Queen Victoria was the first reigning sovereign to make a train journey — from Slough to Paddington, on June 13, 1842. That fact was contained in The Times’ report by Valentine Low “Sporting 'anonymous' headscarf, Queen catches the 10.45 to Kings Lynn.”
While it is a relatively little known fact that when the Queen travels to Norfolk for Christmas break at Sandringham, she travels by scheduled train, Ms. Low reports that this was the first year that Buckingham Palace has allowed the press to take a photographic record of the event.
The reporter decided that she would write a rather disrespectful piece. The theme was to make fun of the monarchy, rather than just reporting the facts.When the report was republished in The Australian on the next day, more than one reader told me of their annoyance. One said it was a “vicious piece from some republican.”
At least The Australian published this letter (“Leave The Queen alone” 2/12) from Sylvia Murray, Claremont, Western Australia:
“I was disgusted at the spiteful, petty comments made about the Queen’s journey to King’s Lynn on a normal train (‘Monarch devoid of festive cheer’, 19-20/12)."
" The snide remarks and the inaccurate description of Elizabeth II is as a ‘stooped, old lady’ (she has always held herself very straight) suggest the bad manners of a plebeian with a chip on the shoulder.”