A personal letter from a grieving Queen Victoria to poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, who grew up in Somersby in East Lindsey, is the newest addition to the county’s extensive Tennyson archive.
The two-page letter – still in its original envelope – was purchased by the county council, with support from the Tennyson Society, during an auction at the Swann Auction Galleries in New York.
In the letter, dating from March 31, 1884, Queen Victoria writes of her ‘terrible sorrows’ after her youngest son Prince Leopold was killed in an accident three days earlier.
The document will be housed in The Tennyson Research Centre Collection at Lincolnshire Archives, the most significant collection on the poet in the world.
County councillor Nick Worth, executive member for heritage, said: “This letter is a fantastic addition to the Tennyson collection.
“Not only does it underline the close friendship between Tennyson and Victoria, but it also offers an insight into her state of mind at an incredibly trying time.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to purchase it for the county, and would like to thank the Tennyson Society for their support in doing this.”
Other highlights in the collection include:
• The letter of sympathy from Queen Victoria to Tennyson on the death of his son
• The copy of Through the Looking Glass that Lewis Carroll gave to Tennyson
• Prince Albert’s letter to Tennyson asking for his autograph
• The altered drafts of The Charge of The Light Brigade
To arrange access to the Tennyson collection, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01522 782040.