A DAY IN THE QUEEN’S LIFE
Victoria and Albert had a set daily routine. She preferred to breakfast privately in her rooms at Buckingham Palace, but felt guilty about this so most mornings she ate with close family at 9am.
Afterwards, the couple walked in the palace gardens, which Albert had stocked with birds and trained them to come when he whistled. They then worked together for a couple of hours on government business and often spent an hour drawing (right).
Lunch was at 2pm and was usually a family meal. The prime minister came in the afternoon on most days. At around 5pm, Victoria and Albert went for a ride, either in a carriage or on horseback. Back at the palace they read. Victoria loved poetry and contemporary novels – Dinah Craik’s John Halifax, Gentleman was a favourite – and sometimes Albert read aloud to his wife which she enjoyed. They then spent time in the nursery.
The evening meal began at 8pm and involved their entourage and any visitors. It was not unusual to sit down with 50 people. On occasion the royal children were allowed to join in. Princess Victoria, in particular, was a precocious child and enjoyed adult company. After dinner they might go to the opera or theatre, or stay in and play music together. Both adored the music of Felix Mendelssohn.
Now and again, there would be a large society event, like a ball. Victoria loved to dance, and Buckingham Palace was a lively place. It was extremely rare for the couple to spend even a single night apart. Devoted to each other, the vast majority of their time was spent together.