Victoria – Our Fascination with Royalty

As I completed the book, “Victoria” by Daisy Goodwin and await the PBS series based on the book, I started to think about why it is we are so intrigued by royalty. This post looks at my own thoughts on the subject.

When Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married in July 29, 1981, my friends got together over a champagne breakfast to watch the wedding on the TV. Years later, we did the same thing at another wedding on April 29, 2011. This time Prince William got married to Catharine Middleton. In fact, tens of millions of people from around the world sat in front of the TV and for a moment, we were all united in the happy celebration. As human beings, we seem to be fascinated with royal weddings, or anything at all to do with the royals. I wonder why that is?

I’m no different. I’ve seen a number of movies about Queens that I just didn’t want to miss. In particular I’ve enjoyed movies about Queen
Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria. Notice that all of these movies are about women – and might I add, strong, independent women. But the interesting thing about royalty is that even though they seem out of reach because they are indeed royal, we long to know about the person behind the façade of the crown. Perhaps in some way we imagine that we too, could be a Queen. We ’re not so different really. In the end, we all have the same kind of struggles.

I think this is what drew me to read Victoria by Daisy Goodwin, based on the PBS series of the same name. I picked up the book because, not only am I fascinated with royalty, I’m interested in the person behind the crown. Victoria became Queen at the young age of 18 and had to battle against the men in her life who would try to control her. But she stood up to them. I wanted to know about Victoria’s relationship with Lord Melbourne, her Prime Minister at the time of her crowing. I wanted to watch as she learned about her duties as head of state. And like most people, I was captivated by her romance with Prince Albert and saddened at his early demise and how — as shown in the movie Mrs. Brown where Judi Dench played an older Victoria — she retired to Scotland to grieve against the wishes of her government and her family.

When Helen Mirren played Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen we wanted to know about the difficulties the Queen had with Princess Diana and why it took so long for her to acknowledge Diana’s death. Family struggles is something we can all relate to.

And now, Netflix has just put out the first season of The Crown with Claire Foy, we watch as a young queen Elizabeth II struggles to balance her duties as queen with the love of her family.

Baton passing between relay runners

Balancing work and family, romance, dealing with misogyny, and trying to find your place in a world, are all things we can relate to as women. And for me, this is the most interesting aspect of their lives. I wanted to watch how these women overcame life’s difficulties and be inspired by their stories. I’ve gone from being a young girl who longed for her Prince Charming to rescue her, like in the story of Cinderella, to a woman who longs to be the hero of her own story. By reading stories of strong women and being inspired by them, I can pass the baton on to the next woman as we each learn from the other. In the end we are all women struggling with the same things, and together we can help each other find our place in the world.

Categories: Memoir

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