British Royalty: Edward VII--Governess


Figure 1.--The young Edward VII was dressed in tunic outfits after grduating from dresses. The tunic, however, looks much like a dress. This is a detail from Winterhalter's famous 1846 painting. Notice the Prince's curls.

Prince Albert as with many paractical matters usually exercised excellent judgement. Such was the case of a giverness for the children. He close Lady Lyttelton, an ancestor of Princess Diane. She was a perfect choice for the job. She both loved and understood children and had a wonderful ability to teach. She won the affection of the children as soon as she arrived. Bertie proved to be te most difficult child she ever encountered. She eventually had to leave royal service, occasionly sobs and entrities from the children, in part because of the strain Bertie put her under.

Lady Lyttleton

Prince Albert as with many paractical matters usually exercised excellent judgement. Such was the case of a giverness for the children. He close Lady Lyttelton, an ancestor of Princess Diane. She was a perfect choice for the job. She both loved and understood children and had a wonderful ability to teach. One historian writes that Lady Lyttelton "won the affection of the nursery from the start." [Bennett, p. 129]

Bertie's Tantrums

Lady Lyttelton, who can not be accused of harshness, confirmed tat during one of these attacks, he took in nothing, however, clearly and calmly she spole to him. She said that the aggressivness made the normal relationship that she shared with the other children impossible with Bertie. She optimistically hoped that he would grow out of this behavior.

Punishments

Punishment was apparently ineffective--it would only result in another tantrum. Lady Lyttleton would contientiously try her best to explain to Bertie the difference between right and wrong. She would thus expain why he was being confined to his room or denied a privlidge or treat. Bertie simply showed no sign of coprehending. As one historian notes, "... there seemed to be nothing in him to which se could appeal." [Bennett, pp. 217-218]

Lessons

Lady Lyttelton noted that she was unable to interst him in the simplest lesson until after he was more than 4 years old. He would tear around the nursery, throweing his books about or crawling under the table to tear them to pieces. He would literally wear out his long suffering governess.

Speech

An increasingly worisome problem was that even by 5 yearss of age, is speech was inarticulate, rather like that of a baby. Combined with his stammer, he was very difficult to understand. This was another cause of tears and frustration. It must have been frustrating for Bertie to have so much difficulty being understood. He must have seen his younger brothers and sisters expressing themseleves and being easily understood. Efforts to correct his speech could bring on a a tearful tantrum. Yet if he was not helped with his speech, how was he ever going to learn.

Nursery Disorders

Ever more tiresome than his prblems with speaking was his compulsive chattering. When the chattering came on, as it often did, he would demand constant attention. He would talk rapidly and nonscenically in a high pitched voice. If Vicky was hapily employed with her books or toys, he would tug at here sleeve, pull her hair, jerk away her books or pencils, or otherwise annoy her. This wouls soon escalte into a full blown fight between the two, both of them shrieking as loud as they could.

Bertie in another mood would make sudden, overwealming demands for attentiin. No amount of petting or affection would satidfy him. Albert tough it a good sign that these affectiinate moods would often follow a bout of bad temper, thinking that he was perhaps trying to make amends. A few simple questions would show, however, tat he was not at least sorry.

Nursery Clothing

HBC at this time has no details on nursery clothing. The boys appear to have been dressed just like the girls until they were about 5 years of age.

Sources

Bennett, Daphne King Without a Crown: Albert Prince Consort of England, 1819-1861 (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1977).





Christopher Wagner








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Created: May 7, 2001
Last updated: May 7, 2001