James's Palace, in May, 1832, riotous Londoners pressed about her carriage, crying,
"Reform for Ever."All the virtues catalogued by King Leopold would be necessary for Princess Victoria in the inhuman confusion of tasks ahead of her.
RELIGION was instinct in Prince Albert, and his actions, all through his life, were guided by a spirituality far beyond the formal piety in which he was instructed. Florschütz wrote that he had "a real and living faith, giving color to his whole life" and that religion was "part of himself." It was "engraved in his very nature." The story of his dying hours shows that he continued to believe in the immortality of the human spirit. But no experience could have been less in sympathy with this "real and living faith" than Prince Albert's confirmation. The forbidding examination of the Princes was made in the presence of their relatives, the heads of government departments, deputations from the Diet, members of the clergy, and representatives from the surrounding towns and villages. This committee of onlookers crowded into the Giants' Hall, where Prince Albert's mother had danced so happily as a bride, eighteen years before. They pricked up their ears to catch the shy answers which the Princes gave to questions which had been "carefully considered in order to give the audience a clear insight" into their "views and feelings." The relatives and deputies were deeply impressed when Prince Ernst said,
"I and my brother are firmly resolved ever to remain faithful to the acknowledged truth."1
Princess Victoria's confirmation, a few months before, had been less formal. She had been led to the altar by the King. Her mother had wept, the King had "frequently shed tears," and the Princess had been "drowned in tears and frightened to death."2
Prince Albert apparently kept his emotions over his confirmation to himself, but Princess Victoria wrote in her journal a single-minded declaration of her beliefs and aims. In but one sentence she set down the principles which were not to yield to argument or persuasion for the rest of her life. She wrote,
"I felt deeply repentant for all that I had done which was wrong and trusted in God Almighty to strengthen my heart and mind; and to forsake all that is bad and follow all that is virtuous and right."