She thought back on the past few hours: The happy moment when Albert placed a ring on her finger and it was done. The rippling, jostling ocean of faces lining the route to the chapel; and at the palace, the thick heat of goodwill, the deafening applause, the sight of elegant Albert in his uniform. The mad cheering of the boys at Eton as they rolled into Windsor.
The profundity of the service. What she liked about it most of all, though, was that as they stood before the archbishop, they were called simply Victoria and Albert. For the rest of her life, she thought with a swelling joy, she would just be Victoria to her Albert.
She rolled onto her side and looked at her husband as his fingers glided along the piano keys, playing one of his own compositions. Albert looked up and came over to her, kissing her. Victoria woke the next morning after a night of little sleep. Luckily for her, the mortifying tradition of the court coming to peer at the royal couple when they first climbed into the same bed had gone out of fashion with George III.
She was also lucky in that Albert seems to have been a competent, tender lover. Her elation was palpable in her journal entry:. He clasped me in his arms, and we kissed each other again and again! His beauty, his sweetness and gentleness,—really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband!
This was the happiest day of my life! It was a kind of lustful enchantment. I feel a purer more unearthly feel than I ever did. He slid into bed next to her, kissing her over and over; they fell asleep with arms entwined. Historians have long acknowledged that Victoria had a high libido—some have implied she was some kind of sexual predator who devoured a tolerant but exhausted husband. She was undoubtedly extremely passionate, the fact of which clashes with the strong associations Victoria often carries of dour old age and puritanical condemnation.
Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast. A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know and nothing you don't. In the nineteenth century, it was assumed that women with strong libidos were pathological: Some were given clitoridectomies or had leeches placed on their perineums. Others were told to abstain from meat and brandy, use hair pillows, douche with borax, have cold enemas, or adhere to strict vegetable diets.
In , a doctor reported that the most likely candidates for nymphomania were virgins, widows, or women with blond hair aged sixteen to twenty-five. Projection was prevalent in the Victorian medical profession. Most female illnesses were thought to derive from troublesome pelvic organs.
The greatest sources of knowledge about the female organs were assumed to be male gynecologists, which made the bodies of women a secret even, or perhaps especially, to themselves. The Medical Registration Act specifically excluded women from becoming qualified doctors.
Sex education for girls was unthinkable. British doctor and author of books on masturbation William Acton even argued that some married couples were so ill informed that their marriages were never consummated. You cannot help but feel some sympathy for Dr. In , Robert Tait wrote:. The majority of women enter the married state with but a very hazy notion of what its functions are… there is a false modesty on these subjects ingrained in our English life which has to be paid for in much suffering amongst women.
For many married women, sex was a chore, not something to be enjoyed. Albert did not record his views on sex, but it is clear that he satisfied his wife. And he certainly admired her, writing to his brother approvingly about her oft-praised bosom.
Despite the intensity and obvious physicality of his relationship with Victoria, who was certain she was the only woman to whom Albert had ever made love, there has been some speculation that Albert was gay.
Albert loved his wife, but socially and intellectually he preferred male company. While he did not enjoy the after-dinner port drinking and male banter that were then the custom— usually leaving to play chess alone or sing duets with Victoria—his closest friendships were with men.
There is no evidence that Albert had a physical relationship with a man, but many have suspected he did. Lytton Strachey stated that Albert did not take after his cheating father for two possible reasons: When women started flying in from Brisbane, Tasmania, Melbourne and even Auckland to the Sydney events, Ms LeJeune knew it was time for the club to expand its presence in Australia.
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And after that, who knew?.