Queen Victoria was born on 24 May 1819 and the 200th anniversary of her birth will be marked with a series of exhibitions and events around the country. While Queen Victoria is already associated with most of the royal residences, many are marking the anniversary by mounting exhibitions or displaying rare artefacts.
Victoria: A Royal Childhood and Victoria: Woman and Crown are both open at Kensington Palace from 24 May 2019. The exhibitions are included in the admission price for the palace which is currently £17.50 for adults and £8.70 for children. Entry is free to those who already have a membership with Historic Royal Palaces.
A Royal Childhood examines Victoria’s early childhood at the palace and will feature a scrapbook of mementos created by the young princess’s governess, Louise Lehzen, which have never been displayed in public before. Queen Victoria had a strict childhood, isolated from children her own age, and she often retreated into a fantasy world where she wrote stories, painted and made dolls.
Victoria: Woman and Crown examines Victoria’s life as a young woman, queen, wife, mother and empress. The exhibition will feature some of Victoria’s garments, such as a petticoat and silver boots. The exhibition also examines the queen’s love affair with India which tells the story behind the famous Koh-i-noor diamond and Victoria’s friendship with the deposed Maharajah Duleep Singh.
Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A Museum will be marking the anniversary with the unveiling of Queen Victoria’s Sapphire & Diamond Coronet which will be on permanent display in the William and Judith Bollinger Gallery from 11 April 2019. Admission is free.
Further exhibitions will reveal the close association the museum had with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, including the story of how the V&A was founded from the proceeds of the 1851 Great Exhibition.
On 2 April 2019, an exhibition entitled Prince Albert: Science & the Arts on the Page will highlight the prince consort’s personal contributions to the library’s collections, featuring books and photographs never seen before. The display will also include a published volume of songs written and set to music by Albert and his brother, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Admission is free.
Victoria and Albert’s Museum: A Bicentennial Display, which opens 13 May, will feature a series of objects loaned or gifted by the royal couple. The display also includes early watercolour drawings of Prince Albert’s vision for the museum which will also be celebrated in a new publication: Creating the V&A: Victoria and Albert’s Museum (1851–1861) by Julius Bryant. Admission is free.
Buckingham Palace will mark the bicentennial with a special exhibition, Queen Victoria’s Palace, dedicated to showcasing how Queen Victoria transformed the former private house into a royal residence. Not long after succeeding, the young queen was eager to leave Kensington Palace and its unhappy associations behind and became the first British monarch to live and work from Buckingham Palace. However, it soon became obvious the palace was too small for Victoria and Albert’s expanding family and extensions were begun in August 1846.
The exhibition at Buckingham Palace features paintings of some of the rooms refurbished for Queen Victoria, as well as a series of paintings depicting the famous balls held there. The showpiece of the collection is Queen Victoria’s Costume for the Stuart Ball which was held at the palace in 1851.
The exhibition runs from 20 July to 29 September 2019 and the admission fee to the palace is £25 for adults, however some concessions are available.