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An undated composition entitled ‘Alice’, by Princess Victoria

In her first attempt at composition, Princess Victoria produced a story that she initially called ‘The School’ but later changed to the simple title ‘Alice’.

This composition, which probably dates from 1828 or 1829 and is dedicated to ‘my dear Mamma … by her affectionate daughter Victoria’, follows the story of 12-year-old Alice Lacelles, who is unwanted in the family home by her new stepmother and is taken to Mrs Dunscombe’s school for girls by her weak-willed father, Colonel Lacelles.

The short story introduces all the other girls in the school in great detail and chronicles Alice’s first days at Mrs Dunscombe’s. It appears that Princess Victoria may have run out of inspiration after 45 pages, as the story ends rather abruptly with a discussion of the poor character of Alice’s stepmother, the new Mrs Lacelles. There are a number of other short compositions by the Princess in the Royal Archives.