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Six Years at the Russian Court - by Margaret Eager

CHAPTER 16

MY FIRST MEETING WITH THE KING

WE went to Denmark that year. There was a great gathering of Royalties there, including the King and Queen of England, Princess Victoria of England, and her sister, Princess Charles of Denmark, the Emperor and two Empresses of Russia, the King of Greece with one of his sons, and many other Royalties.

We stayed at Fredenburg that time. It is a good way from Copenhagen, and is a great deal bigger than Bernstorff. There is a large park there.

King Edward VII. arrived after we did, and the day he was expected Queen Alexandra came into the nurseries and told me he was coming, and asked me to make the children look very nice. I showed her the dresses I had prepared for them, and she admired them very much. She often said they were always so nicely dressed and kept. When we were leaving the Queen gave me a photograph (signed) of herself, the King and his little grand-children, with such kind and gracious words as she only can speak.

The King frequently spoke to me, too, and called me "My Irish subject." He has very winning manners and great tact. He has a marvellous memory. This year he sent me, in memory of the birth of the Czarovitch, a brooch, in green enamel, because I am Irish. They say he never forgets anything, and I know he never forgets to be kind.

We saw a good deal of the Empress's family that year, as her eldest sister, Princess Louis of Battenberg, her husband, and all her family stayed with us in Peterhoff during the summer.

Princess Louis of Battenberg has four beautiful children. I think her two daughters are about the handsomest of the young grown-up princesses of Europe. The eldest one, Princess Alice, was married to the Prince Andre of Greece last year; she is very pretty, but I admire the younger sister more. They were both charming young girls, and she has two fine boys.

Some years ago now Prince Louis's ship was stationed in the Shannon. He went over to Kilkee to spend one night and see the place. Quite close to the station is a hotel, very nice and comfortable, but not first-class. The Prince took a room in the hotel, left his bag, and went for a stroll. He had observed that the room contained two beds. When he returned to the hotel he was surprised to find one bed occupied by a commercial traveller. He sent for the manageress, and asked for a room for himself. She was exceedingly angry and scolded him violently, winding up with, "I'd like to know who you are to object to anyone. I'm sure you are no better than a little commercial traveller yourself." The Prince replied that all that might be very true, still he would like a room to himself. Whereupon the woman told him he might have a room in a small cottage which she had taken outside the hotel. The Prince accordingly went to the little cottage and slept there.

Prince Louis signed his name in the visitors' book in the morning, and the woman's horror and consternation may better be imagined than described. She was absolutely sure that the Queen would have her arrested for having been impertinent to her son-in-law, as she called him.

I was in Kilkee at the time the incident occurred, but could hardly believe the story, but the Prince himself assured me that it was absolutely true, and was greatly amused at the idea of meeting anyone from that remote spot in the Imperial Palace of Peterhoff.

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