King George V
Part Four, Chapter One: Setting Sail
Whilst the vast majority of newly weds might be able to enjoy a few days of recuperation from the festivities of their big day, this privilege was not extended to King George V and Queen Agnes after their marriage on the 11th of July 1845. They were to have a honeymoon of course but it could not take place until the last of their guests had left London – and some deliberately lingered a little longer to take full advantage of the kind of royal hospitality they might not be able to indulge in on a regular basis at home. For the King, this was actually quite welcome in the case of two guests in particular; his sister Maria Georgievna and her husband the Tsarevich of Russia. It must be said that until now, George V had few opportunities to build a friendship with Alexander and he slightly resented the man who had won his sister’s heart and taken her far away from her homeland. Political expediency had seen the Tsarevna avoid visits to England for almost five years but the warm reception she was shown by the crowds who came to see the King married cheered her greatly. Delighted that she was to stay in England a little longer, George V decided to host an intimate family reunion at Marlborough House (diplomatically allowing those not so closely connected to remain at Buckingham Palace without an obvious snub) which included the Tsarevich and Tsarevna, the Prince and Princess of Orange, Princess Mary, the Cambridges and their two daughters, the Earl of Armagh and the Dowager Duchesses of Clarence and Sussex. 
Noticeable by their absence however were the Queen’s family. Though he dearly wished to remain in London for a little longer, the Duchess of Anhalt-Dessau demanded they return home – possibly because she had grown tired of being outranked at the British court and wanted the reassurance of her own superiority in her own palace. This parting was particularly difficult for Agnes who suddenly realised that opportunities to see her father and her siblings may be few and far between. When the Duke left Buckingham Palace, he promised Agnes that he would write to her at every opportunity and in his first letter, we see how deeply Leopold IV felt the “loss” of his eldest daughter; “For you have been my treasure all these years and whilst your happiness brings me much joy, I cannot deceive you my dearest daughter and must confess that our parting brought me such anguish that I dare not recall it here”. As for the Duchess, her first letter to her daughter after Agnes was married and became Queen consort advised her daughter “not to tarry with the reorganisation of the Household for under Mary Gloucester the Palace has become so very dirty and old fashioned and the servants utterly hopeless”.
In fact, the Duchess of Anhalt-Dessau couldn’t have been more mistaken. Charlie Phipps had prepared the reconstitution of the Queen’s Household so adeptly that those now taking up their new roles at court simply slotted into their positions without fuss or disruption. In the Queen’s Private Apartments, Charles Arbuthnot (known to the Queen as Butty) was given his own office adjoining the Queen’s study from which he established the nerve centre of the new household which would faithfully serve Agnes for the next 40 years. Each morning at breakfast, the Queen was presented with a light blue leather bound ledger embossed with her new coat of arms in which Butty carefully listed each engagement, the names and brief biographies of those the Queen would be meeting and a few recommended talking points. Agnes made her own notes in this ledger with questions which Butty took to his office and studied as the Queen was dressed by her ladies in her bedroom, returning to her with the answers promptly before she set off to wherever she may be going.
Elizabeth Knollys (Bessie) was not a lady of the bedchamber and was instead referred to as “the Queen’s Companion” and it was Bessie who was often called upon to explain the history of a charity or to pass on important social titbits, allowing the Queen to meet the grand ladies who often headed charities at this time without being wrong footed. The ladies of the bedchamber were rotated with two accompanying Agnes on every engagement, though this quickly saw the Mistress of the Robes, Mary FitzRoy, Duchess of Grafton (known as May), as a staple with a more junior lady in waiting bringing up the rear. The King was delighted to see just how smoothly the Queen’s Household had fallen into place and it was agreed that Their Majesties should undertake a week of public engagements to test this new infrastructure in the week proceeding their departure for their honeymoon in Scotland. If Agnes had hoped for a gentle introduction to her new role, she was to be disappointed yet Agnes expressed no sense of anxiety or concern, rather she was eager to discover exactly what her new life had in store for her.
In January 1845, the King had been contacted by the directors of the Great Western Steamship Company to ask if His Majesty would consider attending a ceremony to mark the maiden voyage of the firm’s newest acquisition, the SS Great Britain
. The Great Britain
was to be the largest passenger steamship in the world, designed by the King of Engineering himself, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. She could carry as many as 360 passengers on her crossings from Bristol to New York City and at the time, she was the most luxurious and comfortable (not to mention most efficient) vessel in service. Launched in 1843, the ship had suffered a string of setbacks and had spent a year trapped in Bristol harbour because the harbour was nowhere near as modern as the ship itself and thus, when the Captain tried to sail her out of Bristol harbour, the SS Great Britain
got stuck. But the Great Britain
was more than a ship. She was a hallmark of progress and of Britain’s place as a leader of technology, innovation and design. In short, she was a flagship for British ingenuity. Keen to protect and preserve this image, the GWSC wanted to stage a kind of re-launch in 1845 to restore public interest - and their company's success which was now in danger of being overshadowed by the impeccable record of the rival Cunard Line. George V had been delighted to accept the invitation to this event in January and when his engagement was made public in February, he wrote to the GWSC asking if the honour of "sponsoring" the Great Britain
might instead be given to Queen Agnes. So it was that on July the 19th 1845, the King and Queen were to travel to Bristol aboard the King’s private railway carriage from London for a whistlestop visit to the city where huge crowds were forming to watch the Great Britain
set out on her maiden voyage to New York. 
The Great Britain being fitted out in 1844. This photograph is believed to be the very first ever taken of a ship.
This formed the centre point of “Introduction Week” and would come amidst several high-profile engagements which would serve to be a baptism of fire for Queen Agnes. On the 17th of July, the King and Queen were invited to a grand luncheon at the Guildhall to celebrate their marriage given by the Lord Mayor of London on behalf of the City of London Corporation. The Corporation can trace its roots back to the 11th century and despite a brief suspension of its privileges by King Charles II in 1683, these were restored after the Glorious Revolution in 1690. The Lord Mayor and the Council of Aldermen naturally wished to express their good wishes for the royal couple and so too did the Livery Companies, representing some of London’s most ancient trade guilds. So as well as a luncheon at the Guildhall on the 17th, a gala dinner was given for Their Majesties at the Fishmonger’s Hall on the 18th. But there was a slight problem. In the usual way of things, any invitations extended to the King or Queen would be put through their Private Secretary. Phipps or Arbuthnot would accept or decline as directed and then the engagement was entered into the book for publication in the Court Circular. But Agnes was not yet familiar with this and instead, she presented Butty with the news on the morning of the 17th of July that on the 18th she was to go to Pinner with May Grafton and Lady Holland (Gussie). Butty explained that the Queen had already been scheduled to meet with representatives from several charities seeking her patronage that afternoon (including the Disabled Missionaries Widows and Orphans Fund of the London City Mission, the Foreign Aid Society and the Colonial Bishoprics' Fund) but the Queen would not hear of changing her plans. 
Shortly after her visit to the Asylum for Fatherless Children in Richmond in January 1845, Queen Agnes received a letter from Mrs Irene Lowe of the Commercial Traveller’s School for Orphans and Necessitous Children in Pinner. Mrs Lowe invited the Queen to visit the school where the children had been working especially hard to produce gifts for Her Majesty to commemorate her wedding day and so touched was the Queen by this, that she immediately wrote back to Mrs Lowe accepting her invitation to tea. Agnes could not bear the thought of disappointing the children and insisted that her meetings at Buckingham Palace would simply have to be kept to no more than twenty minutes to allow her to get to Pinner and back before she had to dress for the dinner at the Fishmonger’s Hall. Arbuthnot was not pleased but accepted there would naturally be teething troubles like this and he did his best to fit everything into the Queen’s schedule.
Naturally Her Majesty’s visit to Pinner was not only well-received by Mrs Lowe and the board of the Commercial Traveller’s School but by the press. People were charmed by the Queen’s interest in poor children which would become one of her three most important “causes” throughout her tenure as Queen consort. But when the Queen returned to Buckingham Palace late on the 18th, the King was not best pleased to be kept waiting as her ladies rushed to help her change for the Liverymen’s dinner and he was even less impressed when her dithering at Pinner meant they arrived at the Fishmonger’s Hall half an hour late. Still, he agreed with Butty that these things were to be expected and that in time, these little wrinkles would soon be smoothed out. May Grafton was not so easily reassured. She felt the Queen was taking on far too much too soon and in a letter to Dr Alison, she noted that “Her Majesty appears pale and she is not sleeping well, a sure sign that she should not be so eager in her exertions”. The Queen herself had other ideas. During her “training” with Princess Mary, she had been advised to choose one or two of the aforementioned “causes” she wished to make her own after her marriage. This was not so much a formal declaration of interest but it was seen as quite proper for all ladies of means to select a charitable cause or two that resonated with them and which could benefit from their patronage. For Queen Agnes however, this discussion germinated the seed of an idea that would prove to cement her place in the affection’s of the British people for decades to come – even if the workload it brought did little to ease the Duchess of Grafton’s anxieties.
In 1838, the late Queen Louise had formed the Royal Committee for the Hungarian Emergency to raise funds for people of Pest who had experienced a terrible flood. This generosity was so warmly received that the King had no hesitation in giving Agnes permission to form her own Royal Committee for a cause she cared about after their marriage. Though she would always champion the plight of poor children, there were already charities in place which assisted them – though her fundraising efforts over the years undoubtedly helped many not only to survive but to thrive. It must be remembered that in 1870, Queen Agnes personally gave a donation of £5,000 to assist with the foundation and operations of a new boy’s orphanage at 18 Stepney Causeway – the founder of this orphanage was none other than Dr Thomas John Barnardo and Queen Agnes would personally visit his many homes for “waif children” as much as five times a year from 1870 until her death. However, when Agnes began to think about the charities she might wish to work with, one cause in particular took her interest more than any other – nursing. Like many women of her class, she had been given a moderate training in the basics of nursing as it was also considered quite proper for young unmarried girls to have a rudimentary knowledge of how to care for an infirm aunt or a sick child. But for Agnes, nursing meant something far more than dispensing Cod Liver Oil or knowing how to apply a crepe bandage. For Agnes, nursing was the profession she admired most and indeed, in her later years she admitted “I should have liked to have been a matron far more than a patron”.
Nursing in Britain in the 1840s had it’s roots in alms-houses (hence the use of ‘Sister’ for nurses) but hospitals themselves were totally disparate establishments dependent on donations and on their location, which determined their size and efficiency. Most “nurses” were middle class spinsters who saw their work in voluntary hospitals as their Christian duty but they received almost no formal training and they could not expect any real renumeration for their efforts – the average rate of pay was 9s 6d a week and only those in London could expect board and lodging to be provided. Nurses were taken from uneducated backgrounds and so long as a woman could cook and clean, the medical side of her profession was considered secondary for most hospitals were more in the business of keeping patients comfortable than they were curing diseases. However, this was changing and many were making concerted efforts to improve the standard of nursing in the capital and beyond. To this end, Agnes invited representatives of four charities to Buckingham Palace on the 18th of July 1845 to gain a greater insight into their work and how she might help.
The first of these was St Luke’s Hospital and Convalescent Establishment which had facilities at Old Street, Nether Court, Ramsgate and Gerrard’s Cross. The hospital (established as a charity) sought to treat and cure mental diseases free of charge at the point of access. Many had come to rely on St Luke’s but it had been denied any state grant by successive governments and existed by seeking donations from wealthy patrons. The second organisation was the Royal Hospital Greenwich which provided assistance to aged and maimed seamen (in addition to providing financial support for naval widows and educational programmes for their children) and came under the purview of the Admiralty. The third was the Friendly Female Society (est in 1802) which had Almshouses at Camberwell and Brixton and provided “poor relief and nursing care to single women and inform widows of good character who have seen better days and have less than 8s a week and who reside within 7 miles of St Paul’s”. But the final deputation was to come from an organisation which really fascinated Agnes most; the Nursing Sister’s Institution based in Devonshire Square, Bishopsgate. Founded in 1840, this charity was established to provide “experienced, conscientious and Christian nurses for the sick” and to “raise the standards of the occupation of nursing”. Four sisters from the Institute were invited to the Palace but their delegation was to be headed by their founder: Mrs Elizabeth Fry.
Elizabeth Fry, born in 1780, was best known as the “Angel of Prisons” and was instrumental in seeing the introduction of Gaols Act in 1823 which mandated that prisons not only be sex-segregated but that female prisoners should be protected from sexual exploitation by the provision of female warders. Her efforts for prison reform as well as other social causes brought her nationwide fame and this helped her to raise enormous sums of money to establish projects like the Nursing Sister’s Institute. The King himself had donated to this project in 1840 and other royal benefactors included the King of Prussia and the Tsar of Russia. Limited royal patronage had been given to Fry by the Dowager Duchess of Clarence too, the Nursing Sister’s Institute almost exclusively providing private nurses to the wealthy at this time (and to the Duchess personally) but it wasn’t until 1845 that the Royal Family forged it’s strongest association yet with Mrs Fry’s endeavours and that was solely the achievement of Queen Agnes. When she was introduced to Mrs Fry on the 18th of July 1845, she told the elderly campaigner “I have read of your efforts and I hope you shall allow me to help in any way I can”. Fry replied, “There is always work for willing hands Your Majesty”. Agnes was certainly willing, so much so that her enthusiasm for finding a way she could help Mrs Fry became an obsession that dominated everything.
From her audience with the four nursing charities she selected, Agnes embarked on an extensive study of the state of nursing in the United Kingdom and highlighted what she thought each organisation could offer to a new approach whilst also pointing out where she thought their work was limited in it’s outreach and effect. This took some time of course but given her enthusiasm, it is perhaps understandable that when she awoke to head to Bristol for the launch of the SS Great Britain
, she had slept very little and had instead spent half the night documenting her talks with Mrs Fry and the other delegates. Worthy of note here is a conversation the Queen had with her husband after Mrs Fry’s visit. In 1838, Queen Louise had established an order of chivalry to recognise the efforts made by women in Britain and beyond for their charitable causes. However, there had been very few appointments to this order which was considered to be dormant since the death of Queen Louise in 1842. Now, the Queen asked the King if he would have any objection to an appointment being made to it – specifically for Mrs Elizabeth Fry. George promised to think on the matter. Finally he concluded that he did not feel the Order of Queen Louise should be revived but instead, he proposed that a new order be constituted – the Order of Queen Agnes – following the precedent of the Royal Family Orders which had begun in the reign of his father, King George IV. The Order of Queen Agnes followed the same constitution as that which had been introduced for the Order of Queen Louise. The insignia of the old order featured a profile of the late Queen on a gold medallion affixed to a badge made of pink and white ribbon; the new order featured a portrait of Queen Agnes with a pale yellow and white ribbon, the yellow taken from the colour of the insignia of the Royal Family Order of King George V. A second class was introduced with a silver medal rather than gold but the motto “With Gratitude” remained the same for both. Agnes was appointed Lady Chancellor of the Order (the King serving as Sovereign) and it was agreed that the annual thanksgiving service held on the 31st of May (Queen Louise’s birthday) should be moved to the 24th of June (Queen Agnes’ birthday). The order was formally established on the 31st of July 1845 and its first recipient was Mrs Elizabeth Fry in the degree of 1st Class.
As the Duchess of Grafton had predicted, Queen Agnes’ exertions were indeed taking their toll. May noted in her journal on the day of the launch of the SS Great Britain
that rousing the Queen at 5.30am on the 19th July proved “an impossible task and Her Majesty did not rise from her bed until at least a quarter past six” . So engrossed was she in her notes from the previous day that Agnes paid no attention to her breakfast and had to be “practically pinned to the dressing table so that we might fashion her hair” all the while “endlessly chattering in a most unbecoming and erratic fashion”. When the Duchess complained of this to Princess Mary, she was surprised to hear the grand old dowager actually approved; “An abundance of energy is quickly calmed by good works”, she said, “And it does sound as if my niece has adopted intentions for the good”. The King was thrilled too as he saw his young wife assume her new responsibilities with gusto but this soon became a little testing. George V adored railways and he was always delighted when he had an opportunity to use his own private carriage, as he did that day when the royal couple made their progress to Bristol. As he tried to explain the intricacies of the new network, how the engine worked and what innovations had been included in the carriage itself, all Agnes could talk of was Mrs Fry and her nurses. Phipps referred to this in his diary as “the battle of great interests” which ultimately was declared a truce when their train pulled into the station and they disembarked to board a horse-drawn carriage which would take them the rest of the way to Bristol.
The city itself was teeming with people in buoyant mood. A processional route had been carved out through the streets all decorated with flags, flowers, bunting and ribbons. Schoolchildren were lined up to present posies and there was a guard of honour provided by the local police, soldiers and dragoons. Amidst crashing military marches, the sun broke through the crowds and the atmosphere gave itself over to that of a public holiday with a huge roar of approval as the King and Queen’s carriage reached the dais at the dockside where the almighty SS Great Britain
lay waiting for her "re-launch", a magnificent ship dwarfing those who gazed up in wonder at this fine example of British engineering and craftsmanship. The King gave a brief address with the Queen at his side, paying tribute to Mr Brunel and the Great Western Steamship Company which had made the vessel a reality. As she had already been named, it was decided that the Queen should make a brief statement announcing her new role as the ship's "sponsor". Having never performed such a task, the Queen was a little nervous. The Director of the GWSC handed her a piece of paper but she dropped it and as he scrabbled for it on the ground, Agnes simply said loudly, “I am very happy to see this ship and I shall follow it's many voyages with interest and affection”. Then, as the director righted himself, she pulled a lever which sent a bottle of champagne smashing against the bow (not entirely the done thing but which nobody much minded) to the wild applause and delighted cheers of the crowds. The Bristol Mirror reported that “our young and beautiful Queen was most enthusiastically received by the people who all hoped for a moment in her company. Her Majesty happily swung a bottle of champagne at the bow of the great ship which to the delight of all present was thereupon smashed about, a sure sign of good fortune for this most miraculous feat of British engineering”.
At the luncheon at City Hall that followed, the Queen was noted by those present (though not in the press) to be a little withdrawn. Within an hour or so, the couple were whizzing back to London and at Buckingham Palace, Agnes had to be bathed and dressed for a dinner being held for Anglican Bishops before she could be put to bed. The following morning, she again woke late but thankfully her only obligation that day was a small family dinner in the evening which would allow Princess Mary, the Cambridges et al to wish the King and Queen well before they departed for their honeymoon the following morning. Agnes spent the entire day furiously engaged in her work, asking for her luncheon to be served on a tray rather than her private dining room which the Duchess of Grafton refused to do and insisted that Her Majesty cease work and actually eat something substantial. May won where luncheon was concerned but Agnes was victorious when it came to tea time and the Queen worked on. At 7pm, half an hour before the King and Queen were due to receive their guests, George V left his rooms fully attired and availed himself of a brief moment to smoke a cigarette and walk up and down the corridor to help break in his new pair of evening shoes. But by 7.15pm, there was still no sign of the Queen. By 7.30pm, the King was fast becoming impatient and so he sent Phipps to hurry Agnes along a little. When Phipps reached the Queen’s Apartments, he found a distraught Duchess of Grafton. Plead as she might, the Queen would not allow herself to be bathed and dressed. She wanted to continue her work. Phipps relayed this to the King who made his way to the Queen’s bedroom. What he saw shocked him. Agnes was clearly unwell, pale and drawn and very overwrought.
“Agnes darling, you are late again”, he said somewhat sternly, “Don’t you think you ought to leave all that now and let May and Daisy dress you for dinner?”
“Oh Georgie”, Agnes said softly, her voice breaking with emotion, “I shall never get it all right, never!”
The King looked down at the reams of paper covered in scribble. Suddenly he was not quite so petulant.
“And I don’t know half of the words!”, she cried, “It is slowing me down so much and this beastly dictionary is so hard to understand and I…I just wanted to make you proud of me”
Tears rolled down the Queen’s cheeks. George's frown was replaced by a kind smile as he knelt down beside his wife.
“Agnes…I am very proud of you…very, very proud”, he began, “But Rome was not built in a day my darling. I know how important these things are to you but…”
“No you can’t know, you can’t possibly know!”, Agnes wailed.
“Then you tell me”, the King said encouragingly.
“It’s just that…”, Agnes sniffed, pausing to look into the King’s eyes, perhaps a little nervous at what his reaction might be to her words, “Aunt Mary told me how much everybody loved Louise because she did so many good things for people…and I…well…I….”
“You are worried that you won’t meet her example?”, George said soberly, nodding slowly, “I see…”
“I’m sorry”, Agnes sighed, “I’ve made a dreadful mess of things. And now I’ve upset you”
George leaned forward gently and kissed Agnes on the cheek.
“You’ve done no such thing”, he whispered, “It is true that Sunny did many good things. And it is also true that people loved her for it. But you shall do equally good things, great things, I am sure of it. And the people will love you too. Just as much as I already do”
Agnes smiled, wiping her tears with a handkerchief.
“And now I think you had better wipe your tears, get dressed and come and have supper with your family. Because they love you and they have come to see you. And if we wait any longer, Aunt Mary may start buttering the furniture…”
Agnes laughed. “Oh Georgie!”, she cried happily, throwing her arms around the King, “Have I been a silly little Nessa?”
“Maybe. But it doesn't matter”, the King grinned, “Now hurry along, I’m ravenous myself”.
Four days later and the King and Queen were safely ensconced together at Birkhall, their honeymoon providing Agnes with the perfect setting to take a breath and slow down a little. Though the King had acquired the larger house at Balmoral, it was nowhere near ready for the couple to stay in and so whilst they made use of the estate, it was Birkhall where the pair spent their first holiday together in Scotland…and perusing a calendar (though it is perhaps indecorous to point out such things) where it is almost certain their first child was conceived. Of course, the King already had three children and though the royal honeymoon was a time for George and Agnes to spend together, Agnes insisted that the Princess Royal (allowed to remain in England a little longer after her father’s wedding), Princess Victoria and the Prince of Wales accompany them so that she might have time with her new step-children away from the hustle and bustle of the court.
The Princess Royal was now seven years old and her time at the Heidecke School had been extremely advantageous to her development. As she grew older, it also became clear as to just how severe her deafness was. It is estimated that she had at least 30% in her left ear even though her right had none at all and this perhaps meant that unlike some of her contemporaries at the school in Leipzig, she not only found it far easier to form words – but also to speak them. The Heidecke school was particularly proud of the fact that many of it’s pupils could speak well and without trace of their deafness but this was not guaranteed for all. Thankfully, in Missy’s case, this proved (mostly) to be true and though she took far longer than her siblings to begin talking, by the age of 7 she was fully able to communicate, to comprehend and to express herself with only a few traces of her disability in her speech patterns. That said, the sound of her voice would always be a little nasal which the Heidecke method later advanced to correct . But she was still profoundly deaf and all her life she would depend on lip-reading which everybody in her family both in England and later Darmstadt had to accommodate.
Right from the very start, the Princess Royal formed a close bond with her stepmother. Perhaps because she was the eldest or perhaps because she had spent so long abroad in her childhood, she fully accepted that Agnes was now a part of her family. One sensitive issue was what the children should call Agnes but this was resolved immediately by Missy who called Agnes “Mama” from the very beginning. George accepted this for if his children were comfortable in addressing his second wife as “Mama”, he did not wish to forbid it. That said, he perhaps saw it as a term of affection similar to that which he used for his mother-in-law and he did ensure that Louise’s portraits were always on prominent display in the children’s rooms. When the King had time to read to his children at bedtime, it was never from story books but rather, he would relay his own memories of their mother and in this way, Queen Louise’s memory was honoured and kept alive. Willy followed Missy’s example, after all, Agnes was the only mother figure he had ever really known. Over the years, he came to adore Agnes and their relationship developed into a close one. But there was one exception: Princess Victoria.
Princess Victoria, aged 5, by Winterhalter.
Princess Victoria was just two years old when her mother died and only five years old when her father remarried. As a child, she was as close to Agnes as her siblings and even when her half-brothers and sisters arrived on the scene, she never resented them or felt that she was in any way second place in either her father’s, or her stepmother’s, affections. But in later years, Victoria’s attitude toward Agnes changed until, by the time her father died, she only tolerated being in the Queen’s company when her presence was unavoidable. She did not write to her stepmother as her siblings did, neither did she holiday with her and by the time Toria reached her 50s, she had developed an outright dislike of her stepmother for reasons which may become clear as we progress further. This saddened Agnes who could never understand why the close relationship she had built with Toria broke down as the years went by but in 1845, nobody could deny that though her introduction to the British Royal Family had not been without it’s teething problems, those closest to the King and Queen (and even those who saw them from afar) could delight in a new era in which the United Kingdom once again had a happy (and even a model) Royal Family at the helm.
 For those anxious for the promised Lottie and Drina update, fear not! They’ve gone back home but George will be going to them so we can explore what’s been going on with the Tsarevna and the Princess of Orange in a bit more detail on their home turf.
 With thanks to @nathanael1234
for his suggestion that we might include the Great Britain
in some way.
 A key resource for this chapter has been Herbert Fry’s Guide to the Royal Charities which you can find here: https://www.victorianlondon.org/charities/charities.htm
 A minor point here but I’ve had to shift the dates slightly to accommodate the maiden voyage and the King’s honeymoon – so the maiden voyage here uses the same date as the launch in 1843 to avoid a clash!
 In finding a plausible outcome for Missy's time at the Heidecke School, I've researched accounts of their success stories, how the method changed and how the most severe cases benefitted from it. In Missy's case, I feel this is a fair resolution which doesn't magic away her deafness and retains the challenges that poses but it doesn't doom her to the sad fate of many deaf people in this period who really had no hope of any real, practical help or progress with their disability. She will find life difficult but she can still have the life the King would wish for her and though she will struggle at times, the door to things like marriage and children won't be closed to her - neither will her involving herself fully in the hustle and bustle of court and family life as she grows older.
So here we begin Part Four!
Once again, a huge thankyou to all who have kept with Crown Imperial
for such a long time - nearly 18 months now!
I apologise for the delay in returning to TTL but I've been laid low with this blasted chest infection which took far longer to shake than was comfortable. We're now back into the swing of things and I hope to be able to accommodate as many of the themes and things you'd like to see as we go forward. This was quite a domestic chapter but I felt it important to address how Agnes was settling in - and also many of you had asked for some news on how the children were doing. In our next few chapters, we'll be moving away from the British court and looking much further afield...
As ever, many thanks for reading!