Cultural depictions of Queen Victoria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India has been portrayed or referenced many times.

Literature[edit]

In 1937 Lord Chamberlain the Earl of Cromer ruled that no British sovereign may be portrayed on the British stage until 100 years after his or her accession. For this reason, Laurence Housman's play Victoria Regina (1935), which had earlier appeared at the Gate Theatre Studio in London with Pamela Stanley in the title role, could not have its British premiere until the centenary of Queen Victoria's accession, 20 June 1937. This was a Sunday, so the new premiere took place the next day, at the Lyric Theatre. Pamela Stanley reprised the title role at Housman's request, and Carl Esmond played Prince Albert.[1] The play later appeared on Broadway, where Helen Hayes portrayed the Queen, with Vincent Price in the role of Prince Albert.

A 'Royal Diaries' book was written, documenting her childhood between 1829 and 1830: Victoria, May Blossom of Britannia by Anna Kirwan.

The Victorian age is experienced through the eyes of the fictional Morland family in The Abyss, The Hidden Shore, The Winter Journey, The Outcast, The Mirage, The Cause, The Homecoming and The Question, Volumes 18–25 respectively of The Morland Dynasty, a series of historical novels by author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. One of the characters becomes Victoria's devoted lady-in-waiting.

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles also wrote I Victoria, a fictional autobiography of Queen Victoria.

Film[edit]

On screen, Victoria has been portrayed by:

She also makes appearances in Around the World in Eighty Days (in which a newspaper detailing Phileas Fogg's progress is taken to the Queen, and what is presumably the royal hand is seen eagerly taking it up), and in the 2004 anime movie Steamboy, inaugurating The Great Exhibition. The 1941 Nazi film Ohm Krüger notoriously portrays her as a whisky-soaked drunk.[2] Her daughter-in-law, the Princess of Wales, reads a letter from Victoria to London Hospital governors, showing her concern for John Merrick, in the 1980 film The Elephant Man.

Television[edit]

On television, Victoria has been portrayed by:

Monty Python's Flying Circus portrays Queen Victoria as a slapstick prankster and includes a sketch in which she says "We are not amused" in German accented English. Another Monty Python sketch contains a footrace in which all the contestants are dressed as Queen Victoria.

In a series of sketches portraying the Phantom Raspberry Blower, the Two Ronnies dress an entire squad of policemen as Queen Victoria to act as body doubles for protection from the PRB.

In the 2006 series of Doctor Who, Queen Victoria appears in the episode Tooth and Claw, where she is played by Pauline Collins. In the episode, set in 1879, she is threatened by a werewolf that wants to infect her and take control of her empire. It is suggested that a scratch from the werewolf is the source of haemophilia in many of her descendants. Rose Tyler makes a bet with the Doctor for £10 that she can get the Queen to say "We are not amused". At the episode's conclusion, she founds the Torchwood Institute, an integral feature of the spin-off series Torchwood, with various (fictional) speeches and proclamations by her available on the Torchwood Institute website. In 2008, the Doctor's former companion Sarah Jane Smith, notes Her Majesty's awareness of aliens in The Sarah Jane Adventures episode, "Enemy of the Bane", to which her young apprentice Rani Chandra responds, "I'll bet she wasn't amused."

The BBC series Blackadder Goes Forth, set in World War I, alludes humorously to Queen Victoria's heritage. Captain Blackadder interrogates Captain Kevin Darling whom he suspects to be a German spy. Captain Darling: "I'm as British as Queen Victoria!" Captain Blackadder: "So your father's German, you're half German and you married a German?".

Statues[edit]

Statue of Queen Victoria in front of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia
Queen Victoria Square and statue Sturt Street, Ballarat
Statue of Victoria by Louis-Philippe Hébert on Parliament Hill. Ottawa, Canada.

One of Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll`s works as a sculptor is the statue of her Royal mother Queen Victoria erected in front of the Royal Victoria College, McGill University Montreal .[3]

The prominent Victoria Memorial stands in Kolkata (Calcutta), and in Bangalore the statue of the Queen stands at the beginning of MG Road, one of the city's major roads.[4] In the town of Cape Coast, Ghana, a bust of the Queen presides, rather forlornly, over a small park where goats graze around her.[5] In Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, a statue toward the harbour from the centre of Kent and Cambridge Terraces. There is also a Queen Victoria Statue in the heart of Valletta, Malta's capital.

In Hong Kong, a statue of Queen Victoria is located on the east side of Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island. The statue once sat in Statue Square in Central but was removed and sent to Tokyo to be destroyed at the time of Japanese occupation of the territory, during World War II. With Japan's defeat and subsequent retreat in 1945, The United Kingdom recovered Hong Kong, and the statue was retrieved and placed in the park.

In Pietermaritzburg, capital of the South African province of KwaZulu Natal, formerly the British colony of Natal before formation of the Union of South Africa, there is a statue of Victoria in front of the provincial legislature building, the former parliament building of the colony of Natal. There is also a statue of Queen Victoria in front of the South African Parliament.

Most of the large cities in Australia that prospered during the Victorian era feature prominent statues of Queen Victoria. Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales has several. There is one statue (re-sited from the forecourt of the Irish Parliament building in Dublin) dominating the southern entrance to the Queen Victoria Building that was named in her honour in 1898. Another Sydney statue of Queen Victoria stands in the forecourt of the Federal Court of Australia building on Macquarie Street, looking across the road to a statue of her husband, inscribed "Albert the Good". In Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, the Queen Victoria Gardens named after her also features a large memorial statue in marble and granite. In Perth, capital city of Western Australia a marble statue stands in King's Park overlooking the city. In Adelaide, capital city of the state of South Australia, the Queen Victoria Square, named after her also has a large statue of her.[6] In Brisbane, capital city of the state of Queensland, there is a statue of her in Queens Square, also named for her;.[7] Ballarat, a boomtown in Victoria has a statue of Queen Victoria in the main street directly opposite its town hall. A small bust of the Queen is in the Queen Victoria Gardens in Burnt Pine, the largest town in the Australian territory of Norfolk Island.

Statues erected to Victoria are common in Canada, where her reign was coterminous with the confederation of the country and the creation of several new provinces. A bas-relief image of Victoria is on the wall of the entrance to the Canadian Parliament, and her statue is in the Parliamentary library as well as on the grounds.[8]

Other[edit]

The Kinks honour Queen Victoria and her empire in their 1969 song "Victoria". The song has since been covered by The Kooks, The Fall, Cracker, and Sonic Youth. Both The Kinks' and The Fall's versions were UK Top 40 hits.

Leonard Cohen refers to her in a mostly non-factual way in his 1964 poem "Queen Victoria and Me", and again in the 1972 song "Queen Victoria" (based on the poem). The song was later covered by John Cale.

Queen Victoria's reign features in the Paradox Interactive game, Victoria, An Empire Under the Sun. In this game a player guides a country through colonisation, the Industrial Revolution, warfare and various historic events.

In 2006, the Comics Sherpa online comic service started carrying a comic strip titled The New Adventures of Queen Victoria using cut-out photographs and portraits of the Queen and others.

In the Anime and Manga Series: Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) she appears as Ciel Phantomhive's primary boss.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ All the Best People ...: The Pick of Peterborough 1929–1945, George Allen & Unwin, 1981; p. 139
  2. ^ Hull, David Stewart (1973) [1969]. Film in the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-21486-9. 
  3. ^ Morgan, Henry James Types of Canadian women and of women who are or have been connected with Canada : (Toronto, 1903) [1]
  4. ^ "Striving for musical freedom". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ Marshall, Dorothy. The Life and Times of Queen Victoria. George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd, 1972.
  6. ^ "Adelaide – Statues and Memorials". State Library South Australia. Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  7. ^ "Valour of the visionary". The Australian. 21 July 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  8. ^ Taylor, Bill (17 May 2008). "Sun never sets on Queen Victoria statues". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 September 2008.