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.