Sometime in the early 1840s, most likely after John Francis’s two attempts upon her life, Queen Victoria obtained this most unusual fashion accessory: a parasol two layers of silk, concealing close-linked chain mail. At three and a quarter pounds, the parasol was far too heavy for everyday use, but was, rather, likely intended for the Queen’s use when she faced a known threat, as she did on 30 May 1842, the day of Francis’s second attempt.
The parasol was reputedly Prince Albert’s idea. There is no evidence that Victoria actually used it, and in time, she would not have, as parasols—chainmail or otherwise—pass out of style. Somehow, it is easier to imagine Victoria braving public danger unshielded than to imagine her on an outing with an unfashionable parasol….