English - Dear diary

18th May 2012 at 01:00
Read about Queen Victoria's Jubilee in her own words

"A never to be forgotten day ... passing through those 6 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 real joy."

This description of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebration could have been penned by a journalist observing her triumphant procession. But they are instead the delighted memories of the Queen herself, written in her personal diary.

She goes on to reveal the anxiety she felt before the celebrations. "I felt a good deal agitated and had been so all these days for fear anything might be forgotten or go wrong."

The diaries reveal more details of the pomp and splendour, but also briefly allude to Queen Victoria's use of what must, at the time, have been cutting-edge technology.

"Before leaving I touched an electric button, by which I started a message which was telegraphed throughout the whole Empire," the Queen wrote. "It was the following: 'From my heart I thank my beloved people, may God bless them.' At this time the sun burst out."

This extract and many more entries from the private diaries of Britain's longest-serving monarch can now be explored on a new website from the Royal Archives, which details the Queen's life, mostly in her own words. Each section includes images of her handwriting and a typed transcript - transcribed by her daughter, Princess Beatrice - together with newsreel film, photographs and paintings from the Royal Collection.

While Queen Victoria is often remembered as a determined and stubborn monarch - a cliche supported by the image of her continually dressed in black after the death of her "darling Albert" - the diaries give touching glimpses of another, younger Victoria; one so in love with her prince, but always aware of her constitutional responsibilities.

The site includes footage of Victoria's Diamond Jubilee procession - fantastic material for an essay-writing exercise comparing the Victorian period with today.

The extracts above are from Queen Victoria's journal entry on 22 June 1897. Access the diary extracts and more at www.queen-victorias-scrapbook.org

What else?

Help pupils identify the techniques of diary writing with a PowerPoint from Tynybanwen.

Pupils can write a diary about this year's Diamond Jubilee through the eyes of the Queen in The Big Lunch's lesson.

Check out First News' Jubilee resources.


In a lesson on the theme of power, which two poems would you choose to compare?

Find all links and resources at www.tes.co.ukresources035.

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