'They were suddenly nearly carried away by a stampede
of royalties, headed by the Duke of Cambridge and
brought up by Leopold, going as fast as they could.'
THE QUEEN -- while still declining to allow her heir to play any part in the business of government on the grounds that he was both irresponsible and indiscreet -- had at last come to view the Prince of Wales in a less disagreeable light, even though it continued to rile her that her eldest son was now so much more popular in the country at large than her far worthier husband had ever been. He was really 'so full of good and amiable qualities'. She could not help wishing that he was not always 'gadding about' all over the country and on the Continent; but, when he was at home, she was sure 'no heir apparent ever was so nice & unpretending as dear Bertie. 'I am always glad & happy to have him a little with me, she wrote, '& I only wish I could see him oftener.' 1 The news of his serious illness shocked her deeply; and on 29 November 1871 she hurried to Sandringham to be with him.
Princess Alice was already there, a severe trial to her sister-in-law, the Princess of Wales, who found her bossy and unsympathetic. Prince Alfred was also there. His brother, Prince Leopold, was soon to come. So was the Duke of Cambridge. When the Prince of Wales's two youngest sisters, Princess Louise and Princess Beatrice, arrived as well, they were obliged to sleep in the same bed, so crowded had the house become with courtiers, servants, visiting Ministers and anxious members of the patient's family. And what 'an extraordinary family' they were, thought Princess Alexandra's Lady of the Bedchamber, Lady Macclesfield. She found it 'quite