Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Prince of Wales's North America Tour

Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, visited North America in 1860 and impressed everyone with his friendliness and joie de vivre. He was the first heir to the throne to visit North America.

Canadian officials requested a royal visit after a Canadian regiment fought in the Crimean War on behalf of Great Britain. The Queen refused to go because she thought that she would find the long sea voyage difficult. After her husband, Prince Albert, and the British Colonial Secretary, Henry Pelham Clinton, pleaded with her, Queen Victoria agreed to send the Prince of Wales instead. They thought that the visit would improve diplomatic relations between North America and Britain and be good for the Prince of Wales. They were right.

The Prince was greeted by enthusiastic crowds in Canada. He inaugurated the Victoria Bridge across the Hudson River in Montreal and he watched the exciting spectacle of Blondin crossing the Niagara Falls on a high wire pushing a man in a wheelchair. He went to many other provinces of Canada, including the beautiful Prince Edward Island. (This is one place that I've always dreamed of seeing!)

Thirty thousand wildly enthusiastic Americans came to cheer his arrival in Detroit. The number rose to fifty thousand in Chicago. The Prince began to suffer headaches from the stress of the celebrations and large crowds so he enjoyed a short hunting trip.

He stayed with President Buchanan in Washington, D.C., where a reception was held for him and he went on a tour.

Prince Edward stayed at the high-class Fifth Avenue Hotel in Madison Square in New York. A ball was held for him at the prestigious Academy of Music. An extra two thousand people came and the weight of these people caused the floor to collapse, to the Prince's astonishment. Luckily no one was seriously injured, although two people were slightly hurt.

The Prince finally went home exhausted after an exciting tour. He'd met the President, Emerson, Longfellow and Holmes and requested to see the opera star, Adelina Patti, after her show. He'd been welcomed by crowds everywhere he went and made a big impression on the people. His tour was long remembered.


Kittie Howard said...

I confess, I love reading about England's royalty...enjoyed how you condensed Prince Edward's visit...Thanks!

Viola said...

Hi Kittie,

Thank you! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. Your blog is great.

Hels said...

The idea of the queen (or her husband, son, grandson, aunt, cousin or any other blood relative) visiting a member of the British Commonwealth makes perfect sense. In this case it gave Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, a chance to fly the British flag, meet the loyal Canadian citizens and have a jolly good time away from home. No wonder he had a fantastic time in Canada.

But I am amazed that he attracted squillions of wildly enthusiastic Americans. Of course the American President welcomed him formally, but I wonder what the huge "public" excitement was about. Just the 1860 equivalent of Paris Hilton, do you think?

Viola said...

I think that the Prince was quite young and handsome in those days. Probably the crowd included a lot of women who hoped to become a princess!

Most of them probably came out of curiosity and they would have wanted strong ties with Britain. I do think that interest in royalty is much greater in republican countries, surprisingly.

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