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Joseph Julius Kanné (1818-1888)

One of Queen Victoria’s most devoted servants.

In 1868, Queen Victoria described her courier, Joseph Kanné, as ‘an admirable man, such power of organization, so obligingly civil & thoughtful, and so gentlemanlike in his dealings’. He was director of the queen’s continental journeys for 30 years.

Queen Victoria Queen Victoria in 1861. (Credit: Wellcome Collection)

Joseph, who was born in Austria, came to Britain after serving in the Crimean War (1853-56). He entered the Royal Household in 1857 and became the queen’s courier the following year. He organised the royal couple’s journeys, and often travelled with them. The queen felt confident when he was in charge of arrangements, and found him ‘quite like a gentleman, & certainly very nice, very cultivated, & speaking many languages’.

In March 1888, after attending the queen and the royal family for three decades ‘in a most admirable manner’, Joseph had a stroke. It left him very poorly and unable to speak. He recovered briefly, but relapsed again and died on 24 April.

Great Circle with graves It has been suggested that Queen Victoria started the trend for burials in the Great Circle when Joseph died. It’s a nice thought, but many people had already been laid to rest there by 1888. (Credit: Greywolf)

Queen Victoria wrote, ‘He used to think of every little thing for my pleasure & comfort, & had a wonderful power of organization. I can hardly yet realise that he is gone & he will be such a loss. All my children & people are so grieved’. Joseph was buried in the Great Circle at Brompton Cemetery, and the queen provided his headstone.

Joseph’s grave inscription (Credit: Greywolf)

Further information

Joseph’s grave

(Credit: Greywolf)

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