Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Victorian advice for modern Moms?

Queen Victoria and Princess Beatrice, scanned from an old newspaper, ca. 1862

I recently finished -- or rather, plodded through -- The Last Princess by Matthew Dennison, a biography of Princess Beatrice, the last child born to Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. While I found the book as a whole unfortunately lacklustre, there were these couple of gems I made note of and thought to share. While quoted from the text, they are essentially the words of Prince Albert, the Queen, and William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, not the author.

"'It is indeed a pity that you find no consolation in the company of your children,' Prince Albert wrote to his wife, in one of those careful, measured missives that were his chosen channel of correction when an outburst of the Queen's temper threatened to overwhelm them both. 'The root of the trouble lies in the mistaken notion that the function of a mother is to be always correcting, scolding, ordering them about and organising their activities. It is not possible to be on happy friendly terms with people you have just been scolding'" (
The Last Princess, p.11).

"The Queen's warnings to the Crown Princess over the education of the latter's first child... 'Too much constant watching leads to the very dangers hereafter which one wishes to avoid' -- echo the advice Melbourne had given the Queen twenty years earlier, which she had then summarily ignored: 'Be not over solicitous about education. It may be able to do much, but it does not do so much as is expected from it. It may mould and direct the character, but it rarely changes it" (
The Last Princess, p.15-16).

1 comment:

Amy said...

SUCH a small world--very similar (in message) to what I posted today...Great minds, my dear!

Will be writing a long note soon. Thanks for hanging in with me...:o)



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...