Queen Victoria: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview
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56
HOLIDAYS ABROAD

'La Regina d'lnghilterra!'

WHILE SHE CONSIDERED that the Prince of Wales spent too much time on his foreign trips, his visits to Paris and Biarritz, the French Riviera and German and Austrian Spas, the Queen herself travelled abroad frequently and in far grander style than her son, on occasions booking an entire hotel which she filled with as many as a hundred and rarely less than sixty of her entourage of servants, Indians, Highlanders, doctors, a dentist, a nurse, a French chef, M. Ferry, and his assistants, secretaries, detectives, equerries, grooms, ladies, dressers and a Director of Continental Journeys, J. J. Kanné, as well as innumerable trunks, cases and several evidently indispensable pieces of furniture, in addition to her bed and desk, various favourite pictures and photographs, and those mementoes and trinkets, bronzes, medals, miniatures, paperweights, inkstands and penknives which normally covered the walls and tables of her crowded rooms at Windsor, Balmoral and Osborne. Also taken abroad were her horses, her ponies, 'Sultan' and 'Flora', two or three of her carriages and, in later years, her donkey. When it was diffidently suggested to her that some of her suite might possibly be dispensed with, she replied certainly not, though some of them had little if anything to do. 1 Even when travelling in England she was accompanied by an enormous suite. In 1866, when, for once, she did not pay her usual May visit to Balmoral so as to be within easy reach of her Ministers during a political crisis and went instead to stay at Cliveden, she took with her three doctors, eighty-eight other persons, twelve ponies and eight carriages.

The entire assembly, together with supplies of English provisions,

-428-

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