2nd September 1846
Queen Victoria visits Jersey
There was much excitement surrounding the Queen and Prince Albert’s visit to Jersey – on the mainland as much as the island, with the national papers charting their course along the south coast from Cowes and out across the channel. Their 6.30pm arrival was greeted by the lieutenant-governor’s sister and a guard of honour.
St Helier had been prepared for her arrival, with seating for 6,000 spectators set out and a pavilion erected for Her Majesty from which she could address the audience. The Jersey Herald reported, “Triumphal arches were erected and tastefully decorated with flowers… these decorations were not confined to those parts of the island through which the royal cortege was likely to pass; but were to be met with generally throughout the country parishes”.
Elizabeth Castle was illuminated, bonfires were lit on high ground and rockets let off to mark their arrival but, being well into the evening by then, the party’s engagements didn’t begin until the following day, with a tour of St Helier and a ride to Mont Orgueil, which the Evening Packet of 8 September claimed was “said to have been originally built by Julius Caesar”, although it didn’t attribute the quote. They spent around 20 minutes at the castle but were more interested in the view.
“On seeing the coast of France, Her Majesty expressed surprise,” reported the Jersey Herald, “and asked the Viscount what might be the distance between this island and the opposite coast, to which he replied about thirteen or fourteen miles; Her Majesty expressing a desire to see, if possible, Coutances Cathedral, Colonel Le Couteur proceeded for a telescope, but unfortunately the one he procured was not good, and the royal family had a very indifferent view of the opposite coast.”
Although Albert did a little more sightseeing, and spent some time sketching Corbiere, Noirmont Point and St Brelade’s Bay, the Queen was back on the royal yacht by mid-afternoon. That was the end of the visit: she wasn’t seen again and the steamer departed for Falmouth at 8am the following day.
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