British Empire

Photo of the Day

Queen Victoria writes letters at a table piled with despatch boxes Photo: Getty

Queen Victoria & Karim Abdul. To her great satisfaction, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1876 and afterward imported an Indian flavor to her court, employing a number of Indians as her servants. Karim Abdul became a servant to the Queen?s household in 1887 and was promoted to be the Queen?s personal secretary handling matters relating to India in 1894. Victoria is shown here working on her boxes containing state papers while seated in her garden tent at Frogmore House, Windsor, with Karim Abdul attending her.

Queen Victoria

The Queen, who died in January 1901 aged 81, has always been portrayed as a sexually and emotionally repressed monarch, but Queen Victoria was actually extremely enthusiastic on both men and sex.

After marrying her cousin, Prince Albert, she recounted their passionate wedding night in a letter.

She said:

“It was a gratifying and bewildering experience. I never, never spent such an evening. His excessive love and affection gave me feelings of heavenly love and happiness. He clasped me in his arms and we kissed each other again and again.”

Victoria was incredibly fond of making love to Albert.

She enjoyed the physical side of their relationship – but rarely the consequences. At one point, she had nine children under 15 and deeply resented the physical and emotional repercussions of child-bearing, because pregnancy and babies got in the way of sex.

One of the things that Albert did when he built Osborne House was to install a special bolt in their bedroom so that if they wanted to get it on, all they?d have to do is push a button by the bed and the door would be locked so no servants or children would interrupt them.

Victoria described sex as ‘heavenly love-making’. After the birth of their youngest child, Princess Beatrice, in 1857, Victoria?s doctor, Sir James Reid, gave her a stern warning against attempting any further pregnancies.

The Queen, then 38, was apparently devastated and was said to have responded: ?Oh Sir James! Am I not to have any more fun in bed??

Albert had a risque portrait commissioned of Victoria, which was not considered appropriate to show to the public.

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An Old Gunner writes about the flag debate

This New Zealand national blue ensign flag was flown at Quinn's Post, Gallipoli, in 1915. The flag was brought back to New Zealand by Private John Taylor, Canterbury Battalion.

This New Zealand national blue ensign flag was flown at Quinn’s Post, Gallipoli, in 1915. The flag was brought back to New Zealand by Private John Taylor, Canterbury Battalion.

In the immediate aftermath of the General Election, before the smoke of battle has cleared, the debris cleared away and the last body counted, Prime Minister John Key has announced his intention to implement his campaign policy of a public dialogue and referendum on changing the design of our national flag. While this is a commendable affirmation of political integrity, it is, I suggest, an unnecessary and divisive non-issue at a time when our nation is faced with major dangers to its people, its security and its economic future.

We are going to continue the controversy that has existed around our current national flag since its introduction under the New Zealand Ensigns Act in 1869.

The Imperial Colonial Naval Defence Act of 1865 ruled that all ships owned by a colonial government must fly the Blue Ensign with the badge of the colony on it. One problem. New Zealand did not have a badge, so the two government ships flew the Blue Ensign with no emblem. This brought strong rebukes from the Royal Navy. After much bitter debate and testing several unsatisfactory designs, our present flag displaying four red five pointed stars with white edging was settled upon. ? Read more »