Forget what you think you know about Queen Victoria and lesbians

Every schoolchild knows Queen Victoria decided not to ban lesbianism because she assumed that it did not even exist. There's just one problem - it's a myth.

That's according to Professor David Spiegelhalter, who notes in the Daily Mail that figures indicate lesbianism was not uncommon around that time.

While male homosexuality was made illegal in Britain in 1885, and lesbianism was not, Queen Victoria did not influence this. Although she could have refused to sign a new law (a process known as giving it royal assent) this role is largely ceremonial under Britain's constitutional monarchy.

Statistics from 1929, just two decades after Victoria died, show that far from being unheard of 14 per cent of single women and 20 per cent of married women had reported sexual contact with other females.

According to the Scotsman, the myth about Queen Victoria and lesbians began in 1977 in Wellington, New Zealand, when a demonstration for equality focused on a statue of the monarch.

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