• Exploring American History

Alexander Graham Bell meets Queen Victoria

On Monday, January 14, 1878, Alexander Graham Bell met with England’s Queen Victoria at Osborne House where he demonstrated for her the operation of his invention, the telephone. During his audience with the Queen, Bell offered a brief explanation of his invention, then held a conversation with Mr. Ormiston at Osborne Cottage. Soon afterwards, the Queen conversed with Sir Thomas and Lady Biddulph.

Following this conversation, Miss Kate Field sang Kathleen Mavourneen into the phone while the Duke of Connaught listened. This was followed by Miss Field singing Comin’ thro’ the Rye and the cuckoo song from Love’s Labour Lost. The musical portion of the exhibition was closed out with God Save the Queen. Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family expressed a goodly bit of interest following the demonstration.

The Queen recorded in her journal the connection of the telephone to Osborne Cottage and Sir Thomas Biddulph, Keeper of the Privy Purse, later indicated in his letter the fact Queen Victoria was very interested in acquiring a set of telephones for the palace.

Bell later wrote back in response to Sir Biddulph’s letter:

Dear Sir:

I feel highly honoured by the gratification expressed by Her Majesty, and by her desire to possess a set of Telephones.

The instruments at present in Osborne are merely those supplied for ordinary commercial purposes, and it will give me much pleasure to be permitted to offer the Queen a set of Telephones to be made expressly for Her Majesty’s use.

I am, dear Sir,

Yours very respectfully,

Alexander Graham Bell

4 views0 comments