THE Queen and Prince Albert came to town on Monday. Her Majesty held a Privy Council, at Buckingham Palace, on Monday afternoon ; at which the Royal Speech to be delivered at the meeting of Parliament was "arranged and agreed on." Audiences were given to Lord John Russell, Mr. Fox Maule, Sir George Grey, Earl Granville, and Earl Grey. The Queen went in state, with Prince Albert, on Tuesday, and opened the session of Parliament.
The Royal procession left Buckingham Palace at a quarter before two under a beautiful sky; the clouds were high, and the sun so powerful that the brisk Northerly wind was not felt unpleasantly. It was expected by the populace of London, as her Majesty was to enter the House of Lords for the first time through the Victoria Tower, that the whole pro. cession would be unprecedented in magnitude and splendour; and by this expectation the crowd of spectators was swelled to an enormous magni- tude. The area before St. James's Palace was full; the Mall was lined ; and the whole extent of the streets to the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey, and as far beyond as would still admit of a view, was closely crammed by people who greeted the Queen with an unvociferous but hearty loyalty. Her Majesty appeared in the best health and spirits. The carriages of the procession, in the usual number and with the well- known trappings, swept round the open space in front of the Victoria Tower, and passed through the great portal, a few minutes after two. Ascending stairs of marble, passing under interior porches of beautiful columnar architecture, and through passages with frescoed walls and sta- toed niches, the Queen and Prince Albert repaired to the robing-room. Having robed, they passed into the Royal Gallery, a noble chamber of the proportions of the famed dining-hall of the Middle Temple, and corre- sponding to the Painted Chamber of the old House. Here rows of seats rising tier above tier were crowded by privileged spectators, chiefly ladies assembled to watch the procession as it passed. The Officers of State, the Peers and Peeresses, Judges, Diplomatic Corps, and distinguished strangers, had entered the Peers' chamber much beforehand ; and many of them were busy conning its features. The Peers were numerically few, and some of the most distinguished were absent, The members of the Corps Diplomatique were present in re- markable numbers; and so were the Judges. But the unprecedented abundance of ladies was the most marked feature of the assemblage.
" Taking almost entire possession of the Peers' benches, and filling 'the body of the House, one might have supposed that a House of Peeresses had been added to the institutions of the country, and that the half-hundred elderly gentlemen in robes of scarlet and ermine who occupied the front bench sat as assessors to a female Parliament.
"The Duke of Wellington was one of the Peers earliest in attendance. He looked in his usual health; although his increasing deafness renders it impossible for him to enter into conversation in the House without attract- ing more attention than is agreeable to the illustrious Duke. Ills Grace wore a Field-Marshal's uniform under his robes. At a quarter past ens o'clock the honourable corps of Gentlemen-at-Anus were marched into the great chamber behind the throne ; and about this time the scene within the House was enlivened by the presence of several officers of the Life Guards, whose steel cuirasses and helmets brilliantly reflected the rays of the sun. . . . . The appearance of the Marquis of Normanby among the Great Officers of State excited some surprise. He bore the mown when her Majesty entered the House; a duty heretofore performed by the venerable Marquis of Lansdowne.
"At about a quarter to two every seat in every part of the interior of the House was occupied, with the exception of the slender and insufficient space below the bar allotted to the Members of the House of Commons. The pro- fusion of gilding about the throne and upon the ceiling has lost much of its earlier glitter, but we are not sure that the appearance of the House has been at all injured. The same remark applies to the frescoes. The other aocesmo- ries to this magnificent spectacle were much the same as on former occasions. The Diplomatic box glittered as usual with every variety of uniform, with the- stars, crosses, sashes, medals, and decorations of the most renowned orders of merit of the greatest potentates. The rich scarlet and ermine robes of the Peers contrasted beautifully with the colours of the dresses worn by the ladies."
The Queen entered the hall of the Peers at ten minutes past two, pre- ceded by the Duke of Wellington bearing the sword of state, and the other Great Officers. The Commons were summoned ; and the Royal Speech, which appears in our Parliamentary columns, was read. In returning, the great state coach is said to have started with diffi- culty—either from the vie inertias of its antique proportions, or from some hampering of joints or tackle. The venerable coachman, delayed for some minutes, rose with the occasion, and was at one time sufficiently excited to wave his whip! the portentous gesture seemed to strike a ter- ror into the hearts of the grooms, poatboys, and police. " With animated exertions" the Royal cortege proceeded, and arrived safely at Bucking- ham Palace.
The Queen and Prince Albert returned to Windsor Castle the same evening. The visitors at the Castle this week have included the Marquis and Marchioness of Breadalbane, Lord Cowley, and Lord Portman, the Mar- quises of Salisbury and Anglesey, the Earl and Countess of Minto, Vis- count and Viscountess Mahon, Lord and Lady Ashburton, Lord Brough- ton, and Mr. T. B. Macaulay. Shakspere's play of King John was performed last night, in the Ruben.s Room, before a large party invited by her Majesty to be present.