Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee


This fountain is fairly near to where I live.

The stone was donated by Queen Victoria is granite and commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Clive of India (Major-General Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, KB MP FRS (25 September 1725 – 22 November 1774) built Claremont mansion which later became a royal residence used by Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria lent Claremont to the exiled French King Louis-Philippe and his consort Queen Marie-Amelie after the revolution of 1848. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg lived there until he became King of the Belgians.

So I think we can assume that Queen Victoria knew Esher quite well and thus the drinking was erected and takes the form of a statue of Britannia with a plaque of Victoria on the base.


The Diamond Jubilee…How things have chnaged

So my final piece on the Diamond Jubilee and we’ll take a brief look what was happening when Queen Victoria reached her 60th year.

Of course Victorian England was a very different place or was it!

There was coalition government. The coalition of 1897 was made up of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Unionists, sound familiar! The Prime Minister Lord Salisbury (a man with a mighty beard) an old Etonian just like our current PM, Deputy PM and most of the rest of the government.

The Government had a foreign policy which was termed as ‘splendid isolation’ during his tenure  as Prime Minister, this mean’t we entered into no formal alliances during the last two decades of the 19th century although were  bit chummy with Germany with informal agreement with Bismarck and Germany.

In 1897 we were at war in…Afghanistan, a fact hat was not overlooked in the rather excellent BBC series Sherlock.

This war culminated in the Siege of Malakand where British troops faced a force of Pashtun tribesmen, the British forces held out in their garrison for six days against a 10,000-strong Pashtun army before being relieved and was the first action a certain Winston Churchill saw.

Britain was also facing a period of economic bust, again sound familiar! Apparently a investment boom in the 1880s fed a massive financial bubble around United States and Argentine assets. The bubble burst in the Panic of 1890, leaving banks in London exposed which led to a banking bailout, this time not by the public but by  the Bank of England and the Rothschilds.

Natty (great name!) remarked at the time that the:

“entire private banking system in London would have collapsed”

So…Victorian England was a very different place or was it!

Diamond Jubilee…1897 Memorabilia

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Having seen all sorts of tat for sale in the shops supposedly celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s diamond Jubilee (even on packets of toilet paper!) I wondered what was on sale when Queen Victoria reached her 60th year…

Quite and array of memorabilia as it turns out, so here’s a small selection that I found for sale on Ebay uk!

The Diamond Jubilee…1897

Well Queen Elizabeth will be celebrating (along with many of her subjects no doubt!) the 60th anniversary of the accession of her good self to the  throne of the British Empire as did Queen Victoria’s back in 1897.

Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth have a certain amount in common really, obviously both Queen but the only two to have reigned for 60 years and both enjoy a level of ‘esteem’ I suppose you could call it which has not always been for  the monarchy of the united Kingdom

In 1887 the British Empire was at its peak with Queen Victoria the head of a realm of 450 million people that covered all four corners of the earth, she the head of an empire that ruled a quarter of the world’s population.

Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee was huge with many nationwide festivities taking place and even modern-style royal walkabouts for the elderly and less the robust monarch. Nevertheless the idea of staging celebrations from one end of the nation to the other was really rather novel, quite simply we hadn’t done it before and didn;t really see ourselves as the party nation.

Historian Prof Walter Arnstein writes:

Britons hadn’t seen themselves as very good at such things. It was the sort of thing that people in Napoleonic France or Russia had been associated with. Queen Victoria herself didn’t much care for the idea. She thought it was not altogether appropriate and had to be talked into it.

However she found it was much more than she had expected.

She enjoyed it in retrospect, but beforehand had made things quite difficult for [prime minister] Lord Salisbury at the planning stage.

In fact Queen Victoria went on to say:

The crowds were quite indescribable and their enthusiasm truly marvellous and deeply touching.

So on Tuesday 22 June, named as Jubilee Day was celebrated across the globe. Like today it was a bank holiday, not just here but in India and  Ireland.

This year we have the Royal Flotilla as the highlight, in contrast Queen Victoria’s was a procession along six miles of London streets of the extended Royal Family and the leaders of the self-governing dominions and Indian states, that must’ve been quite a sight!

The Army, Navy (of course there was no air force for sometime to come)  was accompanied by colonial forces from Canada, India, Africa and the Antipodes dolled up their most colourful dress uniforms, unfortunately the Queen (still dressed in black) had painful arthritis and couldn’t get out of the state coach.

The parade started at Buckingham Palace went via Mansion House along past The Houses of Parliament, across Westminster Bridge and then headed up to St Paul’s Cathedral for a special service. This surely was  “Queen of earthly Queens” day as it was said at the time.

The Queen at 78 wrote:

No-one ever, I believe, has met with such an ovation as was given to me, passing through those six miles of streets… The crowds were quite indescribable and their enthusiasm truly marvellous and deeply touching. The cheering was quite deafening and every face seemed to be filled with joy.

Street parties were laid on for 400,000 of London’s poorest residents and 100,000 of Manchester’s. Sir Thomas Lipton of tea fame, sponsored and supplied free bottles of ale and pipe tobacco. These continued into the late evening with a chain of beacons lit across Britain.

All the celebrations were very much focused on the empire, its success, its expansiveness and its seeming invincibility not something we can celebrate today as we have slipped to be one of the smaller players on the world stage.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace in London has undergone a £12-million transformation and now has a permanent exhibition that sounds like it is worth exploring and is about the life and reign of Queen Victoria through her own words.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Howley) and the Lord Chamberlain (the Marquis of Conyhgham) left Windsor for Kensington Palace, where Princess Victoria had been residing, to inform her of the king’s death. It was two hours after mid. night when they started, and they did not reach Kensington till five o’clock in the morning. They knocked, they rang, they thumped for a considerable time before they could rouse the porter at the gate; they were again kept waiting in the courtyard; then turned into one of the lower rooms, where they seemed to be forgotten by everybody. They rang the bell, and desired that the attendant of the Princess Victoria might be sent to inform her Royal Highness that they requested an audience on business of importance. After another delay, and another ringing to inquire the cause, the attendant was summoned, who stated that the Princess was in such a sweet sleep that she could not venture to disturb her. Then they said, ‘We are come on business of State to the Queen, even her sleep must give way to that.’ It did, and to prove that she did not keep them waiting, in a few moments she came into the room in a loose, white nightgown and shawl; her nightcap thrown off, and her hair falling upon her shoulders, her feet in slippers, tears in her eyes, but perfectly collected and dignified.”

At eleven o’clock that morning the Queen met her first Council at Kensington Palace.

“Never was anything like the first impression she produced, or the chorus of praise and admiration which is raised about her manner and behaviour,” says Mr. Greville in his diary.

“Her extreme youth and inexperience, and the ignorance of the world concerning her, naturally excited intense curiosity to see how she would act on this trying occasion, and there was a considerable assemblage at the Palace, notwithstanding the short notice that was given. The first thing to be done was to teach her her lesson, which for this purpose Melbourne had himself to learn. I gave him the Council papers, and explained all that was to be done, and he went and explained all this to her. He asked her if she would enter the room accompanied by the great officers of State, but she said she would come in alone. When the Lords were assembled, the Lord President (Lord Lansdown) informed them of the king’s death, and suggested, as they were so numerous, that a few should repair to the presence of the Queen and inform her of the event, and that their lordships were assembled in consequence; and accordingly the two royal Dukes” (Cumberland, now King of Hanover, and Sussex) “and the two Archbishops were deputed; the Chancellor and Melbourne went with them. The Queen received them in an adjoining room alone.”

“Then the doors were thrown open, and the Queen entered, accompanied by her two uncles. She bowed to the lords, and took her seat, and then read her speech in a clear, distinct, and audible voice, without any appearance of fear or embarrassment.”

“She was quite plainly dressed,” adds Mr. Greville, “and in mourning. After she had read her speech and signed the oath for the security of the Church of Scotland, administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Privy Counsellors were sworn; the two royal dukes first by themselves; and as these old men, her uncles, knelt before her, swearing allegiance and kissing her hand, I saw her blush up to the eyes, as if she felt the contrast between their civil and their natural relations; and this v as the only sign of emotion that she evinced. Her manner to them both was very graceful and engaging; she kissed them both, and rose from her chair and moved towards the Duke of Sussex, who was furthest from her, and too infirm to reach her. She seemed rather bewildered at the multitude of men who were sworn, and who came one after the other to kiss her hand; but she did not speak to anybody, nor did she make the slightest difference in her manner, or show any in her countenance to any individual of any rank, station, or party.”

Thus ended the first Council of Queen Victoria in the old Palace of Kensington. Diary of a Lady of Quality by Frances Williams Wynn

The exhibition will tell us about Queen Victoria’s first day as Queen at Kensington Palace (see above) and her romance with Prince Albert, their family life and Prince Albert’s involvement in the 1851 Great Exhibition.

The childhood rooms where Princess Victoria lived will include paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Sir Edwin Landseer and the gifts that Queen Victoria exchanged with Prince Albert during their engagement in 1839.

The grand wedding dress, jewellery and other personal objects will also be on display.

If you have children like myself there is a dressing-up clothes, interactive displays for young visitors and replica Victorian toys on display.

On top of this there is a temporary exhibition which focuses on Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The exhibition simply called ‘Jubilee’ will focus on the procession though London on 22 June 1897 when the Queen, members of the royal family and soldiers from around the world paraded to a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.


Kensington Palace