of Wales Royal Tour: 1860
by N.F. Morrison
Ph.D., Radio Sketches of Essex County Historical Association,
June 20, 1959
began with his landing at St. Johns Newfoundland,
on July 23, 1860, and ended nearly two months later,
when the Prince crossed from Windsor to Detroit on September
the interim he performed various public acts driving the
last rivet in the famous Victoria Bridge across the St. Lawrence,
laying the corner stone of the new Parliament Buildings at Ottawa,
opening Queens Park in Toronto, and unveiling Brocks
Monument at Queenston. The Prince had also time to see the incomparable
Blondin, tight rope walker, perform at Niagara Falls.
the morning of September 13, 1860, the royal party left its quarters
in Londons fine Tecumseh Hotel for a brief visit to Sarnia.
Mrs. George E. Copeland, (1854-1951), long a resident of Windsor,
attended that occasion in Sarnia as a little child named Mary Morrison.
She remembered Indian canoes on the St. Clair River that day.
of these canoes came to a slip in the dock and out stepped a number
of figures in Indian costume, one of whom was the Prince, whose
identity was revealed by his white face. An Indian tribe greatly
amused him by their performance, after which they were presented
to him and delivered an address, in which they welcomed their big
brother, the son of their great mother, to their wigwam. (Ninety-one
years later in mid-October, 1951, Mrs. Copeland, as an old lady
of 97, witnessed the visit to Windsor of the then Princess and her
husband. Two weeks later Mrs. Copeland died.)
week later, in the early afternoon of Thursday, September 20, the
royal train moved out of Hamilton en route for Windsor and Detroit.
The royal train consisted of the Princes car, which was the
last on the train, the directors car, two passenger cars and
one baggage car...A pilot engine was dispatched in advance of the
royal train to keep everything clear...
The Prince Arrives in Windsor
loyal little town of Windsor (population about 2,500) was gaily
decorated and alive with excitement. Mayor James Dougall had proclaimed
Thursday, September 20, 1860, as a public holiday but during the
morning torrents or rain descended.
noon, however, the clouds broke away and the sun shone forth pleasantly.
At 3 oclock a company of light artillery, invited by the civic
authorities, arrived from London to fire a salute in honor of the
Prince when he reached Windsor. They marched to the public square
beside the town hall (now a storage building at 255 Riverside Drive
East), and there they deposited their artillery for use in the evening.
royal train arrived at the station punctually at 8 oclock
and was received with cheers from the large crowd that had collected,
the firing of cannon, display of fireworks, huge bonfires and general
rejoicings by the whole people of Windsor, who had found it almost
impossible to restrain their enthusiasm. The illuminations were
set in a blaze and the town presented a most beautiful appearance.
the royal party passed through the covered way that had been erected
from the station to the steamer landing whence they would depart
for Detroit, formal addresses were presented. After their very brief
visit in Windsor, the royal party embarked on the beautifully-decorated
steamer Windsor, where the governor of Michigan, mayor and alderman
of Detroit and other prominent citizens were waiting to receive
the Prince and his suite proceeded to positions for observation
on the forward deck of the Windsor, from which they behold a line
of steamers in the centre of the river all beautifully illuminated
with lamps of various colors . As the Windsor passed the first
of these ships, a shower of rockets and candles were let off, a
signal was answered by the whole fleet, filling the river with illumination.
From the deck of the steamer Windsor the whole village of
Windsor seemed as if in a blaze of light. Every house was illuminated,
bonfires were blazing in all directions, and rockets filled the
air. Fireworks were discharged from all the vessels in the steam,
while many of the large warehouses and other buildings on the wharf
at Detroit were brilliantly illuminated. The extensive wharves of
the Detroit and Milwaukee and Michigan Central railways were also
illuminated, adding very greatly to the general effect upon the
approaching the landing at the foot of Woodward Avenue, the long
lines of torches borne by the firemen disclosed to view the immense
crowd of people that thronged the spacious avenue from the intersection
of Jefferson Avenue to the waters edge, from whom as the boat
neared the dock, a shout of welcome went up that must have caused
a thrill to go through the heart of the Prince.
thus began his short visit to the United States where as had been
the case in Canada, he received a welcome befitting royalty.
Since Cadillacs arrival in this
area in 1701, there has been a succession of 10 monarchs.
Windsor has been visited by Royalty eight times since 1860,
(including three visits by Queen Elizabeth) the last visit
occurring in March of this year by Prince Michael of Kent,
the new Colonel-in-Chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish regiment.
In 1917, the name of the Royal House was changed from Saxe-Coburg
and Gotha to Windsor.