HC Deb 13 July 1871 vol 207 cc1623-4

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is able to inform the House, why the same hospitalities which are freely offered to Members of the Royal Family, when they visit Berlin, have not been extended to their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess of Germany; whether he is aware that there is a strongly-expressed feeling in Prussia, as well as in this country, at their Imperial Highnesses being allowed to take up their residence at Prussia House during their stay in London; and, whether any Correspondence on the subject has been received at the Foreign Office from Berlin; and, if so, whether he is willing to lay it on the Table of the House?


In reply, Sir, to the last Question of my hon. Friend, I have to state that there is no Correspondence in the Foreign Office on the subject of his inquiry. In answer to the second, I may say that I am not aware of what feeling has been expressed in Prussia on this subject, beyond the fact that I have read an article in a German newspaper commenting freely on it. That, however, is, I am bound to say, a German newspaper which has recently contained statements calculated to excite the astonishment of every reasonable man. As to the main part of my hon. Friend's Questions I must express my regret that he has seen cause to make the circumstances to which it relates the subject of inquiry. The arrangement to which he has called the attention of the House is not one primarily and principally connected with foreign Sovereigns, but with tenderly attached and closely related members of Her Majesty's family. As the question has come up I have made inquiry with respect to it, and I can say, in the first place, that the statement made in The Times of yesterday is correct. The circumstances are as follows—An arrangement was made between Her Majesty on the one hand and the Crown Prince and Princess of Germany on the other, in accordance with which a visit was to be paid by those distinguished personages to England. That visit was to have been paid about the middle of July—I think on the 15th—and it was fully settled that the Crown Prince and Princess, with their family and retinue, were to go to Osborne. That plan still holds good, and that visit will be paid. But the Crown Prince and Princess, in the exercise of their discretion, made—as, of course, they were perfectly entitled to do—a separate arrangement which was not known to Her Majesty until after it was concluded, and in accordance with which they availed themselves of the hospitality of the German Ambassador to spend a few days in London before visiting Osborne. That is the simple statement of the case, and the only part of the whole arrangements which has been modified is that Count Bernstorff, having been desirous of receiving the whole of the family of the Crown Prince and Princess, found that the accomodation at Prussia House was not sufficient for that purpose, and that it was necessary in consequence that the young Princes should be sent to an hotel. Her Majesty, however, hearing what was proposed to be done, at once requested that they should go to Buckingham Palace, and there they are now quartered. I may add that, although owing to an arrangement privately and separately made some misapprehension has arisen, I think we must all be glad that one of the results of this visit has been that an opportunity has been afforded the people of London generally of testifying the respect, regard, and, indeed, affection, which they feel for the Crown Princess and her distinguished husband, not only on account of the station of those exalted personages, but likewise because of the virtues and the high endowments by which that station is adorned.