The creator of hit historical royal drama, Victoria, Daisy Goodwin, has spoken out about the unfair double standards female monarchs are judged by in comparison with their male counterparts.
Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert had nine children. While their relationship is celebrated as a highly passionate and successful partnership, Victoria’s bond with her children is seen very differently. She is widely believed to have been a cold and distant mother, showing little interest in her children. Her own diary entries seem to reinforce this view, with entries stating, “I find no especial pleasure or compensation in the company of the older children”, and “an ugly baby is a very nasty object”.
However, Goodwin prefers to portray the Queen in a more sympathetic light, comparing Victoria to her distant relative, Henry VIII, who famously had six wives, executed two and disowned his daughters Mary and Elizabeth.
“Victoria is not judged by the same standards as other monarchs because ‘she’s a woman’, and part of me wants to redress that” she said. “She gets judged on her parenting skills in a way that doesn’t happen with male monarchs: we don’t criticise Henry VIII for being a bad father, for example,” she told The Telegraph.
While it is true that Victoria could go weeks without seeing her children, traditions and beliefs have changed considerably so it isn’t fair to judge her by today’s standards.
In previous eras it was not uncommon for royal children to be sent away from parents to grow up in the country which was deemed to be healthier and cleaner then living in London. They would only return to court on special occasions such as Christmas.
Even in modern times, the way Prince Charles was raised is considerably different from the way his own children, Princes William and Harry, were raised by Diana, Princess of Wales, who regularly showered the two young boys with affection in public.
Goodwin believes it is a myth that Victoria was a bad mother.
“What makes a bad mother? She’s the queen…it’s hard to be a queen and a mother. She was incredibly fond of her children. You know that she loves them but she’s got nine of them. It’s hard to give nine the attention you would give two.
“The bad mother thing is just something people say. I think they’re wrong. She did her best. She was trying to prepare them for the world outside.”
The new series of ‘Victoria’ begins in the UK on ITV on Sunday, March 24th 2019.