by the doctors during their embarrassing examination. According to Greville Diary, the Queen was hissed by the Duchess of Montrose in the enclosure at Ascot. If this was true, the hiss was an audible expression of what the aristocracy felt about the Queen's ungallant behaviour to one of their class.
Nor did the mass of people forget the incident. The shy girl, to whom their hearts had responded so warmly, was showing tendencies which were neither constitutional, gracious, nor attractive, and Londoners expressed their disappointment with silence and even insults as she drove past. The carriage she sent for Lady Flora Hastings's funeral procession was stoned on its way to the cemetery.
During this time the Queen was still protesting against the plan for her marriage, but a visit from the Princes, and a decision, could not be put off any longer. The Queen told Lord Melbourne that she
"had no great wish to see Albert"as the whole subject was "odious" to her. Prince Albert was now equally adamant and in a letter to Prince Löwenstein, written after he arrived in England, he said that he went to Windsor
"with the quiet but firm resolution to declare, on my part, that I also, tired of the delay, withdrew entirely from the affair."
The sudden, inexplicable power of love was to sweep all these considerations aside. The Princes came to England and Albert conquered.
THE Queen's wilfulness made King Leopold anxious; so he armed Prince Albert with a letter for her, describing the cousins as "good and honest creatures" deserving her "kindness." "I recommend them to your bienveillance, " he wrote.
The scene of their meeting three years before had been within the modest circumstances of a set of rooms in Kensington Palace. This time they met within the splendour of Windsor Castle. The carriage drove into the solemn courtyard and when Prince Albert looked up he saw Queen Victoria waiting for him at the top of the stairs.
The Princes were not able to dine with the Queen that night because their correct clothes had miscarried on the way. The formality of the Court was austere; so they ate in another room and went to the drawing room after dinner. The first self-conscious moments passed,