Sunday 9 February 2014

Queen Victoria & Prince Albert's Visit to Cambridge: Wednesday 25th & Thursday 26th October 1843

Queen Victoria & Prince Albert
1st March 1861
On Wednesday 25th October 1843 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert set out from London to visit Cambridge. As they arrived just beyond Royston, at the Cambridgeshire county boundary , they were reported to have been greeted by between 2000 - 4000 horsemen. Almost every parish in the county had sent out riders to escort The Queen to Cambridge.

It is recorded that Cambridge was in a carnival mood, determined to give a rapturous welcome to the first reigning British monarch to visit the town since 1728. The Queen and Prince were greeted by huge crowds, decorations everywhere, and a triumphal arch set up in Trumpington Street along their route to Trinity College, where they were to stay the night.

On arriving at Trinity The Queen and Prince were greeted by a brief moment of silence, followed by a loud cheer, that is said to have reverberated across every corner of the court.

The welcome was followed by 'loyal addresses' in the college hall. The Queen sat on what was called a 'throne' ( really Richard Bentley's old chair ). Next was a service at King's College Chapel. The Queen sat, so she was told, in the same chair in which Queen Elizabeth had sat in 1564. It was then back to Trinity and an impromptu by candlelight. That night the townsfolk celebrated with a firework display on Parker's Piece.

The next morning The Queen and Prince arrived at Senate House at 10am, where they were met with a massive explosion of applause from the crowd. The Queen, who was no Latin scholar, could not quite conceal her boredom at the lengthy Latin speeches which took place as Prince Albert received a honorary doctorate of law from the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. William Whewell.

After leaving the Senate House The Queen and Prince were taken to the Geological Museum close by, where they were greeted Adam Sedgwick.

Adam Sedgwick later said: ' I bowed as low as my anatomy would let me... The Queen seemed happy and well pleased, and was mightily taken with one or two of my monsters, especially with the Plesiosaurus and gigantic stag.'

The Royal couple then decided before they leave Cambridge they must see King's College Chapel again. From King's the carriage drove along the backs, to enter St. John's College at the rear. A tour of St. John's and the Wren library, was to conclude the morning for The Queen, but The Prince found time to visit another four colleges before lunch.

After lunch large crowds gathered as they watched the Royal couple journey to Corpus Christi College in the afternoon, before going on to the Round Church. Prince Albert found time to visit King's College Chapel for the third time, before the royal couple left for Wimpole Hall, where they spent a day.