does it seems…”
The King looked up and rolled his eyes heavenward.
“If you have come to lecture me on Sunny’s behalf then I shouldn’t bother”, he whined, “I don’t wish to discuss it”
“I am not here on Sunny’s behalf”, his aunt replied curtly, “I am here to make you see sense. My goodness Georgie, I have seen some tantrums in this place in my time but you beat the band, you really do. I have never known anybody to take so happy a thing as the birth of a baby and turn it into such a beastly quarrel”
George threw his coat into a corner in a fit of peak and shot up out of his chair.
“I beg your pardon?!”, he raged, “Do you forget whom you address Madam?”
But Princess Mary was more than a match for her nephew. In her 65 years she had seen three Kings at close quarters; her father, her brother and now her nephew. Regardless of their rank, Mary had spoken her mind to all three very much in the model of her mother Queen Charlotte. Indeed, Mary had often been called “Mama’s tool” by her siblings because she was so obedient to her late mother’s wishes - which usually entailed a forthright dressing down. The Princess believed there was a right way and a wrong way and her brother the Duke of Cambridge once joked that when Mary got to heaven, God would have no time left to hear anyone’s prayers because He would be far too busy listening to Mary’s complaints. Still earthbound for the time being however, Princess Mary had been restored to royal favour during the reign of her nephew, mostly because both the young King and Queen so clearly adored her. Indeed, in his later years George wrote of his aunt; “ She was as dear to me as a grandmother and though at times I resented her little interferences, I could never take against her for it. I thank God for the days we had to know her and I am still saddened that we have known so many days since without her”. That evening in the King's Study in 1841 was a prime example perhaps of one of Mary’s “little interferences”.
“I do not forget!”, she boomed, “You cannot hide behind the Crown with me Georgie, I have lived with it for too long. You may be King but you are also the same little boy I put across my knee for stealing biscuits. Now you are too tall and I am too old so you shall have to listen to what I have to say and you shall have to like it because I shan’t be leaving this room until the matter is settled. Do you doubt it?”
“It isn’t me who started all this!”, George protested, “I’m sure Sunny has been telling you quite a different tale but I have been more than reasonable. She doesn’t care for reason, she simply won’t be told!”
“And who are you to tell her?”, Mary argued, “Dr Alison-“
“Oh Alison, blast Alison!”, George ranted, “I’ve heard quite enough from him these past few days, he-“
“He is a doctor. A very capable one who has served you both well enough these years to know that Sunny is perfectly healthy and does not need to be shut away like a poor unfortunate to calm your worries. My goodness Georgie, after all the care and devotion she has showed to you, this is how you repay her when she needs you most?”
George stood silently for a moment. He knew his aunt was right. But he could not bring himself to admit it.
“You are being quite unreasonable Georgie”, Mary scolded, “Poor Louise is thoroughly miserable, everybody is sneaking about for fear you’ll shout the roof in, you haven’t even been to see her for two days. And you’ve upset poor Dr Alison into the bargain, such a kind man and far more knowledgeable on the matter of babies than you are. Now pull yourself together and for heaven’s sake, go and see your wife before this dreary dinner begins”
“No”, George sulked, “If she won’t let me help then I won’t have any part in it”
“Help?”, Mary laughed, “That’s a fine idea! What help is it to keep her shut away with nothing to do? She is not made of glass Georgie!”
“And what will you all say when she loses this child? Like she did before? I won’t be so spoilt and ignorant then, will I?”
Princess Mary deflated a little. Her tense brow relaxed and she softened somewhat.
“Georgie dear…”, she sighed, “What happened before was so very sad, it was a most tragic thing and I know you felt the loss very much, we all did. But that is a fact of life. None of us are in control of it, we must accept God’s will”
George felt warm tears gather in his eyes.
“And what if it is his will that it happens again?”
“Then you will bear it”, Mary replied gently, moving forward to comfort her nephew, “But you will only bear it if you have Sunny with you. And look at you now, so far apart. To cherish her as you do is to your credit, nobody can deny that you only ever have her best interests at heart. But you cannot go on this way Georgie. You will push her away and then where will you be? You are letting your fears destroy the thing you love most. Unnecessarily in my opinion. Why, I had a housekeeper once and her cousin was a dairy maid at some estate or other. Well, she was in the sheds milking one morning and there it was! Scooped the child up with the bucket and went about her business”
“Goats butt, chickens cluck”, Mary said dismissively, “End this now Georgie. End it before it destroys your happiness for good”.
And with that, Princess Mary marched from the King’s study leaving George alone. As he sat in the silence of his inner sanctum, he was suddenly consumed by an overwhelming sense of shame and regret. How could he have been so foolish? After a time, he rang the bell on his desk for Major Smith.
“Fix that”, George said tersely, pointing to his discarded coat, “Whilst I sit here and think how I can fix everything else”.
The State Banquet for King Louis-Philippe and Queen Maria Amalia was by far one of the grandest occasions to be held during George V’s early reign. Whilst the King and Queen were used to the grandeur of Versailles, they could not fail to be impressed by the show put on by the British in their honour and once again, it was a testament to the skills of Queen Louise as a hostess that they were made to feel so welcome and so comfortable. The dining room was set with the Nash River Table, the first time it was used in George V’s reign, the channel in it’s centre filled with water and 50 real goldfish who swam gently up and down as the guests feasted on Tortue à la Anglais (Turtle Soup), Purée de Vollaile à la Reine (Pureed Chicken in bouillon with cubes of savoury custard), Turbot, Côtelettes de Mouton avec Purée de Marron (Mutton cutlets with chestnut puree), Supréme de Perdraux (breasts of partridge with a cream sauce), Chicorée à la Crème (creamed chicory), Savarin à l’Orange (Rum baba in an orange and cognac syrup) and Gélee de Champagne aux Fruits (Champagne jelly with seasonal fruits). Had Princess Mary had her way, the guests would have been confronted with course after course of garlic laden dishes which she thought the best thing to serve to a Frenchman. Fortunately Queen Louise rescued the menu at the last. The guests ate from the Junior Service, first used in 1825, but as a thoughtful touch, the Queen commissioned a new suite of stemware to be created at Whitefriars especially for the occasion.
During the early 1800s, a fashion developed in continental Europe for glassware to be just as richly decorated as flatware. Whilst English country houses took some time to adopt the fashion, Queen Louise would have been familiar with the coloured glassware of the German courts which was all the rage in Bohemia where the best craftsmen turned an ordinary wine glass into a thing of beauty. Now aptly known as the French Service, Queen Louise commissioned the glassmakers of Whitefriars to produce an 80-piece collection of stemware which could be used alongside the existing glassware in the Royal Collection. Each lead crystal goblet has a deep red band of around half an inch from the rim, edged in gold. On the clear glass is engraved an emblem designed by the College of Arms depicting the crossed flags of France and the United Kingdom set on a laurel wreath. Above this are the two crowns of Great Britain and the July Monarchy, tied together with a ribbon . King Louis Philippe was absolutely delighted with this display of Anglo-French friendship and when he returned to Paris, he commissioned a similar service to bear his own coat of arms. The French Service has been used many times since it’s creation in 1841 and many visiting French officials have marvelled at its history as they have toasted the Anglo-French relationship over the decades.
For most of the evening, the King and Queen were parted by the seating plan or the demands of the post-banquet entertainment. They were of course expected to open the ball that followed the banquet by dancing with their opposite number, the King leading Queen Maria Amalia and King Louis Philippe leading Queen Louise. But when this had passed, the Queen retired to a settee in the corner of the ballroom to sit with the Earl of Armagh and Princess Mary whilst the King did the rounds and gave a few moments of his time to each of his guests. Every time George looked over to where his wife was sitting, he saw her smiling and laughing and though he dearly wanted to charge over to her and take her in his arms, he could only make small talk in broken French with those who had come with King Louis Phillipe from Paris. For her part, the Queen wished too that their contretemps could be forgiven and forgotten but she did not want to risk a further quarrel. Instead, she listened to the Earl of Armagh’s plans for the renovation of Bushy House and offered to help him.
“Which you must accept”, Princess Mary commanded, “I have seen perfectly charming houses ruined by the tastes of young men. It’s all antlers and billiard tables. Then they marry and the house has to be done over from top to bottom, it's the first chore a wife must face and it only ever causes unpleasantness.”
“Maybe George will marry sooner than we think Aunt Mary”, Louise teased gently, “Are you still writing to Cousin Auguste?”
The Earl of Armagh nodded.
“I am and I like her very much. But I do not think she would ever accept me”
“Whyever not?”, Louise protested.
“Because he can't see”, Mary said bluntly, without a trace of sensitivity.
“No no”, Prince George said kindly, “Aunt Mary is quite right. I fear her father might have concerns that were our friendship to develop further, she may become more nurse maid than wife”
“Well that is silly”, the Queen said shaking her head, “You must keep writing to her George. I think you are very well suited”.
By September 1841, the Earl of Armagh and Princess Auguste of Hesse-Kassel had been writing to each other frequently since their meeting earlier that year at Neustrelitz. He was thinking seriously about proposing to Auguste despite this brief acquaintanceship, simply because he thought her charming and witty and because unlike others he met, she did not make him feel that his sight problems were a barrier to a potential courtship. But he had another worry. Whilst he would inherit the Dukedom of Cumberland in the fullness of time (which also meant investing quite a significant property portfolio with homes at Windsor and Kew), there was unlikely to be any hard cash available to him when his father died. The King had given his cousin an allowance of £5,000 when he became Ranger of Bushy Park and the Lieutenant of Hampton Court Chase but to keep up the Cumberland inheritance, the Earl would require an allowance of at least double that which he certainly didn’t intend to petition for and which he believed wouldn’t be granted to him by the Civil List as parliament may have questions as to how much he could contribute given his disability. For as long as this remained the case, Armagh believed it best not to press his future relationship with Princess Auguste (whatever that may turn out to be) as his prospects were simply not impressive enough.
When the ball was concluded and as weary guests clambered into their carriages home, the King made his way to the Private Apartments. He could bear no more of this animosity. He missed his wife. He missed her laughter. He missed her company. He set off along the corridor to offer his apologies to his wife and to bring the whole sorry mess to a swift conclusion but when he got to the Queen’s bedroom, the Duchess of Buccleuch informed him that Her Majesty was already sleeping. She would be taking breakfast on a tray before heading out to Petty France with Queen Maria Amalia whilst the King toured Westminster Abbey with King Louis Philippe. But King George could not bear another hour of radio silence between the couple. Despite the busy day ahead of him, the King sat up for hours in his study, chain smoking and composing a letter to his wife which he thought he may add to her breakfast tray. Yet the words wouldn’t come and everything he penned failed to express the true depths of his feelings. He would have to think of something else. It came to him at 3am. He hastily wrote a note which he left on Phipps’ desk and then took himself off to bed, praying that his proposed olive branch would go off without a hitch and that all would be made well.
Queen Louise’s tour of Petty France the following day was so well reported by the London press that The Times had to print a supplement to pack in the detail their readers demanded. The Queen’s dress was described to the last stitch (“a pale blue mousseline covering a white cotton day dress trimmed with white lace, the cotton itself embroidered with the most delicate flowers embellished with silver thread which shimmered in the afternoon sun”) and there was even a direct quote from Louise who was reported as telling a fortunate journalist that she thought Petty France “such a lovely part of the city”. At the French market, the Queen purchased a straw basket woven by a Madame Jean Gosse who tried to give the basket to Her Majesty as a gift but Louise insisted she pay Madame Gosse for her labours. The Times informed its readers that the Queen “quite ignored the pleas of the officials with her, taking her time to meet all who had turned out to see her which extended the visit to the market in York Street by a good half an hour or more”. Queen Maria Amalia received one or two kind compliments but most of the supplement was taken up with sketches of Queen Louise in suitably regal scenes: receiving a posy of flowers or shaking the hand of an elderly veteran.
Across the city, the King was less enthusiastic about his visit to Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was almost always included in the schedule when foreign visitors came to London and whilst usually the King might have been enjoyed such an outing, today he could only think of what was about to happen back at the Palace. It was around 3pm. Sunny would be back now. She’d be sitting in her little salon with the Duchess of Buccleuch and her other ladies, possibly gossiping about the dress Queen Maria Amalia chose. Sunny wouldn’t say anything unkind of course. She never did. It wouldn’t be long before Phipps entered the room and invited the ladies to go to the Music Room. Sunny would be puzzled. He wished he could be there, to see her face as his surprise was unveiled. Phipps would gather the ladies in neat rows, the French Queen sat next to Sunny, possibly quite intrigued that her hostess had no idea what was to happen next. Charlie would do the thing well, of that the King was certain. He would make a little speech and introduce the handsome young man with long brunette locks and wide eyes, neatly stacked papers in hand. The Queen would beam with happiness as her guest sat before his audience and began to read from his latest work – The Old Curiosity Shop.
Charles Dickens had visited the Queen once before, shortly after her marriage, in 1838 . Louise was perhaps Dickens’ most fervent admirer and she had followed his career with great enthusiasm since he had read an excerpt from The Pickwick Papers for her at Windsor. Dickens admitted in his diary that his visit in 1841 was “a great surprise to me but a welcome one” and just as he had been impressed by the Queen’s friendly nature before, he wrote of this meeting; “She is as beautiful and as charming as ever and had very kind words for me. She reminded me that Pickwick was the first English publication she had ever read and paid me a great compliment in asking if Nickleby could ever reappear for she enjoyed it so” . Not everybody was impressed with the private reading given by one of England’s best-loved authors, however. The Duchess of Buccleuch wrote later that she could “never comprehend the admiration Her Majesty had for the man” whilst Princess Mary fell asleep during the reading of Pickwick and then asked Dickens if he thought he’d bother to write any more serials given that his current work (Curiosity Shop) was “so very unpleasant in theme”.
Charles Dickens in a portrait circa 1839.
As peace offerings go, a personal reading from Dickens must surely rank very highly. After she had given him tea and thanked him for his time, Louise asked Phipps when the surprise had been arranged. Smiling, Phipps handed her a small card with pink roses on the front. Inside, the King had written; “Forgive me dearest darling and let us be friends once more”. When the King returned to the Palace, he had barely removed his hat and coat before he saw the Queen hurtling towards him. She threw her arms about him and kissed his cheek, smiling at him so widely that it quite shattered the gloom of previous days.
“Oh Georgie”, she said softly, “Thank you…thank you, thank you”
King Louis-Philippe grinned; “I should be as fortunate as you to receive such a warm welcome home”, he quipped to King George.
The real royal rapprochement came after the French King and Queen departed. Reassured by the rehabilitated Dr Alison that all would be well, the King took his wife’s suggestion that they should spend a few weeks together at Hanover House. They were to be joined later by those in their immediate circle of friends and relations but for the next two weeks, the “little house” was their shelter away from the storm. They walked together in the gardens and the King read to the Queen in the afternoons as she gave a little ground and began to take afternoon naps to ease her husband’s worries. They also came to an agreement on the details of the Queen’s confinement. She would carry out no further public engagements and at Christmas time, the entire family would go to Windsor for a grand celebration, the previous year’s festivities overshadowed by their sad loss. Invitations were to dispatched to relations in Neustrelitz, Rumpenheim, The Hague, Herrenhausen and St Petersburg and no expense was to be spared in hosting the extended Royal Family at the Castle. Missy was to brought from Leipzig a little earlier so that the King and Queen would spend some time with her (and with their daughter Toria) as a family before the hoards descended and as soon as the celebrations for Christmas and the New Year were over, Their Majesties would return to London (the Strelitzes staying on for a time) so that the Queen could enter her confinement and give birth to her baby at Buckingham Palace. Both agreed that this was most important, given that the Queen had been convinced by her husband that her child was to be a boy.
After a fortnight alone, the King and Queen played host to a small party of friends at Hanover House. These included the Buccleuchs, Frau Wiedl and Lord Melbury, the Sussexes, Princess Mary and the Earl of Armagh. The Duke of Buccleuch was fresh from his successes in two first-class cricket matches played for the Marylebone Cricket Club . The King had attended the latter of these two matches and greatly enjoyed himself. Though he never took to the game as a player, as a spectator he became quite enthusiastic and in 1855, he became patron of the newly founded Beaminster Cricket Club, providing them with an impressive new ground and pavilion just on the edges of his Hanover House estate. The Beaminster Cricket Club was renamed the Royal Cricket Club at Beaminster in 1860 and the facilities George V provided them with are considered to include one of the best cricket grounds in the United Kingdom. In 1863, George V established the King’s Cup, a five-match test series played at Beaminster in July each year. A special Player of the Match award was instituted in 1866 (known as the King George V Medal today) which has been won by some of the greatest names in the sport and is highly valued in the cricketing world.
Their holiday at Hanover House did much to bring the King and Queen back together again, both delighting in the peace and quiet of “the little house” but word then came from London that the Prime Minister needed an urgent audience with His Majesty. As Graham could not leave the capital, he was forced to ask the King to return to Buckingham Palace. This was highly irregular and at first, George was none too pleased that the comforts of his romantic idyll in Dorset were to be cut so short. Yet he also knew that the Prime Minister would never make such a request unless it was absolutely essential. Not wishing to interrupt their carefully laid plans, the King proposed that Queen Louise remain in Dorset for a time. To his amazement, she readily agreed, though she made her husband promise that he would return to Hanover House as soon as he could. Accompanied by Major Smith and Charlie Phipps, the King made his way back to London. He had an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.
At the Palace, the King was greeted by an anxious looking Lord Stanley. He made his apologies. The Prime Minister was still at Downing Street and he had asked the Foreign Secretary to attend the audience with King George instead.
“What the devil is going on Teddy?”, George asked, slipping out of his coat and handing it to Honest Billy, “I’ve been dragged back here cutting my holiday with the Queen short and now the Prime Minister isn’t even here, it really is too bad.”
“If we might talk in private Your Majesty…”
“What? Oh, yes, of course…Billy, I’d like something on a tray please, I’m famished after that journey. Bump and rattle all the way. I’m thinking of getting myself one of these new railway carriages, it’s all the thing you know. Much faster, what? More comfortable too I should think”. 
In the seclusion of the King’s Study, George fell into an armchair only for his spaniel pup Harry to launch himself onto the royal lap. The King fussed Harry as Stanley waited for an invitation to sit down.
“Oh sorry Teddy, can I get you anything?”
“No Sir”, Lord Stanley replied quietly, pacing a little instead of taking the invitation of a chair, “I’m afraid there is a very urgent situation at hand which I admit has taken us all quite by surprise and which at this very moment, the Cabinet are meeting to discuss. I have made my position on the matter clear so that I might come to present the facts as they are to Your Majesty”
“Well Teddy? Let’s have it then”
Stanley cleared his throat and withdrew a sheaf of papers from a battered leather case. But instead of reading them out loud, he thought better of it and handed the top-most note to the King. George looked down at it. As he read, he leaned forward, shaking his head.
“When was this received?”, he asked.
“Two days ago Sir. We sent for Your Majesty as soon as possible”
The King stood up quickly; “Thank you for that. And Lady Pottinger? She’s been informed has she?”
“Yes Sir”, Stanley nodded, “Fortunately she left Kowloon a week ago, along with some of the other wives of the staff there”
“Poor creature”, George replied, “I shall see to it a letter is sent, you’ll let me have the address? What now? What does the Prime Minister intend to do?”
Stanley stood up and moved a little closer to the King.
“That is why I am here Sir”, he said nervously, “To give you this and to ask for Your Majesty’s immediate assent to it”
The King took the piece of paper from the Foreign Secretary.
It was a Declaration from the Department for War and the Colonies.
 The Gomer was built in 1841 and by 1843 had become the Royal Yacht of King Louis-Philippe. It takes on that role a little earlier here for no other reason than I cannot find the name of the former Royal Yacht (if there was one) and that the Gomer was used when the King came to England much later. My source also mentions that the King forever suffered with seasickness which I’ve included here for accuracies sake!
 I took this from an account of Lord Mountbatten’s trials with the heat ahead of Trooping of the Colour. His uniform was so hot and heavy that to pour him into it, he had to be rubbed down with talcum powder and laid down in the back seat of his Bentley to ease the burden just enough before going on horseback for two hours. Yikes! In this time frame, the popular predecessor of manufactured talcum powder was cornflour.
 This expensive gesture was actually begun by the Prince Regent who discovered the joy of engraved and coloured glass on a visit to Liverpool in 1806. Once he adopted the fashion for personalised glassware, the entire British Royal Family wanted similar sets and the owners of the big country houses followed suit. Several of these special services were created over the years for all kinds of events (weddings, jubilees and state visits) until it became seen as old fashioned and a bit gauche to plaster your monogram over your own wine glasses.
 Their previous meeting was in 1838 and is recorded here: https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...british-monarchy.514810/page-21#post-22913696
 These works were published as serials at the time so it is more likely that his readers might expect certain characters to re-appear at this stage before Dickens’ stories were published as stand-alone novels.
 As in the OTL.
 Royal Train anybody? Well, the origins at any rate. This ties in quite nicely with the OTL as the first carriage made exclusively for royal use was commissioned in 1841 and completed in January 1842 for Queen Adelaide. Queen Victoria used it too but did not commission her own “royal train” until 1869.
I'm aiming to put out another instalment tomorrow but it needs a little more polishing so if I don't get around to publishing it, I'd just like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has read and given their feedback on Crown Imperial over the last 12 months. I can't believe it's been a year since this TL began and that we've gone through 25 years of a history that began as a "Well...what if there was no Queen Victoria?" musing and led me to find this amazing community. This TL is a joy to write and there'll be lots more to come but for now, I just want to thank each and every one of you again for your kindness and contributions thus far!
Whilst we're looking forward, Part Two will conclude over the next week. I'll then take a week out to update my notes and to plot out the second half of Part Three which will take us to about 1850. Part Two has been a little longer than I initially planned and I may quicken the pace *slightly* for Part Three but it really will depend on where our characters lead us.
I hope you'll all want to read more in the future and I'm excited for you to see where George V's reign goes from here on out.