An Imperial Ball with
KAISER WILHELM I
On 22nd February 1887 the first Emperor of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm I, hosted this royal ball at his Berlin Palace along with his wife, Empress Augusta.
The dance card (tanzkarte) is emblazonment in gold-leaf with the royal arms Prussia and the royal arms of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, representing the respective families of the imperial hosts.
It appears Emperor Wilhelm had an attuned ear to the musical scores played at his palace soirées. In 1900 using the guise of a nom-de-plume Madame la Marquise de Fontenoy, a regular member of the Kaiser’s court, remembered how:
"I recall being present, many years ago, at a dinner at the palace of Koblenz, given by Empress Augusta in honor of her consort, old Emperor William, who had come over from Ems for the purpose, when during the dinner the old emperor remarked that the band of the Augusta regiment, which was playing at the further end of the White Hall, had played the ballet melody of _"Satanella"_ in too fast a time.
"Rising from his seat, and pushing aside the screen which concealed the band from view, he took the baton from the hand of the bandmaster, and after exclaiming: "Very quietly and slowly, gentlemen, if you please," he tapped twice on the music-stand in front of him, and then commenced to conduct with as much skill and art as if he had never done anything else in his life.
"Several times during the course of the piece he exclaimed "Noch ruehiger," (still more gently) and when the end of the piece was reached he laid down the baton with the remark, "Now, that was fine," and, thanking the band with a very friendly and kindly smile, returned to his seat at table" - Madame la Marquise de Fontenoy.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith