Kensington Palace’s latest exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary since the birth of Queen Victoria examines her private life away from the public.

Queen Victoria by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1856. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

Created to mark the 200th anniversary of Victoria’s birth, the exhibition aims to re-examine how she was able to balance her life as wife and mother with being Queen of an ever expanding empire.

Having been pronounced Queen at the age of 18, while still living at her childhood home at Kensington Palace, she held her first council meeting within a few hours of becoming the reigning monarch.

This exhibition will re-introduce Queen Victoria as a young woman, exploring all of her roles as a queen, wife, mother and empress. It will include rare survivals from her private wardrobe including a simple cotton petticoat and a pair of fashionable silver boots that contrast with the black gowns she became accustomed to wearing in the wake of Albert’s death. It will also include examples of her personal diaries carefully inscribed in Urdu to form the centrepiece of the exhibition.

The display will also concentrate on her complex interest in india – including the story behind the Koh-i-noor diamond to her friendship with the deposed Maharajah Duleep Singh.

Victoria: Woman and Crown is on display at Kensington Palace from the 24th May.