Kensington Palace… interesting place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Too much museum, not enough home for my tastes, but then, I’m not exactly touring the private quarters of the Royal Family, am I? But there’s humanity there at the Palace, and like many I found myself drawn to the life of one previous resident.
I’ve always had an image of Queen Victoria dressed in black, in her senior years, but Kensington Palace shows you the entire life of Victoria, which offers remarkable new perspective. Standing in the room she was born in offers perspective. As does seeing her children’s rooms. Focus on the jewels if you will, stunning as they are. But nothing jolted me like seeing the seductive young Victoria in a self-commissioned painting for her true love, Prince Albert. This Victoria would have loved iPhones and selfies, I think, if only for the fun they might have brought to her time with Albert.
They have a wonderful quote from Victoria describing her attractive Prince, and this marvelous line she used to convey what she was feeling: “My heart is quite going.” Alas, true love doesn’t last forever, and Queen Victoria is later quoted after the passing of Prince Albert, “Who will ever call me Victoria now?” And with that you can feel her grief through the decades. Who doesn’t read that and grieve with her?
Kensington Palace is full of human stories like this. Mary, Victoria, Diana, Kate; I understand the fascination some people have with the Royal Family, though I confess I don’t share the same… enthusiasm. I’d rather live my own life, thank you. But in young Victoria I found a connection.