The British Monarchy has its own flickr photostream and, through the marvels of modern science, Queen Victoria now has her own twitter account.

To mark the launch of “Queen Victoria’s Journals” the British Monarchy is running a Twitter account @QueenVictoriaRI which tweets selected quotations from Queen Victoria’s diaries. The pictures in this set illustrate the account.

On the QVJ home page is message from HM Queen Elizabeth:

In this the year of my Diamond Jubilee, I am delighted to be able to present, for the first time, the complete on-line collection of Queen Victoria’s journals from the Royal Archives.

Queen Victoria’s Coronation (1838) Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2012

These diaries cover the period from Queen Victoria’s childhood days to her Accession to the Throne, marriage to Prince Albert, and later, her Golden and Diamond JubileesThirteen volumes in Victoria’s own hand survive, and the majority of the remaining volumes were transcribed after Queen Victoria’s death by her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, on her mother’s instructions.

It seems fitting that the subject of the first major public release of material from the Royal Archives is Queen Victoria, who was the first Monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.

Empress of India, Supplied by Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

Since I haven’t really posted anything about the Victorian Age, I thought I might start now; there’s a lot to peruse on the QVJ website. Plus, Retronaut has a Victorian “cluster” of photocollages from 1860s-1880s; the Victorian photo-surrealism entry is bizarre. But I digress.

There are 17 images on the Queen Victoria Twitter account set. My favorite is the Empress of India:

“Official portrait of Queen Victoria as Empress of India, showing her sitting on the Travancore ivory throne and wearing the sash of the Order of Neshan Aftab, presented to her by the Shah of Persia.”

There was an earlier strained relationship between Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar and Great Britain. According to Wiki:

Unable to regain territory lost to Russia in the early 19th century, Nāṣer al-Dīn sought compensation by seizing Herāt, Afghanistan, in 1856. Great Britain regarded the move as a threat to British India and declared war on Iran, forcing the return of Herāt as well as Iranian recognition of the kingdom of Afghanistan.[3]

I guess the Queen would have been in her early 30s in 1856. She had quite a few prime ministers, but that’s besides the point. In 1873, the Shah visited Britain and Europe and Russia. He was the first Persian monarch to do so, and created the Order of Neshan Aftab to mark the occasion.

Naser al-Din Shah, Shah of Iran. W. & D. Downey (1873)

During his visit to the United Kingdom in 1873, Naser al-Din Shah was appointed by Queen Victoria a Knight of the Order of the Garter, the highest English order of chivalry.

Nasser al-Din Shah was a patron of the Arts, which would have been appreciated by the Queen. He was a talented painter; an expert in pen and ink drawing; and was one of the first photographers in Persia. Like QV, the  Shah kept diaries — his travel diary of his 1873 trip was published in Persian, German, French and Dutch.

By the end his reign, though, the Shah had become a dictator who had 2,000 Bábí’s (Muslim sect) brutally murdered, which is why he was assasinated  on May 1, 1896.  

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NOTE:  The photos of Nāṣer al-Dīn and the Queen were taken in 1873 by William Downey, the Queen’s Photographer. He and his brother Daniel had several commercial photo studios in and around London, as well as in the Houses of Parliament. W. & D. Downey used Joseph Swan’s carbon process for their best work. 

Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (31 October 1828 – 27 May 1914) was a British physicist and chemist, most famous for the invention of the incandescent light bulb before its independent invention by the American Thomas Edison.

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