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Queen to visit exhibition on another Queen: Her great-great grandmother Victoria

  • Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship

The Queen will open an exhibition at Buckingham Palace today dedicated to her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

The 19th-century British sovereign was the first to move into the Palace, at the bottom of the Mall, after converting it from the more modest Buckingham House.

Victoria and her consort Prince Albert turned the building into the focal point for national life - as we know it today - but also a family home for their nine children.

Visitors to the summer exhibition will be able to see some unusual items which shows Victoria's motherly side, like a casket filled with the baby teeth of the her children and casts she had made of their arms and legs.

The exhibition at Buckingham Palace dedicated to Queen Victoria opens on Saturday to the public. Credit: Royal Collection Trust
Queen Victoria's Star of the Order of the Bath. Credit: Royal Collection Trust

She also kept the first baby shoes of her eldest son, Prince Albert Edward - later King Edward VII.

The blue velvet slip-ons are inscribed on the sole with the words: "The Prince of Wales first shoes worn - July - 1842".

Queen Victoria is never thought of as a particularly loving motherly - having had a difficult childhood herself - but the co-curator of the exhibition, Dr Amanda Foreman, says: "What these objects show is what her words couldn't express which is this deep, fierce passionate love for her children, and for the recognition that childhood is so important - the thing that she felt she never had."

Dr Foreman added: "Victoria had great trouble showing simple affection towards her children... She didn't have the normal upbringing that would have enabled her to be a normal mother herself so she expressed her love through things."

The Ballroom at the palace will also show visitors what the space would have looked like in the 1850s.

A portrait of Queen Victoria by Thomas Sully. Credit: Royal Collection Trust

Projections around the room will recreate a waltz danced at the ball staged at the end of the Crimean War on 17 June 1856.

It means visitors will be able to imagine the ballroom as Victoria and Albert would have seen it.

The Ballroom at Buckingham Palace as Victoria and Albert would have seen it. Credit: Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

The silk, lace and gold braid costume Queen Victoria wore for another ball - the Stuart Ball - in 1851 will also be shown to her great-great granddaughter on her visit today.

The annual summer opening of Buckingham Palace dates back to 1993, to help pay for the extensive repairs to Windsor Castle after the devastating fire the year before.

A silk, lace and gold braid costume Queen Victoria wore to a ball. Credit: Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

It is only the State Apartments which are open - not the Queen's private apartments - and the opening is restricted to the weeks between late July and September when the Queen is on her summer break at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

This year, the Queen is delaying her trip to Balmoral in order to received the new Prime Minister at Buckingham Palace next week.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth.

She reigned from 1837 to 1901.