Monday, June 11, 2007

Victoria's Accession; or, What Really Happened at Kensington Palace on 20 June 1837

Even worse than the last one ...

Extract from the Queen's Journal: "I was awoke at 6 o'clock by Mamma, who told me that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here, and wished to see me. I got out of bed and went into my sitting-room (only in my dressing-gown) and alone, and saw them. Lord Conyngham (the Lord Chamberlain) then acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning, and consequently that I am Queen.

"Lord Conyngham knelt down and kissed my hand, at the same time delivering to me the official announcement of the poor King's demise."

[The following sentences deleted by Lord Esher in the published version: "Then I made inquiries about whether this turn of events would entitle me to the brekkfist meat of my choice, namely cheezburgerz, of which I have been inordinately fond ever since visiting Mr McDonald's establishment in the Kensington High Street. Lord Conyngham and the Archbishop stared at me for a moment, pretending to be unaware of the delishishness of cheezburgerz."]

"The Archbishop then told me that the Queen was desirous that he should come and tell me the details of the last moments of my poor good Uncle; he said that he had directed his mind to religion, and had died in a perfectly happy, quiet state of mind, and was quite prepared for his death. He added that the King's sufferings at the last were not very great but that there was a good deal of uneasiness. Lord Conyngham, whom I charged to express my feelings of condolence and sorrow to the poor Queen, returned directly to Windsor. I then went to my room and dressed [the next part also deleted by Lord Esher], dreaming of all the cheezburgerz I would now be able to enjoy."

There will be no more of these, I promise. The next post takes up the dire topic of the Victorian workhouse.

Shown here: "Queen Victoria Receiving the News of Her Accession to the Throne, June 20, 1837," by HT Wells, RA. LOL'd image from lolhistory.


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