Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Second tutorial: Queen Victoria

Warning Posts about tutorials will be of interest to practically nobody. Why, then, am I proposing to write them? Purely as an experiment in seeing how I can use new technology to record the main issues discussed in a class quickly and – to me alone – usefully. This explains why I am going to write them in telegraphese

Discussion about self-writing selected in Queen Victoria in her Letters and Journals (ed. Hibbert)

CH: astonishing written output: "she wrote on average 2,500 words every day of her adult life ... total of some 60 million" (Giles St Aubyn: who he?)

The Bedchamber Crisis: QV constitutionally incorrect in resisting change of ladies-in-waiting at change of government: distress at losing Melbourne

Lady Flora Hastings incident: QV's lack of sympathy: but antipathy to perceived continuation of attempts by Conroy et al to control her ("Kensington system")

QV's journal confessional, unlike e.g. E7's which was database of people met

Why did she start journal? Mother (Conroy?) instilling discipline: "began as duty, continued as therapy, but never with desire to control the future" (JM-J)

Her papers left to d. Beatrice, who edited them, transcribing third and burning rest. But 1837-39 complete, thanks to transcription by Esher

Her Reminiscences, Conversations and Reflexions (commonplace book) evaded bonfire: now at Windsor: v restricted access

Her education v limited, cf that of other royal heirs, which was one-to-one instruction in history/ statecraft: practical, unlike (then) normal classical education

On death of heir presumptive Charlotte, d of G4, stampede of other sons of G3 to father an heir apparent: c. 56 bastards sired by them

V aetat 10 (?8) months: pa, 3rd son of G3, dies: subsequent search for father figure: Leopold, Melbourne – even Peel?

V aetat 20 m Albert of S-C-G: continuation of bid by SCGs for (i) export via d Vicki (m Prussian Crown Prince) of liberalism to Germany (ii) dominance in Protestant Europe. But clever Vicki (precocious, then "reading Karl Marx at Sans Souci") not simpatica. What if Fred3 hadn't died prematurely? WW1 non-event?

For sake of British monarchy, good thing that A dies in 1861: reduction of interference in ministerial matters. But henceforward no one to say nay to QV, other, perhaps, than John Brown. Relationship? Marriage certificate found in Balmoral game book (!): ring on death. Her satisfactory (if limited) sex life: the soft-porn photo "from V to A" (DvZ)

Excursion into genetics: the Purple Secret and porphyria: who had this gene? And the haemophiliac one? Old sperm v unknown mutation. Suggestion that this came from mother Victoire's lover rejected

Criticism of Hibbert for claiming A. died (1861) of stomach cancer rather than typhoid without citing evidence

Danish Glucksberg dynasty takes over from S-C-Gs as source of European crowns

After Albert the reclusive Widow of Windsor legitimates her position through publication of (just some of) her writings: books v public appearances: "We authors, Ma'am" (Dizzy to V). Reputation of uninvolved recluse belied by ongoing massive correspondence with ministers and royals post 1861

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