Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Revisiting "Born To Be Queen"

Queen Victoria as a Child
Photo Credit: James Smith Noel Collection

Her parents married primarily for the sake of producing an heir to the throne. Her young childhood was fraught with manipulation and conniving. It seems as though she was appreciated only for the power she might one day imbue to those in her charge. Power hungry, mal-intentioned, manipulative adults filled only with eros love sheltered Victoria, not to protect her but to protect their own self-interests. My heart burns with anger as I write these descriptive words of Victoria’s parental figures.

It has been my hunch that her parents schemed right from the start to use her as a pawn in their plot to dominate the throne of a growing empire. I found evidence of this in the account written by Elizabeth Longford, "Queen Victoria: Born to Succeed." She relates the story of how Leopold of Saxe-Coburg arrived in Great Britain in hopes of marrying the Prince Regent’s daughter, Princess Charlotte. Though her father protested the match vehemently, Prince Edward (Victoria's father) allowed the two lovers to use his stable boy to pass letters back and forth. Three short months later, they were married.

Prince Edward
Photo Credit: Blupete

It seems that in payment for this service, the two lovers set up a “blind date” of sorts between Leopold’s sister, Princess Victoria, and Prince Edward. He visited with her for the first time in fall of 1816, and seeing a quick way to pay off his debts and return to England, he promptly asked for her hand in marriage.

Nearing the time of Charlotte’s due date, it seems there was a leak about Prince Edward’s affair with his French lady, and he grew antsy for a response from Princess Victoria. He sent a letter to a friend asking him to urge Prince Leopold to request a response from his sister as soon as the baby was safely born.

Victoria, Duchess of Kent
Photo Credit: James Smith Noel Collection

On the heels of this letter, tragedy struck. Leopold’s wife and the heir apparent did not survive labor and delivery, leaving the entire country of Britain despondent. This was a crisis of great proportions, and parliament required that the four living Dukes (including Prince Edward) return to Britain at once to get to work on producing an heir. Can you imagine??

Prince Edward and Princess Victoria were officially married on May 27, 1818, and they celebrated another official ceremony in England on July 11, 1818, in a double ceremony with Edward’s brother William and Princess Adelaide. Their marriage of convenience was not very convenient for either one of them. She did not speak English, and his expectation of 25,000 pounds extra per month was realized at only 6,000 pounds, not nearly enough to pay down his debts. After squatting in Kensington Palace under the disdainful eyes of the Prince Regent and constant reminders of the grim loss of Princess Charlotte, Prince Edward finally relocated his wife to Germany, where it was clear that she was indeed pregnant.

No comments:

Post a Comment