Title: Buffalo Bill's Big Visitors | Four Kings and a Crowd of Notables at the Wild West Show

Periodical: Columbus Daily Enquirer

Date: June 27, 1887

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Four Kings and a Crowd of Notables at the Wild West Show.

They Ride on the Deadwood Coach and on the Switchback Railroad—On Visiting the American Bar They Try Every Variety of American Drink from a Cocktail Up—Buffalo Bill's Witty Reply to the Prince of Wales.

LONDON, June 20.—The royalties who now throng London, and who have assembled here in greater numbers than ever before in any one place in Europe, apparently take more interest in the Wild West show than in the jubilee performance. The queen of Belgium [1] said to one of the English gentlemen who called on her this morning that she did not come to London at all on account of the jubilee, but that she came here because she was dying to see the Wild West performance. There was a private exhibition given this morning by Buffalo Bill and his men for the benefit of the visiting royalties [.] The general public was not admitted. There were not over twenty guests outside of the people who had been invited by the prince of Wales. Judging by the interest displayed by the royal guests at the Wild West Show this morning, it is very evident that Col. Cody could go through Europe and command the same attention for his performance that he has obtained in London. There were never so many crowned heads before at any private or public entertainment given in Europe. The prince of Wales brought with him four reigning sovereigns and the crown princes of the most prominent countries in Europe. There were four kings present, namely, the king of Denmark, [2] the king of Greece, [3] the king of Saxony [4] and the king of the Belgians. [5] Besides these were the Crown Prince Rudolph, of Austria, the hereditary prince and princess of Saxe-Meiningen, [6] the crown prince and princess of Germany, [7] the crown prince of Sweden and Norway, [8] the Princess Victoria, of Prussia, [7] the duke of Sparta, [9] Prince George of Greece, [10] Prince Louis of Baden [11] and the prince and princess of Wales, Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales, [12] and the Princesses Victoria and Maud of Wales. [13] These were attended by a numerous suit of lords and gentlemen and ladies-in-waiting. The entire Wild West performance was gone through with from beginning to end, and the royal visitors became so excited and interested that they had to go into the arena in order to observe the shooting and manœuvres at close range. All of the royal visitors wore black frock coats and high silk hats with the exception of the prince of Wales. He wore a light spring suit with a light drab overcoat buttoned tightly to his chin. In the buttonhole of his coat there was a rose. He was the only one among the visitors who wore a high white hat. The prince of Wales acted as the master of ceremonies. He gave the directions when the performance should begin, and could not remain in his seat in the box. In his capacity as exhibitor he walked uneasily up and down, and every time that there was anything that especially pleased him, he would go out into the arena with all of the royal visitors. The shooting principally seemed to interest the king of Denmark and the crown prince of Austria. When Miss Oakley had finished her shooting both the Danish king and the Austrian crown prince insisted upon examining her gun and sighted it, as if they were anxious to try their skill. The riding and shooting were greatly admired [.] The royal party seemed bent upon a lark. Several of the numbers of the programme were given before the princess of Wales arrived. She came conducted by Major Burke and followed by her two daughters and Prince Albert Victor, who is at home on a visit [.] The princess of Wales seems to regard the Wild West as the place for a lark [.] She wore a light summer dress with a dainty small bonnet tied lightly under her chin [.] When the Deadwood coach was brought out it was the question of whether she would ride or not [.] She rode the other day [.] She decided the matter very quickly. She signalled to Major Burke, and said she was going to try the coach again. She climbed up on the back seat of the coach without any help, although several rushed forward to assist her. She coaxed her father, the king of Denmark, to climb on to the crazy coach by her side. Then the grave and severe king of Saxony was invited to risk his life on the same wagon. This ancient king stroked his side whiskers with calmness, as if to show that he had as much courage as the princess of Wales [.] After him came the crown prince of Sweden and Norway, a very tall melancholy looking young man, with black eyeglasses, a crisp black moustache and short black whiskers. He wore a tightly buttoned gray frock suit [.] He languidly puffed his cigarette smoke into the face of the princess of Wales, and indeed all of the royal party followed the example of the prince of Wales and puffed cigars or cigarettes all through the performance. The crown prince of Austria clambered on to the centre seat and Prince George of Wales mounted the coach by the side of old John Nelson [.] Orator Richmond raised his hand and away the coach dashed. The Indians charged down upon the coach, and in a moment the royalties were encircled in a volume of smoke and fire. The cowboys came to the resue after the usual fashion. There was a mad dash around the ring. Only one item in the programme was ommitted. No death occurred during the short ride. All arrived safe and well in front of the royal box [.]


Buffalo Bill and the leading members of the show were subsequently presented to the various royalties. Mr [.] Cody, every one conceded, looked much more at ease among the kings than any of the royal party. After he had cracked his bull whip [14] the prince of Wales sent out for it. He showed his relatives that it weighed thirty pounds, and that what looked so simple and easy required extraordinary strength and skill to handle. During the Indian war dance a little Indian papoose, not over five years of age, took part in the dance. The little fellow was stripped naked all but a yellow clout and a line of feathers. The royalties insisted upon this youthful chief being presented. He came forward very much against his will. But at length, making up his mind to be kind to the royal visitors, he extended his little red paw in the most patronizing manner, and after he had shaken hands with all the royalties he deliberately turned his little brown bare back on the distinguished group and gave his entire attention to the more interesting war dance.

This was not all. After the royalties had seen all there was to be seen of the Wild West show they went over to the open park beyond the regular American exhibition, and there they all took a ride on the switchback railroad. It was a sight for democratic visitors to see these four sovereigns, with all the princes and princesses hanging on behind, riding like mad and yelling in perfect ecstacy of enjoyment at the swift motion and novel enjoyment of the switchback railroad.

Then after trying the swings they came back to the American bar and tried every variety of American drink from cocktail up. They all voted the American exhibition a great success and said they would come out often.

Towards the close, just before the prince of Wales went away he asked Colonel Cody if he had ever played before four kings before. Cody replied with a courtly bow to the group: "I have, your royal highness, but I never held such a royal flush as this against four kings." The prince had asked his question in all seriousness, but he was delighted with Colonel Cody's ready answer and laughed very loudly. He then turned around and explained all the complicated bearings of this answer of Colonel Cody to the royalties, who—poor, benighted beings—do not understand the American game of poker.

Note 1: Marie Henriette of Austria (1836-1902), Queen of Belgium and queen consort of King Léopold II of Belgium. [back]

Note 2: Christian IX (1818-1906), King of Denmark from 1863 to 1906. [back]

Note 3: King George I, born Prince William of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1845-1913), was King of Greece from 1863 until his death in 1913; he was also known as the King of Hellenes. [back]

Note 4: Frederick Augustus III (1865-1932), the last King of Saxony, reigning from 1904 until 1918. [back]

Note 5: Léopold II (1835-1909), the second King of the Belgians, reigned for 44 years, from 1865 until his death in 1909. [back]

Note 6: Crown Prince Rudolf (1858-1889), born Rudolf von Habsburg-Lorraine, was Crown Prince of Austria and Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia. Stéphanie (1864-1945), a Belgian princess by birth, became Crown Princess of Austria when she married Rudolf. [back]

Note 7: Crown Prince Frederick William (1831-1888), born Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl, became Frederick III, the German Emperor and King of Prussia; his reign lasted only 99 days due to illness. He was married to Princess Victoria (1840-1901), eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of England, who shared his liberal political ideology. [back]

Note 8: Born the Crown Prince of Sweden and Norway, Oscar Carl August Bernadotte (1859-1953) gave up his right to the throne when he married a Swedish noble and lady-in-waiting Ebba Henrietta Munck af Fulkila (1858-1946) without permission of his father King Oscar II. On their wedding day the couple became Prince and Princess Bernadotte. Prince Oscar, also Duke of Gotland, later inherited the title Duke of Wisborg. [back]

Note 9: Constantine I (1868-1923), titled the Duke of Sparta upon his birth, became the King of Greece from 1913 to 1917 and from 1920 to 1922. [back]

Note 10: Prince George of Greece and Denmark (1869-1957). [back]

Note 11: Prince Louis William Augustus of Baden (1829-1897). [back]

Note 12: Prince Albert Victor of Wales (Albert Victor Christian Edward, 1864-1892), was the Duke of Clarence and Avondale. Prince George of Wales (George Frederick Ernest Albert, 1865-1936), the second Duke of Cambridge, became King George V of the United Kingdom in 1910 until his death. Both were grandsons of Queen Victoria. [back]

Note 13: Princess Victoria of Wales (Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary, 1868-1935) and Princess Maud of Wales (Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria, 1869-1938). Both women were granddaughters of Queen Victoria. [back]

Note 14: Bullwhip: a rawhide whip with plaited lash and a knotted end, 15 to 25 feet long. [back]

Title: Buffalo Bill's Big Visitors | Four Kings and a Crowd of Notables at the Wild West Show

Periodical: Columbus Daily Enquirer

Date: June 27, 1887

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: American Indians Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Bullwhips Cocktails Cowboys Horsemanship Indian dance--North America Kings, queens, rulers, etc. Nobility Poker Railroads Shooting Stagecoaches

People: Albert Victor, Prince, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, 1864-1892 Alexandra, Queen, consort of Edward VII, King of Great Britain, 1844-1925 Burke, John M., 1842-1917 Christian IX, King of Denmark, 1818-1906 Edward VII, King of Great Britain, 1841-1910 Frederick Augustus III, King of Saxony, 1865-1932 Frederick III, German Emperor, 1831-1888 George, Prince, Duke of Cambridge, 1819-1904 George I, King of the Hellenes, 1845-1913 Léopold II, King of the Belgians, 1835-1909 Marie-Henriette, Queen, consort of Léopold II, King of the Belgians, 1836-1902 Maud, Queen, consort of Haakon VII, King of Norway, 1869-1938 Nelson, John Young, 1826-1903 Oakley, Annie, 1860-1926 Richmond, Frank, -1890 Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, 1858-1889 Stephanie, Princess of Belgium, 1864-1945 Victoria, Empress, consort of Frederick III, German Emperor, 1840-1901

Places: Austria Baden (Austria) Belgium Denmark Europe Germany Greece London (England) Norway Saxe-Meiningen Saxony-Anhalt (Germany) Sweden Wales

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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