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Record of historical events

Victoria and Albert collected photographs that documented the political and military events that defined a period of global expansion


    In 1843, Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and Prince Albert (1819-61) visited France for the first time, the first visit of an English monarch to a French sovereign since 1520. Later, the Revolution in France forced the abdication of King Louis-Philippe (1773-1850) in February 1848. Elsewhere in Europe, dangerous unrest followed. Queen Victoria regularly wrote in her diaries of this political turmoil, remarking on 6 August 1848:

    “I maintain that Revolutions are always bad for the country & the cause of untold misery to the people. Obedience to the laws & to the Sovereign, is obedience to a higher Power, Divinely instituted for the good of the people, not of the Sovereign, who has equally duties & obligations.”

    Photographs acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that relate to France include the photographs shown here by Gustave Le Gray (1820-84). These document the French Imperial Army at the military camp at Mourmelon-le-Grand, near Châlons-en-Champagne, in 1857.