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Royal Spectacle

Royal Spectacle: The 1860 Visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada and the United States

Ian Radforth
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 340
  • Book Info
    Royal Spectacle
    Book Description:

    An original and erudite study,Royal Spectaclecontributes greatly to historical research on public spectacle, colonial and national identities, Britishness in the Atlantic world, and the history of the monarchy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2805-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. xii-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    At 9:30 on the morning of Saturday, 25 August 1860, Albert Edward, the eighteen-year-old Prince of Wales, stepped smartly down from the steamerKingstononto the wharf at Bonsecours Market in Montreal. As church bells rang across the city and a salute thundered from the canon of the volunteer artillery, the St Helen’s battery, and the guns of the men-of-war anchored in the harbour, the crowd of 40,000 to 50,000 spectators roared their welcome. The cheering in French about equalled the volume of cheers in English. ‘Howard’, the reporter from the New YorkTimes,told readers that in ‘the square...

  6. 1 Proposal, Planning, and Players
    (pp. 17-47)

    The 1860 visit by the Prince of Wales came at the initiative of the legislature of the Province of Canada, whose members reflected the then current admiration of the monarchy and British connection in their society. British power and prestige ran high in 1860, even though there had been some troubling recent developments: the sobering disasters of the Crimean War, the humiliating Indian Mutiny, and the outbreak of military conflict in China. Just a hint of defensiveness now lay behind the boasts of British imperialists that England was ‘the workshop of the world’, that the Royal Navy ruled the waves,...

  7. 2 Fit for a Prince
    (pp. 48-84)

    ‘Canada is preparing, - like a bride putting on her robes, - to meet her future sovereign and invited guest’, declared the OttawaCitizenon 24 July 1860. In the weeks preceding the prince’s arrival in each of the places on his itinerary, civic reception committees and residents busied themselves planning events for the visit and decorating streets, public buildings, businesses, and homes for the occasion. Public bodies swung into action, holding meetings to decide how best to welcome His Royal Highness. Evergreen boughs and floral wreaths, red-white and-blue bunting and flags, patriotic banners and triumphal arches - all these...

  8. 3 Right Royal Welcome
    (pp. 85-128)

    The Prince of Wales entered St John’s, Newfoundland, in two stages: on the evening of Monday, 23 July, when theHeroarrived in the harbour, and on the following day, when he first set foot on the soil of the New World.

    On the Monday afternoon, lookouts on Signal Hill at St John’s sighted the royal squadron just off the coast. The intrepid correspondent for the TorontoGlobesaid that he hired a cab and, with the aid ‘of reckless Irish driver, full of loyalty - and whiskey’, succeeded in reaching the heights above the entrance to the harbour. He...

  9. 4 Princely Duties, Princely Pleasures
    (pp. 129-163)

    In 1860 the civic promoters of the royal tour faced the host’s perennial problem: what to do with your guest once a warm welcome has been given and accepted. Reception committees arranged such a busy - and repetitive - round of activities to keep the Prince of Wales occupied that he was in danger of being overworked. ‘There is an awful amount of work laid out for the Prince during the coming week’, wrote the correspondent for the New YorkTimesfrom Montreal. ‘He is to look at Indians, go on steamboat excursions, hear and deliver addresses, attend musical festivals,...

  10. 5 Arch Rivals: The Orangemen and the Duke
    (pp. 164-205)

    The biggest controversy of the royal visit of 1860 pitted the militant Protestants from Upper Canada’s Orange lodges against, initially, the Roman Catholics of the province and, ultimately, the prince’s adviser, the Duke of Newcastle. Sectarian differences that were deeply embedded in Upper Canada - and often displayed in street confrontations on public occasions - fuelled a conflagration that nearly curtailed the prince’s visit to the province. At the heart of the dispute were different understandings about the right to demonstrate of a so-called party organization: the Orange Order. Fiercely committed to the British crown (when worn by Protestants), the...

  11. 6 Performing Indians
    (pp. 206-241)

    Frequently in the past, the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have played a prominent part in public spectacles of national celebration. Historians have recently noted the dramatic performance of the Kwakwaka’ wakw of British Columbia at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893; the role played by Native actors in the historical pageants performed on the Plains of Abraham during Quebec’s tercentenary celebrations in 1908; and the alacrity with which First Nations peoples inserted themselves into local programs of national celebration during the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation in 1927.¹ However much the Canadian state has robbed, suppressed, patronized, and denigrated First Nations...

  12. 7 Provincial Identities
    (pp. 242-280)

    During the prince’s tour through British North America, spokesmen for social groups and civic and provincial governments sought to provide the public with positive impressions of their organizations and communities. For this special occasion, public postures were assumed and identities self-consciously displayed for the admiration of the prince and other distinguished visitors and for benefit of the wider world watching developments through their newspapers. It was an artificial situation and not a time for quotidian practices. Just as people donned their best outfits and decorated their towns in splendid holiday mode, in their formal addresses to the prince, they expressed...

  13. 8 Royal Tourist
    (pp. 281-312)

    A royal tour implies a royal tourist. The Prince of Wales came to the British North American provinces in part to learn about them first hand by taking in the sights. His mentors believed in the adage that travel is broadening, that a vacation could help prepare the prince for his vocation. The young heir apparent did not object. Never a keen scholar, Albert Edward preferred travel to poring over books under the watchful eye of impatient tutors. And, as the prince found during his North American progress, excursions offered respite from the wearing round of state ceremonials.

    It is...

  14. 9 Renfrew in the Republic
    (pp. 313-335)

    On the evening of 20 September, the Prince of Wales arrived in the United States, entering at Detroit, Michigan. Albert Edward crossed the Detroit River from the Canadian side aboard the steamerWindsor.‘The view from the hurricane deck of that steamer’, declared a widely reprinted report from the DetroitDaily Advertiser,‘was one of the most striking that the imagination can conceive’, All the homes and warehouses lining both shores of the river for a distance of more than three miles were illuminated. The spars and lines of the hundreds of steamers and sailing vessels, those at anchor and...

  15. 10 New York, New York
    (pp. 336-363)

    The prince’s visit to New York was the pinnacle of his tour of the United States and a significant moment in the social life of the city. From the earliest days of planning the American tour, the idea had been that a visit tothegreat American commercial and financial capital would be a crowning triumph in the royal progress, where the extravagance of the reception would be grander and the welcome more public than anywhere else in the United States. With alacrity, the social elite of Gotham took on the role of welcoming His Royal Highness, determined to outdo...

  16. Conclusion
    (pp. 364-382)

    On the morning of 20 October, the prince and his suite left Boston, the last site of grand festivities, and proceeded by train to Portland, Maine, the port of departure for home. Earlier there had been talk of leaving the United States from New York, but rumour had it that the naval officers feared that too many tars would jump ship in Gotham’s busy harbour. (As it was, reports put the number of desertions from the royal squadron during the tour at 140.¹) Portland’s comparative quiet, as well as its fine harbour and good rail connections, made it the officers’...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 383-446)
  18. Bibliography of Primary Sources
    (pp. 447-452)
  19. Index
    (pp. 453-469)