The Hon. Horace Walpole's Account of the Wedding


Excerpt from a Letter to the Hon. H. S. Conway, Sept. 9, 1761


The date of my promise is now arrived, and I fulfill it-- fulfil it with great satisfaction, for the Queen is come; I have seen her, have been presented to her--and may go back to Strawberry. For this fortnight I have lived upon the road between Twickenham and London: I came, grew impatient, returned; came again, still to no purpose. The yachts made the coast of Suffolk last Saturday, on Sunday enter the road of Harwich, and on Monday morning the King's chief eunuch, as the Tripoline ambassador calls Lord Anson, landed the Princess. She lay that night at Lord Abercorn's at Witham, the palace of silence; and yesterday at a quarter after three arrived at St. James's.

In half an hour one heard of nothing but proclamations of her beauty: everybody was content, everybody pleased. At seven one went to court. The night was sultry. About ten the procession began to move towards the chapel, and at eleven they all came up into the drawing-room. She looks very sensible, cheerful, and is remarkably genteel. Her tiara of diamonds was very pretty, her stomacher sumptuous; her violet-velvet mantle and ermine so heavy, that the spectators knew as much of her upper half as the King himself.

You will have no doubts of her sense by what I shall tell you. On the road they wanted her to curl her toupet: she said she thought it looked as well as that of any of the ladies sent to fetch her; if the King bid her, she would wear a periwig, otherwise she would remain as she was. When she caught the first glimpse of the palace, she grew frightened and turned pale; the Duchess of Hamilton smiled--the Princess said, "My dear Duchess, you may laugh, you have been married twice, but it is no joke to me." Her lips trembled as the coach stopped, but she jumped out with spirit and has done nothing but with good-humour and cheerfulness.

She talks a great deal--is easy, civil, and not disconcerted. At first, when the bride-maids and the court were introduced to her, she said, "Mon Dieu, il y en a tant, il y en a tant!" She was pleased when she was to kiss the peeresses, but Lady Augusta was forced to take her hand and give it to those that were to kiss it, which was prettily humble and good-natured. While they waited for supper, she sat down, sang, and played. Her French is tolerable, she exchanged much both of that and German with the King, the Duke, and the Duke of York. They did not get to bed until two.

To-day was a drawing room : everybody was presented to her; but she spoke to nobody, as she could not know a soul. The crowd was much less than at a birth-day, the magnificence very little more. The King looked very handsome, and talked to her continually with great good-humour. It does not promise as if they two would be the two most unhappy persons in England from this event.


Excerpts from The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, v. 4 (1759-1764). London, 1840. p. 169-171.


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