The 1864 photograph of Queen Victoria on horseback, top, and another of the monarch with some of her children and grandchildren, bottom, which form part of the album being offered at Sebok in Bamberg on March 3.

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The album caused quite a stir when it first came to light in 1999, having been discovered by a German antiquarian bookseller; The Times even wrote a leading article on it.

The album once belonged to the now-forgotten Baroness Louise Lezhen, who was once one of the most powerful figures in the realm. In the 1850s, so the saying went, a triumvirate ruled Great Britain: Queen Victoria, the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and Louise Lezhen. The daughter of a German pastor, she originally came to the court as a nanny for Princess Victoria's stepsister Feodora, but soon took over the education of the unruly Princess, who once threw a pair of scissors at her. The dour nanny soon became the most important person in Victoria's life, gaining her confidence and shielding her from the intrigues of her mother, Victoria Duchess of Kent and her advisor Sir John Conroy. Prince Albert was less than taken by the power wielded by his wife's confidante and engineered her retirement "for health reasons".

Louise Lezhen returned to Germany and never saw her beloved Queen again. She did, however, receive many tokens of affection, which can be found in the leather-bound album. These include several locks of the Queen's hair, a piece of her wedding dress, complete with artificial orange blossoms, watercolours (some in the hand of the Queen), letters and autograph documents and a variety of photographs.

The other photograph on the page, shown right, shows the Queen with some of her children and grandchildren including Prince Wilhelm, later the German Emperor Wilhelm II.

The album is estimated at €99,000.

Contact www.seboek-auktionen.de or 0049 951 20 2593 for more information.

By Jonathan Franks