Thursday, June 24, 2010

Enter the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas

Despite not being too fussed w/ Mummy, one of the very 1st things Drina did was to scratch her pen thru the "Alexandrina" portion of her name on the usual monarchial paperwork.  So instead of being Queen Alexandrina, she became Queen Victoria instead & must needs thus be referred to as such for the rest of this stuff.  She gave Mummy apartments in a remote corner of Buckingham Palace & rarely received her, & refused to truck w/ Mummy's pal Conroy at all.  Then she had the usual nice Westminister Abbey coronation.

portrait of Victoria in her coronation duds; there are several of these & they all look different

Unks Ernest Augustus skipped over to Hanover for a nice coronation, as they had that pesky Salic Law & therefore Victoria could not become its Queen Regnant.  EA was pretty fussed w/ the promotion, as the 5th son of a king generally gets squat to play w/ in the matter of dominions.

The Prime Minister, William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne, became Victoria's principal political adviser posthaste & to such an extent that peeps began to snigger behind the queen's back & refer to her as "Mrs Melbourne".

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

Y'all should know by now what happens to royal favorites; generally peeps aren't amused & they don't last long, which is what happened to Lord Melbourne, who had to resign after some colonial fusses.  Then Victoria turned to Mummy's bro, King Leopold I of Belgium, for advice.

Leopold I of Belgium w/ his 2nd wife, Queen Marie-Louise, & their kidlets; the little princess was called Charlotte after his demised Brit bride awww

This is the same peep who married the demised Princess Charlotte who would've been queen if she hadn't, well, demised 20 yrs hence.

The 1st amusing thing in Victoria's reign was called the Bedchamber Crisis LOL  See, twas customary for the PM to appoint his peeps' wives & daughters as the queen's ladies.  Melbourne was of the Whig party but the dude who replaced him Sir Robert Peel, was of the Tory persuasion.  Victoria liked the peeps Lord M had placed & didn't want them to depart for a passel of new peeps, so she said we are not amused & Peel sighed & resigned & Lord M came back.

Sir Robert Peel

Natch since she was a young chick & the heirs were mighty thin, peeps expected Victoria would get hitched ASAP & commence breeding.  Prior to becoming queen, Victoria had developed a crush on her cuz, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (damn German principalities & their 11dy6 names), when he paid a visit to England. 

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Albert was the son of another of Mummy's bros.  Victoria wrote lotsa swoony stuff in her diary about Albert as 17 yo girls are wont to do when they are crushing. 

portrait of a teenaged Victoria

O those baby blues, those nice even teeth LOL stuff like that.  Apparently she thunk he was hot.  Albert played hard-to-get, trotting off on a lengthy trip to Italy once his cuz became queen.  Victoria told Uncle Leopold she'd pretty much decided she was going to marry Albert, but she wanted details about his education & stuff to make sure he was "suited" for the role of king.  Lord M was all no no, no king, Prince Consort is all he gets.  Mayhap they still hadn't gotten over Philip of Spain ROFL  Parliament also refused to grant him a nice British peerage.  Albert was all pffft who needs it, I got my own stuff.

photo of Albert & Victoria

Albert finally presented himself at Buckingham Palace well over a yr after Victoria's accession.  Her little heart began to go pitty-pat some more.  Now this bit is a tad interesting b/c didja know one was not allowed to propose marriage to a queen?  Wonder if that was Robert Dudley's whole prob LOL  At any rate, twas up to the queen to do the proposing & jeez, are ya gonna say, um, NO?  Only 5 days after his arrival at Windsor, Victoria poked him & said, hey, Al, how 'bout you & me get hitched & Albert was all OK.

So they had a small wedding on February 10, 1840 in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace.

portrait of Victoria & Albert's wedding;
when you enlarge it, you'll see Mummy over on the right looking like a sourpuss LOL

It's Victoria's fault brides are stuck w/ white dresses, yknow.  After it was learned that the queen chose to be married in a white gown, peeps began to copy it & the fad became the rule for brides ever since.  Before that, they got hitched in any color dress they pleased b/c there was no rule.  Lots of brides just yanked something nice out of the closet & didn't even bother w/ a new dress for it.  But now everybody wanted yards of white satin for their wedding gowns.  So tisn't really b/c white is supposed to symbolize purity & virginity.

After the wedding, Albert not only became Victoria's principal adviser, edging the PMs out of the way, but he also got real busy on that breeding heirs thing.  No one can say they didn't do their duty, as the royal couple produced 9 offspring.  The eldest, named for her mother, was born 9 mos & 11 days after the ceremony, so A & V were REALLY gettin' busy, huh?  Vicky, as she was called, would grow up to marry a prince of Prussia & become the grandmother of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.  Poor Vicky only got to be the Empress of Prussia for 99 days b4 DH had the demises & her son Willy, whom she despised (Hanoverian echo), succeeded.

Victoria, Princess Royal, in 1867

The Princess Royal was followed slightly less than a yr (see? BUSY!) later by a bro, Albert Edward, who bounced her back a step in the line of succession.  He went by Eddy so as to avoid further confusion.

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales

Princess Alice (also named for Daddy) made her appearance a yr & a half later (when did A & V have time to rule?).  She would grow up to marry a duke of Hesse & her youngest surviving child, Alix, would grow up to be the tragic Empress Alexandra of Russia.  Her wedding was described as being more like a uneral b/c it took place shortly after Daddy demised.  Alice herself demised rather young, age 35, in a diptheria epidemic, after succesfully nursing all her kidlets thru it.  She was the great-grandma of Prince Philip.

portrait of Princess Alice in her white wedding gown

Then there was Alfred, who arrived 16 mos after Alice.  He was created Duke of Edinburgh & grew up to be Admiral of the Fleet & succeed as Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha b/c Eddy was all meh who wants to go to Germany.  He made a nice sailing jaunt round the British Empire on an official visit, hitting South Africa, India, Ceylon, Australia, Tasmania, & New Zealand.  Alfred ran into a bit of bad luck in Sydney when a peep attempted to assassinate him.  He was shot in the back & miraculously nothing important was hit, so he recovered to enjoy another 32 yrs b4 having the demises.  The assassin was not so lucky & was hanged.

Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Princess Helena was next, nigh on 2 whole yrs after.  Victoria fretted that she would never find Helena a hubby b/c she was fat & had a double chin LOL  She finally did, tho (a German duke, natch).  Helena has the distinction of being the oldest-lived child of A & V, as she was 91 when she finally caught a fatal case of the demises.

Princess Helena & her chins

Princess Louise toddled along 4 yrs later (Albert only had so much stamina, I reckon).  She was the only child who didn't marry a royal, instead wedding John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, Duke of Argyll, & Governor-General of Canada.  This marriage was the 1st of a royal & not-royal in England to be given the official recognition & blessing of the reigning monarch since Mary Tudor married Charles Brandon in 1515.  Louise was unfussed w/ Canada & nearly had the demises in a sleigh accident; she only had half an ear on one side when she came back b/c her earring got stuck in the jostling about & ripped part of it off YUCK.  Other than that, she was considered the prettiest of Victoria's 5 daughters.  Tho they had kids, twas rumored Lorne preferred to bat for the other team, & there were also rumors Louise was playing around w/ one of Mummy's secretaries, Arthur Bigge (wonder if he lived up to his surname LMFAO).  Louise was also romantically linked to some artists (she herself was a sculptor) & her equerry.  None of it was ever proved as apparently knocking boots w/ one's equerry was not discussed squidgily in public like Diana did LOL

Princess Louise

this statue of Queen Victoria in her coronation robes on the grounds of Kensington Palace
was sculpted by Princess Louise

2 yrs later there was Arthur, Duke of Connaught, who was in the Army & Governor-General of Canada as well.  He was supposedly the queen's fav.  But he had a seecrud romance on the side (married a princess of Prussia) w/ Leonie Leslie, Jennie (Mum of Winston) Churchill's sister.

Arthur, Duke of Connaught

3 yrs after that was Leopold, Duke of Albany.  He was an epileptic & he's also the 1st recorded royal case of hemophilia.  It done kilt him good, a week shy of his 32nd BD.  He was getting bad joint pain in the winter & so his drs said, hey, go someplace warmer than England, so he went to the south of France & tripped & banged his knee & before ya knew it there was internal bleeding like crazy & poor old Leopold was demised.  His only son, Charles, was born posthumously.

photo of Leopold, Duke of Albany

The last royal brat was born 4 yrs later, Princess Beatrice.  She was called Baby 4ever b/c she was the baby of the family.  She wanted to marry Prince Henry of Battenburg (which family name in England would devolve into Mountbatten) after enjoying a flirtation at the wedding of one of her nieces to his younger bro.  When Baby told Victoria this, the queen was not amused & refused to speak to her for 7 mos LOL  Victoria didn't want any of her kidlets to do anything she hadn't thunk of for them to do 1st.  She was a control freak like that even tho Baby was already 36.  Finally peeps poked the queen a lot & she started talking to Baby again & agreed to let her marry Henry on the condition that he had to come & live in Buckingham Palace w/ the MIL ROFL

Princess Beatrice

OK there was so much begatting going on here that the rest of Victoria's queenly doings are just going to have to wait......

PS> stupid Blogger has made some "upgrades" & I cannot seem to UNbold the text here! :(