Historical story

Queen Victoria and her maidservants

Queen Victoria strongly condemned those who broke the rules of morality. Nevertheless, after the death of her husband herself, she was supposed to get into an affair with her servant - John Brown.

For several years, Brown was the queen's confidant and most trusted person. Their close relationship was no secret to the courtiers and citizens. In fact, it was rumored that Wiktoria had not only got into an affair with her rough and poorly smelling Scottish servant. She was secretly marrying him! As soon as the monarch appeared on the streets of London, there were whistles and shouts of "Mrs. Brown!" Rumors about the secret life of the virtuous queen have continued to this day…

"I am an orphan!"

At present, it is impossible to determine what the relationship between Victoria and Brown was . However, one can imagine the basis of their acquaintance by understanding the queen's personality and her weaknesses. Well the leitmotif of her life were the words:"I am an orphan!" . At the age of only 8 months, the future monarch lost her father. Though she still had her mother and an assured existence, she felt her lack of it all her life. Even when she was already an elderly woman herself.

Victoria was in love with her husband, Prince Albert.

When in June 1837, as an 18-year-old, she came to the throne after the death of her predecessor, she was inexperienced in political matters. Its guide was the 58-year-old prime minister, Lord Melbourne. There was a thread of understanding between the two. They spent time together after work, going on horseback rides or having long hours of evening chats. Victoria felt close to Melbourn because, as her biographer David Duff explains, she saw him as a part of a father, part of a strong man whose arm you can lean on.

Great love

She treated her beloved Albert in a similar way. She had been in love with him for 20 years of marriage. The Queen entrusted her husband with many responsibilities. She trusted him immeasurably. Though she was one of the most influential people in the world, she believed that ruling was not a woman's affair. After Albert's death, she plunged into utter despair. Relatives feared for her mental health. For the rest of her life, she slept with his shirt against her chest and spoke of her longing. This dependence on a strong man was best characterized by the aforementioned David Duff:

Queen Victoria wanted to belong to a man. It was said that if she had not been born into the royal family, she would have had many lovers. The men she liked were strong and steadfast. They made her laugh.

Who is Mr Brown?

John Brown was a Scot from the Balmoral area where Albert and Victoria rented the castle in 1848. In 1851, the spouses acquired the property. Brown worked there as a servant. He participated, inter alia, in preparing the property for the arrival of the royal family. He turned out to be a diligent and competent employee. He helped in caring for Albert's horses and prepared animals and hunting equipment. He soon caught the prince's attention. As early as 1851, the royal spouse became friends with a Scot. He offered him new duties. He was supposed to lead the queen's pony. Brown happily accepted the offer. He quickly gained recognition from Victoria, who in 1858 wrote in her diary:

[John Brown] is still with me here at Balmoral. I cannot do without it (…). He gained our recognition thanks to his devotion and decent behavior (...). He was promoted to the position of personal servant (...). He is selfless and ready to fulfill our wishes .

Queen Victoria's children hated her alleged lover

After Albert's premature death in December 1861, Victoria began to surround herself with people she associated with her husband . One of these people was Brown. She brought him to Windsor. Then he accompanied his mistress to all the residences. In the new place, the Scot also led the queen's pony, and his arm was a support for her during her walks . He gained the monarch's trust so much that she allowed him to decide who to grant an audience. If he thought his mistress wasn't up to talking to officials, he would go into the waiting room and shout, "Won, everyone from here! The Lady does not want to see you! ”.

Rough but lovely

Did Victoria know about Brown's behavior? Yes, but she attributed it to his strong character and devotion to her. The diplomat and traveler Wilfred Blunt wrote that John "had unlimited influence over the queen." He explained it by the fact that the ruler believed that "the spirit of Prince Albert had transferred to Brown" . John was hated by her children, especially her eldest son and heir, Albert Edward. They felt that this uncouth man was separating them from their queen and mother. However, when one of the children tried to reason with Victoria, she got angry.

What did John Brown and Queen Victoria have in common?

The Scot was also hated by other servants. Also because Brown was very confident in his position. He even considered himself and the queen one. He looked down at the London society. He has been heard over and over again, saying, "Me and the queen - we never pay attention to them." He was also not popular because Wiktoria gave him many gifts. She even created two medals for him:"Medal of the Faithful Servant" and "Medal for Dedicated Service". In 1876, she commissioned his portrait. She gave it to Brown for ... Albert's birthday, August 26. After Brown's death, the monarch mourned. She described the deceased in letters to her friends:

He only thought of me, my welfare, my comfort, my safety, my happiness. Brave, completely disinterested, discreet in the extreme. He was not afraid to tell the truth, he said what he thought was right. He did not flatter me. (...) The comfort of my everyday life is gone, the emptiness is terrible, the loss is irreparable !.

At the Queen's request, the epitaph for John's tomb was written by Alfred Tennyson himself!

And there were moments?

Victoria's dependence on Brown had sparked bordering rumors that the monarch was having an affair with him. Wilfred Blunt recalled that the queen went with him to a little cabin in the mountains, explaining that a servant was to "protect" her and "look after the dogs." Her court ladies remained at the far end of the property. John, on the other hand, was in the next room. According to Blunt, the Queen and Brown spent their time there "like wife and husband" . On the other hand, there is evidence that the monarch suffered from a prolapsed uterus and a number of other ailments that made intercourse impossible. So how was it in reality?

Julia Baird, author of Victoria:The Queen:An Intimate Biography, claims that reaching the truth is impossible. This is because the royals have destroyed documents on Victoria's relationship with her Scottish servant. At the same time, Baird admits that there was "tremendous closeness" between the sovereign and Brown, although its degree cannot be determined at present.


  1. Alderson A. Victoria did become Mrs Brown . "The Telegraph", May 4, 2003
  2. Duff. D., Albert and Victoria. London 1973.
  3. Lamont-Brown R., John Brown. Queen Victoria`s Highland Servant. The History Press 2002.
  4. The truth about Queen Victoria's relationship with John Brown, britishheritage.com (access:4/06/2022).
  5. Woodham-Smith C., Victoria Queen of Great Britain 1819-1901. Dell Publishing 1974