Leopold and Helena forever!😍
Since my blogs on Prince Leopold are popular (you never know which subjects will be a hit!), I will share a few more photos I love, but did not use in the 1st or 2nd post. In truth, I am touched by the Prince's personality and life story and now consider him my Victorian history pet. So if you find any rare photos of Leopold or his wife, Princess Helena, Duchess of Albany, send them my way!
I love the top left photo of Prince Leopold taken in 1874 at Oxford University by Alice In Wonderland's author, Lewis Carroll. Wearing a gorgeous suit and shoes, Prince Leopold is handsome in his cap and gown. It is my favorite college photo of him, despite initially posting one of the Prince standing and looking into the camera.
The top right shot of Leopold's wife, Helena (a/k/a Helen), is a bit washed out, but I like how she faces the camera looking like a lovely doll in her wedding attire. So often Victorians look off to the side, or stare at an object, such as a book, but she looks directly into the camera. Smiling in photos came later. At this time, it was thought to be a sign of insanity. Yikes!
|Prince Leopold with friends at Oxford|
As a prince, he lived in a house with a small staff: a gentleman's attendant and cook/housekeeper. Sometimes a doctor monitored his health. Victoria kept a close eye on him. He was allowed to throw small dinner parties (inviting sons of "respectable families"), which is probably what the above middle photos show.
Leopold embraced his studies; became president of the chess club; made life-long Oxford friends; and joined a musical group (the Victorian equivalent of a rock band, if you think about it).🎶🎷🎹🎻
Prince Leopold is the 4th man from the left. He was a gifted pianist, tenor singer and played other instruments. Obviously, bands wore off-beat, tousled grab even in his day!♬♪♪♫♪♪
The above left image is one of Leopold and Helen's engagement photos, taken in November 1881 in the Princess' German hometown. I think her casual posture shows her warm personality; and how rare in a Victorian photo for an engaged couple to be torso touching, no? (You never see it with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert even after having 9 children together!)
Again, I adore Prince Leopold's tailored clothes and beautiful shoes! A stylish couple, despite the corset high society women were required to wear! I have no idea how a woman sat down with a corset sticking out the back, nor why such an exaggerated bum-hump was considered flattering! But one can't judge another era with contemporary eyes.
The above right photo with their baby daughter, Alice, was taken in 1883. She was born 10 mouths after her parents April 27, 1882 wedding. Most Victorian couples had their 1st child within a year of marriage, since the only sure form of birth control was abstinence (and who wants to start a marriage practicing that?). Helen had 3 pregnancies [resulting in one miscarriage] in 23 months of their marriage, which was not unusual. Also, childbirth was dangerous even for royal women.
In Victorian times, it was vital to have children (usually boys in most European countries) in order to pass on titles and property. During an era when many children died of disease, people desired large families.
Here are Queen Victoria's 9 children as adults: Vicky (b. 1840), Bertie (b. 1841), Alice (b. 1843), Affie (b. 1844), Helena (b. 1846), Louise (b. 1848), Arthur (b. 1850), Leopold (b.1853) and Beatrice (b. 1857).
I'm enjoying reading about the Victorian era. Now I'm waiting on the arrival of a book called, How To Be A Victorian: A Dawn-To-Dusk Guide To Victorian Life, written by the historian, Ruth Goodman. But make no mistake, I don't wish to be a Victorian, only to learn about the era and how people lived at the time.
There are lessons for us in submerging ourselves in history. Nonetheless, I'm too much of a diva ever to endure such harsh times. I need hot running water and indoor plumbing at all times. Also, keep your mitts off my blow dryer and spandex, mister!
Now that women can vote, own property and earn money, there's no going back!!
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