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Queen Victoria's pressed flowers

pressed flowers
A painting of Princess Victoria in 1833

After Sir George Hayter, Queen Victoria, when Princess, c.1866–70 ©

One of Queen Victoria’s many interests was the craft of flower pressing. The Royal Archives holds a number of albums containing flowers preserved by the Queen. These date from 1834, when Victoria, then a Princess, was just fifteen, to 1900, when the Queen was eighty-one years old and approaching the end of her life. The flowers are very fragile, but they have been beautifully preserved.

Queen Victoria’s albums of pressed flowers commemorate special occasions, visits or even walks she took with her husband, Prince Albert. This page from one of the albums includes flowers taken from a bouquet presented to Queen Victoria on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 – a celebration to mark her 60 years on the throne. Although they have faded over time, the flowers can still be identified as irises, lily of the valley and ferns.

To explore Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee scrapbook and discover more about Britain’s longest reigning monarch, visit this website, created by the Royal Archives.

Where you see the ‘Investigate More’ link, click for more facts and activities for children.

Have a go!

Albumen photographic prints pasted onto a design on card

A collage designed by Alexandra, Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra ©

A scrapbook is the perfect way to record happy memories and important events in your life. Taking inspiration from Queen Victoria, why not create your own?

Here are some tips for making a scrapbook:

1. Begin by collecting photographs and other items you would like to include, such as invitations, tickets, postcards, leaflets, stamps, envelopes, and flat objects such as feathers or leaves.

2. You could buy a ready-made scrapbook or make your own using thick sheets of card bound together with treasury tags or staples.

3. Make sure you decorate the front cover. You might want to include a design with your name, a favourite photograph or simply an attractive pattern.

4. Give each section of your scrapbook a title. You could cut out letters from old newspapers and magazines or design your own unique font by hand.

5. Arrange your photographs and items on the pages. Will you opt for a collage effect or make your layout more uniform? This image shows a collage designed in the 1860s by Queen Victoria’s daughter-in-law, Alexandra, Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra.

6. Once you’ve decided on the layout, remember to take a photograph of the pages, so that you do not forget where you want everything to go. Paste your photographs and items into the scrapbook. Use glue or washi tape (decorative masking tape). You could also use washi tape to create patterns, letters and borders.

7. Write a caption next to each of your photographs, perhaps explaining what is happening or who has been captured in the shot.

8. To make your pages extra special, add some final decoration. Draw sketches or have fun arranging sequins, jewels, stickers or ribbon. Like Queen Victoria, you could even include some pressed flowers.