The Meeting of the Allied Sovereigns in 1814 has been reported by almost all of Portsmouth's historians but one of the earliest, possibly the first, was published in 1817. It was contained in a "History of Portsmouth" by Lake Allen, who was fifteen years old and living on High Street in 1814 and must have been an eye witness to the events. His recollections therefore are of considerable interest though curiously he barely mentions the principle reason for the gathering, namely the initial defeat of Napolean at the Battle of Leipzig.
Extract from the "History of Portsmouth" by Lake Allen
"On Wednesday, the 22nd of June, his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, accompanied by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge set out from Carlton-house, and arrived at the Government-house, Portsmouth, about four o'clock the same evening. On their arrival at Portsdown Hill they were received with a royal salute of 21 guns, from a brigade of Royal Artillery, stationed at that point; at the same time also a royal salute was fired from all the ships and vessels of war lying at Spithead.
When his Royal Highness arrived at the Landport Gate, he was received by Lieutenant General Houstoun, Lieutenant-Governor of the Garrison, who presented his Royal Highness the keys of the town, which he immediately returned, and on his entrance was saluted with a triple discharge of all the artillery round the ramparts, and all the ships and vessels at Spithead fired a royal salute, and these salutes wwere repeated when His Royal Highness alighted from his carriage at the Governor's House.
The troops lined both sides of the road from the Government-house to the Barracks at Hilsea, a distance or no less than three miles, and the roads, streets, ramparts and the Parade, were thronged with spectators, who received his Royal Highness with the greatest demonstrations of loyalty and affection. His Royal Highness held a levee, and immediately after, proceeded to the front of the Government-house, where he was received by the people with shouts and acclamations.
About half-past seven in the evening, his Majesty, the King of Prussia, accompanied by their Royal Highnesses the Princes Royal, and William, Prince William his Majestys brother, and Prince Frederick of Prussia, and attended by Lord Charles Bentinck, and several other persons of his Majesty's Court, were met without the town by a Guard of Honour, which conducted the King of Prussia to the Lieut-Governor's house in St Thomas's Street, which had been prepared for his Majesty's residence.
His Imperial Majesty, Alexander, Emporer of Russia, arrived about nine o'clock, accompanied by her Imperial Highness Catherine, Grand Duchess of Oldenburgh, and attended by the Earl of Yarmouth, Count Lieven, his Imperial Majesty's Ambassador, who proceeded to the Commissioner's house in the Dock-yard [The Commissioner being the Hon. Sir George Grey]. By this time, the illuminations had commenced, and presented a scene of grandeur and delight unknown to Portsmouth. Thousands paraded the streets, inspecting the various exhibitions, till a late hour, whom the fatigues of the day gradually dispersed, and the night passed off with the utmost order and regularity.
Thursday morning at ten o'clock his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, together with the Dukes of York and Cambridge, left the Government house in a coach and four, under a royal salute, and proceeded to the residence of the King of Prussia, His Majesty accompanied the Prince Regent in his carriage to the Dock yard, where they were received by his Majesty the Emperor of Russia, from whence they proceeded through the Dockyard, and embarked in a barge magnificently fitted up for their reception, in which the Royal Standard was immediately hoisted, and proceeded down the harbour to Spithead. Abreast of the Royal Barge on the right hand, a barge carried the Imperial Standard of Russia, and another in the same situation on the left carried the Royal Standard of Prussia, both these barges were filled with the suites of their respective sovereigns. The board of Admiralty with the Ambassadors of Austria and Russia, and several other persons of distinction, in their barge bearing the Admiralty Flag, immediately preceded his Royal Highnesses barge. The barges of the Admirals and Captains carrying their respective flags, followed in two lines according to their seniority.
As his Royal Highness passed the garrison he was saluted with twenty one guns from the battery on the platform, and when the Royal Standard was seen from the fleet at Spithead, his Royal Highness was saluted in the same manner by the ships there, which was repeated by the guns on the platform ; and as the royal party passed the ships, the yards were all manned, and their crews gave three cheers. They then went on hoard the Impregnable, and the Royal Standard being hoisted, it was immediately saluted by the fleet, and answered by a similar number of guns from the platform.
On the royal party leaving the Impregnable a royal salute was again fired by the whole fleet. When the barges approached the shore at Southsea Castle, they were saluted by a feu de joie, fired by the troops drawn up on Southsea Beach, and from the battery on the platform. The Prince Regent, the King of Prussia and the Board of Admiralty landed at the Sally Port ; but his Majesty the Emperor of Russia proceeded to the King's Stairs at the Dockyard. Royal Highness accompanied by the King of Prussia walked from the Sally Port to the Government-house amidst the acclamations of thousands collected in the streets. In the evening the Prince Regent gave a dinner to the whole of the imperial royal visitors, consisting of 120 covers of every delicacy of the season. While the company were at table, Marshal Blucher arrived at the Crown Inn, in a coach and four: the noble warrior was immediately introduced to the royal personages, and received by them, with the warmest congratulations.
Friday morning Royal Highness the Prince Regent, and the King and Princes of Prussia again went to Spithead, and during their absence the Emperor of Russia, and the Grand Duchess of Oldenburgh, attended by Lord Viscount Melville, the Earl of Yarmouth, and the imperial suite crossed over to Haslar Hospital ; his Imperial Majesty after expressing the highest satisfaction at the general system of the Hospital returned with his suite to the Dock-yard.
The Prince Regent and King of Prussia having embarked, the procession moved nearly in the same order as the preceeding day to Spithead, and the royal party went on board the Royal Soverign Yatch (sic) where the Royal Standard was hoisted. The fleet then got under weigh, and proceeded to sea, and when his Royal Highness was at St. Helens he shifted his flag to, and proceeded on board the Impregnable with the royal party. The fleet now under sail, performed several evolutions and manceuvered with the greatest celerity and precision, and then returned to Spithead, from whence they returned, in the same way they did on the day before, to Government-house, where they were received by Lord Bathurst and his Grace the Duke of Wellington, who had arrived (whilst his Royal Highness was on the water) in a coach and six; he was recognised by the people at the George Inn, and the horses being taken from his carriage, was drawn to the Government-house, amidst shouts of applause; when on the grand parade, the troops presented arms to his grace, and during the time the music was playing " See the Conquering Hero comes," the troops and the immense assemblage of people rent the air with their acclamations. Soon after his entry into the Government-house, he came into the balcony to pay his respects to those who had so warmly welcomed him. When he made his appearance an universal shout arose, the Cavalry whirled their sabres in the air, and thousands of voices exclaimed, " Long live Wellington!' His Grace looked remarkably well, but rather thin, and much sunburnt. In the evening the Prince Regent gave a ball and supper at the Crown Inn, which was numerously attended, but his Royal Highness, was not present himself.
Saturday morning about nine o'clock his Royal Highness held a levee at the Government-house, at which were present several military officers, and the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses, who presented his Royal Highness an address; they were all most graciously received, and his Royal Highness was pleased to confer the honour of knighthood on Henry White, Esquire, the mayor. This morning the Emperor of Russia, and the King and Princes of Prussia, honoured the Duke of Clarence with their presence to a breakfast at the Crown hotel. The Prince Regent left Portsmouth, with their Imperial and Royal Majesties; about ten o'clock in the morning. His Royal Highness after attending his friends along the coast, reached London on the 27th, gratified beyond measure, with what he had seen during his excursion, and the manner in which he and his friends had been received in Portsmouth.
Before his Royal Highness quitted the town he left 100L. to the poor of the parishes of Portsmouth and Portsea ; 50L to the poor of the parish of Gosport; 50L. to the debtors in Portsmouth gaol; and 3000L. to be distributed to the workmen of the Dock yard.
Thus closed a series of splendid scenes, which will be remembered and dwelt on with no common interest for years to come. The assembly, of two foreign potentates illustrious for their virtues—that of, our own princes, statesmen, and heroes—and lastly the assembly of those warriors, who have been enabled by their own exertions to free their countries from slavery and despotism, and give peace to Europe, this I say, is not an every day's occurrence. The interest of the scene is fully exemplifled by the thousands who flocked from all parts of the kingdom. We have endeavoured in the foregoing pages to attempt to convey some idea of the magnificence and grandeur of the scene, but our description must only be considered as a rough outline the recollection of those who were present can alone finish the picture"