Documents from the Royal Archives and photographs from the Royal Collection, previously the preserve of academics and researchers, are now available to the wider public.
Set out in the form of an online scrapbook, it contains handwritten letters, journals, paintings and photographs divided into nine sections: Victoria’s childhood, becoming Queen, love and marriage, family life, home and empire, invention and improvement during her reign, the Royal Household, her Diamond Jubilee Day in 1897, and details on the Jubilee celebrations. The site also features audio and film clips.
Examples include an 1867 letter to Queen Victoria from her childhood governess, Baroness Lehzen, where she recalls an exchange between her and the 12 year-old Victoria about her place in the accession to the throne. Seeing for the first time a chronological table that Baroness Lehzen had drawn up, the young Victoria said:
” I never saw that before”
“It was not thought necessary that you should, Princess.”
“I see, I am nearer to the Throne than I thought”
“So it is, Madam.”
Victoria’s own handwritten note in the margin of this recollection recalls, “I cried much on learning it – & even deplored this contingency.”
The young Victoria went on to say:
“Now – many a child would boast, but they don’t know the difficulty; there is much splendour, but there is more responsibility!”