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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s speech - Her Majesty’s most gracious speech to The Houses Of Parliament, 5th February 1861

Queen Victoria by Franz Xaver Winterhlater, dated 1859 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

The last spoken speech by Queen Victoria to The Houses of Parliament. After Prince Albert's death in 1861, Queen Victoria refused to physically give her speech so it was read for her.


"My Lords, and Gentlemen,


It is with, great satisfaction that I meet you again in Parliament, and have recourse to your assistance and advice. My Relations with Foreign Powers continue to be friendly and satisfactory; and I trust that the moderation of the powers of Europe will prevent any Interruption of the general peace. Events of great Importance are taking place in Italy. Believing that the Italians ought to be left to settle their own affairs, I have not thought it right to exercise any active Interference in those matters. Papers on this subject will be laid before you.


I announce to you at the close of the last Session of Parliament that the atrocities which had then recently been committed in Syria had induced me to concur with The Emperor of Austria, the Emperor of The French, The Prince Regent of Prussia, and The Emperor of Russia, in entering into an engagement with The Sultan by which temporary military assistance was to be afforded to The Sultan for the purpose of establishing order in that Part of His dominions. That assistance has been afforded by a body of French troops, who have been sent to Syria as representing the Allied Powers. The Sultan has also placed a considerable military force in Syria, under the direction of an able Officer; and I trust that tranquillity will soon be re-established in that Province, and that the objects of the convention will have been fully attained.


I announce to you also at the close of the last session of Parliament that the pacific overtures which my envoy in China had made to the Imperial Government at Pekin having led to no satisfactory Result, my aaval and military forces, and those of my ally The Emperor of the French, were to advance towards the Northern Provinces of China, for the Purpose of supporting the just demands of the allied powers, and that the Earl of Elgin had been sent to China as Special Ambassador to treat with the Chinese Government.


I am glad to inform you that the operations of the Allied Forces have been attended with complete success. After the capture of the forts at the mouth of the Peiho, and several engagements with the Chinese Army, the 4 allied Forces became Masters of the Imperial City of Pekin; and the Earl of Elgin and Baron Gros, the Ambassador of The Emperor of the French, were enabled to obtain an honourable and satisfactory settlement of all the matters in dispute. Throughout these iperations, and the negotiations which followed them, the commanders and ambassadors of the Allied powers acted with the most friendly concern. Papers on this Subject will be laid before you.


The State of my Indian Territories is progressively improving, and I trust that their financial condition will gradually partake of the generalaAmendment.

An Insurrection of a portion of the Natives of New Zealand has interrupted the peace of a part of that Colony; but I hope that the measures which have been taken will speedily suppress these disturbances, and enable My Government to concert such arrangements as may prevent their recurrence. A serious differences have arisen among the States of the North American Union. It is impossible for me not to look with great concern upon any events which can affect the happiness and welfare of a people nearly allied to my subjects by descent, and closely connected with them by the most intimate and friendly relations. My heartfelt wish is, that these differences may be susceptible of a satisfactory adjustment.


The Interest which I take in the well-being of the people of the United States cannot but be increased by the kind and cordial reception given by them to the Prince of Wales during his recent visit to the Continent of America.


I am glad to take this opportunity of expressing My warm appreciation of the loyalty and attachment to my Person and Throne manifested by my Canadian and other North American subjects on the occasion of the residence of The Prince of Wales among them. I have concluded with the Emperor of the French conventions supplementary to the Treaty of commerce of 23rd of January, 1860, and in furtherance of the objects of that treaty. I have also concluded with The King of Sardinia a convention for the reciprocal protection of copyright. These conventions will be laid before you.


Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I have directed the estimates for the ensuing Year to be laid before you. They have been framed with a due Regard to Economy and to the Efficiency of the several Branches of the Public Service.


My Lords, and Gentlemen, measures will be laid before you for the Consolidation of important parts of the criminal Law; for the Improvement of the law of bankruptcy and insolvency; for rendering more easy the transfer of land; for establishing a uniform System of Rating in England and Wales; and for several other purposes of public usefulness.


I confidently commit the great Interests of My Empire to your wisdom and care; and I fervently pray that the blessing of the almighty may attend your Councils, and may guide your deliberations to the attainment of the object of My constant Solicitude — the welfare and happiness of My People."


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