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Queen Victoria's iPod

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 19 November 2011

In Buckingham Palace, David Owen Norris and guests listen to Queen Victoria's favourite songs. We have been given access to Victoria's own gold piano, on which we'll hear music written specially by Mendelssohn for her to play in a duet with Albert. We also hear an amorous serenade written for her by Prince Albert and a song which was sung in the streets after their first child was born, Queen Victoria's Baby.

David Owen Norris has discovered a startling popular song of the period about the Great Exhibition - the excitement of setting off to see the Queen as a gold statue, and the reality of fleas, dirt, crowds, and dubious dark alleys where it was all too easy to lose one's virtue and return pregnant!

Listening to the music are Royal biographer Kate Williams, cultural critic Matthew Sweet, and expert on Victorian music Professor Jeremy Dibble. They'll be discussing what Queen Victoria's favourite songs reveal about a very musical monarch.

Presenter David Owen Norris is a broadcaster, composer and concert pianist. He has arranged the songs, which are performed by Thomas Guthrie and jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.


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