Queen Victoria held a Court at Buckingham Palace on 'Saturday. Count Colloredo, the Austrian Minister, presented an autograph letter from the Emperor of Austria.
Soon afterwards, her Majesty and Prince Albert left Buckingham Pa- lace, and arrived at Windsor Castle at half-past four o'clock. They had dined, and had retired to the White Drawingroom in the Prince of Wales's Tower, when an alarm of fire was given, about half-past nine. Prince Albert immediately hastened to the spot. The Queen did not leave the White Drawingroom, but rested there until the fire was extinguished at four o'clock on Sunday morning. According to the Court Circular, she 4‘ sustained no inconvenience from the alarm which such an event was likely to cause."
On Sunday morning, the Queen, Prince Albert, and the Duchess of Kent, attended divine service in the private chapel. . Inquiries after her Majesty were made on Monday, by the Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Norfolk, and the Earl of Aberdeen.
Sir William Molesworth arrived on Tuesday, and remained some hours.
The Queen and Prince Albert drove out on Tuesday, and walked in the grounds on Wednesday. The Queen and Prince Albert attended early service in the private chapel yesterday, and partook of the holy communion.
The Royal charities customary at this season have been distributed as usual. On Friday and Saturday, and on Monday and Tuesday, alms were given away at the Almonry ; and on Thursday, being Maunday Thurs- day, thirty-four aged men and thirty-four aged women, the number cor- responding with her Majesty's years, were relieved at Whitehall Chapel.
The fire that placed the greatest palace of our Sovereign and all its costly contents in peril was discovered above the Gothic Diningroom in the Prince of Wales's Tower, which is situated at the North corner of the East terrace. Above this room were apartments used by do- mestics ; and while some of the household smelt burning wood and saw smoke below, the same appearances were discovered above nearly at the same time. The alarm was instantly given : Prince Albert, the gentlemen of the household, and the numerous corps of attendants, were soon on the spot. As the smoke filled the passages and staircases, the exact locality of the fire was not at first perceived. In a short time, however, the rooms were penetrated and the furniture of the Gothic Diningroom was removed. About seven hundred men of the Fusileer Guards marched up at double quick time ; then the Second Life Guards with their fire-engine, and the engines from Windsor. It was found that the fire had originated behind the wood-work, and was therefore extremely difficult of access. Fortu- nately, there was a very full supply of water on every landing, and it was directed on the burning wood by intelligent zeal. Meanwhile, a telegraphic message was sent to London for the Fire Brigade ; and the soldiers and Castle servants moved the furniture from the rooms placed in immediate peril, the Red and Green Drawingrooms; the Queen remaining in the White Drawingroom on the same floor. The contents of the priceless jewelled armoury were removed from one room to another ; but the contents of the plate-room were left untouched, as that room was fire-proof. The fire continued to burn in the ceiling of the Gothic Diningroom and in the bedrooms above ; but effective measures were taken to prevent it from extending laterally along the other apartments on either side. In consequence of many interruptions to his progress from London, Mr. Braidwood, with two engines, did not arrive until nearly two o'clock, when the fire, which had been burning for four hours, was greatly subdued. /tin Braidwood soon conquered it, but it was not quite extinguished till four o'clock on Sunday morning. Prince Albert took an active part in directing operations, and remained till the close.
The richly-decorated ceiling of the Gothic Diningroom has been mined, half of it having been burnt and the rest greatly damaged ; but the room itself has not suffered materially, while the furniture, pictures, and articles of vertu, were all saved. Above this room most of the bedrooms were more or less destroyed, with the roof. Such immense volumes of water were poured through the burning apart- ments, that, had not due precaution been taken, it would have done more damage than the fire itself: but it was turned into the area of the Castle, and what remained was pumped out next morning by the engines.
In the course of last year, in consequence of its having been considered that the Castle was not in a state of sufficient security against fire, Mr. Simpson, one of the Government engineers, was consulted ; and an immense basin or tank, covering more than an acre of ground, was constructed at Oranbourne Lodge, one of the highest spots on the Royal property, about four miles from Windsor. A powerful engine was erected on the banks of the Thames immediately. under the Castle, by means of which 'water was pumped into the reservoir at Cranbourne through pipes. A second set of pipes• was laid down from Cranboume to the Castle; - and as the reser- voir at the former place is on a level with the summit of the Round Tower at Windsor, an admirable supply of water is at all times on full service at every part of the Castle. The extent of the supply may be guessed from-the fact, that after six hours' service from a great many plugs on Saturaty might, the depth of water in the Cranbourne reservoir was only lowered twit
feet. -= Strict inquiries have been instituted, by order of Prince Albert under di- rection of the Marquis of Breadalbane ; and although there has been no loAlspiat fikt.kaubject, the firemen are all of opinion that the fire origi- th*iliabUW to heat the apartments. ough Lord Hardinge, recognized and graciously ap- of the soldiers.
Windsor have passed addresses to her Majesty and the alarming circumstances."