Hughenden

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Episode 18 of 20

Duration: 30 minutes

Antiques expert Tim Wonnacott and chef Rosemary Shrager travel in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, Britain's longest reigning monarch, looking at the houses, castles and stately homes she visited throughout her life.

At the time of the visit to Hughenden, Queen Victoria was a 58-year-old widow and had been on the throne for a hefty 40 years. This was her first ever trip to the home of Benjamin Disraeli, who was in his third year as prime minister; she came to discuss an international crisis. Russia was at war with Turkey, putting vital trade routes to India at risk, and Victoria wanted the prime minister to declare war on Russia in order to quash the threat.

Since the queen was here for lunch, Rosemary and chef and food historian Ivan Day recreate a typical moulded Victorian pudding, tipsy cake. Rosemary also learns how Disraeli had to hire the silver for the visit.

Tim reveals how Victoria's friendship with Disraeli lasted for years; she liked to call him Dizzy and his nickname for her was Faery Queen. Victoria bestowed numerous gifts on him, including a rather risqué piece of pottery. Tim also reveals how Victoria was so devastated by Disraeli's death four years after this visit that she insisted on creating a memorial inside the local church: the only example of a memorial in a parish church erected by a reigning sovereign to a commoner. Convention dictates that the monarch cannot go to the funeral of a commoner, so Victoria was unable to attend. But a rumour persists that she came and sat in her carriage in the valley below while Disraeli was buried.

Credits

Presenter
Tim Wonnacott
Presenter
Tim Wonnacott
Producer
Owen Rodd
Producer
Owen Rodd
Director
Owen Rodd
Director
Owen Rodd

Broadcasts

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