In the VV's novel, The Goddess and the Thief, the widowed Queen Victoria consults with spiritualist mediums while hoping to make some contact with the soul of the man whose Christmas death would haunt her life forever more.


Some scenes in the novel are based on truths. For instance, the Queen’s Prime Minister, Gladstone, was himself a founding member of the Society for Psychical Research. Indeed, many eminent men of the time were convinced that, just as science had found a way to harness electricity, other invisible energies might soon be discovered and utilised to prove that the spirit world was real.

Before Prince Albert’s sudden end the royal family would spend their Christmases at Windsor, with candles lit on the festive trees - a popular German tradition that the Prince had made fashionable here as well.

But, following his passing, the Queen preferred to spend her future Christmases at Osborne House.

It was there, on the Isle of Wight, that the couple enjoyed many happy times. It was also there, while Albert lived, that they met with spiritualist mediums. One of those psychics impressed the Queen so much that she gave her a golden watch, on the back of which were engraved the words: “Presented by Her Majesty to Miss Georgiana Eagle for her Meritorious and Extraordinary Clairvoyance Produced at Osborn House, Isle of Wight, July 17, 1846.” 

Perhaps Miss Georgina Eagle was also there when a table began to levitate and Albert was so horrified that he ordered the object be destroyed, and then demanded that they never dabble in such things again. But then, he was also recorded as once having told his wife: "We don't know in what state we shall meet again, but that we shall recognise each other and be together in eternity I am perfectly certain."

The Queen couldn’t wait for Eternity, though we’ll probably never know for sure how many spirit mediums were smuggled into her private rooms, or whether Albert's ghost was raised around the time of his Christmas death – as it seems he may have been in the plot of The Goddess and the Thief. However, there are verified accounts of her meetings with a Mr Robert Lees – the first when Lees was just 13, when he wrote a letter to the Queen with reference to intimate details that no-one but she could have ever known. Victoria was greatly impressed, so much so that in later years she invited him to join the royal household as resident medium. However Lees was to decline, suggesting that another man would be better suited to fill that role.

That man was John Brown, the low-born Scottish gamekeeper who became the Queen's great confidante. He was also the spirit medium through which she claimed her husband ‘spoke’ – so often that in later years the Queen expressed a strong desire to publish the diaries in which she wrote accounts of all those séances. However, her advisors were appalled at such a notion, no doubt relieved when, after her death, pages of her diaries were destroyed, with others heavily edited and re-transcribed by Princess Beatrice who became her literary executor.

As to the diaries of John Brown – every word was destroyed when he had died. But what secrets might those words reveal if only we could read them now?


  1. I had read of John Brown being her confident and even saw the TV serial about "Mrs. Brown". I never realized he was also a medium. When I read of Victorian Mediums, I picture mysterious older women. This was so interesteing.

  2. It's very interesting, Elizabeth and could well explain more regarding Victoria's close relationship with John Brown.The diary accounts were mostly destroyed, though Victoria had wanted to publish all the details of the seances. There is a rumour that George VI found detailed accounts of seances held in the Blue Room at Windsor (which is where Albert died) but that he destroyed them.

  3. Hello your blog very interesting !!!!! i wll read every day:)
    and i want to ask you maybe you know of some victorian diaries that written upper class young women that lived a short life?
    i thank you

  4. why did you delete comment?
    i only ask if you know of diaries of upper class young woman?

  5. Sorry for the delay. I hadn't deleted your comment, but I don't always see them straight away, and I have to check every one manually rather than going for automatic publishing due to a huge amount of spam comments these days.

    This Diary of a Victorian Lady might be a good place to start www.victoriandiary.org.uk

  6. Forgive me its was misunderstood
    did you know of more journals? because this diary i was reading
    long time i looking for 18-19th century upper class journals and i never found and i thought maybe you can help me because you know so much about victorian

  7. did you know of a upper class diaries?

  8. The queens orange flower perfume still graces her home in at least two different parts of her house.