Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  9 (1884–85), 747–73.

The Prince of Wales at Sandringham

W H Russell


Essay, Travelogue, Biography


Agriculture, Breeding, Hunting, Mental Illness, Imperialism, Collecting, Menageries, Zoological Gardens, Acclimatization, Patronage, Disease, Medical Practitioners

    Eulogises Edward, Prince of Wales for his role in the 'agriculture and the improvement of stock' at the Sandringham estate, which has been 'rewarded by prizes [...] received at agricultural and cattle shows'. The rural tranquillity of the royal estate, though, is frequently threatened by the 'onslaughts, aggressions, and importunate attempts of the wide-ranging guerrilla of lunatic, weak-minded folk to whom the members of royal families offer irresistible attractions'. (756) Remarks that when the Prince returned from his recent state visit to India, 'he was richly endowed with animals, and had all the materials for a menagerie'. However, while the 'elephants, tigers, etc.' now 'delight the visitors to the Zoological Gardens', the 'Guiney cattle' brought back to Sandringham 'do not thrive well in the Park' and 'look with Juno-like eyes at the passer-by, as if they would like to go back to India for a little idolatrous sunshine'. (761) Much to the chagrin of his secretaries, the Prince is 'a favourite mark for begging-letter writers and inventors', and regularly receives requests such as 'a demand for a loan of 10,000 francs to enable a student in natural history to go on an entomological excursion to South America' (763). Reveals the fact, which is 'not generally known', that the Prince contracted his near fatal case of typhoid on an incognito visit to war-torn Sedan in the Ardennes region of France, which had 'the pestilential air of a town in the centre of a battle-field, which had been for many months filled with wounded men [i.e. during the Franco-Prussian War]'. Thankfully, on his return to Sandringham the 'first symptoms of the Prince's indisposition' were rapidly diagnosed by the surgeon Oscar M P Clayton, and he was able eventually to make a full recovery. (773)

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