24 May 2012
Family Tree editor Helen Tovey explores The National Archives' beautiful and fascinating new online exhibition at nationalarchive
Letters of congratulation, sent to Queen Victoria on her gold (1887) and diamond (1897) jubilees, can now be seen at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/jubilee.
These are a truly remarkable collection of documents, which the term ‘letters’ doesn’t really do justice to. The documents are held in the Privy Purse series (PP1) and are very unusual for 19th century government records, many of them incorporating gold leaf, wood and glass mounting and even beadwork. The correspondence was sent to Queen Victoria by grateful subjects from all over the British Empire, from local authorities in England (such as the City of Manchester), to societies and educational establishments (such as the boys on board the reformatory ship, Cornwall), to British subjects in Ceylon, Delhi, China and many other places.
To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, The National Archives has digisited 60 of the most beautiful documents and made them freely available online. Whether you are a keen royalist and would like to see memorabilia of the ways in which Queen Victoria’s 60th year on the throne was celebrated; or whether you simply wish to enjoy records from times gone by, created with a level of care and artistry that our hasty lives today do not always allow, you can revel in the new web pages and view a video about the series at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/jubilee.