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Queen Victoria

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You’ve read it a hundred times, the morning after the night before when you realise you fell asleep, still squeezed into a Peachy Den jumpsuit, in the middle of replying to ‘u home?’ Don’t be too down on yourself, for you are in haute company. Long b4 the first texts of Y2K was an original party abbreviator: Queen Victoria. 

Despite all her regal majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother, was known to be partial to a drink. Scotch whisky mixed with claret, or a less glamorous beer, were her tipples of choice – and by the end of the night, matters sometimes descended into lazy abbreviation and deep musings on random topics. Sound familiar?

‘The q. wishes ti know the height of the gypsies [?] male donkey,’ reads one of a collection of letters found in the home of an Isle of Wight antique dealer. It appears, says an expert, to have been written in a ‘less than sober state of mind.’ 

The letters, expected to fetch £1,500 at auction this month, show how the monarch would often deploy shortened forms of text in her letters when ‘slightly drunk’, replacing ‘queen’ with ‘q’ and ‘which’ with ‘wh’, all in slanted and screwed handwriting.