own power, when proof came so readily. She telegraphed her " satisfaction" to Mr. Gladstone and enjoyed the compliment of her secretary, who wrote, 5
" ... this awakening of spirit in the Cabinet is entirely due to your Majesty's pressin onstrances."
THE pendulum swung once more towards happiness, when Prince George announced his betrothal to Princess Mary of Teck, in May. The engagement was within the English domestic pattern, to which the Queen was devoted, after the unhappy results of alliances with courts in Europe. Her grandchildren in Darmstadt, without mother or father, were being caught up in the meshes of ambitious marriages. The wedding of Prince Alfred to the Tsar's daughter had cleared none of the mists of suspicion between the two countries. The pathetic letters that came from the widowed Empress in Germany, and the airs of the peacock Emperor, were a continuous reminder that only domestic happiness would strengthen the example of monarchy within Britain.
The Queen viewed the coming marriage with "great satisfaction, "1 and she was pleased to talk over the plans with Prince George, who was "so sensible."
While Mr. Gladstone's talents closed in on him, without evoking any pity and not much kindness from the Queen, she, instead, was writing of celebrations.
"My poor old birthday,"she wrote, in May. It was her seventy-fourth and she admitted, in her journal,
"I wish now it was instead sixty-fourth. "She consented even to open Buckingham Palace for her grandson's wedding. The solemn, big building had mostly slept, for thirty-three years. The Queen stayed there sometimes to open Parliament, and the palace had been lent to the Shah of Persia, who was said to have sacrificed a sheep on one of the drawing room carpets. In 1887, the dust sheets had been whisked off the gilt furniture, for the Jubilee celebrations. But for the better part of the years since the Prince Consort died, Londoners had reconciled themselves to a lifeless façade, closed shutters, and the blank look of a building in mourning.
In July, 1893, sunshine burst into the vast rooms of the palace and the Queen travelled up to London the day before her grandson's wed