Queen Victoria's private diaries made available online

image captionThe Queen inspected Queen Victoria's journals at Buckingham Palace

The complete collection of Queen Victoria's private diaries is being made available to the public online for the first time.

The Queen launched the Queen Victoria's Journals website at Buckingham Palace.

The journals, running to 43,000 pages, provide a picture of her life from the first entry at the age of 13 until 10 days before her death aged 81 in 1901.

In an 1839 entry she describes Prince Albert as "beautiful" after first meeting him.

The 141 volumes were made public by the Royal Archives and Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University. It took four months to scan all the journals at Windsor Castle, where they were stored.

The journals, launched on the anniversary of Queen Victoria's birthday, provide an account of significant moments in her life throughout her 63-year reign, from her coronation and marriage to Prince Albert to the Diamond Jubilee of 1897.

Of her coronation on 28 June 1838, she wrote: "I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a Nation."

Important historical events such as the Crimean and Boer Wars are also traced in the diaries.

Victoria insisted that the diaries should be rewritten after her death by one of her children, omitting anything unsuitable. Thirteen of the original diaries are also online.

'Defined age'

Rod Gauvin, of online publisher ProQuest, said the release of the journals would "be an important resource of primary materials for scholars worldwide".

The Royal Archives will also make available a selection of Queen Victoria's school copy books for viewing at the National Archives at Kew.

image captionThe journals provide an account of events including the Diamond Jubilee of 1897

David Ryan, assistant keeper of the Royal Archives, said: "The virtue of digital access is its ability to reveal the thoughts of Queen Victoria to millions around the world, providing them with a record of the important political and cultural events surrounding a monarch whose name defined an age."

The Twitter account @QueenVictoriaRI will tweet excerpts from Queen Victoria's Journals throughout the Diamond Jubilee period.

Royal Archives has also undertaken an online partnership project with website Find my Past to enable the public to trace ancestors who have worked for the royal household.

Rarely-seen documents relating to the life of Queen Victoria had previously been showcased in Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook which gives details of the young Princess Victoria's studies and timetable of lessons.

The release of the material is part of a long-term programme by Royal Archives to make historical documents accessible to the public. Other documents have been released to coincide with Diamond Jubilee year.

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