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Life of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen — Volume 1   By: (1827-1914)

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Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year Eighteen Hundred and Eighty five, by GEORGE VIRTUE, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture.


I have been asked to write a few words of preface to this work.

If the life long friendship of my mother with her Majesty, which gained for me the honour of often seeing the Queen, or a deep feeling of loyalty and affection for our sovereign, which is shared by all her subjects, be accepted as a qualification, I gratefully respond to the call, but I feel that no written words of mine can add value to the following pages.

Looking over some papers lately, I found the following note on a sketch which I had accidentally met with in Windsor Castle a coloured chalk drawing, a mere study of one of the Queen's hands, by Sir David Wilkie, probably made for his picture now in the corridor of the Castle, representing the first council of Victoria. Of this sketch I wrote as follows:

"I was looking in one of the private rooms at Windsor Castle at a chalk sketch, by Sir David Wilkie, of a fair, soft, long fingered, dimpled hand, with a graceful wrist attached to a rounded arm. 'Only a woman's hand,' might Swift, had he seen that sketch, have written below. Only a sketch of a woman's hand; but what memories that sketch recalls! How many years ago Wilkie drew it I know not: that great artist died in the month of June, 1841, so that more than forty years have passed, at least, since he made that drawing. The hand that limned this work has long ago suffered 'a sea change.' And the hand which he portrayed? That is still among the living still occupied with dispensing aid and comfort to the suffering and the afflicted, for the original is that of a Queen, beloved as widely as her realms extend the best of sovereigns, the kindest hearted of women."

To write the life of Queen Victoria is a task which many authors might well have felt incompetent to undertake. To succeed in writing it is an honour of which any author may well be proud. This honour I humbly think has been realised in the work of which these poor lines may form the preface.




CHAP. I. Sixty Three Years Since. II. Childhood. III. Youth. IV. The Accession. V. The Proroguing Of Parliament, The Visit To Guildhall; And The Coronation. VI. The Maiden Queen. VII. The Betrothal. VIII. The Marriage. IX. A Royal Pair. X. Royal Occupations. An Attempt On The Queen's Life. XI. The First Christening. The Season Of 1841. XII. Birth Of The Prince Of Wales. The Afghan Disasters. Visit Of The King Of Prussia. The Queen's Plantagenet Ball. XIII. Fresh Attempts Against The Queen's Life. Mendelssohn. Death Of The Duc D'Orleans. XIV. The Queen's First Visit To Scotland. XV. A Marriage, A Death, And A Birth In The Royal Family. A Palace Home. XVI. The Condemnation Of The English Duel. Another Marriage. The Queen's Visit To Chateau D'Eu. XVII. The Queen's Trip To Ostend. Visits To Drayton, Chatsworth, And Belvoir. XVIII. Allies From Afar. Death And Absence. Birthday Greetings. XIX. Royal Visitors. The Birth Of Prince Alfred. A Northern Retreat. XX. Louis Philippe's Visit. The Opening Of The Royal Exchange.


The 24th of May, 1819, was a memorable and happy day for England, though like many such days, it was little noticed at the time. Sixty three years since! Do many of us quite realise what England was like then; how much it differed from the England of to day, even though some of us have lived as many years? It is worth while devoting a chapter to an attempt to recall that England.

A famous novel had for its second heading, "'Tis sixty years since." That novel "Waverley" was published anonymously just five years before 1819, and, we need not say, proved an era in literature... Continue reading book >>

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