Today marks the 117th anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria. Why is this relevant you may ask? Well that’s an interesting story, because while Victoria went onto become the longest-reigning monarch (beaten recently of course by our very own Queen Elizabeth II), it was by sheer luck that she wasn’t killed some 60 years before, on 10 June 1840.
The scandal happened when Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, were riding in their carriage around 6.20 pm, having just left Buckingham Palace. Unknown to them, a young man by the name of Edward Oxford was currently standing in Green Park, anticipating their arrival. One woman who saw him was Sarah Brown, a tourist who happened to be waiting for the entourage to pass. As she walked through the park, she was whistled at by Oxford, but this did not impress her. She did, however, turn around, but not until she was at a safe distance. When she did so, Brown was shocked by what she saw.
“He was stooping and in the act of loading a pistol,” she said, “the handle of which he concealed under the tail of his frock coat. I distinctly saw him put something into the muzzle of the pistol, after which he stuffed in some paper and then rammed the whole down.”
The subsequent assassination attempt was, of course, unsuccessful, but Oxford became notorious in the press. I have written about this event in an 8000 word chapter in The Battered Body Beneath The Flagstones, so that you can discover what happened in the hours, days and weeks after the event. It’s a fascinating story and one I loved working on.
The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones will be published by Robinson/Little, Brown on 12 April 2018. If you are a blogger or reviewer and would like to feature the book (or myself) in a future post, please contact me and I’ll be very happy to work with you.
To pre-order at Amazon, please click here.
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