Monday, December 3, 2012

Queen Victoria's Wedding (Part 13): An Ordinary Woman

Queen Victoria, 1843
Painting commissioned by Queen Victoria as a gift for Prince Albert
Painter: William Essex
Copyright Royal Collection.
Photo Source: The Whitterings of Vix
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

For the next forty minutes, the Queen of the Empire would enjoy the rarest and most precious experience of being treated like an ordinary woman. Up until now, her every appearance revolved around her sovereignty. On this, the 10th of February, 1840, one can almost imagine the giddy butterflies dancing in her belly as the Archbishop addressed her by her given name, Victoria, rather than by the customary royal title, Your Majesty.

This would be the first of many Mondays in which Victoria would enjoy the privilege of being a woman first and a Queen second. In truth, this would not be an easy transition for her. However, it was a challenge she embraced with everything she had, and on this day she pledged herself to a man who would do his best to encourage her to balance the two with grace and aplomb.

Even the poets understood the sacred nature of these precious, nearly ordinary moments for the Queen.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote of the occasion:

She vows to love who vowed to rule (the chosen at her side),
Let none say, God preserve the Queen! but rather, Bless the Bride!
None blow the trump, none bend the knee, none violate the dream,
Wherein no monarch, but a wife, she to herself may seem.
Or, if ye say, Preserve the Queen! oh, breathe it inward low--
She is a
woman, and beloved! and ‘tis enough but so. {Weintraub}

And Charles Sheridan Brown wrote:
A diadem thou wearest now,
Of gems and jewels rare.
But love shall deck thy sunny brow,
And wreathe his chapel there;
Too oft, alas! the golden ring
A monarch’s cares betide—
Affections wreath its charms shall fling
Round England’s Royal Bride. {A Lady}

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