‘Text speak’ letters penned by Queen Victoria sell for £15k at auction
A series of letters penned by Queen Victoria using informal language, including a number of abbreviations common to today’s generation of text massagers, have been sold at auction for £15k.
The letters were written by the Queen to James Forbes, her estates manager at Balmoral, and include shortened versions of words such as ‘shd’ for ‘should’ and ‘abt’ for ‘about’.
A swell as their construction the correspondence is notable for its content, which expresses concern for the welfare of staff and tenants and interests in life.
In one such missive she remarked upon an aristocratic neighbour: “I have never invited the Duke of Atholl to come over with his men and I think it wd. be better not to do so this year. It wd. entail the encampment of his men in our grounds wh. wd. be inconvenient.”
Written from her Windsor home the letters are all written on ‘mourning paper’ following the death of her husband, Prince Albert, and most are signed VR1.
Andrew Currie, a spokesman for Bonhams auctioneers, said: “The writing is quite untidy and the abbreviations are interesting, a sort of early form of texting which suggest Queen Victoria was a hundred years ahead of her time.
“Sales of this sort are not that rare, but what is unusual is the letters show the Queen was keen to strike up personal relationships with her staff, showing her concern for her household, tenants and neighbours at Balmoral.”