Queen Victoria: Mother of Morality or Wild Party Girl?
Hi – Allison Chase here, and I’ll be giving away a book today so read on…
Did I get your attention with that title? You might think you know the answer, but one thing I learned when I started researching my new Victorian series, Her Majesty’s Secret Servants, was that I had a lot of wrong ideas about the woman who named the age that spanned the better part of a century.
So the simple answer is – Party Girl! But, ok, maybe not so wild, at least not by today’s standards. And it wasn’t as if you’d ever find her down at the corner pub hefting tankards and singing bawdy songs with the local rabble. But after a childhood spent entirely under her mother’s thumb and without a real friend to speak of, 18-year old Victoria was ready to let down her hair a bit once she hopped onto that throne.
For one thing, the lady liked to dance. So much so that many a palace soiree ran long into the wee hours of the night, so late many of her courtiers – most of whom were much older than she was – were hard-pressed to stifle their yawns. Can you imagine trying to keep up with your own teenaged kids? I certainly can’t anymore!
And when it came time to marry, spirited V quickly debunked a couple of other Victorian myths. First of all, she married for true love, something we don’t think of much when it comes to the aristocracy. But while he was a prince, Albert didn’t have much to recommend him when it came to state alliances. Nope, he was pretty much considered an impoverished foreign upstart who had no business at the sides of Englands plucky little queen. But cupid’s arrow had struck, and Victoria would not be dissuaded. Which leads me to debuked myth number two: that Victorian women simply did not enjoy, ahem, activities of the intimiate kind.
Wrong! Maybe it was because Victoria was so enamored of her husband, but this was one young missus who left notions of “enduring one’s wifely duties” well outside the bedroom door. Yes, she enjoyed sex! Bravo for her! Except there WAS one teensy problem – she was not as enthusiastic about the RESULTS of sex! Children, especially babies and toddlers, were not high on Her Majesty’s list of favorite things. The biggest drawback of having them around, in her opinion, was that they robbed her of time that could better have been spent with her beloved Albert. Kind of a Catch-22, isn’t it? 🙂
So, where DID all those so-called Victorian family values come from? Albert, actually. The poor dear had been the product of a broken home and was determined not to repeat his parents’ scandalous mistakes (yup, both dad AND mom indulged their carnal appetites). It was Albert who initiated the truce between Victoria and her mother, who might have found herself out on her royal you know what if Victoria had had her way. But the Duchess of Kent was family, and Albert must have realized that if his own children were going to have any grandparent at all, she was it.
If our intrepid young Victoria was a tad excitable and erratic at times, it was Albert’s steadying influence that calmed her down and helped her focus. With him around, those soirees ended at a much more reasonable hour, and smitten V was only too happy to retire with him to their private chambers. In Albert, Victoria had found a friend, a soul mate, and yes, her passion.
I still can’t help wishing she’d had a friend or two while growing up, though…
That’s why in MOST EAGERLY YOURS (which releases today!!) I gave Victoria the childhood friends she never had, four sisters who, as adults, become Her Majesty’s Secret Servants, willing to risk their lives, hearts, and occasionally even their virture in service to their young queen.
Laurel, the eldest, is the first to be called. The Queen is threatened by her jealous cousin, George Fitzclarence, who is known for speaking treason. She asks Laurel to pose as a wealthy widow and use her charms to win George’s trust, then find out what he is really plotting. Laurel is prepared for the risks of acting a part, but she encounters an unexpected and formidable obstacle in the Earl of Barenforth–George’s friend and a notorious rake, whom Victoria has warned her to avoid…
An undercover agent for the Home Office, Aidan Phillips, Earl of Barensforth, is on the trail of a financial hoax involving alchemy, murder…and George Fitzclarence. When a lovely young widow wanders into his path and turns his well-laid plans on end, he senses she is hiding something. Aidan is no stranger to seduction, or to the wiles of beautiful women. And he intends employing wiles of his own to uncover the lady’s secrets…
To celebrate today’s release, I will give away a copy of MOST EAGERLY YOURS to one randomly chosen commenter. Did you ever have a secret friend, real or imagined? Who was it, and were they always there for you, ready to listen or give a hug – or walk through fire for you if necessary? Check back at the end of the week when I’ll post the winner in the comments section of this post.
You can also visit my website for details on how to enter to win a Victorian-inspired necklace!
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I have never had a secret friend.
Very interesting post. I enjoyed reading and learning.
These books sound very interesting Allison. I haven’t read a time period historical such as this in awhile. I may have to seek it out. I had a huge brown teddy bear those was my buddy whom I talked to often and he was put to rest after almost all the stuffing had come out of him. I hadn’t thought about him in awhile, thanks for helping me remember.
Thank you so much, Allison and Romance Junkies! I will contact you by e-mail. 🙂
Hair jewelry – I do remember reading that in your book, Nancy!
Thanks everyone of you for taking the time to read my post and share your thoughts on secret friends. I’ve tossed all the names in a hat, reached in…(actually used random.org, lol)…And the winner is…
#8, Diana Owen-Emerson!
Diana, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get your mailing address and send you a copy of MOST EAGERLY YOURS. Congrats on winning!
What a wonderful post today. I am captivated with this historical novel and anything about Queen Victoria and Albert is always fascinating. I didn’t have a secret friend but my books more than made up for it. Congratulations and best of success.
I don’t remenber any secret friends.I enjoyed reading your post about Queen Vicoria.
I can’t wait to read this book! I don’t have a secret friend but I do tell my dog my secrets at times. I know she won’t kiss and tell!! LOL!
I can’t wait to read your latest book. Secret friends and disguises are archetypes that always appeal to me, and I love your historicals wherever they take place. Queen Victoria’s era starting the mourning customs of hair jewelry, by the way. I talk about it in one of my Bad Hair Day mysteries.
Excellent point about books. A good book can take our cares away and send us places we wouldn’t ordinarily go. And a favorite book is always there for us, waiting to be reread.
Sharing a love of books has brought me new real-life friends as well, and so has being a writer. I always say one of the best parts of this business is the people I meet, other writers who understand the all sweat and heart that go into writing a book.
Thanks for the enlightening blog on Queen Victoria! Your book sounds like my kind of read as I loved historicals! I can’t remember ever having any secret friends other than the characters of all of the books that I read as a child.
Best wishes on your new release!
I had an imaginary friend when I was really young, and apparently her name was Kathy Meantree. I still don’t know for sure how I came up with that name. I didn’t have a lot of nice friends in my rural neighborhood, so I guess I played with her instead. 🙂
Thanks for the fascinating insight into Queen Victoria. Very interesting indeed!
No secret friends, put plenty of books to keep me company. :0
Thanks, Allison, for the historical tidbits! Three years ago, hubby and I traveled to Scotland and toured Balmoral Castle (tourist see very little except the ballroom). So you research casts a new light on how I imagine Victoria and Albert enjoyed Balmoral!
Thank you, everyone who came by – I enjoyed reading all of your comments! Friends come in different forms but we all need them. Thank you, Romance Junkies, for having me today. You ladies are awesome!
If more comments come in during the week, they’ll also be entered in the drawing for a copy of my book. Don’t forget to check back on Friday to learn who won!
Allison, it’s so funny that yours was a stuffed German Shepherd…Mine was a very real German Shepherd and my best friend growing up. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters to turn to, talk to or play with, so I turned to my sweet dog, Dutchess…she was truly the best and I’ll cherish our 16 years together : )
I can’t wait to read Most Eagerly Yours…I enjoyed the excerpt and I have to say…I just LOVE the cover…it’s beautiful and sexy !
Please enter me in your contest,
I never did have a secret/imaginary friend.
But after listening to my 3yo daughter talk to her imaginary friend Fressi, I have to wonder what I really missed out on. It’s hilarious listening to the conversations she has with her and the places they go together. Is it too late to get my own?….LOL!
CONGRATS on your new release, how very exciting for you and for those of us who want to read it.
Jan, you’re right about Victoria’s prim and stuffy rep. But that’s because we usually think of her as a stout, matronly widow in black, not the vibrant teenager she was when she came to the throne.
I’m finding everyone’s comments so touching, whether it’s talking to your cat (there’s nothing like a pet for listening and not interrupting, lol), or a best friend who knows just how to lift your spirits. We all need someone, especially when we’re feeling down.
On the other hand, Diana, those voices inside one’s head can prove helpful too – I couldn’t write my books without them!
I never had a secret friend, but I did have an imaginary pet that I talked to. 😀
I enjoyed your post about Queen Victoria and her Prince Albert. Certainly, they had many children and that could only mean love. I love reading about them.
I have a real friend. She’s always there when I need her and we talk about our sons, both which have special needs. We sort of prop each other up when the other is sad about a currrent problem. And best of all, we both enjoy reading romance books.
Congratulations on your release, Allison!!
armiefox at yahoo dot com
This new series sounds wonderful. I look forward to reading them. As to the question. I have a friend real, not secret who is my best friend. She’s been the shoulder to cry on, my accomplice in numerous capers where we’ve ended up at one of our houses, laughing our butts off. She’s been the friend who’s heard my rants and raves and just listened. She’s been a rock when I’ve needed one and she’s been the girl to drag my butt out and get new shoes or coffee when all I wanted to do was cry. She knows without a doubt that I would and have done the same. We’ve had each others back for almost 17 years. I’ve recently moved and we talk and email each other all the time. I just wish that we lived closer. I miss that contact living so far away.
I did have a secret friend, a cat! I used to take to her all the time.
kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com
Interesting info on the life of Queen Victoria. Not quite what I exptected. Good to know that she found true love and happiness with Albert. I don’t remember having secret friends, real or not, except for the voices in my head! 😉 Please count me in the contest.
Congratulations on your new release!
I can’t wait to read this book! I love all of Allison Chase’s books! Enter me into the drawing.
I should have mentioned that Victoria’s real life special friend was her King Charles spaniel, Dash. Dash makes a couple of appearances in MOST EAGERLY YOURS!
Seems like a lot of special childhood friends were dolls or stuffed animals. Mine was a stuffed German Shepherd puppy named Timmy. He was in a semi-lying down position that allowed me to wrap him around my side when I carried him. My daughter who is turning 18 this month still has her Teddi and will not part with it. I won’t even discuss the state it’s in. Sometimes she reminds me of Radar O’Reilly!
This books sounds fabulous and I love the cover! I can’t say that I ever had a secret friend of imagined one. Now my niece had an imaginary tweaty bird as a friend when she was a little girl. She talked to tweaty all the time. It was kind of cute! Please count me in on the drawing!
Fascinating historical tidbits. You certainly know your era. I would love to read your book too. So count me in on the drawing, please.
I can’t wait to this book! About secret friends, I had too many imagined friends I can’t remember them all! XD But my dearest was a dog peluche I have still in my room.
Victoria sounds like a fun lady. She gets a bad rap because “Victorian” implies prim, proper, and stuffy.
Eagerly yours sounds really good. My secret friend was my doll named Dolly. I was about 6r7. Dolly was my buddy , who knew how 2 keep my secrets.Lege70542