#PhotoFriday: Loudoun Kirk.

Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! This weeks offering is features a point of Ayrshire historical interest. Before I show you this weeks image, do you know what links this local landmark to the new historical drama on itv based on the life of Queen Victoria?

This is a view of Loudoun Kirk, sadly now lying in a ruinous state, it was originally built in the 12th century. So what is the connection with Queen Victoria?

Interred in the crypt lies Lady Flora Hastings, lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria's Mother the Duchess of Kent.

As a young girl, Victoria disliked Lady Flora as she was part of the Kensington system which was conceived by The Duchess of Kent and her loyal comptroller Sir John Conroy. The main purpose of the Kensington system was to keep Victoria, as heir to the throne, as far away from her Hanoverian uncles as they could. Victoria hated it and everyone connected with it.

In June 1837, King William IV died and Victoria ascended the throne. The new Queen made every effort to keepher mother and Conroy away from court life and banished in the most remote parts of her new home, Buckingham Palace.

Two years after moving to Buckingham Palace, Lady Flora Hastings started to develop pain and swelling in her lower abdomen. A definate diagonosis could not be made by the Queens physician, Sir James Clark, as Lady Flora refused to be examined. Due to the physical appearance of her illness many suspected pregnancy. As Lady Flora was unmarried, many assumed that she has became pregnant out of wedlock, and this was a great scandal in the court of the new Queen, who herself thought that Sir John Conroy was the father.

That scandal became so great, that Lady Flora wrote a letter to be published publicly in order to defend herself and her character.

Eventually Lady Flora relented as gave permission to examined, this confirmed that she a large liver tumour and one of the symptoms was an extended lower abdomen. It was a national scandal, with correspondence between palace officials, Royal family, and the Hastings family being published in the newspapers the new reign of Queen Victoria was in crisis, and her popularity was at a low level. On the 27th June 1839 Lady Flora, laying on her death bed received a visit from Queen Victoria. Eight days later, she was dead.

It is said that the memory of what happened to Lady Flora Hastings haunted Queen Victoria for many years to come. So much so that in later life she admitted that she could have handled the situation better. In the year after Lady Flora's death Queen Victoria's popularity was restored with her marriage to Prince Albert and the birth of their first child.

Lady Flora was featured in the first episode of the the new itv series about Queen Victoria's life. If you missed is you should catchup with it on the itv player. For all you historical drama fans, like me, it is a must see!

Thanks for reading!

Hugh at ReClick Photo.