The latest advice which the dying Prince gave on public affairs recommended calmness and friendly forbearance on the part of England in the dispute about the seizure of the Confederate envoys. A distinguished American historian, Dr. Draper, wrote of him in words that may well be quoted. "One illustrious man there was," he says, " who saw that the great interests of the future would be better subserved by a sincere friendship with America than by the transitory alliances of Europe." The words, perhaps, are not without a special application to the conditions of the present day. Dr. Draper goes on to say that the Prince Consort " recognised the bonds of race. His prudent counsels strengthened the determination of the Sovereign that the Trent controversy should have an honourable and a peaceful solution. Had the desires of these, the most exalted personages in the realm, been more completely fulfilled, the administration of Lord Palmerston would not have cast a disastrous shadow on the future of the Anglo-Saxon race." We know, by letters afterwards published, that the Sovereign and the Prince Consort felt little sympathy with the passion and panic by the influence of which England was drawn into the Crimean War. When we remember the long dispute about the Alabama, the bitterness and the hostile feeling it engendered on both sides of the Atlantic, we can very easily see that the untimely death of the Queen's husband was a national loss to England and a great loss to the American people as well.
On the 1st of July, 1862, the Princess Alice Maud Mary, third child and second daughter of the Queen, was married to the Grand Duke of Hesse. Her younger brother, Prince Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh, and afterwards Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, received an offer of sovereignty under somewhat peculiar circumstances in the following year. The kingdom of Greece had been growing somewhat tired of its Sovereign - a German Prince named Otho, who had been set over it as the result of arrangements made by the Great Powers of Europe. The Greeks could not stand King Otho any longer; and in order to avoid the bloodshed of a struggle against an insurrection, Otho quietly and sensibly abdicated the throne. The Greeks if left to themselves would probably never have thought of setting up another Sovereign; but the Great Powers impressed upon them the necessity of keeping up the monarchical system, and Greece had hardly any option but to comply. Greece had been under much obligation to England; and the Greeks now invited Prince Alfred to become their Sovereign. Prince Alfred himself, who was then a youth in the English navy, had no particular fancy for a precarious throne; and in any case it was understood among those who arranged the diplomacy of Europe that no prince of any of the great reigning houses should be set over the Greek Kingdom. Prince Alfred therefore declined the invitation. The second son of the King of Denmark was made King of the Greeks - the new King being a brother of our Princess of Wales. England handed over as a sort of dowry to the new Sovereignty the Ionian Islands, which had long been placed by European arrangements under the protecting government of Great Britain. The islands were eager to be united with the Kingdom of Greece; the Greeks of the Kingdom were equally anxious that their compatriots should be joined with them in one system of rule. Englishmen in general had no wish whatever to stand between the Greek populations and the objects of their own desires; and under the inspiring influence of Mr Gladstone the Greek islands became united with the Kingdom of Greece.
On the 10th of March, 1863, the marriage of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, with the Princess Alexandra, daughter of the King of Denmark, was solemnised in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. A public reception, unusual for its enthusiasm and its magnificence, had been given to the Princess on her arrival in this country three days before. The Princess was met at Gravesend by the Prince of Wales, and an address of welcome was presented to her by the Mayor and Burgesses of the town; and later in the day the Prince and his chosen bride made a stately progress through the principal streets of the metropolis. Never before and never since was there a greater display of popular enthusiasm. The personal charms of the Princess, her graceful bearing, her sweet youthful face, the winning and cordial manner in which she endeavoured to answer every demonstration of welcome, only confirmed the idea which had already been formed of her by those who had known her, and who could tell of her at the time when she was chosen as bride to the heir of the British throne. The Queen herself was present at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, although she appeared there in a kind of formal seclusion natural and appropriate to her recent widowhood. The first child of the marriage, Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, was born on the 8th of January, 1864, and the second son, George Frederick, Duke of York, was born on the 3rd of June, 1865; and other children followed. The life of the Duke of Clarence was but short; he died on the 14th of January, 1892. The Duke of York was married to the Princess May of Teck, on 6th of July- 1893.
On the 17th of June, 1863, a great sensation was created in this country by the arrival of Captain Speke and Captain Grant, the famous African explorers, who landed at Portsmouth after their adventurous search for the sources of the Nile. The Corporation of Portsmouth presented the distinguished travellers with an address which set forth the pride that must be felt by all Englishmen in welcoming back those "whose recent discoveries have solved the perplexing problem of all ages by ascertaining the true source of one of the most wonderful rivers on the face of the earth." Speke and Grant were received with special honours by the Royal Geographical Society and were applauded as heroes and victors wherever they went through England. The career of Captain Speke came to a sudden and melancholy close. The British Association held its annual meeting at Bath on September 16, 1864. Everyone looked forward with the keenest interest to the appearance of Speke and Grant at the meeting of the Association, all the more because it was expected that a discussion as to the actual source of the Nile was to take place between Speke and Captain Burton, afterwards Sir Richard Burton, the famous explorer. On the very day before that which was set apart for the discussion Captain Speke joined a shooting party and was killed by the accidental discharge of his gun while he was getting over a low stone wall. The shock produced by this utterly unexpected calamity diffused, it is not too much to say, a gloom over the whole country.