Harewood Royal Upstairs Downstairs


Harewood

Antiques expert Tim Wonnacott and chef Rosemary Shrager visit Harewood House in Yorkshire, following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria and her royal visits.


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Transcript


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'Just what do you have to do when a queen decides to pop in?

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'And not just any old queen - Victoria.

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'Like obsessed Victoria groupies, we're pursuing her around the country to posh pads she visited.

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'We'll be delving into her personal diaries and first-hand accounts for what happened behind closed doors.'

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Today we're in picturesque Yorkshire as we continue to follow

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the early progress of the young Victoria.

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We're at Harewood House,

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where we'll find out what happened to the young princess when she came to visit in 1835.

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'As someone who's spent a lifetime getting excited by antiques,

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'I'll be upstairs exploring what would have excited Victoria.'

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Maybe Victoria used this very writing set when inscribing her diary.

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'As a chef who's passionate about great food,

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'I'll be creating a spectacular Victorian asparagus dish...'

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This is beautiful! It's going to be absolutely magical.

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'..which needs a delicate touch.'

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I just don't feel I can disturb the arrangement.

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Victoria stayed at splendid Harewood House for three days

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when she was just 16 years of age.

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It was all part of her mother's master plan to secure her position in the monarchy

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and also make sure that she was viewed by the people favourably.

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This trip was made two years before she became Queen,

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although she knew she was to inherit the throne four years earlier.

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I can't wait to find out how this family greeted the Royal party so I'm heading off upstairs.

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-I'm heading downstairs to find out more.

-Good for you.

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The Queen travelled to Harewood by carriage. The Times reported she left Bishopthorpe on Saturday

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a little after 10 o'clock and arrived three hours later with her mother, the Duchess of Kent.

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Victoria had been at the Yorkshire Music Festival before coming to this beautiful house

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and she had had an extraordinary reception.

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When she got here, she was greeted and escorted by the Yorkshire Hussars

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who then would have formed up on this front lawn, and she then ascended these gracious steps.

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And was ushered into the baronial hall,

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where she didn't see this risque statue. It didn't arrive until the 20th century, thank goodness.

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While Victoria was marvelling at the grand hallway, her servants made a more low-key arrival.

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The staff of Harewood House would never be allowed through the main entrance.

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They would have come to the bowels, along here, of the house.

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These storage rooms, they're huge. They'd have kept coal in one, wood in another. It's enormous.

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'But nothing compared to the size of the kitchen, where I meet our food historian Ivan Day.'

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I absolutely love this kitchen!

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And the vaulted ceiling, which looks just like a church.

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The comparison with a church ceiling is really appropriate.

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The architect who designed it, John Carr of York, actually modelled it on the Sistine Chapel.

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There aren't any frescos, but the basic idea is that you have a stone vault to act as a fire break.

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If ever a fire broke out, the rooms upstairs are protected to a degree.

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That's the purpose of the stone vaulting. What's extraordinary is that it's an 18th-century kitchen

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and that is the kitchen that would have cooked the food when Princess Victoria came here.

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There's one unique feature, which is wonderful. Up there,

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-it's a window...

-Yes.

-And behind that is the chef's bedroom.

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So he could always keep his eye on what was going on in here.

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Absolutely fascinating. So what are we going to make today?

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We do not have a menu for Princess Victoria's dinner that she had here at all,

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but at that time, in the 1830s, there are lots of references to putting asparagus on the table

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in the form of a pyramid.

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I've hunted through Victorian cookery literature and, amazingly, I found a recipe that was probably written

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by a chef who worked here. A man called Louis Lecomte - the man who stared from that window.

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'We start by making an unusual pastry for the crust.'

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We're going to make a dish called asparagus in a crust.

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-We've got eight ounces of plain flour.

-Right.

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-And in here I've got eight yolks - one yolk for each ounce of flour.

-Oh.

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OK, that's going to be a very hard pastry.

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-It has to be. It was made very much more for decorative purposes than edibility, but you can eat it.

-OK.

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We're going to put most of the eggs in and I want you to massage those into the flour.

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-As you said, it will make quite a tough pastry.

-It will.

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But it will make something we can get to stand up in the oven without collapsing.

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'While we fold in the eggs and flour to our pastry dough,

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'Tim's upstairs in search of some valuable artwork.'

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This room today is known as the library and it's exactly as it was when Victoria visited in 1835.

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At least, in terms of the magnificent semi-barrelled ceiling

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with its plasterwork by Robert Adam.

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And the fireplaces opposing at either end.

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The only major difference is, of course, all this magnificent mahogany case furniture

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for the storage of books.

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Victoria certainly would have seen these paintings by JWM Turner.

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Turner, when he was 20 years of age, visited Harewood in 1797

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and created this masterpiece in watercolour.

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Can you believe a 22-year-old being able to produce quite such a beautiful image?

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And it's topographically correct.

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It shows the house sitting in Capability Brown's landscaped park,

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with the artificially-created lake down below.

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But if you look closely, here on the south side, the park, the Jardin Anglais,

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literally approaches practically the wall of the house

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with sheep that could almost have walked in.

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Just look how very different it is today.

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Cor. Look at that.

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This is the park as Victoria would have seen it

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and as completed by Capability Brown in 1772.

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But the changes have happened down below.

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Entirely along this south front, there's been constructed a most complicated and beautiful parterre.

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This was commissioned in the 1840s,

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just a few years after Victoria's visit.

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What I think is so extraordinary is the sheep are still there on the other side of the parterre,

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while they would have been, in her time, right up to this wall itself. Beautiful, though, isn't it?

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'Downstairs, we're working on our Victorian asparagus crust.

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'The pastry dough's been made, rolled and cut into a long, narrow strip, then dusted with flour.'

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We're going to form that into a little pie crust. We need this - a cylinder mould.

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If I just pick that up and I wrap it round that,

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-a tiny bit of water...

-Yes.

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Just a little on that cheek there. We're going to stick the two pieces of pastry together.

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-You're keeping it quite loose.

-I have to get this off.

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-Now look at this. This is a border mould.

-Lots of flowers and leaves.

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It's beautiful.

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What we're going to do is push some of the same pastry into that.

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You have to get it into the deep part

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by pushing it down into there with your finger, you see.

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-You can finish it off.

-All right.

-If I swing it round for you,

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if you could do that, I'll follow up behind you. Start at this end.

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-It's getting that deep bit filled.

-That's exactly what I'm thinking.

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-This is the tricky bit. We start off by trimming off the excess with the knife.

-Can I try?

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Keep it flat against the wood. We're going to go all the way down to the end.

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What we have now is the mould filled with the pastry.

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It's best to push it to get this little gap. This is really difficult.

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The trick was to tap the mould on the board.

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And that releases it - we hope.

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We have to make a start. It is a bit wet, this pastry.

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Now very, very gently...

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-Very gently...

-It's beautiful!

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I just gently pull it out and...

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That is stunning!

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Swap round with me, Rosemary. I'm just going to wet it with some water.

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Then, with a little bit of care, we're going to...

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apply that to our base.

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Just gently tapping it in. If you push it too hard, you'll spoil the definition of the flowers.

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-I think that is stunningly beautiful.

-There is one final thing we're going to do with it.

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-Have you ever seen one of these?

-No, but it looks a bit like a stamp and a ravioli cutter.

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-The English name is a jagger. Can you see these little stamps on it?

-Yes.

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We're going to use this one, which is like the flower on there,

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to finish the top of our crust.

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So what we do is we push it in, like that.

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And twist the mould

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so it doesn't stick. Push it.

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-Can I try?

-Line it up with that one

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and twist the mould.

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That is absolutely beautiful.

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'We're now going to put our mould into a cool oven for two hours before we add the asparagus.

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'This cosy room is the Spanish Library. It used to be part of the state apartments,

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'but when 16-year-old Victoria was here, it was her bedroom.

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'It meant she could stay close to her mother in the room next door.'

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-Gosh, this is lovely.

-Yes, indeed.

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'Some of the fascinating objects in the room relate to Queen Victoria,

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'having been passed to Victoria's great-granddaughter, Princess Mary, who married into the family here.

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'And there's one particularly wonderful personal object

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'as Anna Robinson explains.'

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This is actually a travelling writing set that belonged to Queen Victoria.

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It actually dates from 1816, although it was given to her in about 1861.

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You'll see here it actually fits rather nicely together.

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It has an inkwell in the top here.

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-Yes.

-And all of the implements and here an inkstand.

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If you just screw it -

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it's all very neat - you see the rest of the implements. A very beautiful piece.

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Incredibly practical. Is that Queen Victoria's cipher that we see there?

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Yes, indeed. It says VR for Queen Victoria,

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-which is a really lovely addition to it.

-I'll tell you what's gorgeous.

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You've got the original leather outer case. On the top of the outer case we've got the cipher,

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-impressed into the leather. It's all complete with these silver fittings. It's so practical, isn't it?

-Yes.

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Here we have poor Victoria being carted around the nation, carrying all her possessions with her.

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I know she didn't have this with her here, but all her other visits around the country

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for the rest of her reign, and abroad, she'd have needed to take things like this with her.

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Yes, indeed. Travelling implements, travelling cases were often used by people like Queen Victoria.

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But rarely of this quality, which is lovely. And who knows?

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After 1860, maybe Victoria used this very writing set when inscribing her diary.

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She could have used that pen.

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'One fascinating room that was important during Victoria's visit is still here today,

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'thought you certainly wouldn't have found the Queen down here.'

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-What is this room, Ivan?

-This is the still room

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and the scullery.

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These rooms started back in the 17th century and their prime purpose

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was to distil alcoholic waters, perfumes and medicines

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from products of the kitchen garden, flower garden and the orchards.

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Using a piece of equipment like this.

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This is the head of a still. There's a bit missing.

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This was used for steeping things like herbs and wine

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and leaving them to just get all of the essential oils and flavours into the alcohol,

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then putting it into the base of this, the little furnace underneath.

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It slowly heated the alcohol, which evaporated, taking the oils and flavours with it.

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And it drips out at the end and you get concentrated alcoholic water,

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originally used as medicine. Later on, they became social drinks.

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Gin, which is juniper water, started as a medicine for epilepsy. Then it becomes a social drink.

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This wasn't just used for distilling waters. There were other products like the fruit

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and the vegetables that were often preserved here. This little stove is a wonderful thing.

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These are very, very rare.

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This is a drying stove, used for making fruit candies.

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-Things like lemon peel, orange peel, were soaked in syrups...

-Yes.

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..and then put in here and slowly you'd dry them out as candied peels.

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'Around the time Victoria visited, the role of the still room changed

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'as they started to make preserves and pickles as well.'

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Pickling, preserving, did two things. They saved money because they did it when it was cheap

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and it was in abundance, and they had food available all through the year, which was really important.

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You can just take things off the shelf and enjoy your peaches, mid-winter.

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On a large estate like this, you've got orchards, kitchen gardens, herb garden.

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And they're set up, basically, to produce enough material to feed what is a sizeable community.

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-It's not just the family, the Earl and his family.

-It's everyone.

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All the servants, the estate workers. These are little factories, producing food from the raw products

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for storing over winter. Everything from pickled onions to pickled eggs to gooseberry jam and marmalade.

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All those things.

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One thing that's very interesting is the 19th century had a huge expansion of trade with the Empire.

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Things like chutneys start to become very fashionable because of India.

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-A lot of the cookery books are full of recipes for chutneys and things called catsups and ketchups.

-Yes.

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And those bottled sauces and things were first of all made here

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and then with the expansion of industrialised food

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they start making them in factories.

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Often what happened here is a lot of these things start to be bought in as factories make them more cheaply.

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And the role of the still room maid and the housekeeper starts to dwindle by the end of the 19th century.

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After WWI, these places are extinct.

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'Not far from the still room is the servants' hall, where all the staff would have gathered

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'for meals. These hooks would have been used for footmen's uniforms and as with many stately homes

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'there was also an elaborate bell system to make sure they were permanently at the beck and call

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'of the guests upstairs, including Victoria.

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'We know that the Queen brought many of her own staff from London,

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'judging by the report in the London Morning Post,

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'which said, "Harewood Hall - magnificent doings are expected in the course of a few days.

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'"Cooks and confectioners and upholsterers left town yesterday."

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'Despite the Upstairs, Downstairs system of the day,

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'there was one place where everyone came together.

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'The local community, toffs, servants and village folk all attended the local church.'

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Victoria walked to church that sunny September Sunday in 1835

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observed by literally thousands of people.

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On her arm was her mother, the Duchess, and the Earl.

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And on her other side was her friend, Lady Georgiana Harcourt.

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It wasn't altogether a pleasant experience, though, for Victoria.

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She writes in her diary, "It was immensely hot in church and I felt uncomfortable.

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"I could not go to luncheon, but had some broth in my own room."

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What she didn't realise at the time was that there had been a right royal row brewing

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about this whole service

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long before she arrived at Harewood.

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She should have been listening to a sermon from the local vicar, Reverend Hale,

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but instead she got words of wisdom from the Archbishop himself

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who had been invited by her host

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because it was felt that a sermon preached by the local vicar

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might have been offensive to her young and tender ears.

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Not surprisingly, the local vicar was furious and wrote to the press.

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Oh, lordy!

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It would seem that the Earl and the Archbishop went to extraordinary lengths

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to prevent Reverend Hale giving his sermon. Goodness only knows what they thought he might have said!

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As it happens, Princess Victoria was well aware of how to conduct herself on the Sabbath

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because in her journal she records that that afternoon she, "wrote a letter to my sister,

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"saw the children again, wrote some things in my journal,

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"read a lecture in the exposition of St Matthew's Gospel."

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Good girl.

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'After church, the servants would have been straight back on duty, just like us today.

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'The pastry for our Victorian asparagus in a crust is ready.

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'This Victorian recipe calls for a copper pan to boil the asparagus.

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'The copper causes a chemical reaction to make them even greener.

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'It's completely harmless, but shows how much thought they put into the perfect-looking dish.

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'Once boiled, our extra-green greens are drained and laid out, ready for the assembly job,

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'which, as ever, is very fiddly.'

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-We'll start with the very short ones.

-Right.

-Rest them against the side.

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They have a tendency to fall over, so lean it against the side.

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We've got four layers, four tiers if you like.

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You've got to be very careful with a delicate touch.

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-It's very tricky.

-It's much easier with the bigger ones in the middle.

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-This is difficult, and the next one.

-I love doing this. They must have had a lot of people in the kitchen.

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So when would this have been served?

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This was served in a course towards the end of the meal, the entremet.

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-Although it's a vegetable dish, it was served at the same time as jellies, ices...

-Really?!

-Yes.

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-Get them nice and upright.

-Right.

-That's it.

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This is beautiful! This is going to be absolutely magical.

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-But you need a lot of asparagus.

-And even more patience.

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To finish off, it's a different technique. The tall ones - not all, because I've got a few spare -

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-we make sure that they are absolutely...

-Perfect.

-..like that.

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And then I drop them in. Then we finish off

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-by gently pushing the others in.

-Just pushing them in.

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A few more on this side and then we can fluff the whole thing up.

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And there we have it. Asparagus in a crust.

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I think that is fabulous. I just love it, love it, love it. I can't wait to take it to Tim.

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'And I can't wait to try it. Now we know Victoria became quite an arts lover in later years,

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'but she also liked to tinkle the ivories and was taking piano lessons around the time of this visit,

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'although it appears she wasn't very keen on taking instructions.

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'Here in the Music Room, I'm meeting Irene Truman, House Steward at Harewood

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'and also a classical pianist. She has a revealing story that shows our Princess Victoria

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'could be quite a diva with her piano teacher, one Mr Sale.'

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Apparently he didn't get on with her terribly well. He was obviously not very inspirational for her.

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It is known that Mr Sale became quite impatient with her at one point

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and said, "You must practise more, like everybody else."

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At this point she lost her temper, slammed the piano lid down and said, "There's no 'must' in it."

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-And that was the end of the lesson.

-Making it clear who's the boss.

-Absolutely.

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'Victoria's passion for music continued throughout her life.

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'She also had another love - food.

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'And that love most probably began around the time of this visit

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'in magnificent rooms like this where she became accustomed to incredibly grand dinners.'

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And this is the gallery where Princess Victoria dined.

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It's no surprise that they're able to cram in quite so many guests into this space

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because it's 76 feet long, 24 feet wide

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and 21 foot high.

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As royal dinners go, this was right up there.

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Victoria ate with 130 distinguished guests. Cor, imagine that!

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She said she thought the room was beautiful and recorded that she had her dinner

0:23:560:24:01

just after 6pm and, like any teenager might,

0:24:010:24:06

rather sweetly she was allowed to stay up until nearly 20 past 9!

0:24:060:24:11

'Well, luckily for me, I'm not catering for 130 guests.

0:24:110:24:16

'Instead, I've set up a table for two for our own private banquet.'

0:24:160:24:21

-Hello!

-Rosemary! This IS good timing, isn't it?

0:24:210:24:25

It certainly is. I had to bring this in before as I was worried about this dish.

0:24:250:24:32

It's very valuable. This is called asparagus in a pastry crust.

0:24:320:24:37

-Look how ornate it is. This was served at the end of the meal with jellies and desserts.

-Really?

0:24:370:24:43

Some people wanted savoury. Do tuck in. Have a little mayonnaise.

0:24:430:24:49

-This mayonnaise has been specially prepared, has it?

-Yes, it has.

-It's a good colour.

0:24:490:24:55

I just don't feel I can disturb the arrangement. You go first.

0:24:550:25:00

-I'll take one from there.

-Just one?

-One or two. There we go.

0:25:000:25:04

That's got it. Lovely. And then we mix it in there...

0:25:040:25:09

-Delicious.

-They are not overcooked, are they?

-But I love them like that.

0:25:100:25:15

'So Victorian - hours to create, but a lot quicker to consume.'

0:25:150:25:20

-Mm, delicious.

-I want to show you a little something really special.

0:25:200:25:25

-This little box... What does that say?

-"HRH The Princess Victoria's watch."

0:25:250:25:31

-And what's it got inside?

-Was that her watch?

-It was.

0:25:310:25:35

-No!

-I'm going to open it up very, very carefully. Look at that.

0:25:350:25:40

Deep, deep royal blue enamelling on the back.

0:25:400:25:44

And then you've got this lovely scrolly type stuff, an arabesque.

0:25:440:25:50

But if you look very carefully, in the middle of that fine gold work is her initial V.

0:25:500:25:57

-I can see that, yes. Can I just hold it?

-You can.

0:25:570:26:00

They're called open-faced cylinder key-wound watches.

0:26:000:26:05

That's the sort of watch you'd expect to find in a top-quality jeweller's in the 1820s or 1830s.

0:26:050:26:12

But if I press that on the end, it springs open

0:26:120:26:16

and inside you can see the hallmark for 18-carat gold.

0:26:160:26:21

And then a very fine little inscription which says,

0:26:210:26:25

"To my dearest child on the 24th of May, 1830.

0:26:250:26:30

"From her affectionate and devoted mother, Victoria."

0:26:300:26:35

So the Duchess of Kent was called Victoria and on the child's 11th birthday

0:26:350:26:41

-she presented her with this little gold watch.

-How did it get here?

0:26:410:26:46

As a result of the royal connections between the Harewood family and the Royal Family.

0:26:460:26:53

It would have come to the Princess Royal and that's why this is a treasured possession here.

0:26:530:27:00

'I was very taken by the story of how the Archbishop usurped the poor local vicar

0:27:000:27:06

'to give the sermon to Victoria.

0:27:060:27:09

'To add insult to injury, Victoria mentions the Archbishop in glowing terms in her diary.'

0:27:090:27:16

She'd actually sat next to the Archbishop of York the night before in this room for dinner.

0:27:160:27:23

She clearly got on with him as they'd spent a few days together beforehand.

0:27:230:27:28

She wrote in her diary, "The Archbishop is an extraordinary person of his age.

0:27:280:27:33

"He is nearly 78 years old, has all his teeth,

0:27:330:27:38

"has a powerful voice and is extremely active

0:27:380:27:42

"and his mind is as perfect as any young man's."

0:27:420:27:47

-Gosh.

-Just like you, Tim.

-Hey!

0:27:470:27:50

Next time we catch up with Victoria, she's still a teenager

0:27:530:27:58

and on a trip to Holkham Hall in Norfolk to visit England's greatest commoner.

0:27:580:28:03

And her music education continued as our royal teenager was introduced to karaoke,

0:28:030:28:10

Victorian-style!

0:28:100:28:12

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011

0:28:200:28:24

Email [email protected]

0:28:250:28:27

Victoria's visit to Harewood House in Yorkshire was made in 1835, two years before she became Queen, having learnt she would inherit the throne four years earlier. And it appears our teenage Victoria was becoming quite used to the royal highlife, and becoming pretty hard to please. She records in her diary that she played the piano here before going to bed and we know she was learning the piano from one Mr Sale who, we hear, was finding it hard to teach her. When he told her that if she wished to succeed she must practice more, she slammed shut the lid of her piano and shouted, 'There is no must about it!'.

Tim shows us an exquisite Turner watercolour of the house that Victoria would have seen, an image painted by the young (22-year-old) Turner some half a century before Victoria's visit, and how the view changed when the garden was given a magnificent Victorian make over. He also shows a beautiful traveling writing set that belonged to Victoria which she used to write her journals.

Chef and food historian Ivan Day and Rosemary cook an amazingly intricate dish - asparagus in a pastry crust - and reveal a Victorian method of making the greens become even greener.

Rosemary explores the marvelous kitchen with its great vaulted roof shaped like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It was designed as a fire break to stop any fire that broke out in the kitchen spreading to the rest of the house.


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