THE BEST FROM THE CURRENT MAGAZINES

Queen Mary, the Old-Fashioned Wife and Mother

August 1 1911
THE BEST FROM THE CURRENT MAGAZINES

Queen Mary, the Old-Fashioned Wife and Mother

August 1 1911

Queen Mary, the Old-Fashioned Wife and Mother

A NUMBER of sidelights on the character of Queen Mary have been collected by the editor of Current Literature, under the above heading, all tend-

ing to show the present Queen of England as pious, Puritanical and impeccable. The relaxation of manners and even of morals which characterized the British aristocracy in the reign of the late King Edward will not be tolerated in the present period of respectability. Women who invade the divorce court, wives who live apart from their husbands and peeresses who tend to be “fast” will receive short shrift at court. The Queen is understood to have set about a drastic purification of the tone of English society, and those who perceive the extent to which she has gained sway over the mind of the King do not doubt her ability to enforce her policy of of strict correctness. Primarily, as the London World says, Queen Mary is a wife and mother and she is determined that society shall be governed from the standpoint of the wife and mother. It will be correct in households that model their ways to accord with those of the court to have family prayers, to attend church regularly and to manifest a decent respect for the conventions. It was thought that Her Majesty might not be so rigorous in her ideas after a brief period on the throne. On the contrary she is more straight-laced than ever. The royal family is to be, it seems, a pattern and an example of respectability to the entire Anglo-Saxon world.

Queen Mary in truth is deeply religious, retaining the evangelical faith in which she was brought up, writes Mr. W. T. Stead in the London Review of Reviews. Her religion is more concerned with morals than with imagination, with conduct more than wth belief. She is a regular church-goer and communicant, who is extremely tolerant in her views, but very punctual in reading her Bible every day; no matter how much work she has to do, she always reads her chapter. She is not attracted either by high Ritual or by low Church; she loves the music of the organ and the singing of a well-trained choir. She is very fond of singing, and her voice, although not strong or of great volume, is sweet and sympathetic. For the modern love song, even in her teens, the Queen had no fancy, but preferred words more in keeping with her every-day thoughts. “The Lost Chord” and “The Convent Gate” used to be among her favorite songs.

Her Majesty has much interested herself in the servant problem. She has stated that to her mind the real root of of the unsatisfactory state of things is that mistresses are too little concerned

about the comfort of those whom they employ. They ought, she says, to do everything they can to make the leisure hours of their servants as agreeable as possible, and Her Majesty has practised what she has preached. Both the King and Queen loathe gambling. The Queen dislikes cards. The King plays bridge sometimes, and for small points, but without any enthusiasm. The King is interested in athletics, but the Queen cares little or nothing for sport of any kind. She is a keen walker and an enthusiastic needlewoman. The Queen is always the mother first and everything else afterwards. When she was compelled to part from her children in order to accompany her husband in his tour around the world she had a a sinematograph fixed in the royal yacht, so that she might be able, whenever she chose, to see a living and moving presentment of her little ones playing and working.

The education of the children has always been of very great moment to the Queen, says Mr. Stead further; she was anxious that they should each be thoroughly taught all that others can teach them and therefore personally arranged the system she desired should be followed. Favoring the kindergarten for the very young—which amuses while it instructs— the Queen adopted this method for each one at the outset, often herself explaining the use and manipulation of the objects employed. Her Majesty, it seems, has never made the mistake of allowing or encouraging her children to have very long lessons, and here she is in agreement with the most advanced thinkers of our time, who have become aware that very serious injury may be done by overtasking young brains.

The Princess’s own gouvernante and companion, Madame Bricka, had charge of the elder children when thev were young, and the tutors to the young Princes were Mr. Hua and Mr. Hansell, under whose charge they have been taken to see many of the historic and show places of London. They have paid their first visits to the Tower of London and to the Zoological Gardens with the fresh natural enthusiasm of a country cousin. They are dressed plainly, live plainly, and have good, serviceable toys which are not easily destroyed. No pleas* anter picture of an English mother amongst her bairns could be seen than that afforded by the Princess of Wales when living quietly at York Cottage. All the children, even to the youngest, came to their mother’s room for tea, and when there was a baby it was brought down and laid on the couch so that the circle might be complete. No more devoted mother ever existed, and in former days to see one of the family at Sandringham has been generally to see them all. Mother and children would ride or ramble in the park, the father often completing the happy group.

Prince Edward becomes Prince of Wales, and bonny Princess Mary the Princes Royal. The remaining four boys, Prince Albert, Prince Henry, Prince George, and Prince John will, all being well, figure in the distant future as Royal dukes. The education and upbringing of the Royal children has been on eminently modern lines, writes Mrs. Sarah A. Tooley in the London Chronicle. At York Cottage, Sandringham, they have passed much of their time in healthy outdoor exercise, and have been very gradually initiated into book learning. They have been trained to use their eyes and their hands, and to acquire knowledge by observation. At the Technical Schools, Sandringham, they practice needlework and wood-carving. The young princes can compete with their sister in cross-stitch and w'ool crochet, and each year they send some of their handiwork to the Needlework Guild, of which their mother is president.

At Sandringham, too, they have been brought up in friendly association with the rural people. The Princes play cricket and football on the recreation grounds with the village boys, and practice at the gymnasium, which King Edward provided for the youth of the district. At Christmas they help to entertain the schoolchildren, and join in their merry-making.

At Frogmore House, in Windsor Park, the Royal children have delightful recreations. There is a new cricket ground for them, where the young Princes captain teams of boys from Eton College and St. George’s, and where Princess Mary also tries her skill at a game. During the Diablo craze the Royal children played

with the keenest zest, and the young French boy Marcel Meunier gave a display of his skill for them at Marlborough House. From Frogmore, too, they go on delightful picnics to Virginia Water, where the brig “King Edward VII.” lies moored on the lake.

This smart little craft was provided by “grandpa,” and on it Prince Edward and Prince Albert took their first lessons in seamanship before they went to Osborne College, and now it serves as a trainingcraft for the younger Princes. It is at Frogmore also that the Royal children practice riding and driving, under the tuition of Mr. Stratton, who has been groom to their father for many years. They have two pairs of driving ponies, one dark and the other the beautiful creamcolored ponies given to them by Mr. George Sanger. The Windsor home farm and dairy, close to Frogmore House, afford the children endless diversion, and have somewhat eclipsed their old love, the Sandringham Dairy. In the hay-making season they have glorious times in Windsor Great Park.

All the Royal children have cameras, and receive instruction from Mr. Hua, one of their tutors and a skilled photographer. They vie with each other in filling photographic albums with snapshots, and may possibly have some sympathy with the Pressmen who are not permitted to snapshot them. They have also their postcard albums, which contain quite a wonderful collection of views sent by their parents from the Colonies and India, and many cards signed “From grandpa.” Those from Biarritz have a sad significance now.

Prince Edward, who is known in the family circle as “David,” played the role of elder brother, even in his earliest years. The newcomers were “the children,” for whom his protectingand admonitory care were quite necessary. There were times, however, when the “new boy,” as Prince Albert was called, showed signs of rebellion against the nursery sway of his elder brother, and one day their mother was deeply shocked to find them disputing the possession of the rocking-horse with blows. But their father said, “Let them have it out; they will be better friends afterwards.”