Queen Victoria's diaries to go online

 

The Queen has launched a website documenting the life of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria in her own words - but revealed she had no plans to publish her own diaries.

More than 40,000 pages of the journals kept by Victoria from the age of 13 until just before her death have been made available online.

The Queen was handed a remote control in Buckingham Palace's throne room today, which she pointed at a screen to officially launch the website, http://www.queenvictoriasjournals.org

The Royal Archives, Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University and online publisher ProQuest scanned the pages - some in Victoria's own hand and some edited and then transcribed by her daughter Beatrice after her death - for the six-month project, carried out to mark the Diamond Jubilee.

When asked by Bodleian librarian Sarah Thomas if she herself wrote a diary, the Queen, wearing a summery floral printed dress, replied to laughter from those gathered to mark the launch: "Mine's not being published."

Dr Thomas said afterwards that she "couldn't resist" asking the Queen about her own journals, having been a part of the project.

She added that it was "an amazing honour" to work on the journals, which include sketches and paintings drawn by Victoria herself to illustrate the books.

She said: "We have been motivated by the intrinsic value of these collections and the idea of sharing them.

"It amplifies the excitement we have in having Her Majesty herself come here, because it shows she has a real interest. She was obviously engaged.

"This is a part of history. It is such an exciting moment, when you can unlock history and make it publicly available.

"The eyes of the world are focused on the Queen and the Diamond Jubilee - and this is the other Diamond Jubilee."

In her diary, Victoria wrote of the scenes that greeted her during a parade to mark her own 60-year reign: "Passed through dense crowds, who gave me a most enthusiastic reception. It was like a triumphal entry. We passed down Cambridge Terrace, under a lovely arch bearing the motto, 'Our hearts thy Throne'.

"The streets were beautifully decorated, also the balconies of the houses with flowers, flags, and draperies of every hue... The streets, the windows, the roofs of the houses, were one mass of beaming faces, and the cheers never ceased."

Writing on the website, launched alongside a Twitter account providing extracts from the journals, the Queen said: "In this the year of my Diamond Jubilee, I am delighted to be able to present, for the first time, the complete online collection of Queen Victoria's journals from the Royal Archives.

"These diaries cover the period from Queen Victoria's childhood days to her accession to the throne, marriage to Prince Albert, and later, her Golden and Diamond Jubilees.

"Thirteen volumes in Victoria's own hand survive, and the majority of the remaining volumes were transcribed after Queen Victoria's death by her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, on her mother's instructions.

"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."

The Queen took a particular interest in a drawing of Victoria's wedding head dress when shown the original pages from the diaries today.

The launch was timed to coincide with the 193rd anniversary of Victoria's birth today.

She would perhaps have been interested in how the documents are now available on the internet - as she wrote, again on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee, of sending a message electronically.

She wrote: "I touched an electric button, by which I started a message which was telegraphed throughout the whole Empire.

"It was the following: 'From my heart I thank my beloved people, may God bless them.' At this time the sun burst out..."

She had certainly envisaged them being read by others, writing on January 24 1843: "Wrote in my journal, which I am vain enough to think may perhaps some day be reduced to interesting memoirs."

Victoria started her journals after being told to document a trip to Wales by her mother as a young teenager - accordingly, the very first entry describes a journey through Snowdonia.

She became a keen diarist, extensively documenting details of both public and private life - underlining important words or phrases two or even three times, and liberally using exclamation marks.

Her daughter, Princess Beatrice, spent 40 years transcribing the journals covering the period 1837 to 1901 - a total of 111 volumes.

Victoria instructed her to modify the text, taking out parts that could offend other members of the family and other sections not suitable for publication. The originals were destroyed, in accordance with Victoria's wishes.

Other key events detailed in the diary include Victoria's coronation, her entry for that day reading that she was woken by guns in a nearby park at 4am and then could not sleep because of the noise of the crowds gathered outside.

She wrote: "There were millions of my loyal subjects assembled in every spot to witness the procession. Their good humour and excessive loyalty was beyond everything.

"I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a nation."

She also writes at length of her love for Prince Albert, describing her wedding day on February 10 1840: "Albert repeated everything very distinctly. I felt so happy when the ring was put on, and by my precious Albert."

Two days later, she wrote: "Oh! was ever woman so blessed as I am."

Her sorrow at his illness and death are palpable, writing in her diary on January 1 1862, her first entry after his death: "This day last year found us so perfectly happy and now!!.., All these recollections were pouring in on my mind in an overpowering manner. Felt as if living in a dreadful dream."

Pam Clark, senior archivist at the Royal Archive, said she had learned a lot about Victoria while working on the project.

"She's a natural writer, and a natural painter," she said. "She had a way with words and a way with her pen. It's very exciting to see all this coming together."

The Twitter account QueenVictoriaRI will be active during the Jubilee period.

The online release of the diaries, which have been transcribed up to the year 1840, mark the start of a year-long programme to digitise work from the Royal Archive.

PA

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

    SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

    Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

    £85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

    Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

    £55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering