'I agree with the Mohammedans that duty towards one's
Parents goes before every other but that is not taught as
part of religion in Europe.'
THE QUEEN EXERCISED as much control over her sons as over her daughters. Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, like her eldest son, Bertie, was alternately a source of great worry to her and an object of affection. He was, she once regretted, 'reserved, touchy, vague and wilful', a 'great, great grief'. Yet when he came home on leave, after having been sent to sea at a tender age, so much against her wishes, he was greatly improved. He was so like his 'dearest Papa', though not, of course, so handsome, that she was delighted to see the 'good, dear, clever' boy again. 'Bless him,' she wrote. 'He is such a dear, dear boy . . . We have not had a single fault to find with him since he has been here.' He was 'very clever and intelligent' and talked 'so sensibly and pleasantly' about all he had seen: everybody was pleased with her 'dear darling'. 1 He had always had so many interests, unlike that 'nameless youth', his elder brother. He collected stamps; he took photographs; he played the violin though not very well, and wrote music for it, though not very good music. He was a competent draughtsman; he painted watercolours. Unfortunately, he did not always observe her rule that servants should be treated in a kindly manner, forgetting that 'civility and consideration for servants' was a thing which the Queen was 'very particular about'. 2 On one occasion she had cause to reprimand him severely: he must 'not treat servants etc. as many do, as soldiers, which does great harm and which especially