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History Talk: The Victorian Era

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She didn't learn German, she was raised speaking German & English, and since the language of European courts was French, she would have learned that too.

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2 hours ago, Nolefan said:

Seemed like she learned a couple of languages, music, and drawing. The show seemed to indicate that Lehzen was in charge of her education, and there was a scene where Lehzen had a pile of books about government that they had not gotten to yet. You would think that with Victoria locked in Keningston Palace all those years with nothing to do, there would have been plenty of time to read, learn math, etc. But maybe with Lehzen in charge of her education, it was the blind leading the blind.

IF... the story that her mother and whatzhisname, her mother's advisor, had plans to be defacto "rulers" from behind the scenes is true, it makes sense that they avoided teaching her any skills in being Monarch so that she would look to them for direction. It seems she was taught what was necessary to be a good "face" to the family business plan. Too bad she learned to hate them during the grooming process. [/sarcasm]

Lehzen was just the governess. She took orders from Victoria's Mother and the advisor.  She appears to have really been fond of Victoria but would have known that if Victoria became Queen, she was in a good position to remain with her. I believe she would have known about Victoria's unhappiness with how she (Victoria) was treated and that she would rebel. But dis-obeying instructions regarding Victoria's education would likely result in being forcibly separated from Victoria.

12 minutes ago, kassygreene said:

She didn't learn German, she was raised speaking German & English, and since the language of European courts was French, she would have learned that too.

Yes, thanks for that. French was the only language I didn't know the reason for learning, but it goes with creating a proper Monarchical "appearance".

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I haven't seen Australian author/scholar/journalist Julia Baird's book Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire mentioned in here. It was published in 2016 and has been very well received. It's available in all the usual places.

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“Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird’s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)

Edited by purist
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2 hours ago, purist said:

I haven't seen Australian author/scholar/journalist Julia Baird's book Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire mentioned in here. It was published in 2016 and has been very well received. It's available in all the usual places.

 

Looks like a good book. Does it answer a nagging question I have based on the TV show about Lord Melbourne? It seems very odd to me that Lord Melbourne was Victoria’s private secretary. It is glossed over in the show. I know next to nothing about how the British government works, but I would think that as Prime Minister of England, he would have been barred from being the Queen’s private secretary based on some separation of powers theory (on the show it seemed to indicate with the Peel bedchamber crisis that the monarch has the power to form the Parliament, yet it is ok for the Prime Minister to be the Queen’s private secretary, with the amount of influence that position has over the Queen? Not to mention the fact that Lord Melbourne supposedly had enough time on his hands to be both Prime Minister and the Queen’s private secretary? Makes me think he was just dittoing everything.) A lot has been made about the amount of influence Albert had over Victoria as her private secretary (and in my opinion Albert is often unjustly painted as a villain in this regard), but at least Albert was totally on Victoria’s “side” so to speak, he was not in another branch of British government influencing her decisions. The show seemed totally ok with the amount of influence Lord Melbourne must of had over Victoria. A lot of commentaries seem to talk about how independent Victoria was before Albert, and that Albert slowly took over Victoria’s power. But, it almost seems to me that Albert may have in fact preserved Victoria’s power because he took any power back that Lord Melbourne was wielding, and he was intelligent enough to go toe to toe with the powerful historical figures of the time, Lord Palmerston for example, on Victoria’s behalf. Thus, the Crown became more independent and powerful because of him at that time.

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On 4/4/2018 at 9:56 AM, AZChristian said:

The desire for a son to inherit the throne is why Henry VIII kept divorcing/beheading wives who couldn't fulfill that wish for him.  Jane Seymour (his third wife) finally gave him a son, who became king for about 5 years, starting when he was 10.  He had a Regency Council to lead him as he ruled.  Then Mary (Henry's firstborn daughter) became queen, and then Elizabeth took over when Mary died with no children.  

 

It's true (although that was a very different set of circumstances with the Tudors being a new monarchy and viable male descendants of Edward III still around) but it's not as though gender was the most important thing for the English with succession. James II having a son is what prompted the Glorious Revolution so that his Protestant daughters would inherit. The British hated the idea of William III sharing rule (they had no choice) and would never have allowed Anne to share rule with her husband who was an English man (albeit a dolt.)  So, they hated Catholics more than women. And proposals to change the rules so that a viable son of George III would inherit over Victoria never truly gained traction even though that is not a terribly unreasonable proposition and had precedent (King John was king over the son of his elder brother, Geoffrey.) If male heirs were so very important to them a son of King George III would have ended up on the thrown over Victoria. 

Although of course a son was always preferable up until the last few decades, by the time of Elizabeth II the British had almost fetishized Queens. It certainly wasn't considered as terrible a prospect as it was in Henry VIII's day by the time of Victoria. 

Edited by CherithCutestory
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9 hours ago, CherithCutestory said:

It's true (although that was a very different set of circumstances with the Tudors being a new monarchy and viable male descendants of Edward III still around) but it's not as though gender was the most important thing for the English with succession. James II having a son is what prompted the Glorious Revolution so that his Protestant daughters would inherit. The British hated the idea of William III sharing rule (they had no choice) and would never have allowed Anne to share rule with her husband who was an English man (albeit a dolt.)  So, they hated Catholics more than women. And proposals to change the rules so that a viable son of George III would inherit over Victoria never truly gained traction even though that is not a terribly unreasonable proposition and had precedent (King John was king over the son of his elder brother, Geoffrey.) If male heirs were so very important to them a son of King George III would have ended up on the thrown over Victoria. 

Although of course a son was always preferable up until the last few decades, by the time of Elizabeth II the British had almost fetishized Queens. It certainly wasn't considered as terrible a prospect as it was in Henry VIII's day by the time of Victoria. 

One correction Queen Anne was married to a Danish prince. Prince George younger brother of Christian V and Anne's second cousin once removed.

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Reading "Queen Victoria's Matchmaking; The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe." by Deborah Cadbury, and it is fascinating. All the thought, personal ambitions and intrigue that went into who married who. Queen Victoria definitely seems shrewd and thoughtful,if not overambitious, with what she wanted to achieve by the marriages. Poor Vicky. She was sent to Prussia by Victoria and Albert with the ambitions of further uniting England and the German states and working to bring about liberal, progressive change but it all went wrong and she was treated with mistrust and contempt by the Prussian court, in which she and her husband were liberal outliers, and eventually her son, Wilhem, turned against her.

Queen Victoria also comes across as very perceptive and having great foresight with regards to two of her granddaughters, Elizabeth and Alix of Hesse,  who both married into the Russian royal family. She was against both of them marrying into the Russian court, seeing Russia and its political climate as volatile. Sadly, neither listened and both were killed during the Russian revolution.  

Edited by MadyGirl1987
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On 1/1/2019 at 8:00 PM, MadyGirl1987 said:

Elizabeth and Alix of Hesse,  who both married into the Russian royal family. She was against both of them marrying into the Russian court, seeing Russia and its political climate as volatile. Sadly, neither listened and both were killed during the Russian revolution.  

...which to a small extent, Alix caused. While the kiddies could be considered martyrs, Nicholas and Alexandra deserved what they got.

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On 10/17/2018 at 5:03 AM, andromeda331 said:

One correction Queen Anne was married to a Danish prince. Prince George younger brother of Christian V and Anne's second cousin once removed.

Which reminds me...Go see The Favorite. Anne and Sarah Churchill are far more interesting than Victoria and Albert. 

The evolution of the British Constitution during the reign of Victoria was profound. When Anne was queen, she actually RULED the empire. She vetoed bills and fired PMs and her word was law. While the four Georges and William IV had on occasion been forced to appoint prime ministers they didn't want (Sailor Billy fired Parlmerston and caught hell for it) they usually had those they did and were very involved in the partisan politics of the day. After the whole "ladies in waiting affair", Victoria's power rapidly ebbed. Especially when she went on her ten year strike after Albert died.

In 1800 the UK had two co-equal branches of government. In 1900, it did not. By the time of Lloyd George, the PM was "president of Britain."

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On 1/1/2019 at 7:00 PM, MadyGirl1987 said:

Reading "Queen Victoria's Matchmaking; The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe." by Deborah Cadbury, and it is fascinating.

 

Thanks for this suggestion! Adding to my to-read list! 

Edited to add my library has it, so hopefully I can pick it up later this week. 

Edited by Zella
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I'm asking the question here because I really don't know much about Feodora. I know she married and left with Victoria was nine to Georg, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen and had three sons and stepchildren one stepson married Victoria's granddaughter Charlotte. I don't know close she and Victoria were to each other most of Victoria's biographies say very little regarding Victoria's half brother and half sister. One I don't remember the name indicated that she was married off because Conroy worried about her influence on Victoria. I don't know if that's true or not. Were they close or not close? 

Edited by andromeda331
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2 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Were they close or not close? 

They were pen pals and had voluminous correspondence. The Brother is actually more interesting in 1848, as he was a leader in the Revolutions in Germany and was sort of Chancellor of Germany for eight months. I'm not sure if her escape is fictional or not.

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British historian Lucy Worsley's PBS series on Victoria and Albert's wedding is interesting. It goes into more than just the wedding itself and looks at the historical and family circumstances that shaped Victoria's life. It's a good companion piece to the Victoria series. 

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1 hour ago, Notwisconsin said:

They were pen pals and had voluminous correspondence. The Brother is actually more interesting in 1848, as he was a leader in the Revolutions in Germany and was sort of Chancellor of Germany for eight months. I'm not sure if her escape is fictional or not.

Thank you for the information. I had no idea the brother did that. That does sound very interesting.

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14 minutes ago, BradandJanet said:

British historian Lucy Worsley's PBS series on Victoria and Albert's wedding is interesting.

I really enjoy anything that PBS does in that vein.  It's interesting to hear the details and then watch people from this era replicate things using the original methods.  This is going to be interesting - plus lots of dress porn!

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4 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

I'm asking the question here because I really don't know much about Feodora. I know she married and left with Victoria was nine to Georg, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen and had three sons and stepchildren one stepson married Victoria's granddaughter Charlotte. I don't know close she and Victoria were to each other most of Victoria's biographies say very little regarding Victoria's half brother and half sister. One I don't remember the name indicated that she was married off because Conroy worried about her influence on Victoria. I don't know if that's true or not. Were they close or not close? 

Feodora and Victoria were actually quite close, which is part of the reason I’m having trouble with this storyline.  Victoria was just shy of nine when Feodora moved back to Germany, but as Andromeda said above the two kept up their relationship via frequent correspondence.  Victoria’s sketches of Feodora’s children still exist, and Victoria refers to those children often in correspondence to other members of the family.  The two were definitely far from the strangers being depicted this season.

Feodora’s marriage was a very happy one, so I’m not sure why she’d flee without her family.  What’s more, she keeps referring to leaving Baden, which is problematic for two reasons.  First, Feodora was a Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenberg through her marriage to her husband Ernst.  Hohenlohe-Langenberg was a medatized principality, meaning that it had a prince (Ernst), but the actual administration of the principality was handled in Wurttemberg. Hohenlohe-Langenberg had no real ties to Baden, other than being in the same part of Germany.

Baden was actually a grand duchy at the time and administered itself for the most part.  The Grand Duke was Leopold, who was actually very interested liberalism.  While there were indeed protests in Baden in 1848, Leopold quickly agreed to reforms and the protests died down not long after they started.  

Why the writers are choosing to fictionalize Feodora’s life in this way is a head scratcher.  Like Notwisconsin notes above, Victoria’s brother Karl would have been the better choice if they were going with a family connection.  

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Feodora said she'd been at the spa in Baden, and unable to return home.

It's been pretty well demonstrated that Daisy Goodwin doesn't really give a crap about historical accuracy.  Loads of the courtiers are based on real people but cast at vastly different ages; Ernst and Leopold spend lots of time in England; people just show up without any kind of advance warning (even poor Royals didn't just show up knocking at the door palace gate).  Princess Louise was born in March 1848; the Royal Family decamped to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight in April.  IIRC the gates of the Palace were not attacked by Chartists, and no one threw a rock through a window - it would have been a helluva throw, as the fence shown on screen was set well back from the extant building of the Palace.

It seems to me that the only historical fact DG is interested in getting right was the story of her great-great-great-grandfather, Robert Traill.

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I really love the Worsley reproduction of the Victorian and Albert wedding but I noted with interest that the American version added much more info and split it into 2 parts, I watched the British production in December and it was only one program, I am actually pleased that the American production added more clips. Interestingly we in the USA are seeing this season before the Brits.

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13 hours ago, LiveenLetLive said:

Interestingly we in the USA are seeing this season before the Brits.

I think it is because, generally, the US eats anything about the British Royal Family up, and the British people seemed to have this love/hate relationship with them. The ratings for S2 in the UK declined, but the ratings in the US are still good. PBS probably figured it could boost the US ratings even more if there were no spoilers out there and there would be more of an incentive for people to purchase the show from Amazon. Also, I think it is Victoria’s 200th birthday this year, and the UK has some special celebrations for it and they are going to work S3 into them.

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Edit:  Note to self:  Read the dang thread first!!

 

I haven't finished it yet, but can barely put it down.   The Heir Apparent, by Jane Ridley.   The focus is on Bertie, but the apple doesn't fall far from the mother tree.   

It's pretty bad when a guy who spends his time shooting animals and screwing married women comes off more sympathetic than the Queen. 

Edited by Razzberry
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On 2019-01-14 at 9:07 AM, andromeda331 said:

I'm asking the question here because I really don't know much about Feodora. I know she married and left with Victoria was nine to Georg, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen and had three sons and stepchildren one stepson married Victoria's granddaughter Charlotte. I don't know close she and Victoria were to each other most of Victoria's biographies say very little regarding Victoria's half brother and half sister. One I don't remember the name indicated that she was married off because Conroy worried about her influence on Victoria. I don't know if that's true or not. Were they close or not close? 

Feodora wrote to Victoria but never returned to live with her.  They may have seen each other when Victoria visited Germany.  However, she was not a huge part of Victoria’s life.

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While Feodora never returned to live in England, her 3rd son Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg , who was married morganatically to a British woman named Laura Seymour, did.  He became a naturalized British citizen and a member of the Royal Navy.   

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I was browsing Amazon for some movies about her and found Mrs. Brown.  The genre is listed as 'Horror', which strikes me as funny.  I read that he was a bully who even hit the hemophiliac son, but I don't think that made it into the film.

Mrs. Brown with Judi Dench   Oh the horror

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1 hour ago, Razzberry said:

I was browsing Amazon for some movies about her and found Mrs. Brown.  The genre is listed as 'Horror', which strikes me as funny.  I read that he was a bully who even hit the hemophiliac son, but I don't think that made it into the film.

Mrs. Brown with Judi Dench   Oh the horror

Actually it was Brown's asshole brother who was put in charge of Leopold, and yes, he was a cruel drunken bully.

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Hmm.  Nothing about the brother, but from Heir Apparent:

"Throughout her life she depended upon the support of dominant men, and the rough, plain-speaking Brown, who addressed her as “wumman” at a time when she craved intimacy and no one called her Victoria anymore, went some way to filling the gap in her life left by Albert. Brown was a drunkard and a bully, and he terrorized the household, who nicknamed him the Queen’s Stallion. Victoria’s children hated him. His cruelty toward the hemophiliac Prince Leopold is documented; he hit Leopold, scolded him from morning till night, and kept him in isolation, banishing his favorite dog.8 The children came to dread holidays at Balmoral, where Brown reigned supreme."

Ridley, Jane. The Heir Apparent (Kindle Locations 3138-3144). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

 

 In light of her later relationships and crappy taste in men she lucked out with Albert, I guess.   

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On 2/2/2019 at 8:02 PM, Razzberry said:

Hmm.  Nothing about the brother, but from Heir Apparent:

"Throughout her life she depended upon the support of dominant men, and the rough, plain-speaking Brown, who addressed her as “wumman” at a time when she craved intimacy and no one called her Victoria anymore, went some way to filling the gap in her life left by Albert. Brown was a drunkard and a bully, and he terrorized the household, who nicknamed him the Queen’s Stallion. Victoria’s children hated him. His cruelty toward the hemophiliac Prince Leopold is documented; he hit Leopold, scolded him from morning till night, and kept him in isolation, banishing his favorite dog.8 The children came to dread holidays at Balmoral, where Brown reigned supreme."

Ridley, Jane. The Heir Apparent (Kindle Locations 3138-3144). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

 

 In light of her later relationships and crappy taste in men she lucked out with Albert, I guess.   

From wikipedia (but that is not where I heard it first) "John Brown (8 December 1826 – 27 March 1883) was a Scottish personal attendant and ... His brother Archibald Anderson "Archie" Brown, 15 years John's junior, eventually became personal valet to Victoria's youngest son, Prince Leopold"

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For those that are interested, and have HBO, they're going to have a miniseries on Catherine the Great, which shows how royals usually act. 

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I guess this would go in this thread, but after watching the most recent episode, I realized that my library has two good books on the cholera epidemic.  I plan to check both of them out tomorrow.

https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Map-Londons-Terrifying-Epidemic/dp/1594482691/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549332960&sr=8-1&keywords=ghost+map

https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Case-Broad-Street-Pump/dp/0520250494/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549332988&sr=8-1&keywords=strange+case+of+the+broad+street+pump

I knew they both existed (in fact, I'm probably the one who ordered them for our collection), but didn't make the connection that the cholera epidemic that was in the books was this particular one, until I heard Broad Street.  Then I made the connection.

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Last night PBS showed a 2-parter on Victoria's nine children that was really good.  The historians interviewed were less deferential than Miss Daisy.

v.thumb.jpg.0b1ee79f489ce60a5be24ef9c58100f4.jpg

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Oh no, I can't believe I missed this documentary on Queen V's children. I would have loved to have watched it. Will it be rerun?

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4 hours ago, floridamom said:

Oh no, I can't believe I missed this documentary on Queen V's children. I would have loved to have watched it. Will it be rerun?

I couldn't find it coming up on my Cox cable . . . but our library has the DVD, so I've put in a request for it there.  Sounds interesting!

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4 hours ago, floridamom said:

Will it be rerun?

Depends on your local PBS station.

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The show and discussion here made me want to read more about Victoria so I picked up a biography, Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird. In it the author has a couple interesting theories that dispute some generally held beliefs.  First, she says there is speculation that Albert died of Crohn's disease because of his frequent digestive pain and inability to eat. Second, she suggests that Victoria may not have been as indifferent to the kids as widely thought.  So many of her letters and journals were either destroyed or edited of anything not complementary (such as too much domestic or overly emotional talk) that our picture of Victoria the woman has been skewed.  What a shame that a lot of what Victoria wrote has been lost to history. 

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Finished watching the series we've been discussing about Victoria and the children.  Fascinating!  I can see myself doing a lot of Victoria reading in the near future.

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On 2/4/2019 at 2:43 PM, Notwisconsin said:

For those that are interested, and have HBO, they're going to have a miniseries on Catherine the Great, which shows how royals usually act. 

I really enjoyed the mini series on Catherine the Great staring Catherine Zeta Jones several years ago. https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0112031/

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On 2/9/2019 at 2:37 PM, AZChristian said:

Finished watching the series we've been discussing about Victoria and the children.  Fascinating!  I can see myself doing a lot of Victoria reading in the near future.

They're showing Part One here as I type.

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My dish guide says Part 3 will be on tomorrow (Monday) night at 10 pm, but it probably depends on each station.

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Found a pic of Palmerston's estate in Sligo, though it turns out he was another absentee landlord and never actually lived there.  

castlesSligoPalm.thumb.jpg.76354165c7640288765d53a89dc1964b.jpg 

V & A did go to Ireland but took the royal yacht, stopping in Cork long enough for the parade and renaming the port "Queenstown", then on to Dublin.  

What strikes me when looking at these castles is the vast divide.  There was almost no "middle class" or hope out of extreme poverty. The manor homes were paid for by the rents collected by the so-called aristocrats, and the Catholic peasants were forced to pay 10% of their income as a tithe to the Protestant church.  Below is my great grandfather's name in a Tithe Applotment book, circa 1835.   The tax was based on the size and quality of the land they farmed.  Notice the "Bogs not chargeable" column, which was big of them. 😉

TitheBallyglass.thumb.jpg.f561541cd78ebcacc810caafc8ca8963.jpg

My ancestors lived in Connaught near Ballaghadereen on the Mayo/Roscommon/Sligo border.  Their landlord was Viscount Dillon, who owned vast swathes of the counties, but by most accounts he was a relatively good man who refused to evict anyone during the famine.  He was also a closet Catholic and attended Mass, despite the threat of land confiscation from London, who sent detectives.

viscountDillona.thumb.jpg.d61bbb76b48b5646cffbc469e04f2d9b.jpg

The stone huts with dirt floors where my grandparents grew up still stand today somewhat.  7-9 people per cabin.

ballinrumpa1.thumb.jpg.b38ccc3c7e0aed645e20c4138d8b0c87.jpg  

raherolus3.thumb.jpg.6503f35cffd436190e541bdc219596c4.jpg

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Thank you for the link, @Bunnyette - looks like the real Skerrett was fascinating!  (I wouldn't have minded seeing her confront a supplier trying to charge the Queen double!)

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One of the things that bugged me in the last two episodes was the thing about the engravings. The thing is, is that there were lots of companies making those sort of things, some of which were satirical, (see below) and some were not.  But most were not nearly as nasty as what was done to her "wicked uncles" and her grandparents. (all 19th century drawings are copyright free)cartoon-depicting-prince-albert-1819-1861-as-the-british-farmer-dated-KCEWXX.thumb.jpg.32a673142da681823497df84fdb6355c.jpg

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I have had the book Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter on my reading list for some time and finally checked it out.  It is about her daughter Louise and she was born during all the hullaballoo in this season.  The show made it look like she was born on the very night they left for Osborne House but she was, in reality, 6 months old.  I am finding the book fascinating.  Apparently all records of this daughter have been collected and sealed.  She lived in Canada while her husband was a higher up in the government.  None of the records from Canada have survived as they were all collected and sealed in UK.  Louise was a sculptress and thought of as not very pretty by her mother.  The book goes into the time of the age and how Victoria, as we all know, was an unfeeling mother.  The children got on much better with Albert.

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