In line with my recent Victoria Day post, I subsequently stumbled upon a story at the Daily Mail, that Queen Victoria’s private diaries have been shared online by the current Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
While they are no doubt interesting, I have mixed feelings about that, though; generally, I really don’t like the idea of someone’s private diary being published, released for general consumption, without their express permission granted (if deceased, then mentioned in their will). If they had wanted it published, they’d have done so, or written their memoirs – unless they died suddenly, without having the chance to put it in their will, in which case I’d rather err on the side of caution. I know, the world of literature would be the poorer, without Samuel Pepys’s diary, Anne Frank’s diary, and so on. But still; it strikes me as the most massive invasion of privacy, ever; and I’m not sure the fact that the persons are deceased and so incapable of being embarrassed about it is a good enough excuse for doing so… Certainly, if the person is relatively recently deceased, their family members might be embarrassed on their behalf. But even if it’s someone who died a very long time ago, with no relatives still alive who knew them personally, I still don’t like the idea, somehow; it just doesn’t seem right to me.
What do y’all think?
*Update: It appears, on closer reading of the story, that on some level Queen Victoria predicted people might be interested in their content, and in fact, had her youngest daughter transcribe some of them after her death.
Nevertheless, IMO my general point, esp. in the case of those who didn’t assent, still stands. Let’s discuss.