Monday, December 9, 2019

Royal Romances of Today by Kellogg Durland

Part 1: Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain
Chapter 1: An Island Princess


Once upon a time, not so many years ago, there lived on a lovely island of the sea, a beautiful, golden-haired, blue-eyed Princess. The mother of this Princess was kind and good to everybody on the island and all who knew her loved her. The father of the princess was a soldier, a warrior who led men to battle, and who sailed over distant seas to fight for the honour and glory of his country. The grandmother of the little Princess was a great Queen, known and revered by the whole world, for she enjoyed a long life and a long reign. The little Princess was born in the fiftieth year of the reign of the good old Queen and so the little Princess was called “the Jubilee baby.”
The Jubilee baby became the favourite grandchild of the old Queen who loved to have the young Princess with her, and so it happened that the training of the Princess was largely at the knees of the great Queen,—and her nursery days were spent on the steps of a throne.
When the Princess was eight years old, her{4} soldier father was sent to a foreign land to fight in a cruel war. The ship that carried him and the soldiers who left their homes with him, stopped for a few days at the port of a friendly country and the officers, including the father of the Princess, got off the ship to visit the strange country. It was a pleasant land, a land of sunshine and flowers, where even in midwinter, the fragrance of roses and orange blossoms filled the air. The island home of the Princess was cold in winter, and harsh winds swept in from the sea. The Prince, seeing all the beauty of the new land, would have liked to linger in the balmy atmosphere where birds were as merry at Christmas as in his own land at Easter. But he was on a stern journey, fulfilling a great and responsible duty. The ship was about to start on to its destination—the land of discord and strife where war was being waged, and human lives were being sacrificed—where blood was running and suffering and sorrow came with each day’s sun; the ship was about to start on, and the Prince, thinking of the country whither he was going, and of the land which he now was glimpsing like a beautiful dream, thought also of the home he had left and his fair-haired, darling daughter, her three baby brothers, and their mother whom he loved very dearly. Then he sat down and wrote a letter to the little Princess. It was the first time he had ever written a letter to her, because she was still a wee girl and had never left his side. In this letter he told her how beautiful was the land that{5} he then was visiting, and he went on to say to her: “Always be a good girl, and love your mother. If you do this, when you grow up and are big, you too, will travel, and you will come to this beautiful country. You will see for yourself that you will like it and how happy you will be here.”
The little Princess was very pleased when she received this letter from her father of whom she was extremely proud, and being the only one she had from him treasured it like a relic. She never dreamed how wonderfully prophetic were the simple words he wrote.
One short month later the Prince was dead. The shadow of this loss deeply darkened the life of the little Princess and all her family, and indeed the whole country mourned. A few years passed and the little Princess grew up and was ever and always more beautiful and lovely of character, as well as of face and form. When she was eighteen, there came to visit her country the young ruler of the very land her father had visited on his last journey—the land which he told her she would one day visit and where she would be happy. The King of this land, as it happened, was then only nineteen years old, and in quest of a Princess to share his throne. When he saw the Princess of this story, he fell instantly in love with her, and she with him—and after a wooing and courtship they were married. So after all, the Princess did go to the land her father told her she would one day see, and now the “Jubilee Baby” is the Queen{6} of that country, and the people there have become as devoted to her as she is to them—and she is very, very happy.
Does this read like a pretty fairy tale, written for children? Possibly. But it isn’t; at least, if it is a story and pretty, it is every word true, for “the Jubilee Baby” was Queen Victoria’s thirty-second grandchild, the daughter of Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenberg. The Isle of Wight of Southern England was the home of the Battenbergs and Princess Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena—or Princess Ena, as she was generally called—was Queen Victoria’s favourite grandchild. When Princess Ena was eight years old, her father, Prince Henry, went off to the Ashanti campaign in Africa and when his ship was detained a few days at Gibraltar, he ran up to Seville, from where he wrote the letter—the only letter he ever wrote to his little daughter—telling her that one day she would come to Spain and be happy. This letter was written in November and in December, Prince Henry died of a fever contracted in the deadly climate of that part of the African coast. Ten years later, King Alfonso XIII went to England, met Princess Ena and within the twelve month, they were married and now she is Queen Eugenie of Spain!

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Royal Romances of Today by Kellogg Durland

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