Monday, May 28, 2018

Etiquette and a Royal Alpine Hostess

The Italian Alps (above) – “The Queen was overtaken by a severe snowstorm, which obliged her and her few attendants to take refuge in a hut belonging to the Alpine Club, which was soon full of climbers of all nationalities, who, when they knew who she was, at once offered to leave the humble quarters entirely at her disposal. “On no account,” exclaimed the Queen, “the hut must do for all. I am the hostess, and we will spend the night as comfortably as we can.

Margherita on the Mountains –  Italy’s Queen’s Prowess as an Alpine Climber

Queen Margherita, the delicate woman of fashion, the somewhat indolent beauty of the Quirinal, where the strict and severe etiquette of the House of Savoy surrounds her as with a cloak, has left Rome, and has arrived at Gressoney, in the midst of the Alps, where a metamorphosis takes place and the admired Sovereign becomes an Alpine climber in the real meaning of the word. She dresses in the peasant costume with short skirt, good stout boots and Tyrolese hat, and, alpenstock in hand, does her climbing either on foot or riding a favorite donkey. 

During a famous ascent in 1888 of the Peak of the Giant, 12,4000 feet above the level of the sea, the Queen was overtaken by a severe snowstorm, which obliged her and her few attendants to take refuge in a hut belonging to the Alpine Club, which was soon full of climbers of all nationalities, who, when they knew who she was, at once offered to leave the humble quarters entirely at her disposal. “On no account,” exclaimed the Queen, “the hut must do for all. I am the hostess, and we will spend the night as comfortably as we can.” After this, the Italian Alpine Club presented their Sovereign with a magnificent diploma, of which she is very proud, and replaced the hut with a refuge to which they gave the name of “Regina Margherita.”

The Italian Sovereign during her stay at Gressoney stops at the villa of the Barons de Peccoz. In the Peccoz family, the duty of accompanying the Princes of the House of Savoy in their Alpine climbs seems almost hereditary. The late Baron, who in his youth accompaned the Duke of Genoa and Prince Thomas, father and brother of the Queen, in all their mountain excursions, was the faithful guide of Queen Margherita, until in the summer of 1895, when, while ascending a mountain at her side, he suddenly fell at her feet and died in a few moments. Now his sons have taken his place. The sturdy mountaineers of this part of the Alps tramp many miles to see her, and when she enters any of their villages, they receive her with flowers and enthusiastic manifestations of devotion—her climbing powers, added to her kindness and personal attractions making her come next to the Madonna in their hearts. One might ask. where Margherita feels more a sovereign – in the Quirinal, or on the Alps? — Rome correspondence Pall Mall Gazette, 1897


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia