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Queen Victoria hated her children

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Queen Victoria hated her children

Post by Rowan » Mon December 17th, 2012, 9:08 pm

Has anyone heard about this? If so, what do you think? If not, what do you think after reading the article?
The hidden misery of Queen Victoria’s household has emerged from Royal diaries and letters as well with interviews historians and biographers.

According to the BBC, the series reveals “a story of manipulation, conflict, intimidation, emotional blackmail and fevered attempts by her children to escape the clutches of their domineering and needy mother”.

Helen Rappaport, author of Magnificent Obsession and a contributor to the three part series, said Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were “pretty awful parents” to their four sons and five daughters.

“She hated being pregnant. She had prenatal and postnatal depression. She didn’t breastfeed her children who she thought were horrible dribbling little things. She was not in the least bit maternal.

“Queen Victoria liked sex, but she didn’t like the result.”
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Post by SonjaMarie » Mon December 17th, 2012, 10:15 pm

Yeah, I've come across this stuff in my readings, and she wasn't very nice to them often either, MHO she was a bitch.
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Post by LoveHistory » Tue December 18th, 2012, 12:02 am

She certainly wasn't the warmest of mothers, but do remember she also had a kingdom to run, according to this she suffered from depression, and she was raising royalty as well as children. More would have been expected of them than of most children regardless. Sometimes parents are too strict and push too hard. Doesn't mean they don't live their kids. Certainly doesn't mean they hate them. Still not a good situation, but it's going a bit far to use the word hate.

All diaries and letters are prone to misunderstanding, and depending on the penmanship, misreading. How many of the experts involved are looking at this through the film of modern parenting practices rather than looking at it through the standards of the time? Not saying it isn't true, but it may not be quite as harsh as it's being made out to be.

Imagine how different things might have been if she'd had access to modern anti-depressants and had fewer duties as queen. She might have enjoyed her children a great deal more, and they her. It's quite sad for all of them.

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Post by Susan » Tue December 18th, 2012, 2:35 am

None of that stuff is new and some is not really surprising. Upper class women did not breastfeed and many spent little time with their children. Victoria was quite temperamental and had a strong sexuality which Albert apparently met, as evidenced by the birth of nine children. Albert was somewhat prudish and his high moral standards would never allow extramarital affairs. He found marriage to Victoria a full-time job which exhausted him physically and mentally. Supposedly there was a lock for the bedroom door that could be used from the bed whenever Victoria was in the mood.

Neither Victoria nor Albert had ideal family situations. Victoria's father, Edward, Duke of Kent, married her mother when he was 50 after the death of Princess Charlotte of Wales in childbirth left no legitimate grandchild of King George III despite the fact that 13 of his 15 children survived childhood. The Duke of Kent died when Victoria was eight months old. Albert's parents had marital problems shortly after his birth. Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was a notorious womanizer and and his wife Louise also sought affection elsewhere. The couple separated in 1824 and divorced in 1826. After Louise's early death from cancer in 1831, Ernest married his niece, Marie of Württemberg.
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Post by Mythica » Tue December 18th, 2012, 5:28 pm

Suffering from prenatal and postnatal depression doesn't mean one hates her children, nor does not breastfeeding them.

Some of the things mentioned here are not exactly unusual for a royal family - the lack of breastfeeding, arranging her daughter's marriages, etc. Pretty much every monarch is involved in arranging marriages for their children but because this one is a woman, suddenly it means she hates her children? Sounds like a massive double standard to me, probably something Victoria struggled with during her lifetime - I just can't believe it's still happening now.

I'm not saying Victoria was a perfect mother. I don't think she was very close with most of her children but that does not mean she hated them.

I have heard that Albert was physically abusive to their children in disciplining them and he was particularly hard on Edward but he was the heir and they wanted him live up to high standards.

That said, I'll wait and see what the actual documentary has to say - the article could just be sensationalizing it as usual.

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Post by Divia » Tue December 18th, 2012, 9:39 pm

First, we have to realize this was the 19th century.

As Susan said upper class women didn't breastfeed and the care of the children were often left to nannies or governesses. Furthermore, often children were tucked away in the upper part of a middle class house to come down for dinner and perhaps another time during the day so the mother could look at them, ask them some polite questions, and then send them back up with the nanny. Middle class women did not have a lot of interaction with their children during the Victorian Era, so why would we expect a ruler of country to have more interaction with her children? :confused:

The fact that Victoria would be meddling with her daughters isn't shocking either. First she is the Queen of England and therefore must keep up appearances of herself and her family, AND find good matches for her daughters.

Also being depressed after a pregnancy doesnt mean you are a bad mother it means your hormones are outta control and during that time period there was nothing you could do.

And I'm sure she was annoyed that she'd end up pregnant after she had sex. If she liked sex I'm sure she wanted the freedom to enjoy it without consequences. No harm in that. If the pill was available to her I'm sure she would have been on it.

If the author of this books is a true historian she should know better. If she's just a armchair historian there is where the trouble is. She doesnt fully understand the time period nor the roles of people she is researching. Frankly, this is unacceptable.
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Post by Helen_Davis » Fri December 21st, 2012, 8:14 pm

I don't think she was a good mother by today's standards. I have studied women rulers and I know many who were much better mothers-- Cleopatra VII comes to mind-- she adored her children. I also think Isabel la Catolica was a good mother.

I agree with Divia mostly though. This is irresponsible. I'll write more later, I'm tired.

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