Mr. Andrews to Mr. Fish.
Stockholm, May 21, 1873. (Received June 11.)
The coronation of Oscar II as King of Sweden, and the festivities attending it, are now over. The coronation took place because the King insisted upon it. The constitution does not require, nor did the people generally desire, it. (The constitution of Norway impliedly requires a coronation there.) It is an ancient religious ceremony, consisting of an imposing procession, of numerous prayers, of preaching and singing, of anointing the King by the archbishop on his forehead, temples, breast, and wrists; of the delivery to him of the emblems of authority by the prime minister, and archbishop, each, with nicety, having a hand on the emblem when the King takes it; and, finally, the administration of an oath to the King by the prime minister; a ceremony indeed consistent with what was once supposed to be the divine right of Kings. It seems to have been thought by His Majesty that the omission of this ceremony might at some possible future crisis afford a pretext for his enemies to question his title and authority among the superstitious. He wished to make assurance doubly sure. Another, though lesser consideration, was the obtaining the compliment to his court and country of distinguished embassies for the occasion. In this respect his anticipations have not been disappointed. Five countries sent special embassies, and two special envoys, with attachés. The senior embassador, on account of his arriving first, was General Barail for France, chief of cavalry in Paris, accompanied by his wife. Italy sent the distinguished Ex-Prime Minister Menabrea; Germany, the renowned General Blumenthal; Russia, General Liewen; Austria, Prince Metternich, who, for ten years, was embassador at Paris. Each embassador had a suite of from three to five persons, including in two cases, Russia and Germany, officers of the rank of major-general. The attachés who received most attention in court society here were those most distinguished for aristocratic birth and wealth. Denmark and Holland only sent special envoys.
On Monday, the 12th instant, the day of the coronation, (which was very rainy,) the King and Queen gave a dinner to about six hundred Swedish and Norwegian guests, the latter consisting principally of the deputation sent from Norway; and the minister of foreign affairs the same [Page 1067] evening dined the embassies and diplomatic corps. Wednesday, from 12 to 2 o’clock, their Majesties received the homages of the court society, the foreign representatives and ladies being received last; and at 5 o’clock of the same day the King and Queen gave a dinner to the foreign representatives and ladies. Thursday evening the city gave a splendid ball in honor of the coronation, which was attended by the King and Queen and their four sons. On Friday, at 4½ p.m., the queen dowager gave a fine dinner to their majesties, the high Swedish officials, and the foreign representatives; in all, about three hundred guests. On Saturday evening the King gave a ball at the palace to about sixteen hundred guests. At the opening of the ball the Queen was conducted, by her request, in the polonaise, or promenade, by each of the embassadors and chiefs of missions. The King severally conducted each of their ladies. The same compliments were extended to prominent Swedes. On Monday evening, the 19th, the Norwegian minister of state, Mr. Kieralf, gave a fine ball and supper to about five hundred guests. It affords me pleasure to state that at the three balls, where champagne and other wines were to be had as freely as water, I did not see a person, even after the supper, who was noticeably under the influence of drink.
The weather has been rainy during all the festivities. The embassadors left yesterday.
I am, &c.,