LETTERS from Queen Victoria to her Commissioner at Balmoral Castle written in the last years of her life have sold at auction for £15,000.
More than 20 letters were handwritten by the monarch between May 1897 and July 1900, addressed to James Forbes, the man responsible for the running of Balmoral Castle.
The letters form part of the James Forbes archive, which includes other royal memorabilia and sold at a Bonhams auction in Edinburgh yesterday.
All the letters are written on the mourning paper she adopted on the death of Prince Albert in 1861 and most are signed VR1. Several words are missing vowels, indicating the Queen used a kind of text language.
They were sent from Windsor, Osborne and Nice, as well as internally at Balmoral itself.
Henry Baggott, Bonhams book specialist in Edinburgh, said: “These letters throw a fascinating light on the private Queen Victoria and show her to have been far kinder and more considerate than her rather forbidding public image suggested.”
She writes advising Forbes on how to handle the tricky minister at Balmoral: “Be very careful to be exact & very discreet & keep out of rows (like the choir trouble) or writing in any of the papers wh. was one of Mr Sibald’s accusations last year. But I fear Mr S. is of a vindictive spirit and I rather fear, not very exact himself. At any rate you shd try & find out the story abt the Free Kirk Minister, as I am sure that that is a ‘mistake’.”