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Answer 27. James Boswell, the biographer of Dr Johnson. Despite being ‘safely sheathed’, he did catch venereal disease later.

Condoms (armour) were made of animal gut. They were worn to prevent disease rather than pregnancy.


Friary Court lies on the eastern side of St James’ Palace. On the morning of 21 June 1837, a huge crowd gathered here to cheer 18-year-old Queen Victoria, who was standing at the window¬†opening on to¬†the balcony. Among the crowd, cheering as loudly as any, was the Irish statesman Daniel O’Connell.

IMG_5202 Friary Ct St J

It was a momentous occasion. With Lord Melbourne, the prime minister, at her side, Victoria was visibly moved as the chief herald made a solemn proclamation from the balcony. Pale and tired, less than five feet tall, she could barely contain herself as the state trumpets sounded and the band played the national anthem.

The crowd gave Victoria another huge cheer at the end of the ceremony. Their goodwill was all too much for the young Queen. She promptly burst into tears.

HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 28. What was this sad occasion at St James’s Palace that made Queen Victoria cry?


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