18 Year Old Queen Victoria Officially Announces Her Accession to the Throne in a Letter of State to Europe’s Crowned Heads

Just one week into her reign, she wrote to the Queen of the Two Sicilies

Purchase $8,500

This is the official announcement letter of Victoria we have ever carried, and a search of public sale records shows the last one to reach that market was 33 years ago

Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, London, on 24 May 1819. She was the only daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent,...

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18 Year Old Queen Victoria Officially Announces Her Accession to the Throne in a Letter of State to Europe’s Crowned Heads

Just one week into her reign, she wrote to the Queen of the Two Sicilies

This is the official announcement letter of Victoria we have ever carried, and a search of public sale records shows the last one to reach that market was 33 years ago

Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, London, on 24 May 1819. She was the only daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III. Her father died shortly after her birth and she became heir to the throne because the three uncles who were ahead of her in the succession – George IV, Frederick Duke of York, and William IV – had no legitimate children who survived. In the early hours of June 20, 1837, Victoria received word from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain and learned of the death of her uncle, King William IV, third son of King George III. Later that morning, at 11:00, the new 18 year old Queen Victoria her first Privy Council in the Red Saloon in Kensington Palace, and the Council was impressed by the graceful assurance of the new Queen’s demeanor. She read a statement saying, “The severe and afflicting loss, which the Nation has sustained by the death of his Majesty, my beloved Uncle has devolved upon me the duty of administering the Government of this empire. This awful responsibility is imposed upon me so suddenly and at so early a period of my Life, that I should feel myself utterly oppressed by the burthen, were I not sustained by the hope, that Divine Providence, which has called me to this work, will give me strength for the performance of it, and that I shall find in the purity of my Intentions and in my zeal for the public welfare that support & those resources, which usually belong to a more mature age and to longer experience. I place my firm reliance upon the wisdom of Parliament and upon the loyalty and affection of my People…I have learned from my Infancy to respect and love the Constitution of my native Country. It will be my unceasing study to maintain the reformed Religion as by Law established securing at the same time to all the full enjoyment of religious liberty, and I shall steadily protect the rights and promote to the utmost of my Power the happiness and welfare of all Classes of my Subjects.”

The accession of a young woman was romantically popular with the people, and her reign saw Britain’s great age of industrial expansion, economic progress, and empire. Queen Victoria reigned until 1901, and her very name became the name of her entire era: the Victorian age. At her death, it was said, Britain had a worldwide empire on which the sun never set.

One of first tasks as sovereign was to officially announce and inform the other crowned heads of Europe of her ascension to the throne, and to renew the diplomatic credentials of British ambassadors. This is her letter to Maria Theresa, Queen of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Similar letters would have gone out to other royals, such as Czar Nicholas I of Russia.

Letter of State Signed, two pages, on mourning stationery, Kensington Palace, London, June 27, 1837, just seven days after Victoria ascended the throne. Written to Maria Theresa, Queen of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, announcing William Temple. “Madam My Sister, Upon ascending the throne of this Kingdom, I have deemed it one of my first duties to confirm and renew the credential granted by his late Majesty, My Most Honored and Beloved Uncle, King William the Fourth, to the Honorable William Temple, as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the King, Your Majesty’s illustrious Consort. Being anxious also to afford to your Majesty a Testimony of the Sentiments which I entertain towards you, I have charged Mr. Temple, who will have the honor of presenting this letter to Your Majesty, to convey to you the Assurances of my invariable Friendship and Regards. I” flatter myself that Your Majesty will receive him favorably, and that you will give entire credence to all that he will have occasion to say to you in my name, particularly when he shall express to Your Majesty the sincere esteem with which I am, Madam my Sister, Your Majesty’s good Sister, Victoria R.” The letter has two black wax seals adorned with black silk ribbon on the verso.

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