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Once upon a time at a Christmas party in Windsor Castle

December 1, 2016

What I found out recently is very special for us, people local to Windsor.

Daniel Howick from Windsor Museum and Museum/Libraries Outreach Team had shared this lovely story about one special Christmas ornament that Queen Victoria gave to a Windsor girl and this ornament is now in the Windsor Museum collection.


Below is a newspaper illustration of the Christmas event in Windsor Castle we are going to talk about. I would like to thank Daniel and The Museum team for providing the information and letting me post these images here.


It was very in common among aristocrats throughout Europe to throw a Christmas party and invite children of the working class to join in and receive gifts. In 1899 Queen Victoria held a special Christmas tea for the children of Windsor men who were on active service in South Africa, fighting in the Boer War. Among these children was Mable with her sister Lily accompanied by their mother, who were picked up from their address, 1 Pine Villas, Grove Road, by a carriage and then taken directly to the castle, where they had a very sumptuous tea. Most of which was served by the Royal Family.


After the tea, Queen Victoria presented small presents to the attending children, but one of them, Mable, had eyes only for a glass ball at the top of the Christmas Tree. Queen Victoria noticed that Mable’s interests had indeed been piqued by the Ball and offered it to her as a present, demanding that one of her retainers fetch a ladder to bring it down to her. Her mother, who was mortified by the turn of events, shrunk into the crowd!



I have to remind that glass ornaments in the end of XIX century were extremely rare. It would be only noble or very wealthy families who could order glass decorations from Germany. 

So this is THE bauble which was catalogued into the museum collection in 2016 coming from Mable's niece, Wendy Worley.


Another example as to how one Christmas ornament can tell a significant story for our knowledge of history!




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