As summer approaches, Queen Victoria is the royal everyone is talking about. Even the descendant who supplanted her as longest reigning monarch in British history has been following in her famous footsteps in the past few days as the woman who changed our concept of royalty forever takes centre stage in one of the biggest royal exhibitions of the year. Even Victoria herself might be amused. Here’s the past week in royal history.
Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace
As the Queen prepares to head to Balmoral for her annual summer break (with just the small matter of welcoming a new Prime Minister in the coming days to deal with first) she had a look at the royal who will reign supreme at her London home in her absence. Elizabeth II was given a preview of the new summer special at Buckingham Palace this week and it’s all about her great, great granny.
Queen Victoria’s Palace illustrates how the famous monarch transformed the royal residence into the working hub of the modern royal family. And it uses 19th century techniques to tell its tale, bringing a famous ball held to mark the end of the Crimean War to life with a Victoria method called Pepper’s Ghost.
Victoria’s Family Potraits
Meanwhile, sketches by Victoria herself are set to go under the hammer this month. Her personal drawings of three of her descendants are set to be sold by Dominic Winter Auctioneers in Gloucestershire on July 25th.
Three sketches are on the books. One shows Victoria’s eldest son, later Edward VII, with his younger brother, Prince Alfred. It was sketched by their mother around 1850. A second from a similar date shows Victoria’s eldest child, daughter Vicky, as a water nymph. The last sketch up for auction is of Victoria’s grandson, the future Kaiser Wilhelm II, as a baby. Each drawing is estimated to bring in around £10,000.
Richard III, before Shakespeare
He’s one of the most controversial figures in English royal history but it was the early life of Richard III that got people talking this week. His time as the quiet, younger brother of the dashing Edward IV came into the spotlight as a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant was given to St. Mary’s Parish Church in Barnard Castle in County Durham. Richard worshipped there regularly during his early adult life and was the grant giver of his day, paying for works to the church. Now, archaeologists DigVentures will work alongside the church on conservation and restoration while trying to raise the profile of St. Mary’s as an historic site.
And don’t forget to check our blog page at Royal Central which is packed with a wide range of history reports and features.