Yesterday evening we left Queen Victoria, her husband Albert and their ‘team’ settling down to sleep after far from exciting food yesterday. So what did Wednesday, 9th October 1861 bring forth for the Royal couple? Queen Victoria tells us that…
It was a bright morning which was charming. Albert found, on getting up, that Cluny MacPherson, with his piper and two ladies, had arrived quite early in the morning; and, while we were dressing, we heard a drum and fife – and discovered that the newly-formed volunteers had arrived – all indicating that we were discovered. However, there was scarcely any population, and it did not signify. The fat old landlady had put on a black satin dress, with white ribbons and orange flowers!
We had breakfast at a quarter to nine o’clock; at half-past nine we started. Cluny was at the door with his wife and daughters with nosegays, and volunteers were drawn up in front of the inn. They had all assembled since Saturday afternoon.
We drove as we did yesterday. There was fine and very wild scenery, high wild hills, and no habitations.
We’ll leave the pair now as they enjoy the Scottish landscape,
It was Tuesday 8th October 1861 and Britain’s Queen Victoria, and Albert her husband, are in Inverness-shire, Scotland and heading for their evening abode. She writes in her diary:
It became cold and windy with occasional rain. At length, and not till a quarter to nine, did we reach the inn of Dalwhinnie – 29 miles from where we had left our ponies – which stands by itself, away from any village.
Here, again (as yesterday), there were a few people assembled, and I thought they knew us; but it seems they did not, and it was only when we arrived that one of the maids recognised me.
She had seen me at Aberdeen and Edinburgh. We went upstairs: the inn was much larger than at Fettercairn, but not nearly so nice and cheerful; there was a drawing-room and a dining-room; and we had a good-sized bed-room.
Albert had a dressing-room of equal size. Mary Andrews [a wardrobe-maid] who was very useful and efficient and Lady Churchill’s maid had a room together, every one being in the house; but unfortunately there was hardly anything to eat, and two miserable starved Highland chickens, without any potatoes! No pudding, and no fun; no little maid [the two there not wishing to come in], nor our two people – who were wet and drying our, and their, things – to wait on us! It was not a nice supper; and the evening was wet. As it was late we soon retired to rest.
Mary and Maxted [Lady Churchill’s maid] had been dining below with Grant, Brown, and Stewart [who came, the same as last time, with the maids] in the ‘commercial room’ at the foot of the stairs. They had only the remains of our two starved chickens!
I wonder what the morrow will bring.
It was on Wednesday 6th May 1840 that Great Britain issued the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, resulting from reforms by Rowland Hill to simplify and reduce postage costs. It was called ‘The Penny Black’ and the design showed Queen Victoria, without a country name. It laid the foundations for British stamps.
Just in case you forgot – two days ago, on Thursday, May 4th 2017 – self-adhesive stamps today came on sale to the general public for the first time. In future all first and second-class stamp booklets will contain self-adhesive rather than the old-fashioned gummed postage stamps. The new booklets could signal the beginning of the end of “lickable” stamps on sale at British post offices. These new ‘Sticky Stamps’ were introduced after a survey showed a massive 93% of the British public said they would prefer not to lick their stamps. This launch also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria with a special “stamp label” in booklets.