Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library
Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, ruled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death, a reign of sixty-three years and seven months, longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history.
Victoria, the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, came to the throne at the age of eighteen, after her father’s three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate, surviving children. Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her first cousin in 1840. They had nine children who all were married into royal and noble families across the continent.
The Armstrong Browning Library owns two letters from Queen Victoria. Both letters are addressed to Henrietta Montalba. Henrietta was a British sculptor. She studied at the Royal College of art with Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. In 1882 Princess Louise painted Henrietta Montalba’s portrait. Montalba corresponded with Robert Browning, and the ABL owns seven letters from Robert Browning to Henrietta Montalba. She also sculpted a bust of Browning in 1883.
In this letter the Queen thanks Henrietta Montalba for the bust she has sculpted of Dr. Mezger, a memento of the time she spent in Amsterdam. Dr. Mezger was a Dutch physician who attended to the Queen’s health with a regimen of massage.
The intertwined letters of Victoria’s name embossed in gold on her stationery is particularly beautiful.
Queen Victoria sends Henrietta a photograph as a souvenir of their meeting at Gothenburg, Sweden.
The Armstrong Browning Library also owns a return letter from Henrietta Montalba to Queen Victoria, thanking her for
Your kind letter and most charming portrait which I have just received. It occupies no corner in my room, but a most prominent place where my eyes constantly fall on it.