Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Great Britain--History, Victoria, 1837-1901; Women household employees--History--Great Britain--19th century; Lady's maids--History--Great Britain--19th century; Royal governesses--History--Great Britain--19th century; Wet nurses--History--Great Britain--19th century; Child rearing--History--Great Britain--19th century;


The dynamic of the royal nursery during Victoria’s reign has rarely been discussed in any academic field. This lack of research has not adequately addressed the issue of how the royal children were raised under her care. This thesis addresses the issue of who were the real caregivers with special attention to the Lady Superintendents, the English governess, and the Prince of Wales’ wet nurse. Specifically, this project looks at the individual lives of Sarah Lyttelton, Caroline Barrington, Sarah Anne Hildyard, and Mary Ann Brough in order to better understand the work and social dynamics inside both the nursery and schoolroom. It will also discuss the current understanding of Victoria and Albert’s parenting, and juxtapose it against accounts from her children and the nursery staff in order to reveal the previously misunderstood connections between the children and those who raised them. It argues that the nursery staff was far more active and attentive towards the children, and Victoria remained largely uninvolved in their lives until after infancy. In conclusion, this project, by closely examining the women working inside the royal nursery and schoolroom, sheds new light on the little recognized issue of class dynamics inside Victoria’s household, the relationships between the children and the nursery staff, and how these women lived outside the palace walls.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of History

First Advisor

Thomas Connors, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 186 pages)



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