“This book, Mamma gave me, that I might write the journal of my journey to Wales in it.” With these words, the 13-year old Princess Victoria of Kent began the first volume of her Journal, or detailed diary, in 1832, thus starting a habit that would last for the rest of her life, until her death in 1901, by which time she was known to the whole world as Queen Victoria, ruler of a quarter of the world.
Queen Victoria was the longest serving British monarch, reigning as Queen from 1837 to 1901 and as Empress of India from 1877. In total 141 volumes of her journal survive, numbering 43,765 pages. They have never before been published in their entirety and have hitherto only been accessible to scholars by appointment at the Royal Archives. Edited excerpts have been published in print but they cover only a fraction of the whole.
As well as detailing household and family matters, the journals reflect affairs of state, describe meetings with statesmen and other eminent figures, and comment on the literature of the day. They represent a valuable primary source for scholars of nineteenth century British political and social history and for those working on gender and autobiographical writing.
Publication of the first release of Queen Victoria's Journals marked not only the anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth (24 May 1819), but also the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of HM Queen Elizabeth II. This project makes available online digital images of every page in the entire sequence of Queen Victoria's diaries, and provides full transcriptions and keyword searching of the journal entries. This resource is the product of a unique partnership between the Bodleian Libraries and the Royal Archives, working in collaboration with ProQuest.
In addition to high-resolution colour images every page of the surviving volumes of Queen Victoria's journals, this database reproduces as separate photographs the many illustrations and inserts within the pages.
There are four different versions of the Journal - the original which she wrote herself; a manuscript, abridged transcript written by the Queen's youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice; a typed transcript prepared for Lord Esher; and some draft volumes written by the Queen. None of these versions covers the whole period, from 1832 to 1901.
Of the Queen's original Journals, only 13 small purple and marbled volumes survive, covering the period from 1832 to 1836. The final volume originally included entries for the early months of 1837 also, but once Princess Beatrice had transcribed these, she removed the pages from this volume and destroyed them.
Access to material in the Royal Archives, including the physical volumes of Queen Victoria's Journals, is normally granted only to those undertaking academic research, on written application to the Senior Archivist.
For more information, please e-mail the Royal Archives or write to:
The Royal Archives,