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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

The Beginning Of Queen Victoria’s Journals

Updated: Jan 14

Princess Victoria's Journal Source: 'This book, Mamma gave me, that I might write the journal of my journey to Wales.' Victoria, Kensington Palace, 31 July (1832). © 2008-2024 ResearchGate GmbH

On the 1st August 1832, the thirteen-year-old Princess Victoria of Kent made her first entry into her diary; it was a diary, as she described it on its title page, which had been given to her by her mother, the Duchess of Kent, at Kensington Palace the day before. Bound in red, the diary bears the stamp of her name in gilt letters: “H.R.H The Princess Victoria”; it had been given to her so that she could keep an account of the 1832 progress which she would make to Wales, with her mother.


Her first words written in the journal are “This book, Mamma gave me, that I might write the journal of my journey to Wales in it."The keeping of such journals was common at that time. She was instructed in this by her governess, Lehzen, and her mother inspected the journals each day until she became Queen. She continued writing until just ten days before her death, 69 years later, filling 122 volumes. It is estimated she wrote 1,000 words a day which is about sixty million words through her life time.


Significantly, this diary is in her own handwriting, for her diaries are preserved in this form until 1 January 1837 – the year of her accession – after which copies exist in the hand of her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice. These would continue until 1901, a mere nine days before Queen Victoria’s death, her life, therefore, straddling an era of unprecedented historical evolution. By the turn of the twentieth century, Queen Victoria would have been able to claim that as a child she still remembered King George IV, having been popped into his carriage at Windsor and tactfully, when asked what music she would like to be played, choosing “God save the King”.


Otherwise, there exists the typescript of Lord Esher from 1 August 1832 until 16 February 1840, that is, from her first diary entry up until a week after her marriage to Prince Albert, thereby escaping Princess Beatrice’s editing, which begins with the Queen’s diary for 1837. Drafts exist in Queen Victoria’s hand up until December 1855. Today, the journals of Queen Victoria run to some one-hundred-and-forty-one volumes and are kept in a bookcase of their own at Windsor.

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