Prince Albert comes up with a royally creative solution to Queen Victoria’s modesty concerns in this true story that reveals an overlooked splash of history.
Poor Queen Victoria! She loves to swim, but can’t quite figure out how to get to the water without her devoted subjects glimpsing her swimming suit. (Because, of course, such a sight would compromise her regal dignity.) Fortunately for the water-loving monarch, it’s Prince Albert to the rescue with an invention fit for a queen!
This quirky tale about the longest reigning monarch in British history is as fun as it is authentic, and the book includes a picture of the actual bathing machine Prince Albert created.
Queen Victoria is ready to break free from the constraints of life at the top (including literal ones, like corsets) and take a swim in the ocean. But that would never do given the mores of the era named after her until her beloved husband Albert hits on a solution: a covered wooden cart with an undressing room that can be rolled into the sea, allowing the swimmer to discreetly enter the water. "No one will get so much as a peep," Albert assures her, "except for the creatures down in the deep." Whelan's (Homeless Bird) rhyming bounds along with a crackle worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan, and Carpenter's (Big Bear's Big Boat) digital drawings are sublime. Her portrait of a loving marriage (which includes a scene of the Queen and Her Consort canoodling in their nightgowns!) is every bit as wonderful as the busier scenes in which Albert (with assists from the couple's many children) devises his contraption. But the finest image is the penultimate, which finds an ecstatic Victoria gliding through the lapis water in her swimming costume. Ages 5 8.