Felix Mendelssohn writes to his mother, 19 July 1842, describing a screamingly funny morning spent with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace:

I owe you further particulars of our time in London, after our trip to Manchester … Prince Albert had asked me to go to him on Saturday at two o’clock, so that I might try his organ before I left England. I found him all alone; and as we were talking away, the Queen came in, also quite alone, in a house dress. She said she was obliged to leave for Claremont in an hour. “But goodness! how it looks here,” she added, when she saw that the wind had littered the whole room, and even the pedals of the organ, with leaves of music from a large portfolio that lay open. As she spoke, she knelt down and began picking up the music; Prince Albert helped, and I too was not idle. Then Prince Albert proceeded to explain the stops to me, and while he was doing it, she said that she would put things straight alone.

But I begged that the Prince would first play me something; and thereupon he played me a chorale by heart, with pedals, so charmingly and clearly and correctly that many an organist could have learned something; and the Queen, having finished her work, sat beside him and listened, very pleased.

Then the Crown Prince of Gotha came in, and there was more conversation, and among other things the Queen asked if I had composed any new songs, and said that she was very fond of singing the published ones. “You should sing one to him,” said Prince Albert; and after a little begging she said she would try the “Fruehlingslied” in B-flat. “Yes, if it were still here, for all my music is packed up for Claremont.” Prince Albert went to look for it, but came back saying it was already packed. “Oh, perhaps it could be unpacked,” said I. So the bell was rung, and the servants were sent after it, but came back embarrassed; and then the Queen went herself, and whilst she was gone Prince Albert said to me “She begs you will accept this present as a remembrance” and gave me a case with a beautful ring, on which is engraved “V.R. 1842”. Then the Queen came back and said: “Lady N.N. (I did not catch the name) has left and has taken all my things with her. It really is most unseemly.” (You can’t thnk how that amused me.)

Later, after rummaging around in some music, Queen Victoria sang “Schoener und schoener” from Mendelssohn’s first set of songs, which he was forced to confess was in fact composed by his sister Fanny! How they laughed!

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