Saturday, January 5, 2019

Stars in Her Crown #1: The Princess Royal

Stars in Her Crown #1 Victoria
by Mark Lauer

We're starting a weekly Quilt Along today, every Saturday for ten weeks in 2019, which is the 200th anniversary year for Queen Victoria's birth. Each block recalls one of her royal children

Block #1 is for daughter Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, the Princess Royal (1840-1901), Albert's favorite, known as Vicky.
Vicky and her mother, about 1845

 #1 Victoria by Janet Perkins
Janet used two red William Morris prints in her star points
and kept the other fabrics identical.

Victoria by Becky Brown
Becky did the same shading with her trademark fussy cutting.

Staffordshire figures of the royal couple
and their eldest

In today's world Vicky would have been Britain's heir apparent, but until recently only the eldest boy was destined to be future King. Oldest child Vicky, a very bright girl who thought like her father and looked like her mother, would have made an excellent Queen of England.

Her Uncle Ernest wrote about his niece and his brother Albert: "She not only always remained the favourite, but, in many things, the image of her father."

The Princess Royal with her nurse,
 etching by Queen Victoria
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Ernest, Albert and great-uncle Leopold were princes of Saxe-Coburg, a small German duchy that maintained a good deal of power through dynastic marriages. "The Coburgs were always of a marrying disposition," according to an editor of Victoria's letters. Leopold and Albert saw the perfect husband for Vicky in Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia, part of their plan to unify Germany's small states into a progressive nation under Prussian leadership.

Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia with Victoria, Crown Princess of Prussia
When Fritz became the Emperor of 
Germany in 1888, Vicky became Empress or Kaiserin.

Fritz, ten years older than Vicky, first met her when she was ten. Their future together was viewed as decided and they married when she was 17. 

Prussia is the purple part of Northern Germany here, 
including Poland and other eastern European states at the time.

Their 1858 marriage, a political union of Germany and England, was as much a love match as her parents' was, but it was also a sad story of dashed hopes.

Crown Princess Victoria with William, eldest of her eight children in 1859.

Son Wilhelm was destined to be Kaiser and they hoped to raise him to be a liberal ruler in a democratic Germany with a constitutional monarchy like England's, but Fritz's family and politician Otto von Bismarck shaped Wilhelm's conservative Prussian education and personality, creating the autocratic bully who gave us World War I.

Empress Victoria of Prussia with ghostly Friedrich, a German postcard

Sadnesses in Vicky's life included losing her well-loved father when she 20 and hostility from her eldest son and the Prussian court who vilified her as an English outsider. Wilhelm's difficult birth resulted in a nerve-damaged arm and she was blamed for his lifelong handicap. Her husband's long- awaited enthronement as a peace-loving advocate of an English-German alliance lasted only 99 days before Emperor Friedrich III died of cancer in 1888. 

Kaiser Wilhelm II

The saddest chapter perhaps was one she did not live to see---her son's belligerent commencement of war against the England he hated.

Two widows, the Dowager Empress of Germany and 
her mother Queen Victoria in 1888

The two Victorias wrote each other often during Vicky's years in Prussia, one more sin according to the Prussian court. Vicky saved her mother's letters (over 3,000) and smuggled them into England as she aged, entrusting one packet to her brother King Edward VII when he visited her just before her death in 1901. Her cautions were justified. Kaiser Wilhelm's first action after she died was to invade her quarters to confiscate her papers. The mother/daughter letters, published in six volumes, offer much insight into the royal family.
The Block

Victoria by Denniele Bohannon

The larger pattern is for a 12" Block; the smaller for an 8" Block.

To Print:
Create a word file or an empty JPG file.
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file 8-1/2" x 11". Check to be sure the inch square box measures 1".
You'll need 4 copies if you are going to piece it over paper foundations.

Each block is pieced of 8 triangles rotated around the central point. 

In Block #1 they are identical except four are flipped over.
And those four have a different color for Point A, purple in one set in the sketch, brown in the other.
Add a 1/4” seam allowance when you cut the fabric if you are using the templates.

If  you are template piecing you might want to mark the triangle sides with arrows
as it is so easy to get these turned around.

UPDATE: Kristie and Kay asked if the blocks are in my BlockBase digital program.
They are not. The blocks are original. I exported some four-patch pinwheel types from BlockBase to EQ8 and started adding and subtracting lines. Here's BlockBase#1303 with the basic structure.


Each week I'll show you a vintage textile related to Victoria and her children; the first one is a kerchief printed for Victoria's fiftieth anniversary as Queen, her 1887 Golden Jubilee. Portraits of her children flank the Queen...

including this one of the Princess Royal.

A fat quarter of "Queen Victoria's Family"

I adapted the family portraits to make a repeat print you can buy
in my Spoonflower custom printing shop.

The Queen is about 3 inches wide and the royal offspring are about 1-1/2".
Each repeat is about 7-1/2" x 8".

Albert's greyhound Eos with the Princess Royal about 1840
by Sir Edward Landseer

Read more online about the Princess Royal here:

Read a book a week:

An Uncommon Woman: The Empress Frederick, Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser Wilhelm by Hannah Pakula.
A review:

A Queen by John Tenniel from Alice in Wonderland

You may also want to read the correspondence between the two Victorias but those thrice-weekly letters reveal an occasionally unpleasant woman in Queen Victoria, a woman of contradictions. The person she revealed to Vicky is not the young woman we see in the television drama.

Dearest Child; Letters between Queen Victoria and the Princess Royal, 1858-1861.
Dearest Mama; Letters Between Queen Victoria and the Crown Princess of Prussia. 1861-1864. Edited by Roger Fulford.


  1. Gracias, me ha resultado muy interesante Un saludo

  2. Is this block in your Block Base software? thanks

  3. Kristie I should have mentioned that they are not in BlockBase. The blocks are original. I just exported some four patch pinwheel types from BlockBase to EQ8 and started adding and subtracting lines. I should have mentioned that in the post. I'll update it.

  4. Thanks. It's not a problem, I was just wondering. I got it on your Etsy store anyways...just easier.

  5. I'm trying to make it easy. Send pictures MaterialCult@gmail.com when you get some blocks done.

  6. Thank you so much! I love the PBS "Victoria" series but know some is fictional. I so enjoy your historical writing and the blocks that go along with the stories.

  7. I especially like the mother/daughter photos, both childhood and adult.

  8. Love the history and the block. Maybe, (probably) it's operator error on my end but I could not get this to print properly. Tried many ways, just would not give me a proper print out at the correct size. Any suggestions?

  9. Really looking forward to this project!

  10. Sharon. Look at this post for resizing information;