|Queen Victoria's journals are now available online|
Queen Victoria, Britain’s longest reigning monarch and the first to celebrate a diamond jubilee, ruled and steered the country at the heights of its power. Her life and reign was Britain’s history itself, recorded on her 43,000 page journals that have been officially launched online by her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II.
"It seems fitting that the subject of the first major public release of material from the royal archives is Queen Victoria, who was the first monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee," writes the Queen after finally making the journals available after an eight-month digitization project in line with her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The journals record all of the most colorful moments in Queen Victoria’s life and reign, right from the moment when she was informed that she would be queen one day, until a few days before she died.
Her overwhelming love and dedication to her husband, Prince Albert, was most pronounced in these journals. “It was with some emotion that I beheld Albert – who is beautiful,” she wrote on 10 October 1839. Four months later, they were married and she wrote of it: “He clasped me in his arms, and we kissed each other again and again!”
Also in her journals did she pour her unutterable grief after Prince Albert’s untimely demise of typhoid: “I have been unable to write my journal since my beloved one left us, and oh with what a heavy broken heart I enter a new year without him.”
Dozens of writers have consulted the journals, although they were never published in full. Access to the site will be free permanently to all users in Britain, and to anyone in the world until the end of June. A libraries version will also be available worldwide.
Queen Victoria started her journal in 1832. She was 13 back then and started: “This book, Mama gave me that I might write the journal of my journey to Wales in it.”
|Queen Elizabeth II takes a look at Queen Victoria's journals|
The last entry was made just 10 days before her death: “Had a good night and could take some breakfast better. Took an hour's drive at half-past two. It was very foggy, but the air was pleasant.”
The Queen also vividly shares her feelings about harrowing battles and wars. Describing the 1885 fall of Khartoum, she writes: "a fine day, my cold somewhat better" – learning about the “dreadful news, Khartoum fallen, Gordon's fate uncertain. All greatly distressed.”
Of her own coronation, Queen Victoria wrote that she awoken 4 am by a celebratory gun salute from St. James’ Park, “and could not get much sleep afterwards from the noise of the people, bands &c.” When finally dressed, and in the state coach on the way to Westminster Abbey, “the crowds of people exceeded what I have ever seen … multitudes, the millions of my loyal subjects who were assembled in every spot to witness the Procession. Their good humor and excessive loyalty was beyond everything.”
Of her very own Diamond Jubilee, she shares that it was “a never to be forgotten day.” Queen Elizabeth II, who will celebrates her Diamond Jubilee this year, must be feeling the same way.