Queen Victoria's Childhood Story To Be Published
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Britain's longest ruling monarch, Queen Victoria, will soon have her name on a children's book - not as a character, but as the author and illustrator. The title, "The Adventures Of Alice Laselles, By Alexandrina Victoria, Aged 10 and 3/4."
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
The Royal Collection Trust says the short story was written by the future monarch around 1829. Jacky Colliss Harvey is with the Trust and organized the publication of the story. Harvey says it was probably a writing exercise for the princess.
JACKY COLLISS HARVEY: And Victoria herself wrote composition across the red cover of the little notebook that the original is in in her handwriting. So it seems to have come direct from the school room to us.
BLOCK: Harvey says the 3,000-word narrative is about a girl named Alice who's sent away to boarding school by her stepmother. There's some dramatic flair, and here's a taste. (Reading) Oh, do not send me away, dear Papa, exclaimed Alice Laselles as she threw her arms around her papa's neck. Don't send me away. Oh, let me stay with you.
CORNISH: Alice also expresses that she'll miss her stepsister, pony and dog.
HARVEY: And we know that when Victoria was about 10 years old she did indeed have a pony and a dog. So we think that probably quite a lot of the details in the story have been taken from her own life, but then they've gone through that sort of magical process of transformation to become a work of fiction.
CORNISH: When Alice is wrongfully accused of letting a cat into the school kitchen, Harvey says Queen Victoria shines through the character as she handles the scandal.
HARVEY: Alice pulls herself together absolutely splendidly and in a way that certainly reminded me at least of the sort of strength of character that Queen Victoria might've had as a little girl.
BLOCK: And we mentioned Queen Victoria is also the illustrator. Harvey says the book will feature digital copies of paper dolls she created as a child.
CORNISH: "The Adventures Of Alice Laselles, By Alexandrina Victoria, Aged 10 and 3/4" will be released in June. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.