When one arrives at any nobleman's seat,
one must instantly dress for dinner and
consequently I could never rest properly.'
WHEN SHE WAS TWO YEARS OLD, Princess Victoria had received a letter from her 'truly affectionate Aunt', the Duchess of Clarence, in which the Duchess referred to her as 'my dear little Heart'; and, when she lost her second baby daughter, she wrote to the Duchess of Kent to say 'My children are dead, but yours lives and She is mine too.'1
A good-natured, unselfish and religious woman, almost thirty years younger than her husband, she was quite sincere in expressing these sentiments, and upon his accession to the throne she was as kind to her little niece as ever, doing all she could to persuade her guardians at Kensington to allow her to appear at Court. Her husband also strongly expressed his wish to see her there.
On becoming King, William, as good-natured as his wife, 'began immediately to do good-natured things'. He clearly loved being a king; and, excited by his rank, he strode about the London streets, nodding cheerfully to right and left, relishing his popularity. Expressing a general opinion, Charles Greville said that he was 'a kind-hearted, wellmeaning . . . bustling old fellow [sixty-five years of age] and, if he doesn't go mad, may make a very decent King.' Contrasting his gregarious familiarity with the seclusion in which his predecessor had chosen to spend the last years of his life, the Duke of Wellington, the Prime Minister, told Dorothea Lieven that this was not so much a new reign; it was a new dynasty'.