Queen Victoria: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview
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17
ROBERT PEEL

'I cannot understand how anyone can wish for such a thing, especially at the beginning of a marriage.'

WITHIN A FEW WEEKS of her marriage the Queen discovered herself to be pregnant; and this event was to mark a profound change in the Prince's career as Consort. The Queen, however, was dismayed. It was 'the ONLY thing' she dreaded. She was 'furious'. It was 'too dreadful', she told Prince Leopold. She 'could not be more unhappy', she confessed to the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Y-Gotha. 'I am really upset about it and it is spoiling my happiness; I have always hated the idea and I prayed God night and day to be left free for at least six months . . . I cannot understand how anyone can wish for such a thing, especially at the beginning of a marriage.' 1 And if her 'plagues' were to be 'rewarded only by a nasty girl', she told King Leopold that she would drown it. 2

Shortly before the birth she was to consult Charles Locock, the obstetrician, who confessed to his friend, Lady Mahon, that he 'felt shy and embarrassed' but that she 'very soon put him at his ease'.

She had not the slightest reserve é was always ready to express Herself, in respect to her present situation, in the very plainest terms possible [Locock confided in Lady Mahon who told her friend, Charles Arbuthnot, who, in turn, passed the account on to his friend, the Duke of Wellington]. She asked Locock whether she would suffer much pain. He replied that some pain was to be expected, but that he had no doubt Her Majesty would bear it very well. 'Oh yes,' said the Queen, 'I can bear pain as well as other People.' . . . Locock left Her Majesty without any very good impressions of Her; é with the certainty that She will be very ugly é

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