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Episode 6: The Dresser

Lucy Worsley explores Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters. Frieda Arnold - 20 December 1854: How Victoria's dresser was sending detailed reports back to Germany.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, continues her 10 part exploration of Queen Victoria's reign through significant encounters 6: The Dresser- Frieda Arnold 1854

Queen Victoria found her personal staff - the ‘invisible people’ who kept her household running - through recommendations from her German relatives, and this is how Frieda Arnold, from Karlsruhe, entered her service. When Frieda arrived at Windsor Castle in 1854, Victoria would have found her new dresser quiet and efficient, and wouldn’t have suspected that she was sending detailed reports back to Germany revealing exactly what it was like to live at Windsor Castle. Frieda spent years in the closest of daily contact with the Queen whose clothes she cared for, garments including the beautiful dressing gown with mauve bows featured in this episode. The Queen’s wardrobe, sumptuous in quality but un-showy in style, formed a big part of her middle-of-the-road appeal. Women like Frieda, who saw the queen both in and out of her clothes, grew very intimate with her, and became almost her friends.

Readers: Michael Bertenshaw, Sarah Ovens, Sabine Schereck
Producer: Mark Burman

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14 minutes