Baku, April 9, AZERTAC
A story written by the future Queen Victoria when she was 10 years old is to be published for the first time.
The Adventures of Alice Laselles by Alexandrina Victoria, Aged 10 and 3/4, tells the story of a girl who is sent away to Mrs Duncombe's School for Girls when her father remarries.
Far from the sober image that we are familiar with from her later years, Victoria shows a child's flair for the dramatic.
One passage reads: "'Oh do not send me away dear Pappa', exclaimed Alice Laselles, as she threw her arms around her Pappa’s neck; ‘don’t send me away, O let me stay with you.’ And she sobbed bitterly."
The story was originally called The School, until Victoria decided to name it after her leading character.
Alice's schoolmates include Barbara, the clever daughter of a wealthy banker, whose pride "spoiled her otherwise fine expression"; Ernestine Duval, a "poor little French orphan" who had suffered from "the small pox, by which malady she had lost one eye"; and Diana O’Reilly, who was raised by a nurse after the death of her mother, and dispatched to Mrs Duncombe's when her father returned from India after 10 years to find a "tall girl of a most uncouth appearance" who spoke in an "unintelligible" brogue.
Victoria wrote Alice in a red notebook and dedicated it to her mother. The book is now in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle.
The dedication reads, "To my dear Mamma, this my first attempt at composition is affectionately and dutifully inscribed by her affectionate daughter, Victoria."
Alice is illustrated with a combination of digitally manipulated copies of paper dolls made by Victoria and her governess, Baroness Louise Lehzen, and etchings by Cristina Pieropan.
The author Jacqueline Wilson, who provides the book's introduction, said: "If Victoria hadn’t been destined to be Queen, I think she might have made a remarkable novelist."