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Image of Queen Victoria skating at Virginia Water

A View Near Windsor

Her Majesty and attendants skating on Virginia Water. Lithograph circa 1838.

Did the young Queen Victoria, pictured above in this light-hearted print, really step onto the ice at Virginia Water in the heart of Windsor Great Park? Well wrapped up in furs for the freezing weather, she performs elegant revolutions on the ice to spell out the letters "VR".

It is well documented the Queen sanctioned an order for a pair of ice skates for her and her husband, Prince Albert, in 1841. While in January 1854 The Illustrated London News carried an illustration of a pair of skates made for the Queen by Marsden Brothers and Silverwood of Bridge Street Works, Sheffield.

In her diary in December 1840 she records "We drove down to Frogmore & Albert pushed me in a sledge chair on the ice, which was delightful, & it went with such rapidity. I had never been on the ice before" and on the final day of the month she wrote "Alas! it thawed in the night, & our pleasure on the ice, has come to an end, for the moment, but I hope only for the moment, I am so sorry for dear Albert, who did so enjoy the skating, & it did him so much good & was such a nice change for him."

Her Royal Highness was skating into a bright future, her popularity was high and she would soon be married to her German cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the ceremony taking place in February 1840.



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