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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Journal - 25th August 1844 following the birth of Prince Alfred

Prince Alfred later Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha 1848 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

Although dedicated to her journals, Queen Victoria was forced to pause her daily habit upon the birth of each of her nine children. When her fourth child, Prince Alfred, was born on 6th August 1844, she once again took time away to recover. In this post you can read her journal covering almost twenty days following the princes birth.

"Until today, I have been unable to write my Journal, but after recording today’s events I will take up my Journal again, from where I stopped. — Breakfast again for the 1rst time with my dearest Albert, who is so happy at my being so well. Indeed, I have had no drawback of any kind, for which I am truly thankful. — Read Prayers, & then Albert drove me out with the ponies, for an hour, which was delightful. — In the afternoon he saw Ld Aberdeen, & at 5 I went out in my garden chairs, Albert walking with me. — Mama dined with us, & I wore an evening dress again, for the 1rst time. Now to return to the 6th. — Quite early in the morning, I began to restless & feel ill. — At 10 m. to 8, after severe suffering, an immense, healthy boy, was born, the joy over which, made me at once forget all I had gone through: It was such a happiness to us both. God’s mercy & goodness is great, & I felt more grateful than I could express! If only dear Papa could have lived to have known this pleasure. My dearest Albert had hardly left me for a moment, & was my great comfort & support. — The Ministers arrived at ½ p. 8 & 9. I saw dear Mama, directly after the Baby was born, but otherwise, I was kept very quiet. — The Baby has a quantity of long dark hair, which none of the others had, large blue eyes, & a large nose. — On the 7th I awoke from a good night sleep, feeling well, & my nerves so quieted & rested. — I saw the Children for a moment in the afternoon & also Mama. The former are so pleased & so surprised with their new little Brother. Mama dined with Albert, & came & sat with me afterward.

Prince Alfred, later Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Oct 1856 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

The next day, the 8th I passed quietly, after another good night, & Mama visited me twice. – The same report, on the 9th. Such a blessing to have been so well, & to have felt so quiet & happy. – Albert went out in the morning with his Reg, but otherwise spent a great deal of his time with me. He began reading to me a very amusing German book. – I had to sign 4 things, in the morning. – Mama visited me both morning & evening. – On the 10th, I was placed on a small sofa & walked through Albert’s room, into the Closet, where I was placed on a big sofa, arranged as a bed, As usual dear Albert helped in lifting me from bed to bed & sofa. He is so wonderfully handy & gentle. – The 11th, being a Sunday, Albert kindly read Prayers, &c, to me, before going to Chapel. – All, continued to go well, & I was again rolled into the Closet. – Mama always dined with Albert sitting with me afterward. – He had a delighted letter from Uncle Leopold. – On the 13th I was allowed to put on my dressing gown & lay on the big sofa of course arranged as a bed) in the sitting room, which was a very pleasant change. – The news of the pacific settlement with France, of the Moroccan Questioner, were stated with certainly & gave us much satisfaction. – On the 14th I saw La Dunmore. – Albert waited the whole day in expectation of the arrival of the Pce of Prussia but in vain. – Saw Mama late in the afternoon, on her return from Bushy. – Albert saw Sir Robert Peel, who talked to him in a very serious strain, of this affair of Mr Prichard’s imprisonment & ill usage at Tahiti, at the hand of the French, added to which, Joinville had bombarded Tangier & the Moroccan Question had became worse than ever. We should have & demand reparation for this treatment of Mr Pritchard, & Sir Robert considered the matter very serious. This, distressed me much. – On the 15th the Pce of Prussia came to lunch with Albert & Mama, who afterward sat with me. – For the Irst time sat up for my meals.

Prince Alfred in 1860 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

On the 16th dear Albert, after rolling me into the sitting room, went up to John & amongst other things, went to see the Pce of Prussia. – Ihad to sign serious papers, & when Albert returned, he read to me. – The 17th, was dear Mama’s birthday & I fervently prayed she might be preserved to us for many years! She seems particularly well & breakfasted with Albert, coming in to me afterward. She was delighted with my gifts. The Children, dressed in their costumes (in honour of the day) were all in my bedroom, reserving about & the Baby was also brought in, looking magnificent & really quite like 2 months old! – Albert saw La Aberdeen, at 12 & their brought Uncle Cambridge in for a moment, & to see me. I wasvery smart, in a white embroidered dressing gown, with lace, & a lace cap. – Albert told me that Ld Aberdeen had been very gloomy & alarmed, particularly at the extremely warlike attitude of the Cabinet, but he himself, is very pacific & moderate, saying, he was even prepared to ask the French for nothing in order to make it easy for them to disavow their Agent in Tahiti which at 1rst Ld Aberdeen never dreamt they would hesitate to do. But now 3 weeks, or on fortnight had passed, & they had done nothing! People here had became much excited. Ld Aberdeen was anxious for us to support him in his pacific endeavours, which we readily promised to do. This unfortunate business has worried us much. – Saw Mama again in the afternoon, & she dined, as every evening, with Albert.

Prince Alfred, later Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

On the 18th he again saw Ld Aberdeen after luncheon, who said that the bombardment of Tangier was inexplicable. – In the evening me received letters from Ernest & Alexandrine by the messenger we had sent to them. Poor Ernest wrote in a kind, but melancholy way, saying that he looked now upon this 2nd boy of ours, as the future Heir of Coburg & spoke very nicely. – Uncle Leopold wrote to us, that Bugeaud had advised Joinville ill, as to the attack, & the latter, had been obliged to obey orders. – Albert received a box full of Despatches (sent by Ld Aberdeen) from Gibraltar & Morocco, from Mr. D. Hay, 1st detailing the amicable settlement of the affair between France & Morocco, & then suddenly the bombardment of Tangier, which remains a mystery.

Prince Alfred, later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 1848 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

On the 19th Albert went out early with his Regt & when he returned, he wheeled me over to my sitting room. He finished a beautiful etching of poor dear, ever to be lamented “Eos” after a sketch Landseer did of her & “Cairnach” – Hung my feet down for a few minutes, after luncheon. – Albert went fishing in Virginia Water. – We heard again from Ld Aberdeen, that everything continued to look most uncomfortable.- Albert read to me & began “Die Prinzessin Brambilla” by Hoffmann. & The heat was tremendous & very trying on the 20th. – Sat up in a chair to my luncheon, & walked a few steps, with Albert’s assistance. He is so dear & good, & looks after me so wonderfully. I can never be thankful enough to him. – Clark came with Lucock & Fergusson, for the last time, all 3 together & they had nothing to say, as I am so well. – Sat up again for my dinner, & afterward when I was back on the sofa, he read to me out of the German book, which is very curious & interesting.

On the 21st I got out of bed at ½ p. 9, & had my whole “Toilette” performed on the sofa, being afterward rolled into my sitting room in a chair. Have been getting on quite nicely with my walking, which is a great progress. – There were Dispatches from Joinville himself, which seemed to show that Mr. Hay had not been to successful, & that he had felt himself obliged to bombard Tangier. – Did some writing, sitting up at my writing table. – Vicky read with Ld Lyttelton, before me, & so nicely. I was quite delighted. – We settled finally that the Baby is to receive the following names: Alfred, Ernest, Albert, & that the sponsors should be, Charles, George Cambridge & Alexandrine. – Mama dined with us both, in the Closet, & I walked in a back. Albert read to me after she left. – On the 22nd got up after my breakfast & dressed in my dressing room, just as usual, then I rested on the sofa till lunch time. – Thank God! better was received from Tahiti. – Read many Despatches. – The Children were with us after luncheon, & Alice, really a treasure. This is a horribly scrabbled little sketch of her. – Albert read to me as usual. – On the 23rd breakfast in my dressing room another great step, & after staying there, a little while, walked over to my room. – The day being so fine. I was carried down the steps from the Terrace, & wheeled in my garden chair along the pleasure ground, Albert walking with me. The air was so pleasant & rained me amazingly. – News was received of the death of the poor Gd Dss Alexandra. She died about 6 hours after giving birth to a son, who only lived 2 hours. She was quite conscious & took leave of the whole family. The poor Emperor, we heard, was quite prostrate with grief. – Albert saw Sir Robert Peel, in the afternoon, who had seemed less excited about the French & was indignant at some outrageous letters, published in the “Times” from officers at Tangier, accusing Joinville & French officers, of Cowardice! Enquiries were to be instituted about these letters. – We dined with Mama, in the King’s Room

Prince Alfred, later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 1846 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles II

On the 24th I walked down the steps with Albert’s help & was put into my chair remaining out for an hour, & going round our pretty pleasure ground. – Albert had a letter from Uncle Leopold, exculpating poor Joinville. & I had a similar one from Louise, Marshal Bugeaud, (under whose orders he is) ordered him to attack Tangier, & he had not been able to do otherwise than obey. These letters from Uncle & Louise, were sent on to Ld Aberdeen. – At 5 went out again as in the morning. The Children were allout with us, & very funny. – Albert read to me & we played on the piano. -”

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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