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Queen Victoria's Journals


more about Queen VictoriaLearn more about Queen Victoria and her life by using the resources here.

This page is divided into four areas:

  • More information - Links to supplementary information and reference material for use in conjunction with the journals including an explanation of the nicknames commonly used throughout the journals, Queen Victoria's extended family tree, a list of books for further reading on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, royal messages in the Bodleian Libraries Marconi Archive, and some free to download ebooks that are referenced in the journals and essays.
  • Essays on Queen Victoria - Select a title to read a specially-commissioned essay.
  • Quotations used in the banner - Select the quotation to go to the journal entry the quotation comes from.
  • Links to other web sites - Links to other web sites which may be of interest. These websites will open in a new browser tab or window.


Versions of the Journal

There are 4 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.

Princess' Beatrice's transcript, which covers the years from 1837 (when Queen Victoria came to the throne) until her death in 1901, comprises 111 volumes, of which 68 are in blue cloth bindings, 42 in brown and gold leather bindings, and 1 in a suede binding.

They were produced in accordance with the Queen's own wishes. She had begun to realise that her Journal might be of interest to other people quite early in her life: in the entry for 24 January 1843 she had written, "Wrote in my Journal, which I am vain enough to think may perhaps some day be reduced to interesting memoirs". With this in mind, she instructed Princess Beatrice to re-write the Journal, after her death, omitting or modifying passages which she considered unsuitable for preservation. An examination of the text shows that Princess Beatrice took this to mean that she should leave out information she considered too slight to be of interest (thus, very occasionally omitting a whole day), as well as passages she thought might offend other family members.

The original volumes, once copied, were destroyed, also on the Queen's instructions, though any enclosures, such as newspaper cuttings and concert lists, were taken out and put in the copy volumes, and Princess Beatrice also cut out from the pages of her mother's Journal the sketches which she had drawn to illustrate particular points, and pasted these into her abridged transcripts; glimpses of the surrounding original handwriting can be seen on some of these. Although King George V and Queen Mary deplored this destruction of Queen Victoria's original Journals, they felt unable to intervene.

Guidance on citing material from the Queen Victoria's Journals website

The reference to cite for the Journal should be given as:

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) followed by the date of the entry and the version of the Journal used - e.g. RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 24 May 1844 (Princess Beatrice's copies)

Further examples

When citing a journal entry (depending on version): Friday 24th May 1844

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 24 May 1844 (Princess Beatrice's copies). Retrieved 24 May 2013.

(NB: versions include Queen Victoria's handwriting; Lord Esher's typescripts, Princess Beatrice's copies; Queen Victoria's drafts.)

When citing an essay: Queen Victoria's Coronation, by Roy Strong

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) Queen Victoria's Coronation, by Sir Roy Strong (Essay). Retrieved 24 May 2013.

When citing a journal illustration: Thursday 12 May 1842

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 12 May 1842 (Journal illustration). Retrieved 24 May 2013.

When citing a sketchbook illustration: 10 February 1852

RL K.24 f.60 (Sketchbook illustration). Retrieved 24 May 2013.

When citing anything else: Queen Victoria's Journals home page.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W). Retrieved 24 May 2013.