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Lot 499
VICTORIA (1819-1901, Queen of Great Britain and Empress of India)
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VICTORIA (1819-1901, Queen of Great Britain and Empress of India)


  • Queen Victoria acceded to the throne on 20 June 1837 and was proclaimed the following day; her coronation took place on 28 June 1838. This document represents the power struggle that was then going on. It marks decisively the end of the Kensington House regime and rules.

    The occasion referred to in this memorandum was almost certainly the celebration of her overbearing mother the Duchess of Kent's birthday which fell on 17 August. On that evening Victoria particularly enjoyed putting dissected pictures together with the assistance of Lord Melbourne and Lord Conyngham. She wrote in her journal: 'The pleasantest gayest evening I have passed for some time. I sat up until ½ past 11'. The Duchess of Kent is noted to have been more miserable than ever that day ('This was neither a happy nor a merry day for me. Everything is so changed'). She doubtless felt keenly the decline of her influence over the now independent Victoria, now protected by the charming Lord Melbourne, the Prime Minister, and the exclusion of herself and the Comptroller of her Household, Sir John Conroy, who had schemed with the Duchess to control the young Queen They had tried to force Victoria to request a Regency for her mother and appoint him as her private secretary.

    Lord Conyngham (1797-1876) was Lord Chamberlain. He it was who delivered to Victoria the King's letter of 18 May 1837 (which he refused to hand to the Duchess or Conroy), offering her an annual income of £30,000 and the opportunities of setting up her own household and appointing her own Privy Purse - thus effectively freeing her from her controlling mother and Conroy. He was also the first person to tell her that the William IV had died and that she was Queen.
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