Social Victorians/1890-07-15 Garden Party

A Garden Party at Marlborough HouseEdit


Who Was PresentEdit

  1. Queen Victoria



Quote IntroEdit

<quote>London was busily occupied in scanning the skies yesterday morning, as "The Comptroller of the Household was desired by their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales to invite my Lord and Lady So-and-So to a Garden Party at Marlborough House. Weather permitting." This last was a necessary proviso, as it would be impossible to shelter a third of the enormous crowd which annually foregathers in these lovely grounds. Waterproofs and umbrellas being impossible, the fete - one of the most enjoyable of the London season - must perforce be abandoned had the usual 1890 weather prevailed. Up to the last moment lowering skies and a rainy wind made the prospect doubtful, and even when Society assembled in their thousands a downpour was imminently expected. But if not favoured with model "Queen's weather," a good imitation set in as the Life Guards struck up "God Save the Queen," and her Majesty descended the flight of steps on the Prince of Wales's arm, and slowly passed through the eager ranks of her assembled subjects. Her Majesty was conducted to a canopy at the lower end of the garden, and was soon surrounded by children and grandchildren; she walked with the aid of a stick, but did not appear to be troubled by rheumatism, and moved without difficulty. The Queen's dress was of black striped broché, a lace shawl, and black bonnet, trimmed with white roses. She talked to people to right and left, and looked smiling and happy. After a while the Royal party adjourned to a tent, arranged for tea, and the guests dispersed over the grounds. The young Princesses of Wales were in flowered foulards, with pale blue surah collar and panels: they seemed to be very bright, and talked cheerily to the Duchess of Portland, who was wrapped in a beige and black mantle. Viscountess Cantelupe - a bride of three weeks' standing-was cordially welcomed; Lady Olivia Taylour in a yellow canvas, and Lady Helen Duncombe in blue percale, were pronounced equally lovely. The Princess of Wales was in a grey blue gros grain silk under white lace, and had red roses in her bonnet and at her throat. Princess Mary of Teck was in purple silk and velvet, and Lady Brooke in heliotrope and black. Mr. Gladstone sat placidly surveying the gay scene, and Mr. Irving talked in animated strains to a series of friends. The Duc d'Orleans was present with his pretty fiancée, and representatives of every art and profession had been scrupulously invited. Two bands played in different corners, and an immense tent, running the length of one side of the house, provided refreshment of every kind for the hungry crowd.

In addition to the members of the Royal Family there was a very large concourse of the fashionable and political world present to meet her Majesty. To the brilliant gathering the Houses of Parliament contributed many members. Amongst others were the Marquis of Salisbury, Mr. Gladstone, Sir William Harcourt, Sir Edward Clarke, Lord Dunraven, Mr. Chamberlain, Sir Henry James, Lord Randolph Churchill, Lord Ravensworth, Mr. Mundella, Mr. Henry Fowler, Mr. Osborne Morgan, Sir Henry Roscoe, Sir John Puleston, Mr. Asquith, Sir Richard Temple, Mr. Arnold Morley, Mr. George Curzon, Sir Lyon Playfair, and Colonel Saunderson. Sir William White, home on leave from his ambassadorial duties, was warmly greeted. Mr. Gennadius, the Greek Minister, was among the Corps Diplomatique present. Other notable personages, outside political life, were Cardinal Manning, Mr. Henry Irving, and Sir Frederick Leighton. The bands of the 1st Life Guards, under the direction of Mr. W. Van de Heuvel, and the Grenadier Guards, under the direction of Lieutenant Dan selection of music in the garden during the afternoon, and the Royal Handbell Ringers, under the direction of Mr. Duncan S. Miller, were also in attendance. Her Majesty remained for over an hour at Marlborough House, and returned to Windsor at a quarter to eight o'clock in the evening, the Royal trip to and from London and visit to Marlborough House having occupied a little over three hours.


Her Majesty was attired completely in black, with the slight relief of white flowers in her black bonnet. The Royal hostess was attired in blue-grey silk very prettily trimmed with white lace, and the Princess wore a becoming bonnet to correspond with this dress. Princesses Victoria and Maud of Wales were dressed alike in cream-coloured figured foulard with corselet over-bodices of blue velvet and very summer-like pretty hats of cream-coloured lace straw trimmed with blue velvet and summer flowers. Princess Victoria of Prussia, who, besides being the latest Royal fiancée, is one of the four pretty Princesses Victoria, was dressed in pale mauve China crêpe, draped over silk. She wore a hat of gauze to match, with a wide straight brim and a low crown. The younger Prussian Princess was prettily attired in pearl-grey with white. The Duchess of Portland, who chooses her toilettes with remarkably good taste, wore a dress of cream-coloured China crêpe, draped in soft, straightly-hanging folds. It was combined with pink of deep shade, and the Duchess wore a bonnet of cream-coloured and gold gauze with a spray of pink flowers at one side. Her Grace's sunshade of cream-coloured crêpe was tied near the ferrule with a cluster of pink ribbon, and in the bodice of her dress a bunch of her favourite flowers, the Rothschild carnations, was fastened. Maria Marchioness of Ailesbury was attired in a somewhat eccentric bright watercress-green bengaline and brocade velvet. The gown was of bengaline and the sleeves of brocade. The Marchioness's bonnet of black lace was trimmed with gold and with watercress-green velvet, which is one of the colours of the season. The Countess of Dudley, who was present with her daughter, wore a dress of French grey cashmere trimmed with very handsome raised embroidery in grey silk over white satin. The hem was finished with a deep band of this embroidery, and the sleeves were entirely made of it, as was the straight, tight, high collar and a cleverly contrived pointed girdle, into which the drapery of the skirt was caught. The Countess's bonnet was made of shaded heliotrope, and trimmed with velvet and ostrich feather tips of a bright pink shade of mauve. Lady Edith Ward's was a pretty, simple, girlish-looking costume. Her dress was of soft white silk muslin, draped carelesly and profusely over white silk. The skirt was finished with insertions of Valenciennes lace, and the sleeves, which were cleverly draped, were also finished with bands of inserted lace. Lady Edith wore a jabot of pale pink silk crêpe, and had a knot of the same lovely colour and material in her wide-brimmed hat made of white silk muslin. She carried a white silk sunshade, the Countess having one of French-grey silk to match her dress. The Marchioness of Salisbury was dressed in mirror-grey corded silk, handsomely trimmed with raised gimp of the same harmonious colour. The Marchioness had a bonnet of grey fancy straw, with a crimson damask rose placed at one side. Lady Salisbury was accompanied by the Marquis and by Lady Gwendolin Cecil, who wore a dress of embroidered cream-coloured muslin and a wide-brimmed hat to match. Baroness Burdett-Coutts, who is fond of light, soft colours, and looks always well in them, wore a harmonious dress of heliotrope silk embroidered with gold, and a bonnet of coarsely plaited, natural-coloured straw trimmed with orchid-coloured velvet and spike of mauve orchids that looked as if they had recently been growing.</quote> ("From One Who Was There")

Be sure this refers to the right garden partyEdit

<quote>St. Swithin's day having been, for a wonder, warm and sunny, delightfully cool-looking summer frocks have been ventured on. No daintier or prettier costumes could be designed than the charming greyish-blue silk dress, with guipure down the front, made for the Princess of Wales on the occasion of the Marlborough house garden party; and nothing could have been more becoming for Princesses Victoria and Maud than the dresses of creamy foulard with blue Swiss bodices. Silver-grey is a favourite colour, by the way, this July, and it suits both dark and fair. Many silver-grey dresses were noted among the most elegant toilettes at the Royal garden party.</quote> ("The Home")

Questions and NotesEdit