The World’s Most Photographed “Queen Victoria” 20 June 2022: Monday on BBC Four
Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne in 1837 coincided almost exactly with the invention of photography. She would be the first woman in the world to live both her private and public lives in front of the camera.
At first, photography was a private pleasure, a way of capturing images of herself and her family for their own personal amusement. But during the course of her 64-year reign, Queen Victoria began to use the camera as a political weapon. The new art of photography was a vital tool in Victoria’s battle to safeguard the British throne. It was a means to quell the forces of republicanism, a way to win the affection and sympathy of her people and an opportunity to establish her as the defining symbol of British imperial power.
By the time Queen Victoria died in 1901, photography had transformed the relationship between the monarchy and the people. The private life of the monarch was more visible to more people than ever before. But Victoria still managed to take one photographic secret to the grave.
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About The World’s Most Photographed
Series exploring the way photography has been used and manipulated to construct the image of figures from history.
This show is broadcast on BBC Four, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.