HC Deb 02 July 1867 vol 188 cc853-4

said, he had a Question to put to the Foreign Secretary on a subject of general interest to Englishmen, who, he was satisfied, felt deep concern that whatever of consideration, courtesy, and hospitality was due from the British Government to distinguished foreign Princes should be paid on their visit to this country. He begged to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether it is true that His Highness the Viceroy of Egypt has postponed his visit to this country; and, if so, whether he is at liberty to state the reason of the delay; and further, what arrangements have been made by Her Majesty's Government to give him a reception suitable to his dignity?


It is true that the Viceroy of Egypt has postponed his visit to this country, but has postponed it only, as I understand, for two or three days. The reason of the postponement is simply that he was requested by the Sultan to stay for a short time in Paris, and to meet him there; and that was an invitation which, considering the relations between the two parties, could not well be declined. With regard to the arrangements made by Her Majesty's Government for the suitable reception of the Viceroy, I may, perhaps, take this opportunity of entering into some little detail as to what they are. In the first place, I may say that as soon as I heard of the Viceroy's intention to visit this country, and could obtain from Her Majesty the requisite authorization, I lost no time in forwarding to him an official invitation. The Consul General for Egypt, Colonel Stanton, was sent over to Paris to wait on the Viceroy, and to consult with him as to the arrangements which should be made. A Government vessel will receive him at the French coast to bring him over to Dover. At Dover he will be received with all military honours; he will be thence conveyed to London by a special train; an escort will attend him at the station; and he will be received by a guard of honour in London. I have arranged also, as an additional mark of honour, that sentries shall be placed before his door, and that either an equerry or groom-in-waiting shall be deputed to meet him and wait upon him at Dover. I was also authorized by Her Majesty, if he had come to-day as was expected, to invite him on her part to Windsor. With regard to further preparations and details for his reception, it is of course necessary to consult his own pleasure; but, generally, I can say that nothing within the power of the British Government will be left undone either to give him a reception suitable to his dignity, or to make his stay in this country agreeable.


asked whether the Viceroy would stay at Claridge's Hotel?


I know of no other place where he can he received. [An hon. MEMBER: Buckingham Palace.] The rooms which are generally appropriated to the reception of distinguished persons in Buckingham Palace are at this moment under repair for the reception of the Sultan; and I know of no other Royal palace where he can be received. [Several hon. MEMBERS: St. James's.] There is no accommodation at St. James's Palace for distinguished visitors.


There is Prince Alfred's residence—Clarence House, I think it is called.


I must say I am not master of the Royal palaces; but, even were it otherwise, I very much doubt whether the accommodation at Clarence House would be by any means so convenient as that which will be provided at the hotel. I can only further say that all the circumstances attending his reception will show that we have every desire to give the Viceroy such a reception as is suitable to the dignity of the very highest visitor.