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elena maria vidal

Very true observations about Queen Victoria, gsk. While there are many things about her to be admired, especially her devotion to her husband, yes, there are many things about her attitudes that reflected the puritanical discomfort with natural bodily functions. Outward form and appearances were evertything.

As for breast-feeding, many aristocratic women and even those not so aristicratic, used a wet nurse, especially if they had trouble nursing themselves or just did not want to bother. There was no formula like there is now and sometimes a wet nurse was the only option. Zelie Martin had trouble nursing (they later found she had breast cancer) and lost many babies. She took her youngest Therese to a peasant woman in the country her nursed her. Therese lived there until she was about two years old. We also know that in the antebellum south a lot of African women nursed the white babies along with their own.

It is also interesting that Victoria's husband Prince Albert had suffered from a broken home. His father's infidelity had led to his mother having an affair; she was disgraced, sent away from her children, and died. Prince Albert detested adultery and would not permit any shenanigans at court; the aim of his life was to set a high moral tone for the rest of the world. Sometimes, however, he may have been a bit too austere, but he was a devoted father and the queen almost lost her mind when he died.


Victoria herself was estranged from her mother at an early age through not fault of either one of them -- simply court intrigue combined with harsh calculations of those surrounding the family. It explains a lot of what made her tick, and while I excuse a lot on her part, I simply deplore the fallout.

elena maria vidal

Yes,gsk, that is so true. She had a difficult relationship with her overprotective mother! And your point is that we are now living with the backlash of the Victorian mentality - many seeds of poisoned flowers were planted back then!

Donna Marie Lewis

One thing - I don't believe it was Queen Victoria who departed from Rome. You have to put the blame for that several generations back from her.
Also, by the time she came to the throne, England was, for the most part, viciously anti-Catholic. (The Gordon Riots in the late 1700's are an illustration of that.)


I never blamed Victoria for parting with Rome. But whereas the reign of Elizabeth I (daughter of Henry who DID part with Rome) was consumed with questions of authority and theology, the reign of V. as the next substantive queen in her own right offered her as role model for righteous Christian living -- and much of the empire followed her cues. Thus her dysfunction (being the result of over two centuries of heretical thought imbedded in culture) left a wasteland in what would otherwise be Christendom.

Prudery and feminism both flow organically from the rupture with Holy Mother Church -- the authentic feminine paradigm.

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    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
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