Victorian Rules for an Unmarried Woman | Meredith Sweetpea


victorian-womanIn the Victorian years there were strict standards for how men and women were to behave. Those who did not follow these rules were ostracized or shunned in polite society. These expectations were set in stone, and especially held dear to the unmarried women in a community.

Rules for the Single Victorian Woman

  • Never go out alone. Always be accompanied by a female companion or a male family member.
  • Do not ride in a closed carriage with a man who is not a relative.
  • Do not receive gentleman callers when alone at the house.
  • When receiving a gentleman caller, another family member must be present in the room.
  • Never visit an unmarried gentleman at his residence.
  • Never speak about impure topics among other single women.
  • Do not touch a gentleman when walking together; only accept his hand of assistance if needed to navigate.
  • Never address someone unless introduced to them.

In addition, a single woman was to uphold her innocence at all costs. She was not to show her intelligence, but rather, to submit to the gentlemen in the room. Political talk was always scorned upon.

Love and Courtship of the Unmarried Victorian Woman

Victorian-courtship

Victorian love and courtship

When it came to love and courtship, an unmarried Victorian woman was encourage to marry up and never down. She often brought a dowry to the marriage, especially if she was from an upper class family, and he must prove that he was of equal or better standing than she by disclosing his financial situation. Continue reading

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British Royal Wedding Required Traditions


Meghan-Markle-royal-wedding

photo by JANE BARLOW/AFP/Getty Images

With all the buzz about England’s next Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle, Miss Meredith Sweetpea’s mind has turned to romance. There are so many things to consider when planning a wedding. Especially so when marrying into the royal family.

In British tradition, there are a number of age-old royal wedding requirements.

  • The monarch must permit the marriage in writing for the six heirs closest in line to the throne.
  • A formal engagement announcement must be made by Kensington Palace, followed by a public photo session and joint interview. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle posed for the press in the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace.
  • The king or queen is the Head of the Protestant Anglican Church of England, therefore they and anyone they marry must be a member of the Church of England or they will lose the right to the throne. Ms. Markle will be baptized into the Church of England prior to the wedding.
  • Royal brides must wear a white gown, and customary lace, ever since Queen Victoria wore a white gown at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840.
  • Royal grooms must wear a military uniform. Prince Albert was the one to start this trend.
  • Continue reading

Am I the Granddaughter of King Henry VIII? | Meredith Sweetpea


Henry_Carey_King_Henry_VIII_comparison

L: Henry Carey; R: King Henry VIII; Middle: mashup of the two. The resemblance is uncanny. Could he be King Henry VIII’s son?

When Miss Meredith Sweetpea read the best-selling historical novel “The Other Boleyn Girl” she was captivated by the story, and read the entire book in one sitting. Have you read it?

The story, written by British historian Philippa Gregory, tells the tale of Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s older sister, who had a long-term affair with, and two children by, King Henry VIII prior to his meeting and subsequently marrying Anne. It is told from Mary’s point of view, beginning with Mary at the naive age of 14.

This book penetrated my mind, and for years, lingered with a familiarity unclaimed by any other novel. Continue reading

Why Should I Wear a Fascinator on the Right?


Camilla-fascinator-on-right

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wears a fascinator.

A number of kind readers have been asking Miss Meredith Sweetpea lately why a fascinator is traditionally worn on the right-hand side of the head.

The custom runs far back into history to when women were generally accompanied by men when they walked down the street. Women of any stature would rarely have occasion to walk alone; she was escorted by her husband, or if single, her father or brother. And of course, both men and women always wore a hat whenever outdoors.

Wearing the Fascinator on the Right Made Perfect Sense

Men traditionally carried their weapon, such as a sword, on their left-hand side, so it made sense that when walking with a woman (when armed), she walk on his right-hand side. Even when men no longer carried swords, the tradition of putting the women on a man’s right continued.

Catherine-Duchess-of-Cambridge-wears-fascinator-on-right

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wears her fascinator on the right.

Another reason to put the women on a man’s right was to position the man between the woman and the street to help protect her fine skirts from becoming splashed by passing carriages or horses traversing the often-muddy roadways.

Therefore, in order to have conversation when walking down the street, a women would tilt her hat to the right to offer a better view of her face to her companion. This also prettily framed her face perfectly for flirting, which only added to her fascination. The pert angle of the hat took on the name “fascinator.”

Today’s milliners often design a fascinator to sit on the right-hand side, in keeping with tradition. But many fascinators are made to suit either side of the face, or to be worn in the center of the head at a slightly forward angle toward. Some people even prefer to wear their fascinator to cover the part in their hair, believing it more attractive worn that way.

There is no hard-and-fast rule about which side is the correct side to wear a fascinator. It is simply up to you to choose.

Woman are Always Right

The tradition of having the women walk on the inside of the man on the street carries on today with polite men and women. Remember the catchphrase, “Women are always right” and it will be easy to remember.

Read More About Fascinators

For more information about fascinators, read our other posts:

Find Your Perfect Fascinator

  • Do you have a fascinator? Browse more than a thousand darling Fascinators! You might just find one that’s perfect for your look.

 

When did Groundhog Day Start?


Punxsatawney-Phil-groundhog

Punxsatawney Phil on Groundhog Day

On February 2, 1887, Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania newspaper editor Clymer Freas invented the idea of Groundhog Day. According to reports, he convinced a group of businessmen and groundhog hunters known as the Punxsatawney Groundhog Club to trek to a site called Gobbler’s Knob to hold an “official” ceremony. If the groundhog saw his shadow, it would be considered bad news.

In modern days, the February festivities that attract tens of thousands of spectators over three days are presided over by the Inner Circle, a band of local dignitaries who wear top hats and speak in the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dialect (supposedly this is called “Groundhogese”). This well-known groundhog is known as “Punxsatawney Phil.”

Tradition states that if the groundhog emerges from his burrow and sees his shadow on this day, six more weeks of winter will follow. If he does not see his shadow, it means an indication of an early spring. Maybe we shouldn’t rely on Phil’s forecast so much though, the National Climatic Data Center and the Canadian weather service report his accuracy at less than 40%. Yet still, it is a fun tradition that continues today.

Ancient Significance of February 2nd

The date of February 2nd falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and was noted for its significance by many ancient cultures. Continue reading

Victorian Inventions We Couldn’t Live Without Today | Meredith Sweetpea


Victorian-woman-on-sewing-machine

A fine Victorian invention

We see lines at the electronics store when the new smartphone comes out, and frenzies at the toy store when a popular doll is sold out.  Miss Meredith Sweetpea was wondering what inventions Victorians made that we couldn’t live without today.

Telephone

The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell and patented in 1876. He just barely Continue reading

Louisa May Alcott | Meredith Sweetpea


Miss Meredith Sweetpea loved reading Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott when she was growing up. Didn’t you? After coming across my dog-eared copies, I thought I’d share a little more about the Victorian author behind these beloved books.

Louisa May Alcott’s Youth

Louisa-May-Alcott

Author Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott was born November 29, 1832 in Germantown (near Philadelphia), Pennsylvania to Transcendentalist and educator Amos Bronson Alcott and social worker Abby May. She was the second of four daughters.

The family moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1838, where her father opened an experimental school and joined the Transcendental Club with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Her father maintained strict views on Continue reading

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