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Victoria: A Girl Queen Of England
by [?]

IN the early years of the nineteenth century, frequenters of that part of London near the beautiful Kensington Palace and the still more beautiful gardens bearing its name, used to enjoy almost daily glimpses of a round-faced, red-cheeked child whose blue eyes were so bright with health and happiness that it was a pleasure to watch her.

Sometimes the little girl was seen accompanied by a party of older persons, and riding a donkey with a gay harness of blue ribbons, and it was noticeable that she always had a merry greeting for those who spoke to her in passing. At other times she would be walking, with her hand holding tight the hand of a little playmate, or on other days she was wheeled in a small carriage over the gravel walks of the shady Gardens, followed by an older girl who would sometimes stop the carriage and let a stranger kiss the blue-eyed occupant of the carriage. On pleasant days this same little girl could frequently be seen in a simple white dress and big shade hat, watering the plants in the beds of Kensington Palace, and the blue-eyed child was no other than the Princess Victoria Alexandrina, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the child who was one day to become Queen of England.

In fancying one’s self a Queen-to-be, there is never any place given to the prosaic duties of ordinary life, but Princess Victoria’s child-life at Kensington was a very simple one such as any little girl with a sensible mother might have had.

At eight o’clock daily the Duchess had breakfast, and the Princess had hers at the same time, at a small table near her mother, then came an hour’s drive or walk, and from ten to twelve lessons with the Duchess herself, after which Victoria amused herself in the suite of rooms which extended around the two sides of the palace, where she kept most of her toys. Then after a plain dinner came lessons again until four o’clock, after which came another walk or donkey ride in the Gardens, a simple supper, a romp with her nurse, whose name being Brock, Victoria called her “dear Boppy.” In fact, so secluded a life did the young Princess lead that, except for those glimpses of her in the Gardens, she was almost unknown to all but intimate family friends; and King George the Fourth, called by Victoria her “Uncle King,” sometimes expressed his displeasure that the child was not allowed to be present more often at his court. But the Duchess had her own ideas about that matter, and as they were not at all flattering to the court manners and customs of the day, she wisely continued to keep her little girl out of such an atmosphere, though in fear lest the King should carry out his threat of taking the child away from her, to bring her up in gloomy Windsor Castle, unless she was allowed to go there more often,–which threat his kingly power would allow him to carry out, if he so chose. But fortunately he never did as he threatened, and Victoria remained at Kensington with her mother, where with her half-sister and brother, the Princess Feodore and Prince Charles of Leiningen, the four formed a family group so loyal and so loving that nothing ever loosened the bond between them.

Although Victoria knew herself to be a Royal Highness, she was yet ignorant that some day she would be ruler of Great Britain, and she continued to do simple things as unconsciously as other girls might with a far different future. She was very enthusiastic over anything which took her fancy, and one day at a milliner’s saw a hat which was exactly what she wanted. With eager enthusiasm she waited until it was trimmed, and then exclaimed, “Oh, I will take it with me!” and was soon seen hurrying towards Kensington with the precious hat in her hand. And this was a real flesh and blood Princess, heir to the throne of England!