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4: The Governess

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters. 1842 - Victoria’s old governess, Louise Lehzen, slips away from Windsor Castle without saying goodbye.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters.4: The Governess-3 September 1842

An important event is missing from Victoria's diary entry for 23 September 1842. It was actually only her mother's diary which tells us that this was the way that Victoria’s old governess, Louise Lehzen, slipped away from Windsor Castle without saying goodbye. Lehzen, who had been a second mother to Victoria, and who instilled her with her stiff - possibly inflexible - standards, had fallen out with the increasingly powerful Prince Albert, who’d taken over the running of the Royal Household. 'I could pardon wickedness in a Queen but not weakness’, Lehzen had told her princess, and now her former pupil now showed no weakness in dismissing her former governess without a word. A last sad glimpse of Lehzen comes from the years of her retirement to her native Germany, where she compiled a scrapbook of memories of the girl she loved. Lehzen even went to the station to wave as Victoria steamed past on a royal tour. The train did not stop.

Readers: Joseph Ayre, Bea Behlen, Sarah Ovens & Sabine Fischer
Producer: Mark Burman

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14 minutes