19th century Valentine's day letters, cards discovered

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London, Feb 12 (ANI): A set of Valentine letters and cards sent by would-be suitors to a relative of the present day Duchess of Kent in the 1850s has been discovered from a county records office.he 22 illustrated Valentines were sent to Catherine Worsley, daughter of Sir William Worsley of Hovingham, in the 1850s.

After three generations, Katharine Worsley married into Royalty and is now the Duchess of Kent.atherine was regarded as one of the most eligible and lovely women of her day.

The letters and cards are in the form of poems, sonnets and stories, decorated with watercolour and pen and ink sketches. Cupid's hearts and merging family crests give a picture of the serious courtship, while others attempt to woo her with domestic scenes of marital bliss to come.

"I'll gratify your slightest wish, whether t'were small or great, say the word at once you're heard, my pretty pretty Kate," an admirer as wrote.

Another said: "I'm ugly I know, but I'll presently show, that I really am not to be sneezed at."

The correspondence not only sheds light on Victorian courtship and romantic practises, but also the events taking place in the 1850s. One admirer wrote about being sent to Crimea in his letter. Even the fashions and hobbies of the day come alive in the sketches and watercolour images painted round the messages in many of the letters.

Catherine eventually tied the knot with her cousin, George Allanson Cayley, in 1859, who urged her in his letter to "Keep your kisses all for me." They later became parents to three children.

Katie Robinson, a Record Assistant at the North Yorkshire County Records Office, discovered the Valentines while she was carrying out some research on a different family for the BBC television programme Who Do You Think You Are?

"These wonderful Valentines are charming and fascinating in their own right," the Telegraph quoted County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for North Yorkshire County Council's Adult and Community Services, as saying.

"But as well as telling a charming Valentine's Day story, they also illustrate the wealth of material about family history held in the County Record Office - a marvellous resource which is vailable to all," Metcalfe added. (ANI)

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