Victoria’s Secret Is That She’s Daft.

I found the following story at Futility Closet. Their post is here.

Queen Victoria was a steady diary-writer, especially during her early years as monarch. Her diaries have since been published and, while I've never actually read any of them myself, I keep hearing how her early diaries reinforce the fact that she was only your average teenage girl when she took the throne. My supervisor went so far as to call the young Victoria "a rather vapid young woman, and the things she wrote in her diary were drivel." We tend to think of her as this stern old lady who was grandmother to half the monarchs in Europe and Empress of a quarter of the globe. But at one point, at least, she was tremendously insipid.

Lytton Strachey wrote the following conversation between Queen Victoria and a Mr. Greville [probably Charles Greville, the diarist] in his biography. The conversation took place in 1838, only a year after Victoria took the throne, but Strachey didn't write this until 1921. While he is reporting this conversation that he's heard second-hand and therefore may not be totally accurate, it does give a good indication of Victoria's uninspiring early behavior:

"‘Have you been riding to-day, Mr. Greville?’ asked the Queen.

‘No, Madam, I have not,’ replied Mr. Greville.

‘It was a fine day,’ continued the Queen.

‘Yes, Madam, a very fine day,’ said Mr. Greville.

‘It was rather cold, though,’ said the Queen.

‘It was rather cold, Madam,’ said Mr. Greville.

‘Your sister, Lady Frances Egerton, rides, I think, doesn’t she?’ said the Queen.

‘She does ride sometimes, Madam,’ said Mr. Greville. There was a pause, after which Mr. Greville ventured to take the lead, though he did not venture to change the subject. ‘Has your Majesty been riding today?’ asked Mr. Greville.

‘Oh yes, a very long ride,’ answered the Queen with animation.

‘Has your Majesty got a nice horse?’ said Mr. Greville.

‘Oh, a very nice horse,’ said the Queen.

It was over. Her Majesty gave a smile and an inclination of the head, Mr. Greville a profound bow, and the next conversation began with the next gentleman.”

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