Queen Victoria ruled over the United Kingdom and Ireland for over sixty-three years, she was born on the 24th of May 1819 and came to power as Queen at eighteen years old on the 20th of June 1837 until she passed away in 1901. Queen Victoria was also granted the title of Empress of India in 1876 by the British Parliament for her achievements in expanding the British Empire into India. Throughout her time on the throne Victoria brought about other great changes for the benefit of her people including political reform, new scientific discoveries, industrial changes and military expansion. The man who served alongside the Queen and was her constant support was her husband, Prince Albert, together they had nine children and ruled her household and the land with very strict, high moral standards, she was loved and respected by all her people and fondly known as “The Great Mother” of the Nation.
Few people know that Queen Victoria was an avid knitter who also loved to crochet and use a spinning wheel, during the time of the Crimean War, she knitted scarves and mittens for the British Soldiers. Not only did she inspire others to knit and contribute to the British forces serving in such cold climates, but she sent handmade blankets and quilts to the Royal Victoria Hospital. Even without the added benefit of a Knitting Kit she understood about Wool Couture and spent many happy hours with her knitting needles in hand creating another pair of mittens, long woollen scarf, blanket or quilt. Several of her children including Beatrice, her youngest daughter often sat with her mother enjoying the craft of knitting together.
The Queen was thought to have begun her love for knitting while convalescing in Ramsgate in 1835 from a serious illness. This passion continued throughout her long reign and after she hand knitted a quilt for her first-born child, she made her second child Prince Alfred a similar cot blanket and then one each for most of her grandchildren. The cot blanket she made for Princess Alice of Albany was a beautiful pink and white work of art that she was incredibly proud of; the quilt remains, safely in the Museum of London. Other examples of her carefully crafted knitting creations also survive at Frogmore house, kept safely in a pretty basket alongside a small ball of pink wool.