Unlike our current most talked about Monarch Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria was never the admirer of appearing in the public eye. In 1854, Queen Victoria paid her first and final visit to our fair city. Despite the eager anticipation for each of York’s residents, Queen Victoria was exceptionally unimpressed with what the picturesque city had to offer.
Despite her hatred towards wooing the public, her reign lasted 63 years and 7 months; so far, longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history. With Queen Elizabeth however approaching her diamond jubilee, it’s doubtful that Victoria will hold her title for much longer.
Just months after giving birth to her eighth child, Leopold, Queen Victoria set on her travels to her Scottish home of Balmoral Castle. Home to over 50, 000 acres of heather filled fields, ancient Calendonian woodlands and the flowing waters of the River Dee, the castle offers a perfect retreat for all the royal family. In her journals, Victoria referred to Balmoral as her ‘dear paradise in the Highlands.’ The castle is still used as a cosy get away for members of the Royal Family and has been available to them for 164 years.
It was on her travels to Scottish home, Balmoral, that Queen Victoria stumbled upon York for an overnight stay in the city’s finest hotel; The Royal York (pictured above). Victoria was however not at all amused when she arrived to find the city council had laid on a military display and erected stands for spectators after stating that it was to be a private visit without a ceremony. With several of the stands collapsing causing much unwanted chaos, Victoria was even more shocked when she was presented with a bill to pay after enjoying lunch at the Royal Station Hotel. It was all this commotion that left Victoria certain that she would never return to the city ever again.
Queen Victoria stood by her word that she would never return to York and went as far as ensuring each of the blinds were firmly closed on the Royal Train whenever it passed the city. Many present members of the Royal Family are however, frequent visitors to York, and are always guaranteed a warm welcome.