VICTORIA, Queen - MARTIN, Theodore.

The Life of His Royal Highness the Prince Consort.

With portraits and views.

Lonodn: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1875-80 Stock Code: 135188
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Inscribed by Queen Victoria

This set inscribed in the first volume by Queen Victoria: "To Lord Methuen In recollection of former happy days and of the marriage of our grandson William of Prussia, from Victoria R.I. Windsor Castle Feb: 27. 1881".

Pasted to the verso of the front free endpaper is a folding manuscript letter embossed with the arms of Windsor Castle, addressed to Lord Methuen, and dated December 16th 1861, that is, 2 days after the death of Prince Albert. Its author, Sir Thomas Biddulph, assures Lord Methuen that "If he had lived, you would have found out that he liked you, as he is gone, I cannot help mentioning it".

Frederick Henry Paul Methuen, 2nd Baron Methuen (1818-1891) was a British peer and Liberal politician, who was also Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria. Upon his return from Lisbon, Lord Methuen had told Prince Albert of the "particulars of the recent illness and death of the Prince and King of Portugal" (Archer) who had died of a low fever, "a disorder of which the Prince Albert had a peculiar dread" (ibid.); a moment alluded to in the letter. Sir Thomas Myddleton Biddulph (1809-1878), was an officer in the British Army, "master of Queen Victoria's household" (ODNB) and "extra equerry to the queen" (ibid.).

The reference to the marriage is that of William II (1859-1941), who was to be the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, and Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (1858-1921), German Empress consort and Queen consort of Prussia. William was Queen Victoria's first grandson, born from Princess Victoria, the Princess Royal (18401901), who was the eldest of Victoria and Albert's children.

This extensive biography of Prince Albert (1819-1861) was begun in 1866 and was originally intended to be a continuation of the unpublished work The Early Years of the Prince Consort by Queen Victoria's private secretary Charles Grey. The queen interviewed Martin on 14 November 1866 and, finding him "very pleasing, clever, quiet, and sympathique", engaged him to write the biography. Queen Victoria selected the documents for use and intervened widely in the manuscript. Martin "became one of the queen's confidential, if unofficial, servants" (ODNB).

Mixed editions as often: vols. I-II and IV, fourth; vol. III, fifth; and vol. V, third. It was first published annually between 1875 and 1880.

A very good association copy.

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5 volumes, octavo. Original brown cloth, titles in gilt to spines, panelling in black to the bevelled boards, black surface-paper endpapers, partially unopened.


Lithographic portrait frontispieces to each, 8 other plates of portraits and views with tissue-guards; one a folding facsimile of a draft memorandum by Prince Albert to Lord Lyons in 1861.


Spines ends softened, minor wear to extremities, slight rubbing, edges foxed, front hinge of vol. I split, light foxing and spotting throughout, occasional small stains; a very good set indeed.


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