07 March 2016

Jewel History: Queen Victoria at Home (1882)

"Queen Victoria at Home"
(originally appeared in the Washington Post on 9 Mar 1882)

From the Pall Mall Gazette -- The Queen [1] held the first drawing-room of the season at Buckingham Palace yesterday afternoon. The Prince [2] and Princess of Wales [3], the Duke of Edinburgh [4], Princess Christian [5], Princess Beatrice [6], the Duke of Cambridge [7], and the Duke [8] and Duchess of Teck [9] were present. About eighty presentations were made to Her Majesty.

The following account of the dresses worn by the Queen and the Princesses is given in the Court Circular this morning: "The Queen wore a dress and train of black silk, trimmed with jet embroidery and fringe, and a long white tulle veil, surmounted by a coronet of diamonds. Her Majesty also wore a necklace, brooches, and earrings of diamonds, the ribbon and star of the Order of the Garter [10], the Orders of Victoria and Albert [11], the Crown of India [12], Louise of Prussia [13], the Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese Orders, and the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Family Order.

"Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales wore a dress of golden brown wool (of British manufacture) over a jupe of golden brown velvet, with deep volant of brown marabout feathers bordered in gold, with a train of velvet lined in wool and bordered in marabouts and gold. Head dress, a tiara of diamonds, feathers, and veil; Indian ornaments, and the Orders of Victoria and Albert, the Crown of India, St. Catherine of Russia [14], and the Danish Family Order.

"Her Royal Highness Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein wore a dress of pearl gray satin handsomely trimmed with old Irish point, pearl trimmings and bunches of red poppies; ornaments, diamonds and emeralds; head dress, a tiara of diamonds, plumes, and veil. Orders: the Victoria and Albert, the Crown of India, St. Catherine of Russia, the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Family Order, the Prussian Order for Care of the Sick and Wounded [15], the Order of Louise of Prussia, and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem [16].

"Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice wore a train of two shades of Etruscan satin with a dress of cream and a gold Etruscan brocade with bouquet of flowers. Head dress, feathers, veil, and diamonds; ornaments, diamonds. Orders: Victoria and Albert, the Crown of India, and the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Family Order."


1. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (1819-1901) reigned in Britain from 1837 until 1901, now known as the Victorian era.

2. The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII of the United Kingdom (1841-1910), was Victoria's eldest son and the heir to the throne. He reigned in Britain from 1901 to 1910 and lent his name to the Edwardian era. His descendants include Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and King Harald V of Norway.

3. The Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, nee Princess Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925), married the heir to the British throne in 1863. Her parents were King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark; her siblings included Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia, King Frederik VIII of Denmark, and King George I of the Hellenes.

4. Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900) was Queen Victoria's second son. He married Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, daughter of Tsar Alexander II, in 1874. He succeeded his uncle Ernst as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893. His descendants include King Michael of Romania, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia, and Maria Vladimirovna, one of the pretenders to the throne of Russia.

5. Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, nee Princess Helena of the United Kingdom (1846-1923), was Queen Victoria's fifth child and third daughter. She married Prince Christian in 1866.

6. Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, later Princess Henry of Battenberg (1857-1944), was the youngest of Queen Victoria's nine children. She married Prince Henry in 1885. Their descendants include King Felipe VI of Spain.

7. Prince George, Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904) was a grandson of King George III, a first cousin of Queen Victoria, the brother of the Duchess of Teck, and an uncle of Mary of Teck.

8. The Duke of Teck (1837-1900) was a member of the royal family of Württemberg. He married Queen Victoria's first cousin, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, in 1866; they were the parents of Mary of Teck, queen consort of King George V. In July 1887, Victoria elevated him to the style of Highness to mark her Golden Jubilee.

9. The Duchess of Teck, nee Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge (1833-1897) was a granddaughter of King George III, a first cousin of Queen Victoria, and the mother of Mary of Teck.

10. Read more in my article on the Order of the Garter.

11. The Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, created in 1862, was awarded to female members of the British royal family and female courtiers. The last living member of the order, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, died in 1981.

12. Read more in my article on the Imperial Order of the Crown of India.

13. The Order of Louise, created in 1814, was founded in memory of Queen Louise, the late wife of King Frederick William III of Prussia. Only awarded to women, it was designed to recognize service to Germany.

14. The Order of Saint Catherine was a Russian order of chivalry for women. It was created in honor of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of Empress Catherine I of Russia; the order was instituted by Catherine's husband, Peter the Great, on her name day in 1714. Alexandra received the order from Tsar Alexander II, father-in-law of Alexandra's sister, Marie Feodorovna.  The order was effectively abolished with the 1917 Russian revolution, although one of the current pretenders to the throne, Maria Vladimirovna, also claims the right to the award it. In 2012, President Medvedev created the Order of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr to honor those who contribute to charity, humanitarian and peacekeeping work, and cultural preservation.

15. Princess Helena had a deep and abiding personal interest in the field of nursing, and this order appears to be a German society related to that field.

16. The Order of St. John of Jerusalem is an order of chivalry devoted to preventing and relieving sickness around the world. It was informally established in Britain in the 1830s; after the organization began founding ambulance associations and hospitals, Queen Victoria granted it a royal charter in 1888. Today, the order's Grand Prior is the Duke of Gloucester.