Royal Tea is back this year to discuss another collection of endlessly fascinating (and potentially incestuous) tales regarding the lives of history’s most wealthy elites. Now, we can all agree that history has seen its fair share of powerful women, but little are as interesting (and…strange) as Queen Victoria. Aside from becoming a fashion revolutionary with her dramatic black statement pieces and being one of the longest reigning monarchs of all time, Victoria was a devious control freak and a hopeless romantic. On this edition of Royal Tea, we will discuss two of Victoria’s greatest pet peeves: losing control and breastfeeding.
For a queen, marriage meant producing children with Y-chromosomes and creating allegiances with nations. However, some bride-to-be’s were quite lucky in their marriage prospects, and actually married husbands they were genuinely interested in. This luck struck Victoria, when her future sweetheart was introduced by her Uncle Leopold at her 17th birthday party. Victoria was immediately interested in Prince Albert, noting his “most pleasing, delightful exterior” and kind demeanor (she must’ve also realized that good ol’ Al was her first cousin, but ah, intermarriage is little short of a royal custom!) Victoria proposed to Albert in October of 1839 and the pair were wed the following February, quickly considered one of the most idyllic love matches between royals.
Victoria’s marriage was greatly documented in her diaries, and she was noted to have quite the sexual appetite for Albert. Despite their strong affections for eachother and the copious amount of time they spent together in their bed chambers (they did have nine children, after all) Victoria’s temper tantrums created conflict for the couple. For starters, Victoria’s frequent pregnancies were responsible for Albert’s growing presence in the monarchy — as much as she loved Albert, Victoria despised the thought of the public reducing her status to royal baby maker. She stated that pregnancy made her feel “more like a rabbit or guinea pig” and that breastfeeding was particularly repulsive. Victoria’s disdain for motherhood carried on to her attitude towards her children: she was stern and believed that aside from being their mother she was above all, their ruler.
Queen Victoria was so controlling that she arranged a full on motherly CIA spy operation, which consisted of a small network of spies reporting back the whereabouts of her children. Upon finding out that her daughters were secretly nursing their children, Queen Victoria was greatly disgusted and compared them to cows — she was relentlessly obsessed with every detail of her children’s lives. From having her daughter-in-law’s menstrual cycle on record to controlling the love lives of her daughters, Victoria loved being an all-knowing eye on her family. However, her obsessive behavior took a turn for the worse when she discovered that her beloved Albert arrived home sick from a trip to Cambridge. Coincidently, her oldest son, Edward (who was affectionately called Bertie), had been caught partying and sleeping with a prostitute a week earlier — causing a concerned Prince Albert to plan an abrupt visit. This visit proved to be fatal when Prince Albert died only three days later, likely because of Typhoid disease. Devastated and angry, the Queen pointed fingers at Bertie, who would butt heads with his mother for the rest of his life.