the joe goldberg effect: royal edition

I am late to the blog post party, but here I am! I didn’t know what to inspire my URL / blog title, so I decided to look up some things about the monarch who got a whole era named after her (I think they all get eras, though)!

One thing that caught my eye from the beautifully curated Wikipedia page on Queen Victoria was the subheading “Heir Presumptive” that gave background on her young life as someone in line for the throne. To me the life of a monarch before they become a monarch is so interesting. Sometimes it is expected, like for Queen Victoria, but other times it is forced upon you as it was for King George VI when his brother, Edward VIII abdicated the thrown.

As a fan of Netflix’s “The Crown,” what drew me into the show was the 7th episode of the first season where Queen Elizabeth II realizes she is not knowledgeable enough on her own to be an adequate head of state. There are flashbacks to her childhood lessons and she learns about the role of the royal and the government, but never history and government like the rest of us learned it. I was fascinated to learn of such a constricting role on such a powerful figure.

Like Elizabeth II, Victoria was constrained. She was raised on something called “the Kensington System,” a game plan made up by her mother to get Victoria to do what she wanted. It included being constant surveillance and sleeping in her mom’s room. Her education was controlled, as was her friendships. Victoria was never alone without a third party present. Imagine what that can do to a person! Her mom was trying to become her regent because of the fact Victoria was most likely to succeed before her 18th birthday, so the goal was to make the public see how inseparable they were. Seems kind of extra to me.

Finding out more about the Queen before she was crowned has brought me to think about agency for a woman in this time. It really pains me to think “they have no agency,” but if there is any agency, it’s barely there. The lengths that people have to go through to suppress and control woman is quite impressive.



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