Possibly as a result of some hormonal imbalance, Queen Victoria possessed a voracious sexual appetite bordering on nymphomania.From their marriage night onwards, Victoria was the sexual aggressor and pursuer of the two.Victoria’s secretary, Sir Henry Ponsonby, commented that Brown was ‘certainly a favourite, but he is only a servant and nothing more — and what I suppose began as a joke has been perverted into a libel’.She gave him three houses: a cottage at Windsor, a bungalow on the Isle of Wight and a lovely house at Balmoral, all of which he filled with his penniless Indian relations at the British taxpayer’s expense.One of his earlier pranks was to drip burning candle-wax onto the bald patch of the outraged Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, who was seated below him.While studying at Cambridge, he was one of Cecil Beaton’s first models, who photographed him with a budgerigar on his finger.It claims that after the untimely death of her husband, Albert, the Prince Consort, Victoria sought sexual solace with her uncouth, arrogant and heavy-drinking Highland ghillie, John Brown.
The fact that she has coped with more strength and better judgment with the pressures of what her mother called ‘the great and lonely station to which she has been called’, is a measure of the respect and affection in which she is held, and with which this year’s Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated by the nation.On Victoria’s own death in 1901, at the age of 81, she was buried with Prince Albert’s dressing-gown and a plaster-cast of his hand, a lock of John Brown’s hair, a photograph of Brown clasped in her hand, several of his letters and a ring belonging to his mother.There is a pathos and a poignancy about Victoria’s desperate dependence on the burly and bullying Brown.So appalled and unnerved did Albert become by his wife’s daily and nightly onslaughts that he took to cowering behind the locked door of his bedroom. ’When four years later, Albert succumbed to typhoid fever at the age of only 42, he was no longer the slim, attractive Adonis of his youth, but fat, bald and prematurely middle-aged.After years of being a royal breeding stud, Albert was forced to invent and install a bedside switch to activate mechanical locks on the bedroom door so that their nine children, all still minors, would not come in and catch their parents in flagrante. Courtiers speculated that the sexual athletics imposed upon him by his wife had worn him out both in body and spirit. She was soon referring to the hirsute Highlander as ‘fascinating Johnny Brown’, and the shocked Foreign Secretary, the Earl of Derby, recorded that they slept in adjoining rooms ‘contrary to etiquette and even decency’.In some of the numerous permutations of what clearly started out as republican and anti-monarchist propaganda, there was not just one secret child, but three.