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Queen Victoria's children's story to be published for first time

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A short story written by Queen Victoria is to be published for the first time, more than 100 years after her death. The late monarch was only ten years old when she penned The Adventures of Alice Laselles, which tells the tale of a young heroine Alice.

Victoria, who was always a diligent writer and regularly kept diaries from the age of 13, wrote the piece as part of an English composition exercise with her governess, Baroness Louise Lehzen.

The royal's vivid imagination is clearly reflected in the plot, as she based the book around protagonist Alice – a "lovely girl of twelve years old" – who is shipped off to boarding school by her wicked stepmother, after her mother dies and her father unwisely remarries.


front cover

Queen Victoria was ten years old when she wrote the short story © Royal Collection Trust

"Oh do not send me away dear Pappa," the opening line of the book reads, describing a sobbing Alice hanging around her father's neck. "Don't send me away, oh let me stay with you."

The youngster is nonetheless sent away with a "heavy heart and swollen eyes" to Mrs Duncombe's school for girls.

There Alice meets a colourful host of classmates including a "poor little French orphan" named Ernestine Duval who only has one eye, a vain creature Charlotte Graves who spends all her time fixing her ringlets, and a wild child Diana O'Reilly who is prone to fits of rage.

queen victoria book first page © Photo: PA

The story, entitled The Adventures of Alice Laselles, tells of heroine Alice who is shipped off to boarding school by her wicked stepmother

The crux of the story lies in Alice being wrongly accused of taking a cat into the school without permission, but with most children's stories, the culprit is eventually found out and Alice goes on to become "one of the best learners" in school.

Queen Victoria's book, which includes illustrations by the royal and her governess, will be published by The Royal Collection Trust in June. The talented youngster dedicated the story to her mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

boarding school

Alice meets a host of colourful classmates, including one-eyed orphan Ernestine Duval © Royal Collection Trust

"To my dear Mamma, this my first attempt at composition is affectionately and dutifully inscribed by her affectionate daughter, Victoria," the inscription reads.

She used her full name and age – Alexandrina Victoria, aged 10 and ¾ – for the story.


The late royal dedicated the book, which she had written in an English class with her governess, to her mother © Royal Collection Trust

The published book includes an introduction by children's author Jacqueline Wilson, who was full of praise for the royal. "If Victoria hadn't been destined to be Queen I think she might have made a remarkable novelist," wrote Jacqueline.

The afterword to the book also noted: "Lots of children make up friends who are invisible to everyone else, but Victoria made up a whole school full of them."

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