An intimate scrapbook kept by Queen Victoria’s governess including locks of the monarch’s hair and her wedding dress fabric is to be auctioned for £26,000.
Baroness Louise Lehzen – who the young princess referred to as ‘dearest daisy’ and ‘mother’ in private – collected the keepsakes during 21 years working for the Royal family.
She rose through the ranks to become Victoria’s adviser and confidante before eventually being dismissed by the queen’s husband Prince Albert amid simmering tensions as he feared she was becoming too influential within the Palace.
Her red leather-bound notebook is now for sale offering a spectacular and revealing insight into the life of a young princess.
The intimate scrapbook, pictured right, reveals the life of a young Queen Victoria, pictured left
It is engraved with Victoria’s gold ‘VR’ insignia and contains lockets of her hair as well as photographs from the private family album
Baroness Louise Lehzen – who the young princess referred to as ‘dearest daisy’ and ‘mother’ in private – collected the keepsakes during 21 years working for the Royal family
It is engraved with Victoria’s gold ‘VR’ insignia and contains lockets of her hair as well as photographs from the private family album.
The hair samples are fastened with pieces of ribbon and visibly increase in thickness and colour as the girl gets older – with the last taken at the age of 23.
The collection – which is on public display in Berlin until Tuesday – also features miniature watercolours painted by the young princess.
One of the portraits in the intimate scrapbook shows Queen Victoria and her aide John Brown.
This image shows Balmoral Castle in Scotland taken from a nearby river
There is also a swatch of the fabric used to make the monarch’s gown for her monarch’s wedding to Prince Albert in 1840 and a sample of lace used in the garter.
Small pieces of paper stuck inside the book show the young Victoria’s first attempts to write while artistic watercolours depict her coronation and romantic scenes.
Patrick Golenia of Grisebach auctioneers in Berlin, which is selling off the book, told the Guardian that the collection was a ‘fascinating testimony of the friendship between two women, and of the strong British-German connection in the British royal family’.
He said: ‘We know that Queen Victoria sent a lot of hair samples, and that this was very typical of the time.
The intimate scrapbook also contains numerous letters and sketches penned by the young Royal
‘But this is the largest number of her hair samples to be found in one place – except perhaps for the pillow on which she died.
‘What we have here is an important historical object because it is testimony to the unbelievably close friendship, almost familial one between a teacher and her pupil, a queen and her employee.’
The album was made public for the first time in 1999 after being held in Baroness Lehzen’s family for years.
It was sold in 2001 when it sparked a frenzied bidding war between two would-be buyers who wanted to DNA test Victoria’s hair to see if they were related to the Queen.
It was eventually bought that year by an Austrian bidder for £49,000 – and is expected to fetch about half of that at auction on 30th November this year.
However this time the sale comes with the condition that the album must remain intact to prevent buyers from exploiting the genetic value of the hair.