What you may believe to be fiction is true, and what you may have believed to be true…is fiction! Find out what’s what in the Season 2 finale, and share these surprising facts with the Victoria fans in your life!
Fact or Fiction: Albert fell through the ice and was rescued by Victoria.
Fact: Believe it or not, this is true! As Queen Victoria wrote in her diary,
The ice cracked, & Albert was in the water up to his head, even for a moment below. In my agony of fright & despair, I screamed, & stretched out my arm, Miss Murray pulling me. My dearest Albert managed to catch my arm, & reached the ground in safety. Oh! how thankful I felt to see him at my side again & that God should have mercifully preserved him from such a great danger!
He cut his chin a little, & was of course dripping with water, so that he ran home as fast as he could. It was a horrid experience, & I never felt anything so dreadful, as seeing my beloved one in the water, & thinking, as I did, that I should lose him before my very eyes unable to rescue him!
Fact or Fiction: Victoria had a pet parrot.
Fact: Victoria’s African grey parrot, Coco, could reportedly sing “God save the Queen.”
Fact or Fiction: Albert practically invented Christmas as we know it today.
Fiction: While Victoria, because her mother was German, probably had Christmas trees growing up, Albert’s enthusiastic embrace of the German tradition, bringing a Christmas tree indoors and decorating it, certainly contributed to the tradition’s popularity. In 1848, an engraving depicting the royal family gathered around a bedecked Christmas tree was published in The Illustrated London News, and soon every home had to have one. Many other Christmas traditions, from cards to carols to crackers, arose during the Victorian period, but can’t be traced back to Albert. Still, take heart: he did invent the armored parasol!
Fact or Fiction: Victoria had a goddaughter, Sarah, who'd been rescued from slavery.
Fact: While it’s unknown how long the girl spent at the palace, or whether she came at Christmas, the story of Sarah and Victoria’s relationship is true.
Originally name Aina, Sarah Forbes Bonetta was the child of West African Yoruba royalty who were killed by the army of notorious slave trader King Ghezo. When Captain Frederick Forbes encountered the enslaved girl while on a Royal Navy mission, he managed to negotiate her release to his care by proposing to give the girl to Queen Victoria. She was then given the name Forbes (and Bonetta, after his ship the HMS Bonetta), and presented to the Queen as a “gift” from one royal family to another. Impressed by the girl’s remarkable intelligence, Victoria took an interest in the young princess, made her her goddaughter, invited her to Windsor palace regularly, and provided an education worthy of Sarah’s tremendous intellect and talents in the arts.
Though she suffered from fragile health most of her life, and died of tuberculosis before the age of 40, Sarah was survived by her husband, the wealthy Yoruba businessman Captain James Davies, and her three children, the oldest of whom, Victoria, was also a goddaughter of the Queen.