Queen Victoria came to the throne at a time of deep anxiety for the continuity and relevance of the monarchy. She dedicated her entire life to creating an image of moral, upright and compassionate family life to which her subjects should aspire. She was assisted in this fantasy by a German Prince who hoped to be King rather than consort.
It was only when Vicky, her first daughter, married the German Emperor Frederick III that a scandal was revealed in correspondence between the two women.
She admits her sexuality was not reciprocated by her beloved Albert, who only visited her bedroom once or twice a year. One might question the paternity of some of her children.
Feeling more emboldened she confessed her love affair with a Scottish Lord (who was more than a decade her senior) when she was just 15! This was a scandal of gigantic proportions which, had it been known, would have seriously jeopardised her ascension to the throne. It is not that long ago that a young woman had to subject herself to a virginity test prior to marriage to the Prince of Wales.
At the commencement of World War I her grandson, George V, was concerned that her letters be retrieved from Vicky’s last home, where they had been consigned to the attic. With the assistance of government officials they were returned.
It was later realised that some letters were still missing. George V was particularly anxious at the commencement of World War I, with grandson, Wilhelm was strutting his stuff. George VI was in a similar state in World War II, with again, no success. During Elizabeth II’s reign that Anthony Blunt, a trusted friend and a communist spy, managed to secure the remaining letters whose contents he duly submitted to his master in Moscow.
Of course, we know of the peccadilloes of various Royals, but it is ironic that the virtues most revered when one thinks of Victorian values was totally absent from the one for whom it is named. The timing of these revelations is also interesting.