Title: Jubileemania | The Queen's Crown Jewels and the French Collecion—The American Exhibition—The Social Success of Buffalo Bill

Periodical: Philadelphia Inquirer

Date: May 12, 1887

More metadata


The Queen's Crown Jewels and the French Collection—The American Exhibition—The Social Success of Buffalo Bill.

LONDON, May 1--The Queen has returned from the Continent, and "jubileemania" [1] is gaining ground.

The papers are full of notes on the preparations. Among the noble guests will be Prince Rudolph of Austria, the Crown Princess Stephanie, the King of the Belgians and the Queen of the Sandwich Islands. [2] The jubilee service at Westminster Abbey will cost the monstrous sum of $100,000 All the ladies are commanded to appear in full evening dress, in order to gratify the Queen's passion for bare necks, and some of the religious journals are loudly denouncing this regulation as a sacrilege.

The Crown Jewels.

The Queen's regalia are to be furbished up on this jubilee occasion. A suggestion has even been made (though it will not certainly be acted on), to insert the Koh-i-noor in the crown. A new crown was made for George IV, at enormous cost; but this, which weighed seven pounds, was too heavy and too large for the Queen's head, so another was made of less than half the weight--a cap of blue velvet, with hoops of silver, brilliant with diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Above it rose a ball covered with small diamonds, surmounted by a Maltese cross of brilliants, with a splendid sapphire in its centre. In front of the crown was another Maltese cross, bearing the enormous heart-shaped ruby once worn by Edward the Black Prince. [3] There are 2166 precious stones of all sizes on the crown, worth £113,000.

The Yankeeries.

The American Exhibition will not open on the 9th of May, [4] but will be in a very advanced state of completion. All the exhibitors exclaim at the magnitude and beauty of the buildings and grounds, to which no description can do full justice.

Colonel Henry S. Russell, of Boston, who has accepted the presidency of the exhibition, and Mr. Burnett Landreth, of Philadelphia, [5] have arrived, and highly gratified with the state of affairs, have put their shoulders to the wheel, and are doing their best to aid in the preparations.

Mr. John Robinson Whitley, [6] director general, wears the aspect of a general in command of an army doing a forced march in the enemy's country. But a short time will enable every one connected with the work to congratulate themselves on the completion of one of the most gigantic enterprises ever undertaken by private persons.

Cody in Clover.

Buffalo Bill is making a great social success, and as the people have found out that in America we produce great hunters and Indian fighters who are refined and polished gentlemen, he is loaded down with invitations, but very few of which he is able to accept.

The Indians are employing the time before opening in visiting theatres and places of interest, and attract a prodigious amount of attention wherever they appear. Red Shirt, the head Sioux Chief, who closely resembles Napoleon Bonaparte--the striking likeness being everywhere remarked--is also a bit of a lion. He told me, through his interpreter, that he traveled miles and miles through land and cities until he came to water, and then he sailed and sailed until he thought there was no more land, only water, but he had found a land with more people in it than he left behind him.

They have been much taken with the ballet dancing at the Alhambra and Drury Lane, so I asked him what he thought of the girls. He said, "Oh! I am a great friend to all women," upon which I shook hands warmly with him, and evoked one of his smiles, which are as pleasing as they are rare Asked how many wives he had, he replied that he had a right to all he wanted, but that one wife was enough to keep any man poor.

Distinguished Visitors.

The Right Hon. Mr Gladstone and Mrs. Gladstone, Irving, Toole, Lady Bective, the Dowager Countess of Downshire, Col. Hughes Hallett, Lord Ronald Gower and Capt. Carl H. Thimm have been among the many visitors to the exhibition this week.

The opening will probably attract the largest crowd ever seen in one place here. The members of the Press Club, Savage Club and Garrick Club are coming in a body; the Council of Welcome, numbering 600, and a host of other distinguished persons.

Not a Happy Lot.

The maids of honor to the Queen earn every penny of the £300 a year which is their stipend for filling a very difficult position. With the best of intentions and with the kindest heart in the world, the Queen expects so much from herself in the way of physical toil, both for business and pleasure, that she may perhaps be excused for sometimes forgetting that the flesh, especially aristocratic flesh, is weak. The maids of honor are on duty for a month at a time, and at the end of the month they are generally fit subjects for a course of tonic treatment. While on duty they cannot call their souls their own. After breakfast, which they take in their own rooms, they have to hold themselves in instant readiness to obey the Queen's summons, which comes the moment Sir Henry Ponsonby quits Her Majesty's presence, with the big red morocco despatch box, containing his day's work, under his arm.

After a brief "Good morning," the Queen suggests a little reading, and the dutiful maid addresses herself to the pile of papers wherein the proper passages for Her Majesty's hearing have already been marked by Sir Henry. Through columns and columns of Parlimentary debate, leading article and correspondence has the poor lady to intone her dismal way, often having to repeat passages, for the Queen never leaves a subject till she has thoroughly mastered it, and is not at all sparing in her commands to "Just read that again, please." The maid of honor is so busy minding her stops and trying to modulate her voice that she has little chance of understanding a tithe of what she is reading, and yet the moment the reading is over she has to rush off and get ready for a drive with her royal mistress, during which she will be expected to make lucid remarks on the topics she has just read aloud.

Young ladies do not, as a rule, jump at the post of maid of honor to the Queen till they have given themselves a fair chance of obtaining an "establishment." It is not till season after season has been drawn blank that disconsolate ladies have recourse to the dignity, very much minus the leisure, of joining the "Household" It follows that, though by no means in the sere and yellow leaf, the majority of the maids of honor are not in the first blush of budding girlhood. The present senior maid is the Hon. Harriet Lepel Phipps, a cousin of the Marquis of Normanby. Miss Phipps will never see her 45th birthday again. The Hon. Frances Drummond, a daughter of Viscount Stathallan, is 39. The Hon. Ethel Cadogan was born in 1853, which puts to her credit thirty-three summers, and the Hon. Maud Okeover, a neice of Lady Waterpark, by whose influence she got the appointment, is only 27.

Note 1: Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee (50 years of reign) was to be officially celebrated on June 20-21, 1887. [back]

Note 2: Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria (1858-1889); Stephanie, Princess of Belgium (1864-1945); Léopold II, King of the Belgians (1835-1909); and Kapiolani, Queen of Hawaii (1834-1899). [back]

Note 3: Edward, Prince of Wales, 1330-1376, was also known as the Black Prince. [back]

Note 4: The American Exhibition did in fact open on May 9th, 1887. [back]

Note 5: Among the directors of the American Exhibition were Henry S. Russell of Boston (president of the Exhibition) and Burnet Landreth of Philadelphia and Lord Ronald Gower of London (vice presidents). [back]

Note 6: John Robinson Whitley (1843-1922) was founder of Earl's Court Exhibition Centre and Director-General and Chairman of the United States Executive Council for the American Exhibition, which opened in London May 9, 1887. [back]