04:00PM, Sunday 05 October 2014
Letters, documents and official papers belonging to the royal family are on show at Windsor Castle as part of the Treasures from the Royal Archives exhibition. Express news editor Nicola Hine took a look at the collection, which has gone on show to celebrate the centenary of the creation of the archives.
'Dearest, deeply loved Victoria', begins the love letter which takes pride of place among the Treasures from the Royal Archives collection.
Penned by Prince Albert to his fiancée, the future Queen Victoria, in November 1839, it reads: "According to your wish, and by the urging of my heart to talk to you and open my heart to you, I send these lines."
The Prince, who was writing to the Princess from Coburg, adds: "I need not tell you that since we left all my thoughts have been with you in Windsor and that your image fills my whole soul. Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on Earth."
The letter is one of more than 20 items on show as part of the exhibition which opened at Windsor this summer.
Dating from the 13th century to the 21st, they range from account books and diaries to photographs and sentimental personal correspondence.
The oldest item on show is a list of the jewels and metalwork of Edward I, from 1297. Written in Norman French on vellum (parchment, often made from calfskin), its contents include gilded cups and golden crowns.
The most recent is the 100th birthday card sent by the current Queen to the Queen Mother on August 4, 2000.
It reads: "On your 100th birthday all the family join with me in sending you our loving best wishes for this special day."
It is signed 'Lilibet' – the pet name by which Her Majesty became known to her family.
The exhibition is designed to give an insight into the lives of the royals and their families, as well as some of the most significant moments in British history.
A particularly poignant display case includes letters from the late Queen Mother to her mother-in-law, Queen Mary, describing the bombing of Buckingham Palace in September 1940.
The palace was bombed nine times during the Second World War.
A letter describing one of the attacks reads: "It all happened so quickly that we had only time to look foolishly at each other when the scream hurtled past us and exploded with a tremendous crash in the Quadrangle."
The Royal Archives contain both official and private papers belonging to members of the royal family, as well as records from the royal household and estates.
They have been kept in the Round Tower at Windsor since 1914.
The Treasures exhibition runs until January 21, 2015.
An accompanying book is available from Royal Collection Trust shops and online.
Click here for details.
Entry to all public areas of Windsor Castle is free for yellow Advantage Card holders.
Below are some examples of the 'treasures' in the exhibition:
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