History

Christmas at Windsor to include gifts exchanged by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

The bicentenary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert will be celebrated by a small display at Windsor, once the setting for the many Christmases which the royal couple spent together with their growing family of nine children. Displayed in the Octagon Dining Room, it will recall the ritual of the Bescherung, [‘Giving of Gifts’] the traditional German custom of exchanging gifts on…
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FeaturesHistory

When Mozart met Marie Antoinette?

The ‘meeting’ between Marie Antoinette and the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has a fabled quality, not least because of the oft-repeated folklore that has grown around it. From the point of view of posterity, it is a fascinating moment to contemplate, when two legendary (Austrian) figures were in the same room, their biographical futures lying still before them. I want to explore the facts…
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Features

Inside where Marie Antoinette stayed on her way to Versailles

On her bridal journey across the Holy Roman Empire to Paris and already travelling according to her new status of Dauphine due to her first marriage ceremony by proxy, Marie Antoinette took some two and half weeks to reach her illustrious destination. There is a poignancy about her departure from Vienna, for she was witnessed as stretching her neck out of the window of her carriage to snatch the…
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Features

Finding five cards from the Tsarina

Whilst researching on the correspondence of the last Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918) of Russia and Princess Marie Bariatinsky, one of the Tsarina’s first maids-of-honour (freilina) in her early years in Russia and a later friend, I discovered a series of…
Features

Queen Victoria's little-known visit to Spain

Whilst on one of her late holidays in the south of France, Queen Victoria made her only visit to Spain. It was a visit that aroused the Queen’s socio-historic curiosity in national culture and peoples, something she often gave expression to in watercolour sketches as vivid…
Features

Queen Victoria's daughter in Italy

In the spring of 1873, Princess Alice of Hesse, second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, set out from Darmstadt to visit Italy. It was the fulfilment of a life’s dream. Certainly, it was a totally new experience of travel for her, in marked contrast to the type of holidays that she had made up until this point in her life. Due to the financial constraints of her family and the…
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