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Portrait of Alexandra, Princess of Wales in dress seated, holding a dog and surrouned by her five children
Alexandra of Denmark was the daughter of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glϋcksburg, the heir to the Danish throne. In 1863, Alexandra married Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the son of Queen Victoria and heir apparent to the English throne. She is seen here with her six children Prince Albert Victor, Prince George, Princess Louise, Princess Victoria, Princess Maud and Prince Alexander. The Grants dined with the Prince and Princess of Wales on several occasions. Sources reporting the attitude of the royal couple towards the Grants are contradicting. On one hand it appears, the royal couple behaved graciously towards the Grants. The Prince even welcomed Grant in a speech at one such dinner. Other sources indicate this meeting of democracy and monarchy was not without tension. General Adam Badeau, American diplomat to England and traveling companion to President Grant, felt the members of the British royal family went out of their way to express Grant’s inequality to royalty. He reported the Prince and Princess of Wales did not recognize General Grant as an ex-sovereign. Badeau expected Grant to be treated at the very least as a duke. Badeau writes Grant’s “popularity by this time was conspicuous, and to have an ex-President going about and receiving the attention due to a sovereign or a semi-sovereign was undesirable, perhaps dangerous. It showed the world that there was nothing to royalty after all”. He offers a dinner held at the Marlborough House for the Emperor and Empress of Brazil as an example. Badeau complained that though General Grant and his wife were guests to this dinner, it was made clear that the honored guests were the Emperor and Empress of Brazil. Grant was seated last ranking him below the other guests who were dukes, ministers and other officials. In Badeau’s account of this affair, Mrs. Grant received similar treatment. Badeau observed that after dinner, Mrs. Grant was abandoned by the other ladies and “left to find her way like any other person of insignificance”. If any slight had occurred, Grant ignored it. He acknowledged that the Queen did not have complete control over all the members of her court. He stressed that the Prince and Princess of Wales still acted graciously and courteously towards him and his wife. Mrs. Grant also disagreed with Badeau’s interpretation of the evening. In her memoirs, Mrs. Grant gives an account of the evening asserting that the Prince and Princess of Wales paid her and General Grant the proper amount of etiquette and respect. Upon the Grants’ arrival, the Prince had also made an effort to greet the couple and introduce his two young sons to them. Mrs. Grant also writes that the Princess specifically sought her out after the evening was over to wish her goodnight.
Ulysses Grant Dietz
W and D. Downey, London Studio, 61 Ebury St. Eaton Square, England
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Mississippi State University Libraries (electronic version).
Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Mississippi State University Libraries.
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[Title of Document], Ulysses S. Grant and Julia D. Grant Papers, Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Mississippi State University Libraries