Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 until 1901, would have been the perfect forerunner for the women’s movement but unfortunately, the nineteenth-century feminists were to be disappointed. Queen Victoria condemned the women’s rights movement with the words, “the movement of the present day to place women in same position as to profession – as men” was “mad & utterly demoralising” and “the Queen feels so strongly upon this dangerous & unchristian & unnatural cry & movement of ‘woman’s rights’… that she is most anxious that Mr Gladstone & other shld take some steps to check this alarming danger & to make whatever use they can of her name… Let woman be what God intended; a helpmate for a man – but with totally different duties & vocations.”
Her words would not be available for the public until many decades later. The Right to Rule and the Rights of Women: Queen Victoria and the Women’s Movement by Arianne Chernock is a wonderfully well-written look into a side of Queen Victoria that is surprising and perhaps disappointing to modern eyes. Unfortunately, the hardcover is rather expensive, so I hope if there is a paperback release, it will be a bit more affordable.