Victoria Recap: Don’t Talk Railway At Me

VICTORIA-EP-7-12.png

First of all, where is Lord Melbourne? He didn’t stop being Prime Minister when Queen Victoria married. Nor, indeed, did the Queen stop meeting with him. I will be most miffed if he doesn’t reappear for next week’s season finale.

Anyway, there’s no polite English word for it, but Victoria is pregnant. In the opening scene of “The Engine of Change” our 20-year-old monarch abruptly runs from a classical music concert because she is to be, in the words of her household, “indisposed out of her mouth.” The doctors soon confirm it: There is to be a royal baby. Prince Albert is over the moon and Victoria is afraid, the shadow of Princess Charlotte dying in labor looming large.

She announces it 1840s monarch style, which is to say not on Facebook, but in an audience chamber, from her throne, with members of her government assembled before her to clap when she has delivered her news. It’s most civilized and, frankly, has given me a lot of ideas for my future pronouncements.

Continue reading “Victoria Recap: Don’t Talk Railway At Me”

Victoria Recap: The Dogs Wear Jewelry

Picture4.png

Behind every successful queen there is a man wondering what the hell his job is. Well, not Elizabeth I, mind you, but certainly our favorite 19th century monarch, Queen Victoria. The honeymoon is over and it’s back to Buckingham Palace they go to be interrupted by Baroness Lehzen in bed, separated by blood princes walking into dinner and lampooned by political cartoons depicting poor Albert as a German sausage.

Continue reading “Victoria Recap: The Dogs Wear Jewelry”

The Courtship, Engagement & Wedding of Victoria & Albert

 

victoriawedding.jpg

Despite having read nearly every available biography of Queen Victoria in the early aughts, I realized when watching and recapping the new series based on her airing on PBS that it had actually been a few years since I had sat down and read a biography based solely on her. So this past week, that’s what I did.

And it was pretty fun – kind of like looking at a high school yearbook. The broad strokes have stayed with you, but you’re reminded of some of the smaller personal details that you know you once knew well.

Since today, February 10th, marks the anniversary of Victoria and Prince Albert’s 1840 wedding, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the real events behind their story. After all, though they would become one of history’s most famous couples, with Victoria remaining in intensive mourning for nearly 40 years after he died, their early years show two people very much figuring out how to live together, how to communicate, what the power dynamic was going to be and how they would raise their family. Like any young couple, except, you know, they did it in Buckingham Palace.

Continue reading “The Courtship, Engagement & Wedding of Victoria & Albert”

Victoria Recap: You’ll Never Want for Handkerchiefs

jenna_victoriastillsep5.jpg

But you may want for a lot of other things, Albert. Anyway, look, I’ve warmed up slightly to our second favorite German prince since last week. And I say second favorite because I think we can all agree Ernest is first, from his unsubtle ruses to let his brother and Victoria have alone time to taking Albert to a “house of ill repute” in the lead up to the Great Royal Wedding of 1840. #ForGodandCountry

Episode 5, “An Ordinary Woman,” opens with some stilted conversation between Victoria and Albert before Ernest leads away the Queen’s lady-in-waiting and our future figureheads for propriety make out behind a random sheet hanging inside a rotunda. But the bliss is short-lived, because inquiring minds want to know: How much money will Albert be given? What will his title be? Who will make up his household? I don’t want to have to ask for money every time I need to buy a handkerchief, Albert says. But the Palace has loads of handkerchiefs! Victoria is bewildered, quite possibly because when she turned 18 she was handed the British Empire, but who’s to say?

Continue reading “Victoria Recap: You’ll Never Want for Handkerchiefs”

Victoria Recap: I Am So Vexed I Could Scream

victoria-s01e04.jpg

Same, Victoria, same. Well, it’s happened. In the span of one episode Albert went from her rude, dull first cousin to our favorite British queen’s fiance. This episode also served as a good reminder of why I really don’t like Prince Albert, so, in that sense, well done Victoria – you’ve captured his essence perfectly.

Let’s get into it, shall we? Episode 4, “The Clockwork Prince,” begins where the last one left off, in the drawing room with Prince Albert walking up to the Queen to turn the page of her piano music for her. Dash immediately starts barking to which I say, good for Dash. He is a rival for Victoria’s affection and maybe also a tyrant. Dogs are never wrong. Anyway, Victoria isn’t feeling it, so when it’s suggested that she show Albert and his brother, Ernest, around she uses Lord Melbourne to get out of it with some urgent dispatches that require her “full attention.” I like this excuse. I’m going to use it going forward.

Continue reading “Victoria Recap: I Am So Vexed I Could Scream”

The Death of Queen Victoria

Today, January 22, in 1901, Queen Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight after 63 years on the throne. Victoria had been at Osborne since Christmas, as per her tradition, however by the New Year she didn’t feel well enough to leave. Within three weeks she had passed away at the age of 81.

1901deathqvic

Three days later, her body was lifted into her coffin by her eldest son and successor, Edward VII; her eldest grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II; and her third and favorite son, Arthur, Duke of Connaught. Per instruction written out by the Queen in 1897, the funeral was white, she was dressed in a white gown with her wedding veil, and within her coffin was placed a dressing gown that had belonged to her long-dead husband, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; a lock of her Scottish servant’s, John Brown, hair; a ring from the Brown family that Brown had given to her; and various other mementos. The trinkets related to Brown were placed so as to be concealed by her left hand in the hopes they couldn’t be viewed by her family, the majority of whom detested the deceased servant.

Continue reading “The Death of Queen Victoria”

Queen Victoria’s Third Son: Arthur, Duke of Connaught

On January 16, in 1942, Arthur, Duke of Connaught died at Bagshot Park in Surrey, the current home of Edward, Earl of Wessex and his family. Arthur was the third son, seventh child of Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the Prince Consort. As a member of the British royal family and the British Army, he held a number of posts throughout the Empire, most notably as the Governor General of Canada from 1911-1916, covering the first two years of World War I.

680548
Prince Arthur with his younger brother, Leopold, the future Duke of Albany

Arthur was born at Buckingham Palace in London on May 1, 1850. At the time of his birth his parents had been married for 10 years and his mother had been queen for 13. During his childhood, the royal family established a familiar domestic routine, moving between Buckingham Palace in London, Osborne House on the Isle Wight and Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In 1866 he enrolled at the Royal Military College at Woolwich, from which he graduated two years later, before moving on to the Royal Regiment of Artillery and the Rifle Brigade. As an army officer, he would go on to serve throughout the Empire, including stints in South Africa, India, Canada, Egypt and Ireland.

220px-arthurdkcnnght

He was promoted to the honorary rank of Colonel in 1871, Lieutenant-Colonel in 1876, Colonel in 1880 and General in 1893. From 1886 to 1890, he served as Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay army. Notably, in 1870, while working in Canada, he made a visit to the United States, meeting President Ulysses S. Grant in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading “Queen Victoria’s Third Son: Arthur, Duke of Connaught”