Lot 217
  • 217

Victoria, Queen

5,000 - 7,000 GBP
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  • Victoria, Queen
  • Series of 43 autograph letters, to Arnold Royle, Surgeon in Ordinary to HRH Prince Leopold
  • ink on paper
discussing her youngest son and her continuing concerns over his health, reminding Royle of Leopold's long history of ill health and the anxiety this has caused her, with concern over the prince's workload as her private secretary ("...He need not read a report every night..."), trying to ensure Royle's assistance in restricting the Prince's movements to what she believes appropriate ("...The Queen quite understands that he knew nothing of Prince Leopold's going to the Ascot Races...") and often forwarding letters received from the Prince with comments, writing of her fury at his bids for independence ("...She cannot trust herself to speak of her undutiful, unamiable, ungrateful son - for she is deeply hurt..."), many letters referring to Sir William Jenner and on one occasion ordering Royle to "send for Sir William Jenner whenever the Prince is seriously ill as now", with several letters relating to the Prince's marriage in 1882  ("...the Queen cannot deny she feels very anxious for the future - for the marriage itself & all connected with it - & trembles...") and later letters referring also to his wife especially during her pregnancy ("...the Queen never saw any young English Lady so totally incapable of doing any thing as she is in a similar condition..."), the last few letters written after the Prince's death ("...The loss to me ... but above all - to his dear young wife ... is dreadful..."), also a telegram on the christening of Royle's daughter, 138 pages, 8vo, 4 letters with envelopes, headed mourning stationery of Windsor Castle, Balmoral, Osborne, Claremont, and Chalet des Rosiers, Mentone, 7 December 1876 to 31 October 1884

[with:] Six autograph letters signed by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, on his health and that of his wife, his travel plans, and refusing to go to a ball ("...the Queen would be certain to hear of it..."), 19 pages, 8vo, Balmoral , Windsor Castle, and Osborne, 1877-1882 (where dated); eight letters by Queen Victoria's children (Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, and Princess Louise (2)) and grandchildren (Prince Charles Edward, 2nd Duke of Albany, Princess Alice, Princess Victoria of Hesse, Princess Irene of Hesse, Princess Helen), to Royle or his wife; autograph instructions signed by Sir William Jenner, Physician-extraordinary to Queen Victoria, on Royle's appointment to serve Prince Leopold, and an autograph letter signed by Jenner to Royle informing him that the Queen does not consider Leopold fit to attend Royle's wedding and warning "Her Majesty evidently does not think your reports very satisfactory", 5 pages, 8vo, [1876]-1880 (altogether 18 items, also including a copy of a letter to Leopold and cut signature of George II), some creasing

[also with:] Queen Victoria, Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands, From 1848 to 1861...Illustrated Edition. Smith, Elder, and Co, 1868, inscribed on the half title ("To Arnold Royle Esq from Victoria RI Balmoral Sept: 30 1880"); silver gilt christening cup by F.B. Thomas & Co., 1881, inscribed ("To Leopold Victor Arnold Royle from his Godfather Leopold Duke of Albany May 11 1882"), in its original hinged blue box

Catalogue Note

A substantial and revealing correspondence by Queen Victoria relating to her youngest son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (1853-1884). Prince Leopold was the most scholarly of Victoria and Albert's sons, and a significant patron of artistic and educational causes, but he had suffered from haemophilia and epilepsy from childhood, and his ill-health was a constant grave concern for his mother. As an adult, Leopold was stifled by the Queen's attempts to restrict his actions and found various means to assert his independence: these letters reveal the Queen's fury when, for example, Leopold refused to travel to Balmoral in 1878, and her reluctant assent to his marriage. Arnold Royle, who was the Prince's personal physician from 1876 until the Prince's death from a cerebral haemorrhage in 1884, therefore found himself caught between his strong-willed patient, determined to live an active life, and his equally strong-willed mother. Furthermore, the Queen evidently had somewhat limited faith in Royle and constantly wished him to defer to her favoured physician, Sir William Jenner. Eventually, however, the medical skill and diplomatic aplomb with which Royle carried out his duties did gain acknowledgement from the Queen, who appointed him a Groom of the Privy Chamber in November 1884, some months after Prince Leopold's death.