Hilliard & Croft
Throughout her lonely and isolated childhood, with only her dogs and dolls for company, Queen Victoria relished the visits of her cousins, many of whom she came to regard as surrogate brothers and sisters. From the newly-created Empire of Mexico, to the largely undiscovered African Congo, their influence crossed continents; and their lives, spanning more than a century, were interwoven with some of the most significant events of the age. They experienced wars, revolutions, personal tragedies and national disasters, and, as in any extended family, their characters were as varied as their experiences. . With several, Queen Victoria maintained a lifelong correspondence, while others were gradually distanced from her. All, however, contributed something to her life’s experience, and many repaid her devotion with love.
From a garrulous parrot that embarrassed an Archduke, to an injured fawn carried home in the arms of a Queen, animals featured largely in the lives of the royal families in the halcyon days of the European monarchies. Disruptive dogs, bothersome birds, faithful friends, family pets, livestock and working animals all had their place in palaces, but while these were generally treated with respect and affection, princes saw no incongruity between wilfully slaughtering other creatures for sport. Sometimes amusing, sometimes tragic, the stories of these animals are each, in their own way, deeply moving.
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