Some people can just do it all, and that's the case of the longest-reigning female monarch of all time. Queen Victoria's children's book The Adventures of Alice Laselles has just been published 185 years after it was allegedly written. At the time, Princess Victoria was just 10 years old — or to be specific, as children tend to be with ages, at age 10 and three-quarters. Until now, the book was kept in one of Victoria's notebooks in the royal archives at Windsor Castle. Royal Collection Trust published the children's book.
Beloved U.K. children' book author Jacqueline Wilson wrote The Adventures of Alice Laselles' introduction, in which she said, "If Victoria hadn’t been destined to be Queen, I think she might have made a remarkable novelist."
The story follows our titular heroine Alice Laselles, who like Victoria, loses a parent at a young age. Alice is then sent to the boarding school Miss Duncombe’s School for Girls after her father remarries. When the school finds a cat in the cottage bearing Alice's name in a ribbon around her neck, she is punished for breaking the school rules of no animals or pets. However, the mystery heats up as Alice tries to clear her name.
In addition to Alice, we meet her classmates: the spoiled daughter of a banker Barbara, "poor little French orphan" suffering from small pox Ernestine Duval, and Diane O'Reilly, who has also lost her mother and was sent to the school by her father. To illustrate the book, Victoria used her paper dolls.
I'm going to remind everyone now that Victoria was 10.
Wilson says in her introduction that The Adventures of Alice Laselles reveals a lot about the remarkable queen's "melancholy" childhood:
It reflects a lot of Queen Victoria's feelings when she was a little girl. She herself describes her childhood as "melancholy." It humanizes a queen that we tend to think of as the stout lady, with the rather boot face, but here she was — just as sweet and charming as any child nowadays.
I'll hurdle right over that problematic description of Britain's longest-reigning monarch, and move on. "The young queen Victoria really had a way with words. It's a fascinating story," she added.
Queen Victoria was well known as a writer in another way. Her 141-volume set of journals, which she started at age 13, has also been archived.
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