Victoria & Her Nine Children

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The documentary Victoria & Her Nine Children paints a detailed portrait of Queen Viictoria’s grief and how it impacted her children. I can’t imagine the BBC/Masterpiece series showing this stage of her life.

 

Here’s a few things I learned:

  • After Albert died, the Queen asked for her youngest child Beatrice to be brought to her. She made the girls dress in Albert’s clothing and sleep with her.
  • Victoria thought babies were like frogs.
  • Albert scolded Victoria that she should find a way to appreciate motherhood and not always be cross with her children.
  • Victoria regarded Bertie, her eldest son as her biggest problem. She blamed Bertie for Albert’s death. Albert was severely displeased when he learned that Bertie had slept with a jolly actress. She connects his passion leading to his father’s death.
  • After marrying off three of her children, Victoria continues to mourn three years after Albert’s death. Laughter and delight are not permitted. The queen continues to wear black and all the palace’s curtains are black.
  • Victoria’s least favorite child is Leopold who can do nothing right. She saw him as awkward and clumsy and she didn’t notice that that Leopold was actually suffering from hemophilia.
  • When chloroform was first used as a painkiller during childbirth, Victoria was delighted to use it. Her physicians saw this as wrong as the Bible states that women will feel pain in childbirth (Gen. 3:16). Of course, these men so problem with using chloroform when they need surgery.
  • Victoria told people that Louise was stupid and constantly criticized her. Louise went from being the petted youngest daughter, but when Beatrice was born she fell from this position. Her teen years were spent in mourning. None of the usual coming-of-age rituals were allowed.
  • The queen spied on her children and even after marrying controlled who they socialized with.

These poor children’s lives were lived under a dark cloud of mourning controlled by a powerful mother who’s psychologically damaged by grief. A mother with a venomous tongue who could shame and hurt her children.

You can learn more by watching on the PBS website.

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Victoria, Season 3, Ep. 1

The premier of Victoria starring Jenna Coleman delivered great historical drama.
The series opens in Paris with yet another uprising in 1848. The barbarians are storming the gate and the King Louis-Phillipe flees for is life. Cut to a dignified, pregnant Victoria knighting a noble. Soon word reaches Victoria about her French counterpart.

Next Feodora, Victoria’s half sister, washes up on the shores and heads to the castle. Feodora, who seems to have a plotting and dramatic nature, seeks refuge with her younger sister the Queen. She’s seeking the high life as well as refuge, but is disappointed. When she hints around that she needs new clothes Victoria’s offer to let her wear her old dresses with some alterations was quite a bitter pill.

In Parliament another new character Lord Palmerston, the supercilious Foreign Minister, is stirring up trouble. Without consulting anyone, Lord P. wrote to the rebels in France. Neither Victoria nor Albert took this news well. In addition to being a political maverick, Lord Palmerston is coming off as a philanderer. Victoria’s new Lady of Robes had best be careful so she doesn’t get in trouble with her husband or the Queen.

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At home, there’s a bit of trouble in the nursery. Albert and Victoria now have five children. The oldest son Bertie, now 7, has no clue about the line of succession. He believes in England only queens rule. Throughout the episode he’s making comments about how women rule in England and how he doesn’t want to be a king. When Louis-Phillipe arrives and the children perform for him, Bertie dramatically refuses to play the king. Inadvertently, this pours salt in the wound for Albert, who’s never liked the role of Prince. Victoria seems very concerned though she does realize Bertie’s just a little boy.

Downstairs a new footman and maid arrive. The footman’s quite robust and Mr. Penge warns the women that he’s a known ladies man. He soon proves Mr. Penge right with his flirtation. Skerrett and the pastry chef are betrothed but haven’t set a wedding date. As the Queen’s right hand maid, Skerrett realizes life will be quite different as a married commoner. We see she’s got cold feet. I’m doubtful that we’ll see her marry this season.

The maid who is hired is a Chartist, so she’s part of the lower class activist movement that is protesting for workers’ rights. It’s 1848 and with Marxism getting popular and the French King getting deposed and begging to stay with the Queen, Victoria is quite worried. By the last scene of the episode, we see she’s right to be concerned.

The first episode had a brisk pace and lots of new characters, most of whom spell trouble. Lots of tension and uncertainty along with the gorgeous gowns and luxurious settings. We’re in for a good season.

Holy Trinity

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I figured that January 6, Epiphany, would be the last day to see Christmas decorations in a church. I returned to Holy Trinity Polish Mission, another church built in the late 19th Century. I’d been blown away with its art and architecture.

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Nativity Scene

Once a local parish, Holy Trinity is now a mission for Polish Catholics in Chicago. The mass I attended was 100% in Polish so I marveled at the sacred art as scripture was read and the homily given.

The mass I attended had about 300 people in attendance, which is unexpected in an era when so many churches are half empty. I think the Polish are still quite serious about religion.

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I learned that Poland celebrated its independence in 1918.

I love to see how people keep their culture alive generation after generation. Holy Trinity has a grade school and high school.

St Hedwig Church

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My parents’ visit to St. John Cantius in the fall inspired me to seek out the most splendid churches in Chicago. I found a useful article  to help me form a list. My first church was St. John Cantius where I attended my first Latin mass.

Figuring the Christmas decorations would still be up, today I went to St. Hedwig in the Bucktown neighborhood.

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The church stuns with its beauty as you first enter. Lots of gold and gorgeous polished wood. Ceilings were painted with biblical stories just as they are in Europe.

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St. Hedwig’s Nativity scene 

The three Wise Men are due to appear on Epiphany, January 6th.

You can read the St. Hedwig parish history here.

Sunday masses are at:

8:00 am in English
9:30 am in Polish
11:00 am in English
1:00pm in Spanish

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Sepia Saturday

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When I saw the prompt for this week (above), I immediately thought of Laurel and Hardy. Surely, there must be some fun photos of them with bikes. Here’s what I found.

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To see them in action, I’m sharing this clip with them evading someone who’s on to whatever trouble they’ve created. The duo commandeer a donkey costume and hop on a bicycle. Now that’s old time comedy.

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Sepia Saturday

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I’m thrilled that libraries is the theme for Sepia Saturday this week. I’ll probably post again tomorrow, but here is a start.

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State Library or New South Wales, 1955, Flickr

One reason libraries are terrific is how they introduce children to reading.

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Of 2WU music Library. Source: Library of New South Wales, 1944, Flickr

Such organization!

melvil_dewey Melvil Dewey (left) the originator of the Dewey decimal system had his share of critics int the world of libraries. Not only was he known for designing a famous system to organize libraries, he was known to be a serial harasser. Shame, Mr. Dui, shame.

(Dewey was a proponent of phonetical spelling and preferred his name was spelled “Dui.”

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Lights

 

Each week Cee of Cee’s Photography challenges bloggers with a fun prompt. This week we’re to find photos of subjects that depict lights. I found some antique lights as well as a good old-fashioned jack-o-lantern. 

If you want to see more fun photos, click here.

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