BBC unveils Prince Albert's sexy oil painting of Queen Victoria
Reveals an intimate side of the demur monarch known only to her beloved consort, Prince Albert
An entire era is named for her and symbolizes uptight attitudes about sensuality.
But it turns out Queen Victoria may have had a behind-closed-doors side never seen by the 19th Century public. Imperious, unapproachable, often speaking in an aloof plural first person — as in, “We are not amused” — she gave her name to the Victorian Age, during which pregnant women went into seclusion, piano legs wore trousers and doctors did not examine female patients, instead used dolls on which women demurely pointed to the area of their symptoms.
However, Her Majesty posed for a racy portrait that Windsor Castle has kept behind closed doors for more than a century.
The portrait was painted in 1843 by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, commissioned by Victoria and given to Prince Albert, her beloved
husband. Under British custom, when a female is the head of state, she bears the title “queen,” but her husband is only a duke — and bears the title of “prince.”
Six year into her reign, the 24-year-old Victoria commissioned the painting, which she gave to her husband as a surprise birthday present.
“It was Albert’s favorite portrait of her,” says Desmond Shawe-Taylor, official Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures.
Albert thought it was so daring that he kept it in a private room at Windsor Castle and did not let anyone else view it.
“It was clearly intended as a loving expression,” said Shawe-Taylor, “and reads as if it is extremely intimate and alluring – that secret ‘for your eyes only’ effect.”