|Despite the Victorian era news reports of Queen Victoria’s odd habits, modern depictions of her do not give an accurate picture. Her non-adherence to the commonly accepted glove etiquette of the day is never accurately represented or discussed.|
Queen Victoria at Dinner
The strict ceremonial of the dinners of Queen Victoria has not changed since her assumption of the throne. A quarter of an hour before the time fixed for the repast —generally eight o’clock—all the party invited to dine with the Queen meet in the Grand Salon and form themselves into a half circle about the door where her august Majesty is presently expected to enter. The Queen, on entering, makes a beautiful courtesy, (for which she is renowned, then bows to the gentlemen, and gives her hand to the ladies, who courtesy deeply. She then goes in first to table, accompanied generally by one of her sons.
If any Imperial or Royal person is present, he sits at her right hand. But even in the ease of Gen. Grant, she placed the Princess Beatrice between them. The Queen never removes her gloves during dinner, except at state banquets. This is a singular piece of etiquette, and one would think it would be exactly the reverse. Her gloves are new, of white kid, embroidered with black, never worn but once, and become, after using, the perquisites of the Ladies-in-Waiting.
The Queen has a small and beautiful hand. As soon as she finishes a certain “plat’’ every one else stops, as when she finishes her fish every one else stops eating fish, etc... After she has spoken to her guests on either side conversation may become general, but in a subdued tone, always deferring to the Sovereign. Sir Arthur Helps, who was her private secretary, used to tell an amusing anecdote of being snubbed by her for telling a rather funny story down the table, amongst the Ladies-in-Waiting, to relieve the monotony of a rather dreary dinner, when the Queen remarked, — “What is it? We are not amused.” She has, however, a love of fun, and sometimes laughs heartily. – The Morning Union, 1888
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia Etiquette Encyclopedia