8th December 1826

Queen Victoria’s companion John Brown is born

John Brown was born in Crathie in 1826 and found work as an outdoor servant at the Balmoral estate. Initially employed in the service of Prince Albert, he was later appointed to look after Queen Victoria’s pony and, upon Albert’s death in 1861, the queen increasingly spent her time in Brown’s company as he became a close companion. 

This caused some resentment among other members of the court who may have been worried that this would mean their own influence would be less effective. There was also some suggestion that the two may have been more than just friends, although this has never been definitively proven one way or the other.

“Strong and true” attachment

Victoria herself seemed to understand that the relationship was not an ordinary one, considering their relative positions. Upon his death in March 1883, she wrote a letter to one of her ministers, Lord Cranbrook, admitting that “never in history was there so strong and true an attachment, so warm and loving a friendship between the sovereign and servant”.

When Brown died at Windsor Castle, Victoria erected a stone on his grave in his home town of Crathie, describing him as “the devoted and faithful personal attendant and beloved friend of Queen Victoria”.

The Queen and Brown’s friendship was explored in the 1997 film, Mrs Brown, in which Brown was played by Billy Connolly.



Other events that occured in December

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