Victoria and Albert: Children's Clothes


Figure 1.--This 1851 photograph shows left t right: Princess Helena, Princess Alice, Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria, Crown Prince Albert (future Edward VIII), and Princess Royal. The portrait shows in great detail the clothes and hair styles worn by the children. Curiously the Queen and Princess Victoria kept their bonnets on for the portrait.

The way Victoria and Albert's children were dressed had an enormous impact on children's fashions for generations. I'm not sure who decided on these fashions. Perhaps it was Victoria. But the use of the kilt made good political sence for the monarch, just the astute step that Albert was likely to have suggested to Victoria. HBC has no details yet, however, on just how the children's clothes were selected and the role of Queen Victoriam Prince Albert, or others. We also do not know to what extent the children's clothes were made in the nursery by staff of the royal household or ordered from outside seamstresses and garment shops. HBRC was somewhat surprises that at least some of the children's clothese were made in the nursery, but it is known that Prince Albert obtained a sewing machine for the nursery.

Impact

The way Victoria and Albert's children were dressed had an enormous impact on children's fashions for generations.

Garments

The children, both boys and girls, wore dresses. The younger boys also wore tunics. The young princes are most noted for beginning the tradition of wearing sailor suits and kilts, although they did not wear them as much as future generations. The fact that photography was only developed and still primitive in the early 1840s means that the photo graphic record of the royal family is very limited in the 1840s, but becomes much more extensive in the 1850s. Still there are still relativerly few images of the younger children.

Fashion Decissions

I'm not sure who decided on and designed the fashions for the children. Perhaps it was Victoria. But the use of the kilt made good political sence for the monarch, just the astute step that Albert was likely to have suggested to Victoria. HBC has no details yet, however, on just how the children's clothes were selected and the role of Queen Victoriam Prince Albert, or others.

Making the Clothes

We also do not know to what extent the children's clothes were made in the nursery by staff of the royal household. HBRC was somewhat surprises that at least some of the children's clothese were made in the nursery. We know, for example, that a Miss Skerret and Mrs. Moon who were involved in making clothes for the nursery. Mrs. Moon appears to be a seamstress in the royal household. I'm not sure she just did the clothes for the children. One account indicates that Miss Skeret was bit on the hand by one of the rotal regufees, I think a child of deposed French King Louis Philippe, who fled France in 1848 and were taken in by Victoria and Albert. She was assisting Mrs. Moon with nursery clothing at the time. I'm not sure who Miss Skerret was. In fact, Albert obtained a treadle sewing machine to help Mrs. Moon for the nursery. [Bennett, p. 173.]

Purchasing Clothes

We do not know to what extent clothes were ordered from outside seamstresses and garment shops.

Hair Styles

The boys have rather long hair, well over their ears. This was not juvenile style. Men also wore their hair in the same style. Note that the boys have side parts, but the girls center parts.

Sources

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

Woodham-Smith, Cecil. Queen Victoria: Her Life and Times (1972).






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Created: February 26, 1999
Last updated: 1:20 AM 1/28/2005