Queen Victoria permitted the use of chloroform during the delivery of her son, Prince Leopold, in 1853.This brandy decanter was used by Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870) whilst pioneering his breakthrough discovery of the anaesthetic qualities of chloroform. One story surrounding Simpson's discovery tells that, following a dinner party at his home in Edinburgh, Simpson presented to his guests this chloroform-filled decanter for experimentation purposes. The following morning Simpson and his other guests, all accustomed to his experimentation, were found unconscious on the floor. On this occasion, Miss Agnes Petrie was said to have fallen down crying 'oh, I am an angel!' Simpson's own letters tell of a very slightly more contained experiment with his colleagues in which he reports they all ended up 'under the mahogany in a trice.' Stories aside, these experiments were very dangerous; Simpson worked constantly to refine the purity of chloroform and did make himself ill in order to advance anaesthesia. Within weeks of Simpson's discovery, chloroform was being used in surgery and childbirth all over Europe.
Queen Victoria permitted the use of chloroform during the delivery of her son, Prince Leopold, in 1853.