Victorian London - People - Queen Victoria

The Queen is natural, good-humoured, and cheerful, but still she is Queen, and by her must the social habits and the tone of conversation be regulated, and for this she is too young and inexperienced. She sits at a large round table, her guests around it, and Melbourne always in a chair beside her, where two mortal hours are consumed in such conversation as can be found, which appears to be, and really is, very uphill work. This, however, is the only bad part of the whole, the rest of the day is passed without the slightest constraint, trouble, or annoyance to anybody; each person is at liberty to employ himself or herself as best pleases them, though very little is done in common, and in this respect Windsor is totally unlike any other place. There is none of the sociability which makes the agreeableness of an English country house; there is no room in which the guests assemble, sit, lounge and talk as they please and when they please; there is a billiard table but in such a remote corner of the Castle that it might as well be in the town of Windsor; and there is a library well stocked with books, but hardly accessible, imperfectly warmed, and only tenanted by the librarian; it is a mere library, too, unfurnished, and offering none of the comforts and luxuries of a habitable room. There are two breakfast rooms, one for the ladies and the guests and the other for the equerries, but when the meal is over everybody disperses, and nothing but another meal reunites the company, so that, in fact, there is no society whatever, little trouble, little etiquette, but very little resource or amusement.

C.C.F.Greville Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria, 1837-1852 1885

see also David Bartlett in London by Day and Night - click here

Victorian London - Publications - Humour - Punch - cartoon 36

(ALADDIN, adapted)

Punch, 15th April, 1876