Thursday, April 27, 2017

More Photos: Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany

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 1875 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!

Here are a few more images:
Prince Leopold with friends at Oxford
It took nearly a year of careful persuasion for Prince Leopold to convince his mother, Queen Victoria, to let him attend Oxford University. Had she refused, nobody could have overruled her. The Prince's Oxford years (1872-1876) were happy ones for him. 

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.) In fact, he was a founding member of the Oxford University Music Club.🎷🎹🎻
Prince Leopold is the 4th man from the left. He was a gifted pianist, flutist, 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 (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.

You may also enjoy:
The Story Of English: A Review
Remembering Prince Leopold, Duke Of Albany  
Extra Photos: Prince Leopold, Duke Of Albany   
Kate Middleton Has Something I Want ... Sleeves


  1. A very interesting and enjoyable post Debbie. I enjoyed seeing the photos of Queen Victoria's children all in sequence, something I have never seen before. You might be interested in some information about little Princess Alice. She grew up to become Alice, Countess of Athlone, and lived until 1981. Her daughter, Lady May Abel Smith married Sir Henry Abel Smith, who was Governor of our State of Queensland when I was a child at school. Back then, Governors usually were appointed from England. They were here in Brisbane for eight years, and Lady May's mother Princess Alice visited them regularly. The two ladies were sometimes seen walking in the streets around Government House. Sir Henry was a very popular Governor, and travelled the state meeting the people. He came to our school and I still remember the excitement of it all. We were most star struck that his mother in law was Queen Victoria's granddaughter!

    1. Trish, thanks for sharing such an interesting experience. I'm thrilled to know that Leopold's daughter and husband were popular and efficient!

      I read Leopold lounged for that very foreign appointment (as well as to be Governor of Canada before it) but Queen Victoria denied him both appointments. She was too anxious for him to be so far away from home. So there's some justice that his granddaughter and her husband got to do what he was denied.

      Good memories for school children!

    2. "Grand" in front of daughter got lost. Oops!

  2. Hello, my dear Debra, I am intrigued by the Victorian era, and I like so many things of this age as the clothes ... to know of their stories, etc.
    Recently I was watching a documentary of the queen mother after widowing, her children and their lives etc, interesting for others, but here you have your children a pleasant surprise! Very grateful this visit to your blog! , Hugs, Rose M.

    1. Thanks, Darling Rose for telling me. I so appreciate your kind words! They give me the validation to write about subjects that are a little offbeat. I am happy when people think they are of value or an enjoyable read. You have made my day!

  3. So pleased to have found your blog. I spent a lot of time reading about Victorian times and the royals. I read a book of letters between the Queen and Vicky when she first went to Germany to live. I got it out of the varsity library and have tried to get it again. Sent off to Amazon but got a different book back. She was so homesick and the castle was cold and draughty she would beg her mother to let her come home for a visit but was always turned down for years, it was said tha the Qeen was jealous of the time Albert would spend with Vicki. She really was a tough old thing.
    I so enjoyed all your info. and esp. The nine children in a row. Arthur doesn't quite fit in with their looks does he? Thanks again for an enjoyable posting. Best wishes from freezing New Zealand.

    1. Hi Sally Hicks,

      Welcome! I love hearing and sharing information on blog topics! The picture of adult Arthur is, indeed, more advanced than the photos of his siblings.

      I started off reading about Queen Victoria, then you want to know how life turned out for her children, so you keep reading books about them. I have one yet to start about Vicky and Fritz. Luckily, Victoria's oldest daughter and son-in-law were devoted to each other, because she missed England, her home country, for over 40 years. Fritz had to wait a lifetime to become emperior, then died 3 months later, so poor Vicky's potential was wasted.

      A pity Victoria had a jealous side. Leopold was close to his sister, Louise, and there were times Victoria kept them separated out of jealousy. The Queen did love her children and if they persisted, they could sometimes get her to give in, but it added extra unnecessary stress to the lives of all concerned.