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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

In October 1835 the young Princess Victoria and her mother,  the Duchess of Kent, passed through Dover and stayed at the  Royal Ship Hotel on Custom House Quay.   Less than five years later, on Thursday 6 February, 1840,  Dover welcomed the future husband of their young Queen,  who was to be married the following Monday. At about 4:20,  Her Majesty’s packet ‘Ariel’, convoyed by HMS ‘Firebrand’,  arrived in the bay, after a rough crossing. The ship was  decorated with the Royal Standard and onboard was the young Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. On entering the harbour  they were saluted by the cutters ‘Vigilant’ and ‘Victoria’ and  there was loud cheering from the large crowds gathered on the quays. Prince Albert was welcomed by the Commander of the  Garrison, and with a Guard of Honour provided by the 90th  Light Infantry was escorted to the York Hotel. At the hotel he  was greeted by the Mayor and other local dignitaries and a  special deputation sent by the Queen. There were further lively scenes the following morning, when  shortly after 10 o’clock two troops of the 11th Light Dragoons,  and a Guard of Honour of the 90th Light Infantry, drew up in  front of the hotel. The Prince was addressed by the Mayor, who was accompanied by the Aldermen and Members of the  Corporation in their robes. The Prince made a speech in  answer, and at 11:30 left Dover with his suite in seven  carriages. He was escorted out of the town by the two troops  of Dragoons, and a Royal salute was fired from the batteries.  The Prince appeared to be delighted at his reception, and vast  crowds cheered him as he drove along the streets. On 14 November, 1842, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria  visited Dover while staying as guests of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, The Duke of Wellington, at Walmer Castle. Only  short notice of the visit was given but there was sufficient time to decorate the town with a considerable number of flags, and  the Deal Road and Castle Hill were lined with a multitude of  people. At 3:00 pm the Royal couple drove into the Castle via  the Constable’s Gate, and were shown around the Castle. On  leaving the Castle their carriage went down Castle Hill into the  town and along Castle Street into the Market Square. Their  open carriage was drawn by four beautiful bays, and from the  Market Square they trotted on through King Street, Bench  Street and Snargate Street towards the harbour. They passed  along the Sea Front by Waterloo Crecent and Marine Parade  and through Woolcomber Street, to Castle Hill. As their  carriage ascended the hill out of the town a Royal salute was  fired from the Castle.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1843. The Royal Ship Hotel c.1879. The young Princess Victora stayed here with her mother in 1835. Prince Albert arriving at Dover. The steam packet 'Ariel' entering Dover on 6 February 1840. The Prince must have been glad to land judging by the rough sea.