History Talk: The Victorian Era

16 minutes ago, Nire said:

http://blog.catherinedelors.com/birth-control-in-the-18th-century/

 

This blog post talks about even illiterate women in the 18th century recognizing breastfeeding as a form of birth control.  I would be shocked if nobody suggested it to Victoria in the 19th century.  I think she was just too eager to haveher body back and repulsed by it.  Might have cut down on the babies though...

Victoria led a very sheltered life, I doubt she had much exposure to topics that would've been considered unseemly in her day.  Wet nurses were fairly ubiquitous amongst the British upper classes and had been used extensively  by the royals for a couple centuries by the time Victoria had her kids.  Wet nursing for aristocratic families was actually considered a respectable profession for lower class women and they were paid better than male laborers in many cases.  Even if Victoria had known that breastfeeding can decrease the chances of conception, I don't think she probably could have gone against the tide even if she'd wanted to do so.

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1 hour ago, doodlebug said:

Victoria led a very sheltered life, I doubt she had much exposure to topics that would've been considered unseemly in her day.  Wet nurses were fairly ubiquitous amongst the British upper classes and had been used extensively  by the royals for a couple centuries by the time Victoria had her kids.  Wet nursing for aristocratic families was actually considered a respectable profession for lower class women and they were paid better than male laborers in many cases.  Even if Victoria had known that breastfeeding can decrease the chances of conception, I don't think she probably could have gone against the tide even if she'd wanted to do so.

Oh I definitely wouldn't have expected Victoria to know that it could help space her children.  However one of her married ladies in waiting or someone should have suggested it especially once they had a heir and several spares.  It seems like the best option to try to delay the next pregnancy.  I would be surprised that it was never suggested.   

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Of course, in addition to being endlessly reminded of Princess Charlotte of Wale's fate, it  should be noted that while Victoria was the 5th queen to indisputably rule in her own right, before the Princess  Royal's birth NONE of the previous four queen regnants had actually successfully borne a child after  succeeding to the throne. Tragically, the closest one  to have done so was Queen Anne who, prior to having succeeded her brother-in-law William III had been pregnant no fewer than 19[yes NINETEEN] times but had had fifteen stillbirths, only four live births and only one of those four lived past infancy but William Duke of Gloucestershire suffered hydroencephilitus and would die when he was eleven.  Anne herself died at age 49 so badly swollen by dropsy that she had to be buried in a square coffin!

 

As for wetnurses? Yes, the job paid uneducated women quite well compared to their husbands. However; it wasn't entirely cushy as in the Royal household, they were expected to STAND at all times when nursing their charges so their charges would know from Day One that these were folks who were not their social equals.

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1 hour ago, Blergh said:

However; it wasn't entirely cushy as in the Royal household, they were expected to STAND at all times when nursing their charges so their charges would know from Day One that these were folks who were not their social equals.

I just finished WE TOO. That stood out to me. Those poor women.

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19 hours ago, Nire said:

http://blog.catherinedelors.com/birth-control-in-the-18th-century/

 

This blog post talks about even illiterate women in the 18th century recognizing breastfeeding as a form of birth control.  I would be shocked if nobody suggested it to Victoria in the 19th century.  I think she was just too eager to haveher body back and repulsed by it.  Might have cut down on the babies though...

yebbut as others have mentioned here and elsewhere, it was Victoria's duty to provide heirs and she would have been discouraged from doing anything that might prevent or delay that - even nursing her own babies. 

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Victoria probably didn't know it, but Charlotte very likely died because her medical care during pregnancy and birth of her baby was absolutely awful.  During the pregnancy she became large quite fast, enough that it was thought she may have been pregnant with twins.  Charlotte was also ravenously hungry.  In order to keep her weight down, Charlotte's doctor bled her repeatedly, severely restricted her diet, and gave her frequent emetics.   She also began to suffer from depression during the latter part of her pregnancy.  

Charlotte's labor lasted over two days in which she was not given anything to eat, nor was she able to sleep.  Although it was determined that her baby was lying transverse (sideways in the womb) and the baby's meconium began to come out, the medical team declined to use the forceps to remove the baby.  The baby (a son) was unsurprisingly born dead.  Forceps may have allowed him to have been born alive.  Even if there was no way to save him, Charlotte herself may have survived and gone on to have more children had she not been so weakened by her terrible care during the pregnancy.  The doctor committed suicide a few months after the death of Charlotte and her baby.

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All the talk of not wanting a German ruler reminds me that Victoria's parents had been living inGermany (they could live cheaper there) Than they traveled in a rush  back to England when her mother was pregnant. They wanted to be sure Victoria was born in England as the heir to the throne, arriving a month before Victoria was born. Must have been an awful trip for her mother.

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32 minutes ago, nx74defiant said:

All the talk of not wanting a German ruler reminds me that Victoria's parents had been living inGermany (they could live cheaper there) Than they traveled in a rush  back to England when her mother was pregnant. They wanted to be sure Victoria was born in England as the heir to the throne, arriving a month before Victoria was born. Must have been an awful trip for her mother.

Because the two had very little money, the Duke of Kent served as his own coachman on the trip to Britain.  It's kind of amazing that even though they were expecting the eventual Queen, the Kents lived in sort of an aristocratic poverty - far better than how commoners lived during the time, but definitely not in the luxury we normally associate with royalty.

Victoria took a lot of pleasure in Albert's love for his children.  Even though she wasn't terribly fond of pregnancy and childbirth, I think the fact that it made Albert happy contributed to the fact that they ended up with nine of them.  

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As I said in the show's thread, it was roughly two years later that Vic actually DID ride a train for the first time but she loved it from the start. It was Albert who was a bit more cautious and insisted that the engines would go no faster than 40 MPH!  However; with rail companies outfitting special Royal Saloon cars for her comfort, they soon were using the rails whenever possible even though there was one time the Royal train incurred a fatality in 1855 when a railman was crushed when he attempted to lubricate an overheated axle while the train was in motion!  serv

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I am so happy to find other history buffs! I am really enjoying all the tidbits about V & A.

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55 minutes ago, iMonrey said:
Quote

Victoria could have reminded her mother that despite all this "mother knows best" nonsense, that the Duchess only managed to bear one small girl child...

Actually, Victoria's mother had two other daughters before Victoria was born. That's one of the reasons she was considered a suitable bride for the Duke of Kent: she was proven to be fertile. So Victoria has two half-sisters running around somewhere that this show has chosen to ignore.

She had a son and a daughter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Victoria_of_Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Carl, 3rd Prince of Leiningen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl,_3rd_Prince_of_Leiningen

Feodora, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Feodora_of_Leiningen

"Through her first marriage, she is a direct matrilineal ancestor to various members of royalty in Europe, including Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Felipe VI of Spain, and Constantine II of Greece."

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22 hours ago, okerry said:

yebbut as others have mentioned here and elsewhere, it was Victoria's duty to provide heirs and she would have been discouraged from doing anything that might prevent or delay that - even nursing her own babies. 

I agree that she would ha bf e been expected to produce heirs but around 6 or 7 kids including sons it seems like that would have no longer been something pushed on her.  Especially given the danger of childbirth.

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Well, since abstinence was about the only form of birth control....

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45 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

Well, since abstinence was about the only form of birth control....

Ironically, after the birth of her 4th child, and 2nd born son Alfred, Duke of  Edinburgh (and later Duke of Saxe-Coburg Gotha ) in 1844, the English pubs started having this song circulating  about  Victoria pleading with Albert called 'We'll DO It No More!' since this growing royal family and the public funds allotted to each new member was supposedly going to cause the nation to go bankrupt. It  hadn't been that long since her grandfather George III's brood of 15 children had quite taxed the nation's coffers so, once the Queen was proven healthy (and fertile), the not so dim memories of having too much of a good thing re royal offspring got folks a bit antsy!

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On ‎2‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 0:32 PM, ItCouldBeWorse said:

She had a son and a daughter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Victoria_of_Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Carl, 3rd Prince of Leiningen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl,_3rd_Prince_of_Leiningen

Feodora, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Feodora_of_Leiningen

"Through her first marriage, she is a direct matrilineal ancestor to various members of royalty in Europe, including Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Felipe VI of Spain, and Constantine II of Greece."

I always forget she had half-siblings. I've read a lot of Victoria biographies and still forget even though I remember her mother was married once before.

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48 minutes ago, andromeda331 said:

I always forget she had half-siblings. I've read a lot of Victoria biographies and still forget even though I remember her mother was married once before.

The odd thing is that many bios called her an 'only child' but, strictly speaking she was her father's only acknowledged legit child but not only did she have two half-sibs by the mother's first union but also at least one non-marital half sib via her father decades before her own birth.

   One of Vic's many ironies was that she was openly AGAINST widowed folks remarrying -despite the fact that she herself was conceived via a widow remarrying.  She also was very much against women breast feeding if they had the ability to hire a wetnurse despite it being well-documented that she herself was nourished this way as a baby (and her own mother was quite ridiculed by her peers for doing this).

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Was looking at pictures of young Ernest II, and in some respects I find him better looking than Albert.  He has quite the bedroom eyes in the photo at the top of the page.  

It seems as though Prince Alfred, at least when he was older, resembled him more than Albert (not suggesting anything, just noting that family trees can be funny).

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Perhaps they thought that putting all the folks with vested interests together around the time of the Princess Royal's birth would heighten the drama, but not only were Kings Leopold and Ernest Augustus not in England during that time, but also Albert's brother Ernest was also in his domain on the Continent as the others were. Also, they missed a good humorous moment by not recreating Vic's reply to the physician when he exclaimed 'Oh, Madame. It is a Princess!' to which she was heard to say 'Never mind. The NEXT will be a Prince!' . Somehow her saying to Albert when they were alone just wasn't as funny, not to mention, historically accurate! 

 Of course, she had been put in such an unpleasant state via pregnancy that she actually wrote to Albert's beloved stepgrandmother the Dowager Duchess of Gotha that she'd drown the baby if it were a girl for having put her through ALL that.  Considering how upset the old woman was to the point of collapsing into a virtually fainting state when Albert departed to marry Vic, I can't imagine this  letter cheered her up whatsoever. At least Victoria did learn to love the Princess Royal (largely because she was the one most like Albert while she admitted her disdain for her eldest son was largely due to the fact she believed 'Bertie is my caricature!').

Lastly, while it is perfectly true that they named the Princess Royal after Vic (and would call her Vicky from childhood onward), they also used for the middle name 'Adelaide' after the William IV's widow who was one of the Vic's favorite relatives from childhood onwards (and was still living at this point).

Edited by Blergh. Reason: addendum

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28 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

I wonder if the custom had fallen out of fashion by the time Queen Victoria came to the throne, though. There was a reference to the wedding guests putting the married couple to bed in an earlier episode when they're talking about wedding plans (the reason royal weddings are held in the evening). That custom had certainly died off by then.

 

The practice of witnessing Royal births by "secretaries" (government employees) wasn't stopped until after Prince Charles' birth in 1948.

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Help me out here. They were married on February 10, 1840 and their first kid was born on November 21, 1840 so the show played fast a loose with their first few months of marriage. She got pregnant almost right away but the show made it seem like much longer. Her next kid was born almost 1 year after her first.

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nm

Edited by orza.

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This may be mentioned in another thread, but can someone give me a book recommendation on Victoria?  I'd like to read about her life, letters, journal entries, history, etc, but in a not so "historian" type of book.

There are so many out there!

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16 hours ago, maraleia said:

Help me out here. They were married on February 10, 1840 and their first kid was born on November 21, 1840 so the show played fast a loose with their first few months of marriage. She got pregnant almost right away but the show made it seem like much longer. Her next kid was born almost 1 year after her first.

I didn't get that impression.  Penge commented that HRH didn't dilly dally when the pregnancy was announced.  

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Just now, taurusrose said:

I didn't get that impression.  Penge commented that HRH didn't dilly dally when the pregnancy was announced.  

You're right. It seemed much longer between their wedding and when she stopped jumping up and down to me but it wasn't. I blame current events for me losing all sense of time including how it's depicted on TV shows.

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Oddly enough, there was no official announcement re Victoria's first pregnancy but they simply let the news spread forth with no official confirmations or denials until the  Princess Royal's actual birth.

  Yes, the adjoining room next to her bedroom was somewhat crowded with officials but that itself was an improvement re her own birth when something like a dozen officials and close in-laws were packed into her mother's bedroom itself! Yes, even though the Princess of Kent was 5th in line to the throne at her birth, it WAS considered a literal matter of state to have it witnessed THAT closely by so many.

BTW, the title of 'Princess Royal' has somewhat unique rights in that it's given to the firstborn (or eldest surviving) daughter of the monarch and, it's something the bearer gets to keep for life and not even marriage to other royal families can erase it. Also, only ONE Princess Royal at a time is allowed. The previous one (George III's daughter) had died a few years back so Vicky was able to have that title her entire life from 1840 to 1901 but the current one (Princess Anne ) wouldn't have been entitled to it before 1965 when her great-aunt (George V's daughter) died but she resisted her mother giving to her until finally agreeing to it  in 1987 as a recognition for her tireless work for the Save the Children organization.

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I'm currently reading "Victoria's Granddaughters" as I wait for the Victoria book I want to come available at the library.  Victoria thought everything involved with pregnancy, childbirth and babies was disgusting (though enjoyed what caused those conditions) and would have nothing to do with it.  2 of her daughters breast fed, and she was shocked and outraged that they would do that.  She only really started liking her children when they were well into teenage years. She never liked her oldest son and blamed him for causing Alberts death. I very seriously doubt Victoria ever looked lovingly at her baby the way shown in the series.

Chellegame, what is "We Too?"

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"We Two" is a dual biography of Victoria and Albert written by Gillian Gill.  It gives details of their lives before marriage as well as discussing them and their family after marriage.  I just finished it a couple of weeks ago, and I definitely recommend it!

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On ‎3‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 11:42 AM, MV713 said:

This may be mentioned in another thread, but can someone give me a book recommendation on Victoria?  I'd like to read about her life, letters, journal entries, history, etc, but in a not so "historian" type of book.

There are so many out there!

One good series of books about Victoria I can recommend are the ones by Jean Plaidy. There are four of them altogether and they chronicle Victoria's life from her early years growing up in Kensington Palace to her life as a widow after Prince Albert's death. Well-written and chock full of historical fact, but not dull and dry. I read them years ago and am re-reading them now in light of watching this show. The titles (in order) are: The Captive of Kensington Palace, The Queen and Lord M, The Queen's Husband and The Widow of Windsor. Fascinating reading. Enjoy!

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16 minutes ago, Miss Chevious said:

One good series of books about Victoria I can recommend are the ones by Jean Plaidy. There are four of them altogether and they chronicle Victoria's life from her early years growing up in Kensington Palace to her life as a widow after Prince Albert's death. Well-written and chock full of historical fact, but not dull and dry. I read them years ago and am re-reading them now in light of watching this show. The titles (in order) are: The Captive of Kensington Palace, The Queen and Lord M, The Queen's Husband and The Widow of Windsor. Fascinating reading. Enjoy!

who is the author?  I don't see them on Kindle :(

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4 minutes ago, MV713 said:

who is the author?  I don't see them on Kindle :(

Jean Plaidy is the author. I pulled it up on Goodreads with no problem. She's written many books about the British Monarchy.

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2 hours ago, Miss Chevious said:

One good series of books about Victoria I can recommend are the ones by Jean Plaidy. There are four of them altogether and they chronicle Victoria's life from her early years growing up in Kensington Palace to her life as a widow after Prince Albert's death. Well-written and chock full of historical fact, but not dull and dry. I read them years ago and am re-reading them now in light of watching this show. The titles (in order) are: The Captive of Kensington Palace, The Queen and Lord M, The Queen's Husband and The Widow of Windsor. Fascinating reading. Enjoy!

Sadly, while Plaidy has an awful lot on i-books, these are not among them.  Sort of surprising.

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Jean Plaidy is actually a pseudonym for author Eleanor Hibbert.  She also wrote under the names of Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr, among others.  Hibbert's books on royalty are historical fiction and should be taken as such, but the woman knew her stuff.  Although the conversations and some of the minor characters are imagined, the actions of all of the major characters in her books are where they were supposed to be and doing what they were said to have done during that time.  She was prolific too, and wrote about all sorts of European royalty from the Plantagenets to the Spanish Habsburgs to George III, she covered a lot of territory.

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