King George and Queen Mary as Parents - Discipline in the Royal Nursery and Schoolroom How the Children are Being Educated - Their Simple Life and Pleasures - Stories of Their Games and Pranks - Princess Mary as Her Brothers' Companion
There is one side to the character of both King George and Queen Mary which has enhanced their popularity in a manner which nothing else could have done. They have proved themselves to be practical-minded, far-seeing parents, actuated by a desire to train their children on thoroughly sound and sensible lines under their direct guidance, thus setting an example to every father and mother in the country. Children are children all the world over, whether they are born in the purple or in a cottage, and no one recognises more than their Majesties the fact that it is the parents who are mainly responsible for the moulding of the characters of their offspring. How often we find that the children of those who boast of riches and rank are petted, pampered, and spoilt to a degree which threatens to ruin their whole lives, and makes them abhorred by everyone with whom they come into contact.
Careful Education of Royal Children
The children of their Majesties, however, are simple, bright, unaffected youngsters, who, while being educated to a sense of the dignity and responsibilities of their position as children of the rulers of the British Empire, are not allowed for one moment to abuse the privileges of their exalted rank, or acquire manners and habits harmful to themselves and distasteful to others. Here is a little story which illustrates, for instance, the discipline enforced in the upbringing of Prince Edward and his brother, Prince Albert.
One day the Queen, when Princess of Wales, went to a children's party in the middle of the week, taking with her Princess Mary and Prince Henry. Her hostess expressed regret that her Royal Highness had not brought the elder brothers, too. "Saturday is their only half-holiday," said the Princess. "We never allow anything to interfere with their lessons." In this the Princess was following the precedent set by her mother, the late Duchess of Teck, who, writing to an intimate friend on the education of children, said:
"A child has quite enough to do to learn obedience and attend to his or her lessons and to grow, without many parties or late hours, which take the freshness of childhood away, and the brightness and beauty from girlhood, and then children become intolerable."
As a matter of fact, the Royal children, like the children of humbler folk, regard a half-holiday as a red-letter day, and their summer holidays are looked forward to with great anticipation. Three years ago the summer recess was spent at Frogmore, the favourite form of amusement being an impromptu picnic, each of the children contributing some dainty to the feast. Princess Mary's share was occasionally cake or confectionery of her own making, while her brothers brought sweets, fruits, or anything they could coax from the housekeeper's quarters. And after the meal they would have games, cricket and rounders chiefly, of which they are all very fond, or military drill and scouting, the latter being much in vogue with the Royal brothers. Mention of Princess Mary's home-made cake recalls an amusing remark made by Prince Henry, when eleven years of age, who has the reputation of being the humorist of the Royal Family. On one occasion the Royal children were taken for a picnic by their mother in the woods above Abergeldie Castle. Princess Mary had been allowed to make some of the cakes for tea, and the boys were asked their opinion of them. Prince Henry looked at his sister with a whimsical smile, and then said, "It is high treason, is it not, to speak d isrespectfully of the daughter of the Prince of Wales?"
Upon another occasion his elder brothers were discussing their future careers. Prince Edward was explaining that he was to be a soldier in due course, while Prince Albert declared that he meant to stick to the Navy. "What are you going to be, Henry?" he was asked. He was silent for a moment, and then said, "Oh, I will just stay at home and tell the people all the great things you are both of you doing, in case they overlook them."
A Prince at School
The health of Prince Henry has given no small anxiety at times to his parents. He does not possess the robust constitution of his elder brothers, and it was not until
1910, when he was ten years of age, that he went to school for the first time, attending St. Peter's Court, Broadstairs, as a day boarder. It was on account of his delicate health that he was allowed certain privileges. He was the only day boy at the school, where there are about sixty boarders between the ages of ten and fourteen, who are being prepared chiefly for Eton and Harrow. The Prince resided at York Gate House, Sir Francis Laking's residence. But he quickly made friends with the other boys at St. Peter's Court, and enjoyed himself at play, taking as well a keen interest in his studies. He also joined the boys at drill. His Royal Highness has always shown an anxiety to emulate the athletic feats of his elder brothers, who are passionately fond of such outdoor sports as sculling, fishing, swimming, football, cricket, cycling, and golf.
Prince Albert is particularly adept as a golfer, and, in the opinion of professional experts, will develop into a magnificent player. His brother Edward, however, is a better cricketer, and has some capital performances to his credit when playing against local elevens at Windsor. But he has also had his failures. In a match played in the grounds of Windsor Castle, when Prince Edward captained one side and Prince Albert the other, while Princess Mary looked on as a sort of unofficial umpire, the Heir Apparent only scored four, while his brother was top scorer for his side with eighteen. And Prince Albert did not conceal his glee when the captain of the other side was smartly run out by the son of one of King George's intimate friends.