This striking young gent in the Highland uniform is Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, eighth child and fourth son of Queen Victoria. I found this photo today and found him extremely handsome, with a piquant expression in his face; however, Katherine reminded me that we had a discussion about Queen Victoria’s strange antipathy for her son, or indeed, her own children. Some particularly ridiculous quotes, courtesy of Victoriana, are as follows:
“Leopold…is the ugliest.” … “I think he is uglier than he ever was.” …”I hope, dear, he [Vicky’s young son] won’t be like [Leopold] the ugliest and least pleasing of the whole family.” … “He [Leopold] walks shockingly–and is dreadfully awkward–holds himself as badly as ever and his manners are despairing, as well as his speech–which is quite dreadful. It is so provoking as he learns so well and reads quite fluently; but his French is more like Chinese than anything else; poor child, he is really very unfortunate.”
On the other hand, he did a fine job with his more traditionally handsome (and hopefully Vicky-approved?) son, Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who succeeded to his father’s titles after Leopold’s early death at age 30 to hemophilia. I think he looks very much like his grandfather, Prince Albert.
I mean, Queen Vicky wouldn’t have had anything bad to say about him, right?? Not even about his crappy language skills?
He reigned as the fourth and last Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, since the advent of World War I (and Charles Edward’s eventual support of Germany and unfortunately, his joining of the Nazi party as a SA Gruppenführer) led the royal family (via George V) to change their name from the House of Saxe-Coburg to (you guessed it) the House of Windsor in order to distance themselves from their German heritage. Under the terms of the Titles Deprivation Act, per Wiki, “an Order in Council on 28 March 1919 formally removed Charles Edward’s British peerages, the Dukedom of Albany, Earldom of Clarence, and the Barony of Arklow.” An ignominious end to the House of Saxe-Coburg, but one that led to the advent of the House of Windsor and a new era of British sovereignty.
History, hotties, and sometimes notties. (And hotties who become notties? The Vicky A’s in no way, shape, or form endorse Nazism as ‘hot’. His deeply unfortunate life choices pull him into the nottie category, but have nothing to do with his superficial, Leslie Howard-esque good looks.) Just your average Tuesday here with the Vicky A’s.
So, last Wednesday was my birthday and my fellow Vicky A was on hand to help me celebrate! That in itself is gift enough, but then she hit me with this in card form:
As she told me, it was as if she had gone to Hallmark herself and created a custom card just for me. Let’s just imagine that she did! Well played, my dear. Well played.
Last year, in honor of her Diamond Jubilee, the Royal Archives posted transcriptions and copies of Queen Victoria’s many journals online. While they now seem to be locked down and accessible only to researchers, for a short period they were open to the public. When the entire life of Queen Victoria is open before you, where do you go first? I went to Albert – her accounts of their first meeting as well as of their courtship and her eventual proposal. What I found is that apparently, queens are people, too. I had always heard that Victoria was quite taken with Albert but wow, that thing read like my diaries in high school but with more requital. I’m talking multiple exclamation points, folks. Unfortunately, reading the Royal Archives site’s terms and conditions, I am definitely not allowed to reproduce anything I read at the time it was openly available, so here is my paraphrased version of her journal entry on the day of her proposal to Albert.
October 15, 1839
Around noon, I called Albert up to my room. I said, “I think you know why you’re here,” and I told him I thought he was SO hot, and I was so totally into him, and I asked him would he marry me. He agreed!! We hugged and hugged and he was SO sweet and wonderful – I can’t BELIEVE I am going to be married to an ANGEL like Albert. He is perfect in every way and so incredibly hot, I told him I totally didn’t deserve him, but he said that was silly and we hugged some more. OMG, I love him SO MUCH!!!1
You might think I’m exaggerating, but that is basically what it’s like with slightly more formal language. The rest of the journal was pretty dull – every day is an account of when she wakes up, when she has breakfast, and who comes to call on her.
If you want to see some actual entries from Victoria’s diary, go to Queen Victoria’s Scrapbook which is another site established in honor of the Queen’s Jubilee. This site has a number of select entries. This is a good way to get to the good stuff and bypass all the breakfasts at 9.
How incredible to have a record of this monarch’s entire life in her own words! If you could read Victoria’s journals at your leisure, what would you read about first?