“For Queen Victoria, food was a way of exploring the world”: an interview with Annie Gray

Annie Gray talks to Charlotte Hodgman about her new book, which traces a queen's reign through her lifelong love – food

Annie Gray portrait by Ian Farrell

This interview was first published in the May 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine.

In context

After a childhood constrained by draconian strictures – including on her diet – Victoria was determined not to deprive herself in later life. Her appetite would earn her scorn as “England’s fat queen”. Producing food and drink for the royal household was a vast enterprise and, with regular banquets and six-course meals, Victoria put on a significant amount of weight in mourning – at a time when many in her country suffered malnutrition. As Annie Gray’s book reveals, her diet also brought several unpleasant health problems to the queen.

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