By not visiting the University on his present trip to America the Prince of Wales is breaking a precedent of long standing established by his great-grandfather in 1860. Albert Edward later to become King Edward VII, but then travelling under the same name as the present prince, Lord Renfrew, visited the College on October 19, 1860.
Having signified a desire to visit the College, the Prince left his suite at the Revere House in Boston at 11 o'clock in the morning and arrived at the College gate at 1 o'clock, traveling in an open barouche. The undergraduates had turned put to a man and they cheered the Prince on his arrival "as Cambridge students know well how to cheer", according to the Boston Advertiser of the following day.
"God Save the Queen" Welcomed Prince
While a band situated between University and Hollis halls played "God Save the Queen" the royal party was escorted to Gore Hall, the old library which stood on the present site of Widener, and there received by President Felton of the University. He then inspected the library, after being introduced to the Fellows, the Overseers and the entire faculty of the College. When he had viewed the curiosities and rarities on display there, he was presented with a "History of Harvard College" emblazoned with the arms of the University and the crest and plume of the Prince.
Four living ex-presidents of the college were in the receiving line: Josiah Quincy Senior 1790, Edward Everett 1811, Jared Sparks 1815, and James Walker 1814. Mr. Quincy, one of the oldest of the company present told the Prince that he had been introduced sixty-six years before in 1794 to the grand-father of Prince Edward and the great-great-grandfather of the present heir apparent. Before leaving the library the Prince and his party affixed their signatures to the visitor's book, and the bold signature "Albert Edward" is still well preserved in the "Register of Visitors to the Harvard College Library", dated October 19, 1860.
Got Glimpse of American College Life
He next visited Boylston Hall, the new chemistry laboratory which had been built only three years before in 1857 and which was then the pride of the College in all its freshness. In order to give the Prince an insight into the way of life of his contemporary students at the American Cambridge, he was escorted to Holworthy 12, then occupied by Mr. Joseph Howe Wales, chief marshal of the class of 1861. The Prince, who was then a student at Oxford, expressed a great interest in the furnishings of the room and the style of living of a typical American College student.
While the band played "Fair Harvard" he went to University Hall, and was shown the office of the President and the Regent. Leaving University Hall he went to Dane Hall, where members of the Law School gave him "Three hearty cheers" as he was being shown around. On the return from Dane Hall he visited the Lawrence Scientific School and the Divinity School.
No Beer Nor Wine For Royal Thirst
After going through the Museum of Comparative Zoology with Professor Agassiz Honorary 1348, the members of the party were taken to Harvard Hall, where "an excellent lunch had been spread". The meal was very informal. The Prince sat in a central position at a table placed crosswise at the west end of the hall with President Felton at his left and Mr. Josiah Quiney, an ex-president of the College, at his right.
During the dinner an episode which seems prophetic of these post-Prohibition days occurred. As reported in the "Transcript" of October 27, 1860, "The Prince beckoned to a waiter and requested him to get a glass of wine. The waiter promptly replied that he hadn't any. President Felton here remarked to the Prince in his bland manner that it was not in accordance with usage on such occasions to provide wine. 'Then', said the Prince, turning to the waiter, 'Get me a glass of beer'. For the second time the waiter was obliged to reply that he had none." The Transcript's account stops here, and it is not recorded whether or how the Prince finally slaked his thirst.
After a stay of about half an hour the carriages were again drawn up to the door and the Prince came forth once more, to be greeted with applause from the great crowd which filled the entire Yard. He left, followed by thunderous cheers from the entire body of undergraduates.
Dance in Harvard Hall Planned
The "New York Saturday Press" of Oct. 27, 1860 contains the following account of an entertainment which had been planned for the Prince by the students themselves, at their own expense but which had been discarded in favor of the more formal reception planned by the faculty.
"Their plan was to bring him out upon the river in a small steamboat, which was to be accompanied by the college boat clubs. On his arrival he was to be treated to a breakfast, then to a dance in Harvard Hall, in which the students would take part and young ladies would be present. Young ladies such as any young man, whether prince or not, would like to dance with. Then he was to be made an honorary member of some of the College societies, and initiated into their secrets and the day was to finish with receptions in the students rooms, so that the Prince should be able to see what he expressed a desire to see, student life in America."
However, the students were forced to be content with having a few undergraduates on the reception committee. Two men, Dr. John Collins Warren '63, and Mr. Henry Munroe Rogers '62, who were on the committee, still survive.
Law Student in Dispute With Police
Only one incident marred the day. A Law student from Missouri, becoming angry at being crowded by the horse of the chief of police, raised his cane and struck the officer. When the authorities tried to take him into custody a number of his fellow students tried to start a riot in an effort to free him, but their efforts were unsuccessful and the disturbance was quelled.
Arthur Lincoln '63 collected the above information in the form of clippings in a scrapbook which is now preserved at Widener. Another book contains a daguerreotype of the Prince which bears a marked resemblance to his grandson who is in America now.