von Studnitz, with whom she had shared the surprises of childhood. She wrote to Auguste of the tears she had wept as she sat beside her husband, driving to her new home, "My Angel had great difficulty in comforting me." But she laughed when they went to a concert in Coburg, because the song that greeted them was,

"Hail Duke! Hail Duchess! Soon you will rock Princes in your lap."
Luise wrote to her friend,
"Is that not funny? I had to think immediately of the Holy Trinity."

Among those waiting to help Princess Luise in Coburg was her mother-in-law, later described by Queen Victoria as

"a most remarkable woman, with a most powerful, energetic, almost masculine mind, accompanied with great tenderness of heart and extreme love for nature."

The Duchess did all she could for the "poor little woman" and wrote of Luise in her diary, "She is a charming, tiny being, not beautiful, but very pretty, through grace and vivacity. Every feature of her face has expression; her big blue eyes often look sad from under her black lashes, and then again, she is a happy, wild child . . . I hope she will still grow as she is very short . . . I had half the town for tea because everybody wished to congratulate me."

The widowed sister of Prince Ernst was also in Coburg to welcome Luise. She was Princess Victoria of Saxe-Leiningen, born Princess of Saxe-Coburg. Luise thought her "very beautiful ... most charming and natural." There was also Princess Victoria's little daughter Feodora. 2 She "is my whole joy," wrote Luise.

Seventeen months later Princess Victoria of Saxe-Leiningen was to marry the Duke of Kent and twenty years later their daughter was to marry Luise's second son. The stage was already set for the astonishing reign of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.


{2}

1817

THERE were no more than sixty thousand people in the pocket-handkerchief duchy of Coburg. At the time when Princess Luise went there the peasants were contented with their lot and they accepted the rule of the Coburg princes without question. Their compact little state was dominated by the town of Coburg, with its palaces, some "in Gothic style," some with rococo ornaments and architectural fripperies, im

-2-

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