Here I am in front of Kensington Palace, childhood home of Queen Victoria and many other members of the Royal Family, including Princess Diana. Currently, the palace is under renovation and will be quite spectacular by 2012 with new tours and tour guides, a historic garden, and better accessibility for all visitors. Because of the renovations, the palace had a different tour than usual, called "The Enchanted Palace," which encouraged visitors to learn all the palace's secrets, featured the lives of seven princesses who lived there, as well as other Royal Family members.
Here is the Orangery, which was a greenhouse during Victoria's time, and is now a restaurant and a great place for afternoon tea.
Here's a closer picture.
In graduate school, I took Victorian Literature, which turned out to be one of my favorite graduate school classes. We read wonderful books of course, but one of the things that I liked so much was that our professor spent a good part of time giving us an overview of what life was like in England during Victoria's reign (1837-1901). It was a time of great change and modernization, but many social problems as well.
I'd been meaning to watch the movie, The Young Victoria, before heading to London, but that didn't quite happen. I did, however, notice that they sell the DVD in the store at Kensington Palace, so I figured it must be good.
Earlier this week I got The Young Victoria from Netflix and enjoyed every second of it. I'm a fan of Emily Blunt anyway, so I figured I'd like it and I did. The costuming is beautiful, and the movie painted a wonderful portrait of what Queen Victoria may have been like. I particularly liked the development of her relationship with her husband, Prince Albert; this relationship had a central focus in the movie. I also liked that Queen Victoria had concern for those living in poverty in her country, which is something we see in, for example, the work of Charles Dickens.
Overall, The Young Victoria was a wonderful movie. I'm going to have to find something to read about Queen Victoria to supplement.