Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Wit and Wisdom of Queen Victoria

 Queen Victoria, c 1839

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 until her death.

She married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840 and had 9 children.  After Albert’s death in 1861 she went into a long period of deep mourning.
Her reign of 63 years and 7 months is the longest of any British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history.

(On 6 February 2012 Queen Elizabeth 11 celebrated 60 years on the throne.  She said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace 'In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness.”  Royal watchers take this as meaning that she is in for the long haul and won’t be stepping down to let Charles take over.  Remembering that she has the genes of her mother, who lived to 101 and who remained physically and mentally alert, it's likely that will eclipse Queen Victoria's reign by many years).

Princess Victoria, aged four. Painting by Stephen Poynyz Denning, 1823

In her own words:

A marriage is no amusement but a solemn act, and generally a sad one. 

An ugly baby is a very nasty object – and the prettiest is frightful. 

Being married gives one one’s position like nothing else can.

Being pregnant is an occupational hazard of being a wife.

  Portrait of Queen Victoria by the German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1843

Everybody grows but me.

For a man to strike any women is most brutal, and I, as well as everyone else, think this far worse than any attempt to shoot, which, wicked as it is, is at least more comprehensible and more courageous.

Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.

I don’t dislike babies, though I think very young ones rather disgusting.

I feel sure that no girl would go to the altar if she knew all.

I think people really marry far too much; it is such a lottery after all, and for a poor woman a very doubtful happiness.

Portrait of Queen Victoria’s family in 1846 by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
(from left to right: Princes Alfred and Albert Edward, The Queen and The Prince Consort, Price Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Princesses Helena, Alice and Victoria

I would venture to warn against too great intimacy with artists as it is very seductive and a little dangerous.

The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.

The Queen is most anxious to enlist everyone in checking this mad, wicked folly of ‘Women’s Rights’. It is a subject which makes the Queen so furious that she cannot contain herself.

We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.

When I think of a merry, happy, free young girl – and look at the ailing, aching state a young wife generally is doomed to – which you can’t deny is the penalty of marriage.

Queen Victoria 1883

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