Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Ready for winter

In 1834 the fifteen-year-old Victoria paid a less than happy visit to the Sussex resort of Hastings. It rained incessantly, one of her footmen fell into the sea and drowned and she never went near the place again.

But the good burghers of the town, which is full of old burghers, bore no malice, and in a fit of patriotic fervour sixty-eight years later erected a bronze statue of her gazing disapprovingly out to sea.

Later in the twentieth century, as reverence for royalty declined, putting something on her head became a popular ritual among the young and agile. In recent years a traffic cone has sometimes been involved, which I thought was grossly disrespectful if not actually lèse majesté.

But last week someone kitted her out with something which looks much cosier, though it does give her a faintly raffish air.

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