Consider, for a moment, that every historical figure you’ve ever studied or admired probably, at some point, got stoned to the bone. It’s a humbling slice of perspective, but it’s true: John F. Kennedy was on piles of amphetamines. Marcus Aurelius loved opium, according to NPR. Nancy Reagan used to throw weeks-long whippit ragers in the White House bowling alley. Only one of those is made up.
And Queen Victoria, long may she reign, was apparently not averse to the 19th century equivalent to binge watching Doctor Who while eating a bucket of Utz Cheese Balls. At least, that’s what the BBC reported back in 2012 in a retrospective article on Great Britain’s 100-year-long war on drugs. They state that up until the International Opium Convention of 1912 England wasn’t, from a political perspective, big into harshing people’s buzz.
And least harshed of all was the buzz of Queen Victoria, who, with nine children and a full time job, probably needed to cut loose once in a while.
Have you ever seen someone look so blissfully stoned?
First, there was the opium, which Her Majesty apparently enjoyed taking in a tincture with her tea. As ways of getting lit go, that’s roughly as British as you can get without baking Rowan Atkinson into ayahuasca-laced crisps and eating them on the tube. At the time, opium didn’t carry the same stigmas that it holds today, and it was widely considered the most fun a person a person could have with a prescription.
There was also the cocaine. During the 19th century, cocaine use skewed less towards “let’s see how much of this we can fit in Al Pacino’s face” than it does today. If anything, it was like the tattoos in a pack of Fruit Stripes – something you put in gum to make it more fun for kids. The BBChas reported that Queen Victoria sampled some with a young Winston Churchill.
Finally, it’s a matter of record that during childbirth, Her Majesty went hard, breathing deep the sweet, proliferous bouquet of chloroform. According to the New York Times, she described the experience as “soothing, quieting and delightful beyond measure.”
Or to put it another way, she was, if only for a moment, amused.
The poet/editor of this website is physically disabled, and lives at a fraction of her nation’s poverty level. Contributions may be made at: https://www.gofundme.com/are-you-a-patron-of-the-arts