look-alikes: Mrs Brown

Mrs Brown

Queen Victoria becomes deeply depressed following the death of Prince Albert in 1861 and disappears from public view disappearing from public view. During the 1860s, she became increasingly reliant on the support of John Brown, a ghillie on her Balmoral estate.

Victoria’s children and ministers resented the high regard she had for Brown, and, inevitably, stories circulated that there was something improper about their relationship. Victoria’s daughters joked that Brown was ‘Mama’s lover’ while the Earl of Derby, wrote in his diary that Brown and Victoria slept in adjoining rooms ‘contrary to etiquette and even decency’. Slanderous rumours of a romantic connection and even of a secret marriage appeared in print, and the Queen was referred to as ‘Mrs. Brown’.

When John Brown died in 1883 Queen Victoria wrote:

Perhaps never in history was there so strong and true an attachment, so warm and loving a friendship between the sovereign and servant … Strength of character as well as power of frame – the most fearless uprightness, kindness, sense of justice, honesty, independence and unselfishness combined with a tender, warm heart … made him one of the most remarkable men. The Queen feels that life for the second time is become most trying and sad to bear deprived of all she so needs … the blow has fallen too heavily not to be very heavily felt…

The makeup

Lisa Westcott was the makeup designer: Veronica Brebner was makeup artist.