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What have you always wanted to know from History but were afraid to ask.....

(67 Posts)
Northernlurkerisbackatwork Wed 19-Sep-12 08:16:55

Thread for odd (in every sense) questions and answers...........grin

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Sun 14-Oct-12 18:35:35

There are lots of books of the letters between Vicky and Victoria. I think it's a fantastic read - full of politics interspersed with 'x relative is behaving terribly' and 'the nursemaid has given notice' etc. Vicky had major in law problems too.

MrsjREwing Mon 24-Sep-12 08:55:03

Osborn house told us that Battenburg cake was invented by Queen Vic's dd.

throckenholt Mon 24-Sep-12 08:39:39

Princess Vicky had a tough life I think - she wasn't welcomed by the Prussian establishment. Didn't her son have a withered arm as a result of a botched birth ? And he was pretty nasty to her as he got older.

I can't quite remember the book - not sure if it was that one. It was based on a lot of letters between Queen Victoria and Vicky.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Mon 24-Sep-12 08:13:59

Was this the book about Vicky? If not, then it's a cracking read too. Pakula's biography of Marie of Romania is good too and so is this Dd1 and I enjoyed that.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Mon 24-Sep-12 08:11:24

Vicky's oldest daughter Charlotte is another potential porphyria sufferer apparently. Poor Vicky herself died from breast cancer after a horribly painful last few months - the soldiers around her castle asked to be moved to other areas because they could hear her screaming sad

Can I just address the inbreeding question - there is certainly some inter-marriage but both Victoria and Albert were frankly obsessed with the idea of getting 'strong' blood in. Victoria and Vicky ransack Europe looking for princesses for the younger brothers and health is an inportant issue for them. Plus Victoria wanted a dark eyed princess hmm She complains frequently about how frail the Prince of Wales' children are. Victoria was also considerably more 'open' to suggestions than many of her contemporaries. She objected to Beatrice's marriage to Prince Henry of Battenberg (yes like the cake!) because she didn't want Beatrice to get married at all. The rest of Europe and in particular the Prussian Royal Family were horrified because the Batternbergs were viewed as being not out of the top drawer of Royalty.
Royal matches were made from a choice of who was socially appropriate and who was the right religion - or would change to that religion. Eugenie mentioned below converted to catholicism for her marriage and Alix converted to the Russian Orthodox church. There weres quite a lot of marriages between the Russian and Greek Royal families because it was convenient for religion. When the Kaiser's younger sister (Vicky's daughter) Sophie married in to the Greek Royal family her brother and sister in law were so livid he threatened to forbid her from ever entering Germany again.

throckenholt Mon 24-Sep-12 07:55:06

Victoria's family had quite a few health issues - I once read a book about Vicky _ the oldest child, who marrried the Prussian Prince (who died early of throat cancer). It claimed both she and Victoria had a nervous disease that may have been porphyria. They wrote loads of letters to each other and many of them talked about their symptoms.

herethereeverywhere Sun 23-Sep-12 20:45:27

Thanks MoreBeta smile

TunipTheVegemal Sun 23-Sep-12 20:04:16

y, and tanning, dyeing and all sorts of things.

MoreBeta Sun 23-Sep-12 20:01:21

Urine was collected and used for washing clothes in as well as it has ammonia in.

monsterchild Sun 23-Sep-12 20:01:09

i'm with the turnip on this one. Lap dogs were for laps, and probably for luring the fleas from the owners!

No dog I know will willing to drink pee! sniff it for hours, yet, but actually drink it?

TunipTheVegemal Sun 23-Sep-12 19:56:41

I've never heard that Tess. I don't believe it tbh, they had pots for pissing in and special cupboards to put them in and servants to hold them if they were too lazy to hold them themselves.

MrsjREwing Sun 23-Sep-12 18:52:54

I thought the dogs sat on laps.

I thought they pissed in the corridors in France pre revolution.

TessTosterone Sun 23-Sep-12 18:47:54

A history teacher told me that the term 'lap dog' was used in Georgian society for dogs that would sit under the table at upper class functions and 'lap up' the urine from the toffs too lazy to go to the loo.

Is this true? I tried to google it but couldn't find out and have been curious ever since.

MoreBeta Sun 23-Sep-12 18:35:41

herethereeverywhere - the rules of society and class distinctions were mainly enforced by economic necessity over centuries.

For example. In Victorian times the gap between rich and poor was extremely wide. However, there wa s very little welfare state back in Victorain times so anyone who was poor, who had no land or property and no real professional skills found it beneficial to go and work in 'service' as servants for wealthy people. A roof over your head, food on the table, clothes on your back and a steady job for the rest of your life was something many people were happy to grab with both hands as the alternative was work in a grim factory or living in a workhouse.

The economic facts of life reinforced the master-servant relationship in Victorian times but nowadays the welfare state means fewer people are willing to endure the strictures of servant life. They have an alternative.

After WW1 the class structure began to collapse as the cost of the war meant many families became a lot poorer. Many gave up their servants. There was a further economic collpase in the 1930s and a further collapse after WW2. Far fewer families had live in servants as a result.

Having said that, nannies, cleaners, house keepers, cooks, chaufeurs, butlers are all still present and increasing in numbers in London as the gap between rich and poor is now as wide in London as Victorian times and many immigrants are willing to work that servant life.

MrsjREwing Sun 23-Sep-12 18:30:17

She had a strange Mother/Daughter relationship with her DM so probably wasn't close to many people.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Sun 23-Sep-12 18:23:55

Yes exactly. Victoria herself was only 42 and as you can see by the number of dc she and Albert had a healthy and happy sex life. It's clear for her writing that she would never have contemplated marrying again and was very stern about other widows who did so (which is one of the reasons the suggestins about John Brown being her lover are so daft). So Albert's death not only broke her heart, it ended her physical life as a lover too.

MrsjREwing Sun 23-Sep-12 18:18:45

I went to Isle of White and Osborne house, they had gardens and playhouses for the dc there, I always wondered what age they lost their Dad at.

So she had a stack of teens, a little one and the little unwell lad to parent emotionally alone, an empire to run, weddings to organise and she lost the love of her life, no surprise she had a breakdow.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Sun 23-Sep-12 18:15:45

Sorry - I am inept today! That's their ages in December 1861 when Albert died.

Weirdly enough Alice died on exactly the same day 17 years later.

lljkk - the mutation theory is really the only credible one isn't it?

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Sun 23-Sep-12 18:11:26

Victoria's dc (I had to look the ages up - don't carry it around in my head - I'm not that obsessive!)

Victoria - 21 (married and away in Germany)
Bertie (later Edward VII) -20
Alice - engaged - 18
Alfred - 17
Helena - 15
Louise -13
Leopold - 8
Beatrice -4

So really very young. Queen Victoria complains a lot in her letters and diary about the awful responsibility left to her after Albert died and it's easy to dismiss that as part of her general gloomy outlook in her bereavement - but tbh I can see what she means. Only one of her children was independently settled and 6 of them were under 18. Alice's marriage took place in 1862 on the day Albert had planned. Everybody wore mourning and the Archbishop cried throughout. Victoria described it as 'more like a funeral than a wedding'

MrsjREwing Sun 23-Sep-12 17:35:16

llkk, Henry nearly had her taken to the tower over bible bashing, she then calmed down.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Sun 23-Sep-12 17:34:34

lljkk - re Catherine Parr, it's hard to tell. She wasn't old - only about 32 and he was at least 20 years older than her. He didn't get really ill until quite soon before his death so they could have had a 'normal' marriage. Some Catholic nobles did try to topple her by telling the king she had contacts with heretics like Anne Askew, but in the end Henry turned on them.

re Elizabeth - she was only 2.5 when Anne died, and was kept at a different palace with her own household from a very young age. Anne did visit her, but was expected to spend most of her time at court with her husband so Elizabeth probably didn't know her very well

lljkk Sun 23-Sep-12 17:26:47

ps: and how well did the Princess Elizabeth know her mother Anne Boleyn, at the time of Anne's execution? Was Anne just a remote figure to Elizabeth?

lljkk Sun 23-Sep-12 17:25:50

About Queen Vic & haemophilia: Steve Jones (the renowned biologist) has posited that it was the fault of the advanced age of QV's father: 50+. He reckons it was a random mutation in the sperm (due to Dad's age) that fertilised the egg to become QV, which she inherited & unknowingly passed to her sons.

My question is:
What did Henry VIII expect from his marriage to Catherine Parr? Was he actually just looking for a kindly stepmother? hmm

Seems strange she's the only one he didn't do horrors by.

ihatethecold Sun 23-Sep-12 17:24:40

Marking my place cos I bunked off history at school.
I live to regret that now blush

MrsjREwing Sun 23-Sep-12 17:15:53

What age were Vic's dc when she was widdowed?

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