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Queen Victoria’s Autograph fan

The Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) gave Queen Victoria the autograph fan in 1887, the year of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Over the period leading up to Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, she invited close family and friends to add their signatures to the fan. These included the Marquess of Salisbury, her Prime Minister (fold 15), and the statesman Joseph Chamberlain (fold 16). But the majority of the signatories were members of Queen Victoria’s large extended family. All her children signed except for Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse (1843-1878) and Leopold, Duke of Albany (1853-1884), whose deaths pre-dated the creation of the fan.

 

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Victoria, the Empress Frederick (1840-1901)

Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Victoria (fold 10) married the future Emperor Frederick of Germany in 1858. The photograph shows the Empress between her daughters Victoria (fold 7) and Margaret (Mossy; fold 11) in 1888, the year of the Emperor’s death. The couple behind are the third daughter, Sophie, and her husband ‘Tino’, the future Constantine I of Greece (fold 12): HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is their nephew.

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910)

Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Albert Edward (fold 2), married Princess Alexandra of Denmark (fold 1) in 1863. They had two sons: Albert Victor (or ‘Eddy’), and George (the future King George V; fold 3); and three daughters: Louise, Victoria and Maud (fold 4). Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, ‘May’ (fold 7), was first engaged to Eddy. After his death in 1892 she became engaged to his brother, and they married in 1893. In 1910 they succeeded as King George V and Queen Mary.

Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse (1843-1878)

Princess Alice, Queen Victoria’s second daughter, married Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, in 1862. She died in 1878, but four of her children signed the fan: her eldest daughter Victoria (fold 14); Elizabeth ‘Ella’ (fold 17); Irene (fold 17) and her fourth daughter, Alix (fold 14), who in 1894 married ‘Nicky’, the future Nicholas II, last Tsar of Russia (fold 16).

Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900)

Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son, married Marie Alexandrovna, daughter of the Russian Tsar, Alexander II, in 1874. Both they (fold 5) and three of their children, Alfred, Marie and Alexandra (‘Sandra’), signed the fan, together with Marie’s husband, Ferdinand I, King of Roumania (folds 18 and 19).

Helena, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (1846-1923)

Helena was Queen Victoria’s third daughter. She married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein in 1866. Both she and her husband signed the fan (fold 6) along with their two daughters, Helena Victoria (‘Victoria’) and Marie-Louise (‘Louise’), and Marie-Louise’s husband, Aribert (folds 6 and 13).

Louise, Duchess of Argyll (1848-1939)

Princess Louise, the fourth of Queen Victoria’s daughters, married John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, later ninth Duke of Argyll, in 1871 (fold 6). There were no children of the marriage.

Arthur, Duke of Connaught (1850-1942)

The Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria's third son, signed the fan along with his wife, Louise Margaret, in 1891 (fold 13). They can be seen above in 1886, seated with their three young children. Queen Victoria is in the middle and Princess Beatrice (Queen Victoria's youngest child) and her husband Prince Henry of Battenberg are behind.

Beatrice, Princess Henry of Battenberg (1857-1944)

Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter married Prince Henry of Battenberg (‘Liko’) in 1885. Both she and her husband signed the fan (fold 12). None of their four children, who were still children at the time of Queen Victoria’s death, signed the fan. 

Francis Houghton (active 1887)

Autograph fan