Louise, Queen Of The Belgians, On Her Father King Louis Philippe Of France

In 1844, King Louis Philippe I of France visited England. He was well received there and during his stay visited Claremont (which he was destined to occupy in exile), Eton College and Woolwich Arsenal. In this letter his daughter Louise, Queen of the Belgians, gives some advice and recommendation on how to take care of her father to Queen Victoria :

Laeken, 5th October 1844.

My Dearly Beloved Victoria,

I have not much to say about my father’s lodging habits and likings. My father is one of the beings most easy to please, satisfy, and to accommodate. His eventful life has used him to everything, and makes any kind of arrangements acceptable to him; there is only one thing which he cannot easily do, it is to be ready very early. He means notwithstanding to try to come to your breakfast, but you must insist upon his not doing it. It would disturb him in all his habits, and be bad for him, as he would certainly eat, a thing he is not used to do in the morning. He generally takes hardly what may be called a breakfast, and eats only twice in the day.

It would be also much better for him if he only appeared to luncheon and dinner, and if you kindly dispensed him altogether of the breakfast. You must not tell him that I wrote you this, but you must manage it with Montpensier, and kindly order for him a bowl of chicken broth. It is the only thing he takes generally in the morning, and between his meals. I have also no observation to make, but I have told Montpensier to speak openly to Albert whenever he thought something ought to be done for my father, or might hurt and inconvenience him, and you may consult him when you are in doubt. He is entrusted with all the recommendations of my mother, for my father is naturally so imprudent and so little accustomed to caution and care, that he must in some measure be watched to prevent his catching cold or doing what may be injurious to him.

About his rooms, a hard bed and a large table for his papers are the only things he requires. He generally sleeps on a horse-hair mattress with a plank of wood under it: but any kind of bed will do, if it is not too soft. His liking will be to be entirely at your commands and to do all you like. You know he can take a great deal of exercise, and everything will interest and delight him, to see, as to do: this is not a compliment, but a mere fact. His only wish is, that you should not go out of your way for him, and change your habits on his account. Lord Aberdeen will be, of course, at Windsor, and I suppose you will ask, as you told me, the Royal Family. My father hopes to see also Sir Robert Peel, Lord Stanley, and your other Ministers. You will probably ask most of them during his stay. He wishes very much to see again those he already knows, and to make the acquaintance of those he does not know yet.

In writing all this I think I dream, I cannot believe yet that in a few days my dear father will have, God willing, the unspeakable happiness to see you again and at Windsor, a thing he had so much wished for and which for a long time seemed so improbable. You have no notion of the satisfaction it gives him, and how delighted he will be to see you again, and to be once more in England. God grant he may have a good passage, and arrive to you safely and well. Unberufen, as you will soon, I trust, be able to see, he is, notwithstanding the usual talk of the papers, perfectly well…. Yours most devotedly,


Further reading:
The Letters of Queen Victoria, Vol 2 (of 3), 1844-1853

Leave a Reply