Tim Wonnacott and Rosemary Shrager travel in the footsteps of Queen Victoria. They visit Chatsworth House, where Victoria stayed for four days in October 1832.
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Just what do you have to do when a Queen decides she's going to pop in to see you?
And not just any old Queen... Victoria.
Like a pair of obsessed Victoria groupies,
we're pursuing her around the country
to the posh pads she visited.
We'll be delving into her personal diaries
to reveal what happened behind closed doors.
We start off here at the magnificent Chatsworth House,
deep in the Derbyshire countryside.
And as someone who's spent a lifetime getting excited by antiques,
I'll be upstairs exploring just what would have excited Victoria
on her visit here.
This was the setting
for Princess Victoria's first grown-up dinner party.
And as a chef who loves great food,
I'll be rediscovering
an amazing 19th century approach to ice cream-making,
perfect for serving the young Princess Victoria.
Look at that!
And tantalising Tim's taste buds.
That is just an explosion in your mouth.
Cor, look at this, Rosemary. Chatsworth House.
Now, this is what I call a pukka country house.
And it is, of course, what Princess Victoria would have seen
in October 1832 on her arrival.
Princess Victoria, seen here as a child
next to her ma, the Duchess of Kent,
was only 13 years old when she came to Chatsworth,
just a year after finding out that she was to inherit the crown.
This four-day visit hosted by the 6th Duke of Devonshire
was part of a PR exercise by Victoria's mum,
who was keen to introduce her to her future subjects.
The royal party travelled to Chatsworth from Eaton near Bakewell
by horse and carriage.
They must have hit traffic because they turned up a bit later than planned,
at 6.30 in the evening.
No satnav, I guess. Huh.
We've come here right at the beginning of our journey,
tracing Victoria's progress across Britain.
But what I'm really interested in is discovering exactly how she got on
in this early royal visit in the upstairs domain.
While I'm going to the engine room of the house,
downstairs to the servants' domain,
to find out about the cooks, the maids, the footmen and the stewards,
just to see how they kept the show on the road.
The 6th Duke of Devonshire was loaded,
and was known as a bit of a charmer.
This was his big chance
to show the Princess just what a hotshot he was.
Victoria kept a journal, so we have an idea of her daily life.
She started her writing
at the time that she started these journeys around the country.
But at this stage, they're simply the jottings of a 13-year-old.
When she arrived at Chatsworth, she described it as "beautiful",
and in this extract from her diary, she wrote,
"It's built in the shape of a square,
joined by an arch, under which one must drive."
And that is the arch that we've just walked through.
She would have swept up the drive with her mother,
and admired, probably, the north wing.
Now, the 6th Duke was remodelling the house,
and he was very keen that everything should be ready
for the Princess's visit.
The Duke managed to get the builders out,
and the new north wing was knocked up just in time for Princess Victoria's arrival,
doubling the size of the house.
But believe it or not, this wasn't the Duke's main house.
That was down in London,
and was run by about 30 staff.
This massive Chatsworth estate was run by half that number.
-only his second home.
To make sure he wasn't caught short during Victoria's visit,
he brought up additional troops from his London pad to help out.
I'm heading downstairs to explore their world.
Here we are in the engine rooms of the modern Chatsworth.
These corridors are still used by staff today
to get from one end to the other when this place is full of people.
This would have been a hive of activity when the Princess and her mother came here for their visit.
This maze of corridors in the basement
houses the central heating pipes today.
But in 1832, it would have been crammed with servants
getting ready for Victoria's visit.
There are 61 rooms down here.
Most are empty now, but back then they would have been larders,
pantries and pastry rooms.
This is the old kitchen.
It's a dusty, woodworking room now,
but this is how Victoria would have found it
on a guided tour during her stay,
and she was quite impressed.
In her journal, she writes,
"It was superb for its size and cleanliness."
And it was the perfect place to cook for the visiting Princess.
Now, it's my guess that when Victoria arrived here,
she was absolutely shattered and needed to rest after the journey.
She was only 13, after all.
But the Duke was having none of it.
He wasn't going to let the Princess to her room
before showing off the Cavendish family album.
And appropriately, at this half landing,
surrounded by a clutch of other portraits of the Cavendish family,
is the 1st Duke.
Can you see him astride his charger?
But our hero is the 6th Duke that you see up there, top left,
in a portrait painted by Sir George Hayter in 1816.
So that's a cool 16 years before Victoria's visit.
But I reckon that that's probably more or less what he looked like
when he ushered her up this very staircase.
While Victoria was checking out the family album upstairs,
the servants were preparing dinner.
Food was very important in all of Victoria's visits,
and throughout this series,
I'll be joined by food historian and chef Ivan Day.
We'll be working in some of the finest Victorian kitchens across the country,
recreating some amazing dishes that were served to Victoria.
-The juices of the meat drip down.
-How delicious! That is beautiful.
The Chatsworth kitchens no longer exist,
so I've been to Ivan's own kitchen
to create a dish that's perfect for Victoria.
A few years ago I was working at Chatsworth,
and I discovered in the cellars
this incredible hoard of pewter ice cream moulds.
We have to make ice cream. It was almost certainly served to the young Princess.
At Chatsworth, the gardener grew fabulous pineapples.
So we have to make pineapple ice cream.
-Here, on the ice and salt to keep it really cold,
I've actually got a pewter ice cream mould of a pineapple.
That is beautiful. And look at the detail.
To make the ice cream,
a wonderful container called a sorbetier is in a pail of ice.
Into that, we've put some pineapple flesh
that's been boiled in water and pureed,
then sweetened with sugar, and a half pint of cream added.
Then the sorbetier has been spun to make the mixture freeze.
This is called an ice spaddle.
We want to make this really light.
-This is for a Princess, so it's got to be absolutely like baby's breath.
That means we've got to get air into it.
And the way you aerate it is by spinning it.
So what I'm going to do, I'm going to spin it round like this.
-Have a go yourself. Just spin it round.
-That's perfect. Keep it going.
Lift it up and down as you do it,
and that will bring the air into the mixture.
That will make it much lighter.
You can already see, actually.
Now we have to add the colour to the basic ice cream, to match the real pineapple.
What you have to do is to make an orange for the pineapple body.
And for that, we have to use this material here.
Don't eat it, whatever you do.
These are little cochineal beetles that grow on prickly pear cactus.
That makes a very interesting red.
And if we mix that with a little bit of yellow made with some saffron,
we'll get a pineapply colour.
Green for the leaves is extracted from spinach.
So these are natural dyes.
-And the colours used in the period.
Once the colours have been added to the ice cream,
we have to freeze it before we can fill the mould.
It's amazing to think that at the time Victoria visited Chatsworth,
the gardeners were able to produce exotic fruit like pineapples.
Joseph Paxton was the man who was responsible
for everything horticultural here back in Victoria's time.
His crowning achievement was the great conservatory.
This was no off-the-shelf greenhouse.
At the time, it was the biggest glass building in the world.
In her journal, the 13-year-old Victoria described it as,
"out and out, the finest thing imaginable of its kind."
Sadly, it's no longer here and there are no pineapples today,
but there are plenty of other Victorian glasshouses,
and one other special fruit
that was here when Victoria visited the Cavendish family in 1832.
The current head gardener is Steve Porter.
I do feel as if I'm in a real jungle here.
Now, I've been told you grow a very special fruit here.
We do, and we're standing under it. This is Musa Cavendish Dwarf, Cavendish dwarf banana.
It came here in 1829.
Joseph Paxton head gardener for the 6th Duke
obtained the plant and grew it in a glasshouse here
where it flourished, fruited and produced these wonderful bananas.
From here, they were taken to Samoa and elsewhere, becoming a commercial crop that's still grown there.
It wasn't only exotic fruit.
There's another amazing plant imported from the Amazon,
that Paxton's green fingers managed to get to flower.
And it has a close connection with Victoria later in her life.
This is the Victoria Lily.
This was grown here, also by Paxton and the 6th Duke.
But it was later that it flourished and flowered here in 1849,
and Joseph Paxton actually took a leaf and a flower
down to Windsor Castle, and presented it to Queen Victoria,
who then named it the Victoria Lily.
She must have been absolutely thrilled with that.
By the time Victoria got to her room,
she must have been ready to just chill out.
But no such luck.
The Duke had laid on a dinner party starting at seven o'clock.
He even had a dress rehearsal the night before
because this particular dinner was so important.
This wonderful dining room was the setting
for Princess Victoria's first grown-up dinner party.
But after all the build-up, it didn't go quite to plan.
She didn't turn up.
Victoria, in her journal, writes,
"I dined by myself in my room, with Lehzen."
That's Baroness Lehzen, her governess.
And you can hardly blame her.
She'd only arrived at Chatsworth
half an hour before dinner was to be served.
But the Duke must have been cheesed off, after all that effort he put in.
Downstairs, the staff were busy preparing the evening meal,
and we're making ice cream,
just as it would have been served to Victoria.
The green and orange pineapple-flavoured ice creams
are frozen and ready to put into the pineapple mould.
The one we need first is the green.
If you take the napkins off and just put them aside,
-I'll show you how to do it, and then you can try it out yourself.
So this is actually a nice consistency.
-You want about a half spoonful each time.
And you're going to put it onto the leaf.
I'll do this one, actually.
Now, put it on very gently,
and then with one spoon,
paddle it in, pushing it in quite hard like that,
so that you get the impression.
-Now, you've got to work very quickly.
Leaves done. Now for the body.
-And a bit more.
The secret with this is being very slow and gentle.
Everything is so intricate!
And remember, cooks didn't do this at all.
At Chatsworth, this was done by the Duke's confectioner.
Now, we have to leave it like that, standing up.
-Steady it with just one finger.
The mould is now filled
with the rest of the orange-coloured ice cream.
This was not done in the kitchen at all.
It was done in a completely separate room with a cold area,
which was the confectionery.
It was a long way from the kitchen.
It couldn't have fires in there.
He must have had quite a bit of help, labour.
Oh yes, there would have been a kitchen maid called in.
Possibly a male, as confectionery tended to be done by men at this period.
Then finally, more green ice cream to form the base.
Imagine doing this for a princess.
It must have been, I would say, event of their lives, almost.
Now, if this pineapple is going to sit on the table and stay firm,
we've got to freeze it much harder than that.
And bizarrely, for that, we need some lard.
We're going to rub it into the seams
because we're putting this into a mixture of ice and salt,
and the salt could get into the ice cream and spoil the flavour,
so we have to seal it.
How very clever!
With the seams sealed with lard,
the mould's wrapped in paper
so that when it's plunged into the bucket of ice,
the ice doesn't stick to the pewter.
The final thing we need to do,
if you put salt onto ice, it acts as a refrigerant,
and you get a temperature of about minus 13,
which will rapidly freeze anything that you put in one of these pots.
It'll take another three hours for it to freeze solid.
Upstairs on the first morning of her stay,
Princess Victoria awoke to enjoy her first glimpse of Paxton's gardens.
In her journal, she writes, "I breakfasted soon after nine,
in a room overlooking the cascade."
She may have been keen to see more of the gardens,
but the Duke, of course, had the day all set out.
And it began inside, with a guided tour starting in the library.
The 6th Duke was a bit of a globetrotter,
and it was on his travels that he built up his massive collection
of 50,000 books.
Victoria, well-read herself, was clearly impressed,
describing the library as "beautiful".
The next event on the Duke's itinerary
was something completely different.
Anyone for cricket?
On the afternoon of her first day,
the Chatsworth doors were thrown open to the public,
and over 300 people flooded in to watch a special match,
that was laid on in Victoria's honour.
There was even a band who played God Save The Queen,
to rapturous applause.
As the current Chatsworth cricket team put their best bats forward,
cricket historian Keith Hayhurst tells me more.
The teams were made up of gentlemen and workers?
That's correct. Most of them would have been the workers.
There would have been two or three gentlemen who wouldn't work so hard.
They would direct the fielders to catch the ball and find the ball.
-What, the gentlemen wouldn't really do the fielding?
-Not a lot of it.
They wouldn't do much of the bowling, either.
You'd get the strong workers for the estate to do the bowling,
and maybe some of them were employed, just as good cricketers.
Cricket during Victoria's time was hugely popular,
both with the gentry and their staff,
but you might be surprised that, like today,
the fans liked to have a flutter.
There was a lot of gambling,
especially in the cricket of the 1750s to 1850.
And huge amounts.
Something like 1,000 guineas a match were put on these games.
You would get people coming from Manchester, from Chesterfield,
from all around the district,
to watch that game.
And that would bring the money in?
-That would bring the money in.
With the royal visitors wandering around,
the gardeners would have had the grounds looking immaculate.
And there was one particular treat
that the 13-year-old Princess Victoria took a real shine to.
So this is the most unusual feature in Chatsworth garden.
It was built for the 1st Duke.
The design was based on a willow tree,
and it's been restored a couple of times during its life.
The Princess Victoria called it "the squirting tree".
She must have had such a lot of fun here.
I think it's rather quirky.
When later asked what she liked best about her stay at Chatsworth,
Victoria answered, "The squirting tree".
The gardeners must have been thrilled.
I'm keen to find out more about the men and women who laboured so hard
in the gardens and downstairs at Chatsworth.
Luckily, the house has some amazing documents from the period,
that house collector Matthew Hurst tells me
offer an intriguing insight into that world.
Well, Matthew, I believe you've got some information for me.
We're looking at 1832, when Victoria came here,
and I'm really interested to find out more about it.
So can you show me?
Absolutely. What we've got here
are the household accounts covering 1829 to 1833,
-so it fits absolutely the period you're interested in.
And if we open it up here,
-we can see the wages.
-Oh, look at this.
Absolutely, let's have a look.
We have got a Thomas Howard and Charles Coote.
They both were on £150.
That's a lot of money.
It is. It is. And they would have been the senior male servants.
So they would have been the butler,
or sometimes called the steward of the household,
who was essentially the man in charge of the whole household.
Interestingly, when you look at the women of the household,
the highest-paid woman has a salary of £40 a year.
She would have been the housekeeper,
so she was the most senior female servant.
And you can see that their salaries drop as you go down the list.
Well, I think the least we've got
is for a Harriett Sheffith?
-Sherriff, I think.
Six pounds, two shillings and sixpence,
-so that...she must have been the scullery maid.
What is so fascinating with this,
there's a huge hierarchy situation.
It must have been like an upstairs downstairs in this little domain.
The scullery maid would probably have been
a girl of between 14 and 16 years old, when they started,
so very young as well,
in contrast to somebody like the housekeeper.
What's interesting is that the scullery maid would have been
near the same age as Victoria when she came.
Pretty much, yes. We don't know her exact age,
but she would have been around the same age,
and it's extraordinary to think, the contrast.
The contrast of lives. Unbelievable!
Victoria may have escaped dinner once,
but on the following night, she wasn't so lucky.
There was another attempt to hold her first grown-up dinner.
Walking through the house to the dining room,
she couldn't have failed to notice the semi-naked figures.
Of the Duke's statues, that is.
He was a great collector, and luckily for him,
the young Victoria clearly enjoyed the exposure.
To the sculptures, that is,
writing in her diary that, "There are some beautiful statues."
Oi! Fish face! What are you staring at?
Eventually, in the dining room, the big moment arrived.
She sat down to dinner with 35 fellow guests at this stunning dining table.
However daunting it must have been,
we know that she admired the gilded surtout de table
that is still here today, describing it as "magnificent".
Quite something for a 13-year-old to notice, don't you think?
While the guests tucked into dinner upstairs,
downstairs, the cooks would have been preparing the dessert.
In our preparations,
the pineapple-flavoured and shaped ice cream has been in ice for three hours.
Now, the moment of truth. Will it come out in one piece?
Look at that!
Oh, that is beautiful!
I'm going to try and just lever that out with the knife, like so.
And then put it onto there,
right into the middle,
and hey presto!
-Oh, that is...stunning!
-How about that?
I love it!
Amazing as this pineapple-flavoured, coloured and shaped ice cream is,
it would not have been enough
to serve to the 13-year-old Princess Victoria.
There are more water ices and ice creams,
starting with a delicate asparagus spear.
I've got to get the knife in between.
And still they keep coming.
Sometimes this fails, but...
-There we are, look at that.
-Look at that!
A fig, a pomegranate, and a melon and some grapes.
Wow! It's like magic.
-This is what we call a pillar mould.
-See the fluted columns?
-And this has made a strawberry ice cream.
-These moulds are incredible.
It's quite tricky. It's going now, I think. Yeah, here we go.
Come on. Just drop out nicely.
Way! How about that?
Oh, look at that.
Lever it. That's it.
-That's my boy, there we are. That's my boy.
-That's my boy.
This is a basket mould.
Gently lever it out.
-Is it coming?
Right, get it up like that, OK?
Oh, that's beautiful.
Ah, but we've got more.
That's just part of it.
Some strawberries. Yeah, OK, they should just drop out.
OK, now, that isn't all because...
I've got some strawberry leaves.
Oh, how wonderful!
Which have been sitting in cold water, so they should freeze on.
You may have to hold them on a little while.
They'll freeze to the strawberry,
so hold it for about four seconds.
Look, isn't that absolutely super?
Look, that is the most...
That is just beautiful.
I absolutely love it!
These Victorian ices of all flavours and shapes
are so elaborate.
Now, we just need to serve them to my own gentleman of the house, Tim.
That's nice, Rosemary, thanks.
But I can't compete with our host, the Duke.
By all accounts, he was renowned as a great entertainer,
and showed exactly why with the after-dinner entertainment he laid on in the ballroom.
Young girls would need to be at least 15
before they're allowed to attend a formal ball.
And as Victoria was far too young,
the Duke provided alternative entertainment
in the form of charades,
which were popular at the time.
And we think that that is what took place here.
In her diary, Victoria tells us that the titled guests,
including Lady Blanche, the Duke's niece,
performed scenes from Bluebeard and Tom Thumb.
Parlour games such as charades were extremely popular in Victorian times,
especially for the wealthy upper classes.
Even Victoria joined in.
And during the charades, there was another treat in store for her.
Head gardener Joseph Paxton
had arranged a spectacular show of illuminations in the gardens
using coloured flares.
Lady Cavendish, the Duke's niece,
wrote in a letter after the visit,
"The little Princess seemed to enjoy herself beyond anything,
and was extremely excited about the cascade."
"It was like an enchanted castle. The water seemed turned into fire,
rockets going up in every direction."
Gosh. "Even the Duke himself
had to admit he had never seen anything like it before."
So, with the upstairs entertainment drawing to a close,
it's time for me to serve up the ice cream and water ices.
It's a feast fit for a princess,
and just think, all these exquisite dishes are just the dessert.
Victoria would have had at least ten courses beforehand.
Tim may not be a queen, but he can be a bit fussy.
I wonder what he'll make of these.
-you been up to?
Well, I thought while the table was laid up for a dessert,
I would give you a dessert.
Well, this is quite extraordinary, isn't it?
These shapes, the design.
How long did it take you?
-About five hours.
-Did it really?
And I must say, it was fascinating.
I have to say, this is the first time
that I've ever addressed an ice in the form of a piece of asparagus.
And it does look extraordinary.
It is extraordinary. To actually see the process...
I'm going to taste the first bit.
-You taste the first bit and I'm going to take a little bit.
That is just an explosion in your mouth. Isn't that just delicious?
It's extraordinary, and it's so smooth. It's so delicious!
We're going to have a lot more Victorian food as we follow Victoria's journey.
I can't wait.
For the 13-year-old Princess Victoria,
life would never be the same after Chatsworth.
She was firmly on the road to becoming Queen.
Next time on Royal Upstairs Downstairs,
we're with the teenage Victoria at Shugborough in Staffordshire.
Where upstairs, I'll be discovering
how her mother's national PR offensive continued.
And downstairs, I'll be experiencing
what life was like for the servants during a royal visit.
-You'll make an excellent maid.
-Oh, it's coming off, too!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Antiques expert Tim Wonnacott and chef Rosemary Shrager travel in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, visiting the houses, castles and stately homes she visited throughout her life.
Using her own diaries, and other first hand accounts of her visits, they discover the extraordinary preparations that were undertaken and explore the legacy of each visit - upstairs and downstairs. Food historian and chef Ivan Day joins Rosemary to recreate some of the amazing dishes that would have been cooked for the queen.
Victoria stayed at Chatsworth House for four days in October 1832. Her host was the 6th Duke of Devonshire, one of the richest men in the land. Princess Victoria was 13 years old and visited with her mother Duchess of Kent, just a year after finding out she was to inherit the throne. This shows how her host improved the house before she arrived and brought in servants from his London home.
Ivan Day makes ice creams using the kind of exotic fruits grown in the Chatsworth greenhouses - one in the shape of a pineapple, another a bowl of fruit, a white swan and asparagus spears.
We discover how the young princess was charmed by a water fountain in the shape of a tree in the grounds of the house - describing it in her diary as a 'squirty tree', watched a cricket match that may have been the start of her involvement in the sport, played charades and had her first grown-up dinner.