'Her Majesty travels at the rate of forty miles an hour.'
IT WAS THE OPPORTUNITY of being so much with Prince Albert that made her travels with him so enjoyable for the Queen. At Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace he was so preoccupied with work that there were days when he seemed to have no time to spare for her. 'I have a great deal to do,' he had complained to his brother in November 1840, 'and hardly ever get out into the open air'; while, some two and a half years later, Stockmar described him as 'well and contented', but 'pale, fatigued and exhausted'. When he was away from the cares and the duties he imposed upon himself, however, the Queen could enjoy more of his company and attention and have him to herself for hours on end.
In the summer of 1843, four months after the birth of their third child, Princess Alice, the Queen and Prince Albert had gone abroad together for the first time. They had been invited to France by LouisPhilippe, King of the French, whose Foreign Minister and dominant figure in his Government was François Guizot, formerly French Ambassador in London and a warm advocate of closer Franco-British relations. Not only was it the first time the Queen had been abroad, it was the first time that any English sovereign had visited a French monarch since 1520 when Henry VIII met François I at the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold'.
The Queen and Prince sailed from England on 25 August in the royal yacht, the Victoria and Albert, which had been launched earlier that year and was commanded by one of King William IV's bastards, Lord Adolphus FitzClarence. The Prince, as usual, was dreadfully seasick; but