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A cat may look at the Queen

The Royal Chase
The Royal Pavilion: Clifford Musgrave (1951)

An incident which occurred on the occasion of a short visit to Brighton in 1845, illustrated above, concerning Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and three of their children, will perhaps show the Royals then, had the same problems of over intrusive followers as their descendants today

“It has been said – as the lawyers have it – that a cat can look at a King – but it is not to be tolerated that set of unmannerly curs should poke their noses under the bonnet of a Queen, as was the case the other day at Brighton. It is very hard that her Royal Majesty and her Royal Consort cannot walk abroad like other people without having a pack of ill-bred dogs at their heels, hunting them to the very gates of the Pavilion.

The illustrious couple, whom the Brightonians regard as fair game for their idle curiosity, were started by a great crowd of the butcher boy breed who commenced the view halloo and a lot of little puppies beginning to give tongue, the pack was joined by a large number who were all in full cry together. Some of the dogs were so very ill-bred that they headed the game. It was much regretted that there was no whipper-in at hand to keep the hounds at bay, as they ran their prey literally at bay after a chase of half an hour.
The Royal Pavilion: Clifford Musgrave (1955)

After experiences like this, it was perhaps understandable that the visits of Queen Victoria were few and fleeting. In February 1845, writing from the Pavilion to a Royal aunt, the Queen remarked ”..the people are very indiscreet and troublesome, which makes this place quite a prison.”

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