The letter was in reply to Lord Curzon’s mail, in which he condoled the death of one of the Queen’s ‘soldier grandsons’ in the Second Boer War.
Queen Victoria’s last letter to India, written 116 years ago, is on display for the first time at the Victoria Memorial, one of the finest monuments built in her memory.
The three-page handwritten letter, dated December 14, 1900 and bearing the Royal Seal, was unveiled for the public on December 16 at the Prince Hall of the Victoria Memorial.
“This letter is an important piece of historical correspondence between British India and Britain. The letter was gifted by Lord Curzon in 1904,” Jayanta Sengupta, curator of the Victorial Memorial told The Hindu .
Mr. Sengupta, also a historian, pointed out that the letter by Queen Victoria was written nearly a month before her death. She passed away on January 22, 1901. The letter is Queen Victoria’s reply to the then Viceroy, Lord Curzon, who in an earlier correspondence to the Queen had expressed his sympathies on the death of one of her “soldier grandsons.”
“The Queen Empress has to thank the Viceroy for the very kind letter of the 9th November, full of sincerest sympathy of her beloved soldier grandson…,” the letter begins. The references in the letter are to the death of Prince Christian Victor, the eldest son of the third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Prince Christian died on October 29, 1900 in Pretoria, South Africa during the Second Boer War. “He was as good as he was brave,” Queen Victoria writes in the letter about her grandson. “All the Viceroy says of her own trials and anxieties the Queen feels very much, and she cannot deny that she feels a good deal shaken by them.”
Along with the handwritten letter, a typed copy of the text has been displayed alongside for the convenience of visitors.
Within few weeks of Queen Victoria’s death in January 1901, a meeting was convened at the Town Hall of Calcutta in February 1901, when a resolution was passed for constituting an all-India fund for building a memorial.
King George V, then the Prince of Wales, laid the foundation stone of the Victoria Memorial on January 4, 1906 and it was formally opened to the public in 1921.