An amazing collection of letters, documents and photographs giving an unparalleled insight into Queen Victoria’s private life and her legendary devotion to her husband Prince Albert have been released online by Buckingham Palace to mark the Diamond Jubilee.
“Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook”, is focused on Queen Victoria’s life and reign, in particular her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It contains documents from the Royal Archives, paintings and photographs from the Royal Collection, as well as audio and film clips.
The documents cover her relationship with her 'precious' husband Albert.
In May 1836, Queen Victoria met Prince Albert, who was her first cousin, when he travelled to England from Coburg, Germany, with his father and brother on the occasion of the then Princess Victoria’s seventeenth birthday. A marriage between Victoria and Albert was strongly encouraged by her uncle, King Leopold I of the Belgians; and in a letter to him on 7 June 1836, Victoria wrote to Leopold about Albert, saying:
“Allow me, then, my dearest Uncle, to tell you how delighted I am with him, and how much I like him in every way. He possesses every quality, that could be desired to render me perfectly happy. He is so sensible, so kind , and so good, and so amiable too. He has besides, the most pleasing and delightful exterior and appearance, you can possibly see."
In a later letter, Albert writes to Victoria: “Dearest, deeply loved Victoria, I need not tell you that since we left, all my thoughts have been with you at Windsor, and that your image fills my whole soul. Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth. How that moment shines for me when I was close to you, but with your hand in mine! Those days flew by so quickly, but our separation will fly equally so.”
The archive material is divided into nine sections including Queen Victoria’s childhood as a young Princess, her life as a wife and mother, her role as Queen of Britain and its Empire, and her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897.
Each of the sections features a selection of images and documents from the Royal Archives, including extracts from her diary, letters, memoranda, bills and souvenir items such as banqueting menus, in addition to photographs and paintings from the Royal Collection and newsreel film.
The letters and documents cover a wide range of subjects, from social issues such as, ‘the deplorable condition of the homes of the poor’, to affairs of the heart and Victorian technology.
One letter, from 1878, concerns Victoria’s first use of a new invention, the telephone. The Queen recorded in her journal that the telephone, ‘Had been put in communication with Osborne Cottage & we talked with Sir Thomas & Mary Biddulph, also heard some singing quite plainly’ and that she found the whole process ‘most extraordinary’.