Scarf, presented by Queen Victoria to one of her ladies in waiting, machine made lace, cotton, maker unknown, England, 1837-1901
This scarf was presented to an unknown lady in waiting by Queen Victoria sometime during her rule. Victoria was born in 1819 and became Queen at the age of 18 in 1837. She is associated with Britain's great age of industrial expansion, economic progress and empire. In 1840 Victoria married Prince Albert who took an active interest in the arts, science, trade and industry and was influential in the Great Exhibition of 1851. Between 1840 and 1857 the Royal couple had nine children, most of whom married into other royal families of Europe. In 1861 Albert died and Victoria sank into depression and was rarely seen in public until the late 1870s. In her later years she became the symbol of the British Empire and she continued her duties to the end of her life. She died on 22 January 1901 after the longest reign in British history.
A Victorian lady-in-waiting was a personal attendant and companion to the Queen. Royal women such as Queen Victoria's daughters, daughters-in-law, granddaughters, aunts and female cousins had ladies-in-waiting. In addition, the Queen Dowager Adelaide (widow of King William IV), and the Queen's mother, the Duchess of Kent, also had ladies-in-waiting. During Queen Victoria's reign, a lady-in-waiting's duties were social and secretarial. These duties included: on a day-to-day basis, reading to the Queen, accompanying her on walks, and writing letters; at Court, official functions such as receiving local and foreign dignitaries, on public occasions accompaning the Queen to the Opening of Parliament, reviews, laying of foundation stones, official visits to Scotland, Ireland, and elsewhere; on private occasions, when the Queen visited the cottages on her estates, when she visited the country homes of her friends and when she was on vacation.