The Short Reign
THE EMBALMED BODY of the Emperor, in its sable-covered coffin, was borne to the ancient Dom Church on the shoulders of sixteen gigantic sergeants of the Foot Guards. The Life Guards rode in escort, their horses' hoof-beats muffled in the snow. Flaring torches were held by the soldiers who lined the route. Inside the church, thousands of wreaths had been strewn on the flagstones; the princes and dignitaries crushed the laurel and bay leaves underfoot as they moved in line towards the coffin beneath the candelabra. Dressed in his Foot-Guards uniform and wrapped in his grey campaign-cloak, the Emperor lay, his head resting on white satin pillows. The line of mourners bowed before the monarch lying in state and paid their last respects.
The Prince of Wales had come from San Remo to Berlin for the funeral. His mother had wanted at least one representative in British uniform, but he had left it behind, and had to appear in the uniform of a Colonel of German Hussars, carrying his honorary Marshal's baton. Afterwards, at luncheon with his sister and her husband at the Charlottenburg palace, he was surprised to find the new Emperor looking quite like his former self, with a flushed face and an animated expression -- but mute. To communicate, he wrote rapidly on a block of paper and waited for a reply. He ate well and swallowed easily and did not look like a dying man.
Everyone thought him doomed except his wife and Count Seckendorff. The general mood was matched by the weather, gloom within and without. Morell Mackenzie told the Prince of Wales that the new Emperor's condition was very grave. He had a rending cough and was being