Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Christmas, 1832 Style
The following is an entry from Queen Victoria's diary from 1832, when she was 13. That's five years before she became queen, in case you're wondering. The picture here shows her at about that age, along with her mother, the Duchess of Kent. I've abridged the entry slightly to get rid of some not-very-interesting and not-relevant-to-Christmas bits (like who came over for lunch, that sort of thing.) Some things about Christmas then and Christmas today are surprisingly similar: though they exchanged Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve, they had Christmas trees with candles and ornaments and presents arranged around their foot.
I hope you find this interesting--and Merry Christmas to all of you!
Monday, 24th December
"...At a 1/4 to 7 we dined with the whole Conroy family and Mr. Hore downstairs, as our Christmas tables were arranged in our dining-room. After dinner we went upstairs. I then saw Flora, the dog which Sir John was going to give Mamma. Aunt Sophia came also. We then went into the drawing-room near the dining-room. After Mamma had rung a bell three times we went in. There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed around the tree. I had one table for myself and the Conroy family had the other together. Lehzen [Victoria's governess] had likewise a litle table. Mamma gave me a little lovely pink bag which she had worked with a little sachet likewise done by her; a beautiful little opal brooch adn earrings, books, some lovely prints, a pink satin dress and a cloak lined with fur. Aunt Sophia gave me a dress which she worked herself, and Aunt Mary a pair of amethyst earrings. Lehzen a lovely music book. Victoire a very pretty white bag worked by herself, and Sir John a silver brush. I gave Lehzen some little things and Mamma gave her a writing table. We then went into my room where I had arranged Mamma's table. I gave Mamma a white bag which I had worked, a collar and a steel chain for Flora, and an Annual; Aunt Sophia a pair of turquoise earrings; Lehzen a little white and gold pincushion and a pin with two little gold hearts hanging onto it; Sir John, Flora, a book-holder and an Annual. Mamma then took me up into my bedroom with all the ladies. There was my new toilette table with a white muslin cover over pink, and all my silver things standing up on it with a fine new looking-glass. I stayed up till 1/2 past 9...."