We are not amused
This famous remark is attributed to Queen Victoria in 1900 by Caroline Holland in a book entitled Notebooks of a Spinster Lady (1919). Holland, however, gives no specific context for the remark. Christopher Hibbert in Queen Victoria: A Personal History (2001) maintains that the context for the remark was one of the Queen’s dinners when she enquired of one of her courtiers, the Honourable Alexander Grantham Yorke, why he had made those sitting near him laugh. Yorke apparently then repeated what was a somewhat risqué story and elicited the tight-lipped response from the Queen, “We are not amused.” On the other hand, Princess Alice, the Countess of Athlone, said in a 1976 interview that her grandmother, Queen Victoria, denied ever making such a remark. Queen Victoria died in 1901. If Queen Victoria and her granddaughter were discussing the remark during the Queen’s lifetime, it must have been topical long before Holland’s revelation of it in print in 1919. Until fresh evidence is forthcoming, it remains, if somewhat dubiously, attributed to Queen Victoria.