Encounters With Victoria

Episodes

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1: Kinky Lord M20190506

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, begins a new 10 part exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

1: Accession Day & Kinky Lord M - 1837
Charming, saturnine, worldly-wise and interested in sadistic sexual practices, Lord Melbourne appears in Queen Victoria's journal at 9am on the day she becomes Queen. He will guide her through the day's ceremonies and controversies, fending off on her behalf her disliked mother and former guardian, John Conroy. Lord M., as she called him, was soon half in love with his 18-year-old mistress, but this could be politically dangerous to the young Queen who was too stubborn and headstrong to listen to what her mother, wiser and more loving that she’s given credit for, had to say. With historian Philip Ziegler.
Reader: Sarah Ovens, Michael Bertenshaw, Sabine Scherek & Rhianna Warne
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters. 1: 1837

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

2: Poor Lady Flora20190507

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters
2: Poor Lady Flora - 1839

The new Queen's greatest weakness was her close political association with the powerful Whigs. One of the ways their Tory enemies capitalised on this was through Lady Flora Hastings. A young, unmarried, lady-in-waiting at Buckingham Palace, Lady Flora was observed in the spring of 1839 to have a swelling in the stomach. Victoria, suspecting that she was 'privately married' (i.e. pregnant) insisted that Lady Flora be brutally examined by her own doctor. The Tories stoked rumours that the young Queen's court, ruled over by the cynical Lord Melbourne, had become a scandalous, debauched place. And when Lady Flora died of what turned out to be liver disease, Victoria was roundly criticised as heartless. With this story of wombs and misunderstandings, the gloss had come off the young Queen's crown.
With the historian Kathryn Hughes.
Readers: Michael Bertenshaw, Susan Jameson & Sarah Ovens Producer: Mark Burman

1839. Scandal and crisis embroil the young queen.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

3: A Wounded Welshman20190508

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters
3: A Wounded Welshman - 9 December 1839.
Welshman Thomas Phillips, Mayor of Newport, was not the usual sort of person who got invited to dinner at Windsor Castle, a point that Victoria's courtiers made very clear. But in 1839, he was invited to the castle to receive a knighthood. A month earlier, he’d been wounded while helping to put down an armed rebellion of 10,000 Chartist sympathisers. Many of them coal miners, they’d marched on Newport, many furious about the recent rejection of the People's Charter calling for Universal Suffrage. This was the last large-scale armed uprising against the state in mainland Britain, and it became a massacre as hidden troops opened fire. Phillips, the Mayor, was wounded in the fracas and now became lionised for quelling the revolution. After receiving his knighthood at Windsor Castle, and after a good deal of muttering from her courtiers, he did indeed sit down to eat with the Queen. It was her way of dealing with the demands - to which she would lifelong be deaf - for widening the electoral roll. But the Chartists so spooked the Royals that they fled for the 'safety' of the Isle of Wight.
With historians Les James, Rhian E. Jones & curator Oliver Blackmore .
Readers: Sarah Ovens, Michael Bertenshaw & Kenny Blythe
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Victoria's reign via significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

4: The Governess20190509

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.4: The Governess-3 September 1842

An important event is missing from Victoria's diary entry for 23 September 1842. It was actually only her mother's diary which tells us that this was the way that Victoria’s old governess, Louise Lehzen, slipped away from Windsor Castle without saying goodbye. Lehzen, who had been a second mother to Victoria, and who instilled her with her stiff - possibly inflexible - standards, had fallen out with the increasingly powerful Prince Albert, who’d taken over the running of the Royal Household. 'I could pardon wickedness in a Queen but not weakness’, Lehzen had told her princess, and now her former pupil now showed no weakness in dismissing her former governess without a word. A last sad glimpse of Lehzen comes from the years of her retirement to her native Germany, where she compiled a scrapbook of memories of the girl she loved. Lehzen even went to the station to wave as Victoria steamed past on a royal tour. The train did not stop.

Readers: Joseph Ayre, Bea Behlen, Sarah Ovens & Sabine Fischer
Producer: Mark Burman

1842. Victoria's old governess, Louise Lehzen, is dismissed from Windsor Castle.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

5: American Idols20190510

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

5: American Idols - 1844 & 1887.

Victoria was a global celebrity, adept at exploiting her image. And she learned a few tricks from some of the extraordinarily popular entertainers who proved that her Majesty was often very amused indeed. In 1844, the diminutive American performer whose stage name was Tom Thumb made a side-splitting appearance at Buckingham Palace. In a parody of court etiquette, he said 'much obliged Mama' when he shook the Queen's hand, and fought her dog with a sword. Like Victoria herself, Tom Thumb’s manager, showman P.T. Barnum, knew the power of brand management. Having Tom Thumb to the palace made the queen look human, while Barnum got a lucrative Royal endorsement. By 1887, the biggest show in town was again American: Buffalo Bill's Wild West: a whooping, tootin', gun-firing maelstrom of action, and Victoria commanded a private performance. It was thrilling and dangerous, but also a celebration of the guns which would allow Western Europe to ‘conquer’ the unknown. Tom Thumb and Buffalo Bill gave the queen who’d become an empress both entertainment – and education.

With historian Helen Davies, V&A curator & writer Nicholas Rankin
Readers: Sarah Ovens, Kenny Blyth
Producer: Mark Burman

1844 and 1887 - Victoria meets Tom Thumb and Buffalo Bill.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

8: An Encounter with Death, 13 December 186120190515

Lucy Worsley, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, continues her exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters. 8: An Encounter With Death-13th December 1861.

'A time of awful anxiety, but still all full of hope. It was a crisis, a struggle of strength.’ So wrote Victoria in her journal for 13 December 1861, thankful that her husband Albert had passed through the worst of his mysterious illness (today it seems possible it was Crohn's Disease). But there is no entry for 14 December, which turned out to be the worst day of her life because Albert relapsed and died. Victoria, perhaps the most powerful woman in the world, could not stop her husband from slipping away from her. As everyone noticed, he hadn’t really wanted to live. Using the account book of the royal pharmacist, this episode examines what was wrong with Albert, explores Victoria’s grief, and begins to probe how eventually she would get her confidence back and manage without him.

With the historian Helen Rappaport

Readers: Susan Jameson, Sarah Ovens
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Victoria's reign via significant encounters. Death 1861.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

9: Mutiny Against an Indian20190516

Lucy Worsley, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.9: Mutiny Against An Indian-1897.

The elderly Queen Victoria enhanced Osborne House, her holiday home on the Isle of Wight, with an Indian-style party room called the Durbar Room. Its attendant gallery of portraits reveals Victoria's passionate identification with her role as Empress of India. Amongst the paintings, Abdul Karim, her favourite servant (and teacher of Urdu) stands out. This last significant relationship in the twilight of her reign had deep ramifications for her court. Abdul became the royal ‘favourite’, and the old-fashioned jealousy that this position had always attracted was made worse, in his case, by racism. A plot to get rid of Abdul grew to a crisis in a second holiday location, the huge luxury hotel with a private wing built for the queen for her holidays in Nice on the Côte d’Azur. Racial prejudice, social snobbery, accusations of treason and eventually the claim that the queen had ‘gone mad’ all played their part in the conspiracy against Abdul.

With the historians Priya Atwal and Shrabani Basu.

Readers: Kenny Blyth, Susan Jameson, Abdul Wahab Rafique
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley reveals Queen Victoria's rule via significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Episode 10: The Sinking of a Great Ship - 25th January 190120190517

Lucy Worsley, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, concludes her explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters with her final days.10: Bishop Randall Davidson-25 January 1901.

The Queen had reigned for so long that few could remember the protocol for the passing of a monarch, but now Victoria's last days were drawing near. On 22 January 1902, a crowd of family and servants, two emperors and numerous nurses, gathered at the dying Queen's bedside at Osborne House. Among them was Bishop Randall Davidson, one of the few people towards whom Victoria had friendly feelings even if their relationship had begun with a tremendous row over her desire to publish a eulogy to John Brown.

Summonsed on the eve of her death Davidson deeply felt the weight of history, he recorded every step of his journey across the sea to the island, and every family feud that broke out in the room where the queen died. His journal, now in the Lambeth Palace Archives, is a revealing on-the-spot history of exactly what happened as Britain's longest reigning monarch breathed her last. Most of the people present had their own very different ideas of what she was thinking about when she died, as she’d lived, under the hungry gaze of other people.

With the writer and historian A.N. Wilson
Readers: Michael Bertenshaw, Susan Jameson, Sara Ovens
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley concludes her exploration of Victoria's reign via significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Episode 6: The Dresser20190513

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, continues her 10 part exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters 6: The Dresser- Frieda Arnold 1854

Queen Victoria found her personal staff - the ‘invisible people’ who kept her household running - through recommendations from her German relatives, and this is how Frieda Arnold, from Karlsruhe, entered her service. When Frieda arrived at Windsor Castle in 1854, Victoria would have found her new dresser quiet and efficient, and wouldn’t have suspected that she was sending detailed reports back to Germany revealing exactly what it was like to live at Windsor Castle. Frieda spent years in the closest of daily contact with the Queen whose clothes she cared for, garments including the beautiful dressing gown with mauve bows featured in this episode. The Queen’s wardrobe, sumptuous in quality but un-showy in style, formed a big part of her middle-of-the-road appeal. Women like Frieda, who saw the queen both in and out of her clothes, grew very intimate with her, and became almost her friends.

Readers: Michael Bertenshaw, Sarah Ovens, Sabine Schereck
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Episode 7: A Nightingale at Balmoral - Florence Nightingale 185620190514

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, continues her 10 part exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters. 7: A Nightingale at Balmoral -Florence Nightingale- September 1856

Miss Florence Nightingale and her nurses had put the British Army to shame with their exposure, in Crimea, of the shockingly poor medical treatment given to the soldier. Florence became a celebrity, and Queen Victoria was a huge fan, admiring Miss Nightingale’s modesty and her apparently tender care for her men. In reality, Florence was an ambitious, tenacious and entirely un-Victorian woman, who had the trick of maintaining the self-effacing manner that powerful men would respect. In 1856 Florence accepted an invitation to Balmoral, not because she admired the Queen, but because she wanted to argue the case for medical reform. At Balmoral, the cool veteran of Crimea found Victoria shallow: 'the least self-reliant person’ she’d ever known. Florence also though that queen, pregnant for the ninth time, was too fond of dancing at the whiskey-fuelled Balmoral balls. During their time together in the pseudo-Scottish fantasy land of Balmoral, no one had a very good time, and each of the two very different women failed to understand each other.
With the historian Mark Bostridge

Readers: Susan Jameson,Sarah Ovens

Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Omnibus (1/2)20190510

Lucy Worsley explores Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Omnibus (2/2)20190517

Lucy Worsley reveals Victoria's rule via significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

01Kinky Lord M20190506

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, begins a new 10 part exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

1: Accession Day & Kinky Lord M - 1837
Charming, saturnine, worldly-wise and interested in sadistic sexual practices, Lord Melbourne appears in Queen Victoria's journal at 9am on the day she becomes Queen. He will guide her through the day's ceremonies and controversies, fending off on her behalf her presumptuous and disliked mother and former guardian, Sir John Conroy. Lord M, as she called him, was soon half in love with his 18-year-old mistress, but this could be politically dangerous to the young Queen. With historian Philip Ziegler
Reader: Sarah Ovens, Michael Bertenshaw, Kenny Blythe.
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, begins a new 10 part exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

1: Accession Day & Kinky Lord M - 1837
Charming, saturnine, worldly-wise and interested in sadistic sexual practices, Lord Melbourne appears in Queen Victoria's journal at 9am on the day she becomes Queen. He will guide her through the day's ceremonies and controversies, fending off on her behalf her disliked mother and former guardian, John Conroy. Lord M., as she called him, was soon half in love with his 18-year-old mistress, but this could be politically dangerous to the young Queen who was too stubborn and headstrong to listen to what her mother, wiser and more loving that she’s given credit for, had to say. With historian Philip Ziegler.
Reader: Sarah Ovens, Michael Bertenshaw, Sabine Scherek & Rhianna Warne
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters. 1: 1837

02Poor Lady Flora20190507

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters
2: Poor Lady Flora - 1839

The new Queen's great Achilles heel politically was her close association with the Whig party. One of the ways the Tories capitalised on this was through Lady Flora Hastings. A young, unmarried, lady-in-waiting at Buckingham Palace, Lady Flora was observed in the spring of 1839 to have a swelling in the stomach. Victoria, suspecting that she was 'privately married' (i.e. pregnant) insisted that she be brutally examined by her own doctor. The Tories stoked rumours that the young Queen's court, ruled over by Lord M., had become a scandalous, debauched place. And when Lady Flora died of what turned out to be liver disease, Victoria was roundly criticised as heartless. The gloss had come off the young Queen's crown.

With the historians Kathryn Hughes & Philip Ziegler
Readers: Sarah Ovens, Michael Bertenshaw & Kenny Blyth
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters
2: Poor Lady Flora - 1839

The new Queen's greatest weakness was her close political association with the powerful Whigs. One of the ways their Tory enemies capitalised on this was through Lady Flora Hastings. A young, unmarried, lady-in-waiting at Buckingham Palace, Lady Flora was observed in the spring of 1839 to have a swelling in the stomach. Victoria, suspecting that she was 'privately married' (i.e. pregnant) insisted that Lady Flora be brutally examined by her own doctor. The Tories stoked rumours that the young Queen's court, ruled over by the cynical Lord Melbourne, had become a scandalous, debauched place. And when Lady Flora died of what turned out to be liver disease, Victoria was roundly criticised as heartless. With this story of wombs and misunderstandings, the gloss had come off the young Queen's crown.
With the historian Kathryn Hughes.
Readers: Michael Bertenshaw, Susan Jameson & Sarah Ovens Producer: Mark Burman

1839. Scandal and crisis embroil the young queen.

03A Wounded Welshman20190508

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters
3: A Wounded Welshman - 9 December 1839.

Sir Thomas Phillips, Mayor of Newport, was not the usual sort of person who got invited to dinner at Windsor Castle, a point that Victoria's courtiers made very clear. But in 1839, Queen Victoria had a particular point to make. In November, 10,000 Chartist sympathisers had marched on Newport, many of them coal miners who were furious about the recent rejection of the People's Charter calling for Universal Suffrage It led to the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in Great Britain & a massacre as hidden troops opened fire. Thomas Phillips, the Mayor, was both deeply implicated & also wounded in the fracas but would be held up as a hero in quelling such revolutionary uprisings. He was rewarded with a knighthood, issued to him at Windsor Castle, and afterwards, despite a good deal of muttering and naysaying, sat down to eat with the Queen. It was her way of dealing with the demands - to which she would lifelong be deaf - for widening the electoral roll. The prospect of revolution would continue to haunt the imaginations of Britain's rulers as successive European monarchs were overthrown and there would be one final Chartist massing. It so spooked the Royals that they fled for the 'safety' of the Isle of Wight.
With historians Les James, Rhian E. Jones & curator Oliver Blackmore.
Readers: Sarah Ovens, Michael Bertenshaw & Kenny Blythe
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Victoria's reign via significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters
3: A Wounded Welshman - 9 December 1839.
Welshman Thomas Phillips, Mayor of Newport, was not the usual sort of person who got invited to dinner at Windsor Castle, a point that Victoria's courtiers made very clear. But in 1839, he was invited to the castle to receive a knighthood. A month earlier, he’d been wounded while helping to put down an armed rebellion of 10,000 Chartist sympathisers. Many of them coal miners, they’d marched on Newport, many furious about the recent rejection of the People's Charter calling for Universal Suffrage. This was the last large-scale armed uprising against the state in mainland Britain, and it became a massacre as hidden troops opened fire. Phillips, the Mayor, was wounded in the fracas and now became lionised for quelling the revolution. After receiving his knighthood at Windsor Castle, and after a good deal of muttering from her courtiers, he did indeed sit down to eat with the Queen. It was her way of dealing with the demands - to which she would lifelong be deaf - for widening the electoral roll. But the Chartists so spooked the Royals that they fled for the 'safety' of the Isle of Wight.
With historians Les James, Rhian E. Jones & curator Oliver Blackmore.
Readers: Sarah Ovens, Michael Bertenshaw & Kenny Blythe
Producer: Mark Burman

04The Governess20190509

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

4: The Governess - 3 September 1842

Something important is missing from Victoria's diary of 23 September 1842. It was actually her mother's diary which tells us that this was the way that her old governess, Louise Lehzen, slipped away from Windsor Castle without saying goodbye. Lehzen, who had been a second mother to Victoria, and who instilled her with her upright - some might say inflexible - standards, had fallen out with Prince Albert, who, growing in power, had taken over the running of the Royal Household. 'It is better to be wicked than to be weak', Lehzen had told her princess, and now her former pupil now showed no weakness in dismissing her former governess without a word. A last sad glimpse of Lehzen comes from the years of her retirement to her native Germany. She went to the station to wave as Victoria steamed past on a royal tour. The train did not stop.
Readers: Sarah Ovens, Bea Behlen, Joseph Ayre
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.4: The Governess-3 September 1842

An important event is missing from Victoria's diary entry for 23 September 1842. It was actually only her mother's diary which tells us that this was the way that Victoria’s old governess, Louise Lehzen, slipped away from Windsor Castle without saying goodbye. Lehzen, who had been a second mother to Victoria, and who instilled her with her stiff - possibly inflexible - standards, had fallen out with the increasingly powerful Prince Albert, who’d taken over the running of the Royal Household. 'I could pardon wickedness in a Queen but not weakness’, Lehzen had told her princess, and now her former pupil now showed no weakness in dismissing her former governess without a word. A last sad glimpse of Lehzen comes from the years of her retirement to her native Germany, where she compiled a scrapbook of memories of the girl she loved. Lehzen even went to the station to wave as Victoria steamed past on a royal tour. The train did not stop.

Readers: Joseph Ayre, Bea Behlen, Sarah Ovens & Sabine Fischer
Producer: Mark Burman

1842. Victoria's old governess, Louise Lehzen, is dismissed from Windsor Castle.

05American Idols20190510

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

5: American Idols - 1844 & 1887.

Beginning with Tom Thumb's grand but diminutive entrance in 1844, American celebrity eagerly beat a path to the Royal door. Both Victoria and stars like Tom Thumb and his irrepressible promoter P.T. Barnum realized the power of celebrity and branding in this new age. A Royal endorsement was box office and also extended the Queen's own celebrity. 'Tom Thumb' or rather Charles Stratton was brought to London by his American impresario, and received an invitation to Buckingham Palace. In a parody of court etiquette, he said 'much obliged Mama' when he shook the Queen's hand, and fought her dog with a sword. He was most correct in following the rule of reversing out of the room, without turning his back on the monarch, but as they were in the long gallery this took him a considerable, and considerably amusing, length of time. However, his antics were a little crude for the Queen, who thought him a 'poor little thing', and wished 'he could be properly cared for, for the people who show him off tease him a good deal'. By 1887 the biggest show in town was Buffalo Bill's Wild West -an all whooping, rootin' tootin', gun firing maelstrom of action that Victoria and her court adored. Various Royal figures were delighted to be ridden in the ' Deadwood Stagecoach' menaced by war painted Indians.

With historian Helen Davies, V&A curator & writer Nicholas Rankin
Readers: Sarah Ovens, Kenny Blyth
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

5: American Idols - 1844 & 1887.

Victoria was a global celebrity, adept at exploiting her image. And she learned a few tricks from some of the extraordinarily popular entertainers who proved that her Majesty was often very amused indeed. In 1844, the diminutive American performer whose stage name was Tom Thumb made a side-splitting appearance at Buckingham Palace. In a parody of court etiquette, he said 'much obliged Mama' when he shook the Queen's hand, and fought her dog with a sword. Like Victoria herself, Tom Thumb’s manager, showman P.T. Barnum, knew the power of brand management. Having Tom Thumb to the palace made the queen look human, while Barnum got a lucrative Royal endorsement. By 1887, the biggest show in town was again American: Buffalo Bill's Wild West: a whooping, tootin', gun-firing maelstrom of action, and Victoria commanded a private performance. It was thrilling and dangerous, but also a celebration of the guns which would allow Western Europe to ‘conquer’ the unknown. Tom Thumb and Buffalo Bill gave the queen who’d become an empress both entertainment – and education.

With historian Helen Davies, V&A curator & writer Nicholas Rankin
Readers: Sarah Ovens, Kenny Blyth
Producer: Mark Burman

1844 and 1887 - Victoria meets Tom Thumb and Buffalo Bill.

06The Dresser20190513

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, continues her 10 part exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters 6: The Dresser- Frieda Arnold 1854

Queen Victoria found her personal staff - the ‘invisible people’ who kept her household running - through recommendations from her German relatives, and this is how Frieda Arnold, from Karlsruhe, entered her service. When Frieda arrived at Windsor Castle in 1854, Victoria would have found her new dresser quiet and efficient, and wouldn’t have suspected that she was sending detailed reports back to Germany revealing exactly what it was like to live at Windsor Castle. Frieda spent years in the closest of daily contact with the Queen whose clothes she cared for, garments including the beautiful dressing gown with mauve bows featured in this episode. The Queen’s wardrobe, sumptuous in quality but un-showy in style, formed a big part of her middle-of-the-road appeal. Women like Frieda, who saw the queen both in and out of her clothes, grew very intimate with her, and became almost her friends.

Readers: Michael Bertenshaw, Sarah Ovens, Sabine Scherek
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

07Florence Nightingale20190514

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, continues her 10 part exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters. 7: Florence Nightingale - 21 September 1856

Miss Florence Nightingale and her nurses had put the British Army to shame in the Crimea with their exposure of the deficiencies of its medical care. Victoria, who greatly admired Florence's modest, maidenly, yet apparently tender care for her men. In reality an ambitious, tenacious and entirely modern woman, Florence nevertheless knew how to play by the Victorian rules, and kept up a self-effacing manner. Florence accepted an invitation to Balmoral - not because she admired the Queen in return, far from it, but because she wanted to argue the case for army reform. At Balmoral, the cool veteran of the Crimea found the Queen shallow: 'the least self-reliant person she had ever known'. Florence also though that Victoria, pregnant for the ninth time, was too fond of undignified reeling at a whiskey-drenched Balmoral ball. Two of Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians actually spent several days together in a weird pseudo-Scottish fantasy land of Balmoral, but no one had a very good time. Albert was more interested in Florence's administrative schemes, but in return she found him - with enormous perception - to be 'a person who wanted to die.'

With the historian Mark Bostridge

Readers: Susan Jameson,Sarah Ovens
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

08An Encounter With Death, 13 December 186120190515

Lucy Worsley, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, continues her exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters. 8: An Encounter With Death-13th December 1861.

'A time of awful anxiety, but still all full of hope. It was a crisis, a struggle of strength.’ So wrote Victoria in her journal for 13 December 1861, thankful that her husband Albert had passed through the worst of his mysterious illness (today it seems possible it was Crohn's Disease). But there is no entry for 14 December, which turned out to be the worst day of her life because Albert relapsed and died. Victoria, perhaps the most powerful woman in the world, could not stop her husband from slipping away from her. As everyone noticed, he hadn’t really wanted to live. Using the account book of the royal pharmacist, this episode examines what was wrong with Albert, explores Victoria’s grief, and begins to probe how eventually she would get her confidence back and manage without him.

With the historian Helen Rappaport

Readers: Susan Jameson, Sarah Ovens
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley explores Victoria's reign via significant encounters. Death 1861.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

09Mutiny Against An Indian20190516

Lucy Worsley, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.9: Mutiny Against An Indian-1897.

The elderly Queen Victoria enhanced Osborne House, her holiday home on the Isle of Wight, with an Indian-style party room called the Durbar Room. Its attendant gallery of portraits reveals Victoria's passionate identification with her role as Empress of India. Amongst the paintings, Abdul Karim, her favourite servant (and teacher of Urdu) stands out. This last significant relationship in the twilight of her reign had deep ramifications for her court. Abdul became the royal ‘favourite’, and the old-fashioned jealousy that this position had always attracted was made worse, in his case, by racism. A plot to get rid of Abdul grew to a crisis in a second holiday location, the huge luxury hotel with a private wing built for the queen for her holidays in Nice on the Côte d’Azur. Racial prejudice, social snobbery, accusations of treason and eventually the claim that the queen had ‘gone mad’ all played their part in the conspiracy against Abdul.

With the historians Priya Atwal and Shrabani Basu.

Readers: Kenny Blyth, Susan Jameson, Abdul Wahab Rafique
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley reveals Queen Victoria's rule via significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

10Bishop Randall Davidson20190517

Lucy Worsley, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, concludes her explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters with her final days.10: Bishop Randall Davidson-25 January 1901.

Queen Victoria has reigned for so long that few can remember Royal protocol for the passing of a monarch and the accession of the new but now Victoria's last days are drawing in. It is 25 January 1901. The crowd of family and servants, from two emperors to the nurses, which had gathered at the dying Queen's bedside two days previously has dispersed: to sleep, to mourn, to write letters to friends. Bishop Randall Davidson makes the journey across the sea to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight to administer prayers and thoughts. His own journal, now in the Lambeth Palace Archives, is a revealing chronicle of procedure and on the spot history as Britain's longest reigning monarch breathed her last.
With the writer and historian A.N. Wilson
Readers: Michael Bertenshaw, Susan Jameson, Sara Ovens
Producer: Mark Burman

Lucy Worsley concludes her exploration of Victoria's reign via significant encounters.

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.

OMNI01Omnibus (1/2)20190510
OMNI02Omnibus (2/2)20190517