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Plenty to amuse even Queen Victoria at Gainsborough Old Hall this summer

Emily Blunt's costume from film The Young Victoria which is on display at Gainsborough Old Hall
Emily Blunt's costume from film The Young Victoria which is on display at Gainsborough Old Hall

The summer holidays are nearly upon on us and here at Gainsborough Old Hall we have lots planned to keep you, your kids or grandkids amused and entertained the whole summer long.

You can meet Queen Victoria and her Butler on the July 26 and discover the secrets of Queen Victoria’s royal household.

Have an audience with the Queen herself and learn how to meet and greet the Queen.

Then for the bank holiday weekend from Saturday, August 25 to Monday, August 27 meet Elizabeth’s executioner and hear his grisly tales (although not too grisly for young visitors).

The executioner will tell tales and let you see his axe and sword – discover horrible history for yourself.

The ever popular Friday fun clubs will return with fun family creative and crafty sessions with something different to make and take away every time.

Just turn up for either the morning or afternoon session, no booking required.

It is free entry to the club room but a small charge applies for each craft.

Sessions run 10am to noon and 1pm to 4pm on August 3, 10, 17 and 24.

This will hopefully keep you amused but what about amusing Queen Victoria?

Was she not famously known for saying ‘we are not amused?’

Various historical stories have attributed the quotation to Victoria, with varying details about how it came about.

In Victorian noblewoman Caroline Holland’s diaries, it was noted about Victoria that “her remarks can freeze as well as crystallise’.

There is a tale of the unfortunate equerry who ventured during dinner at Windsor to tell a story with a spice of scandal or impropriety in it.

‘We are not amused’, said the Queen when he had finished.

However, other accounts assign the response to a risque story told by the Hon Alexander Grantham Yorke, or a production of HMS Pinafore by Gilbert & Sullivan, or a different theatrical performance put on by Yorke.

On the other hand, according to Victoria’s grand-daughter Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone in a 1976 interview, Victoria herself maintained that she never uttered the line at all.

Yet in her diaries Victoria once exclaimed ‘I was very much amused indeed’ after watching Giuli Grisi play Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello.

So in conclusion, maybe she said it or maybe she didn’t.

But don’t forget you can also see the costume worn by Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria as part of the Old Hall’s exhibition.