Autograph Signed Letter (ALS) Providing A Glimpse Into Beatrice’s Life As Queen Victoria’s Secretary and Constant Companion

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

Da A Piece of History (Chichester, Regno Unito)

Libreria AbeBooks dal 19 dicembre 2008

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DESCRIPTION OF ITEM: A letter providing a glimpse into Princess Beatrice’s tragic life as Queen Victoria’s secretary and constant companion. On Windsor Castle headed paper and entitled ‘Menu’, Beatrice writes ‘Colonel : Clerk being unwell, the Queen has given permission for you to attend us to the Shahazada’s party to-night. We leave by 7.20 train, going straight to Kensington to dine first as we are with Princess Louise. Should you not be back in time, before we leave, come over by a later train. We ought to leave Buckingham Palace for the party a little before 11. We stay the night at the Palace. Beatrice’. HISTORICAL CONTEXT: The youngest child of Queen Victoria, her childhood coincided with the Queen’s mourning of Prince Albert following his death in 1861. As a result, Victoria came to rely on Beatrice’s company during her childhood and even more so as her elder sisters married and left home. Beatrice became her constant companion arguably filling the void left by the death of Albert (and later left by the death of John Brown). Such was Victoria’s dependence on Beatrice that she was set against the very idea of Beatrice marrying and thwarted several suitors. When Beatrice did finally find love with Prince Henry of Battenberg, Victoria only assented to the marriage on the condition that he would move from Germany to England and that the couple would live with Victoria. (It reportedly took a year of gentle persuading by other members of the Royal Household before Victoria agreed even to this. When Beatrice first announced her desire to marry, Victoria refused to speak to her for seven months and only communicated with her by written notes). Even then the couple’s brief honeymoon was held within a few miles of Osborne House (Victoria’s residence on the Isle of Wight). When Beatrice was in the final week of her first pregnancy, Victoria even complained when she opted to stay in her room for meals and failed to eat with the Queen. Although Prince Henry was keen to serve in the military, Victoria was vehemently opposed to his serving in any theatres of war. When she finally relented and allowed him to join the Ashanti expedition, Henry tragically contracted malaria and died. Following her bereavement and with the Queen becoming older, Beatrice came to spend almost all of her time with Victoria. When Victoria died in 1901, Beatrice’s whole way of life effectively disappeared and she was utterly devastated, dedicating much of the rest of her life to preserving and protecting her mother’s memory by selectively editing her diaries. Princess Louise by contrast was less sympathetic to Victoria’s prolonged grief and provoked immense irritation in the Queen when she requested a lavish debutante’s ball be staged at Osborne House 4 years after Albert’s death – a request the Queen refused. Her relationship with Beatrice was also strained, pitying Beatrice for the control the Queen had over her but envying her the happy marriage Beatrice had enjoyed with Prince Henry. The last years of Louise’s life would be spent in Kensington Palace living in rooms alongside those occupied by Beatrice. The ‘Shahazada’ (sic) Beatrice refers to in her letter seems likely to be Shahzada Nasrullah Khan (Prince of Afghanistan) who was invited to England on a three month visit as a guest of Queen Victoria in 1893. The trip was a major foreign policy exercise for the British government, seeing the Prince touring a series of events held in his honour across the UK and ultimately leading to the ratification of an agreement as to the Indo-Afghan frontier with the Prince’s father - the Ameer of Afghanistan [Source: ‘Victoria - Sixty Years A Queen’ 1897). DETAILED CONDITION REPORT : 4pp 12.1cm x 18.6cm. Original folds. A few light surface age marks. Very minor separation on vertical fold (2mm) well away from any text. Else fine. ALL ITEMS SOLD BY ‘A PIECE OF HISTORY’ CARRY A LIFETIME GUARANTEE OF AUTHENTICITY. SHOULD ANY ITEM EVER BE FOUND NOT TO BE COMPLETELY GENUIN. Codice inventario libreria 000028

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Titolo: Autograph Signed Letter (ALS) Providing A ...

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