Joseph Julius Kanné
4 April 1861
Volume 3, page 40, siting number 2859.
Born in Austria on 15 September 1819, Joseph Julius Kanné served in the Crimean War. When he entered the Royal Household in 1857, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal: ‘Bertie brought the courier Kanné to me, whom he so much likes. He is in manners quite like a gentleman, & certainly very nice, very cultivated, & speaking many languages’ (Queen Victoria’s journal, Windsor Castle, 22 October 1857). Kanné became the Queen’s courier the following year. He organised the royal couple’s journeys, and often travelled with them. In 1862 he was one of the party that accompanied the Prince of Wales on his Eastern tour. He was subsequently responsible for all the Queen’s continental journeys.
The Queen often sang Kanné’s praises in her journal. An entry in 1868 reads: ‘After breakfast took leave of excellent Kanné, who really is an admirable man, such power of organization, so obligingly civil & thoughtful, & so gentlemanlike in his dealings. Gave him a pin with my portrait’ (Queen Victoria’s journal, Windsor Castle, 12 September 1868).
A postal directory for 1865 gives his address as 19 Bessborough Street, Pimlico.
On 13 May 1875 he was initiated into the Freemasons, becoming a member of the Lodge of Regularity.
In March 1888 Joseph Julius Kanné suffered a stroke and died the following month on 24 April 1888, aged 70, at 45 Dover Street, Piccadilly. He left an estate valued at £6967. The National Probate Index describes him as ‘late of Pilsen Bohemia in Austria.’
The Queen, who was visiting her eldest daughter in Germany at the time, recorded his death in her journal. ‘Soon after arriving heard that poor good Kanné, who had had a relapse a week ago, after having recovered wonderfully from the first attack in March, had become much worse, & was in great danger. And an hour later, came the news that he died this morning. Very very sad! For 30 years he had attended me on all my journeys, making all the arrangements, in a most admirable manner. 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’ (Queen Victoria’s journal, Charlottenburg, 24 April 1888).
Although he was Jewish, he was buried in the Great Circle at London’s Brompton Cemetery. The Prince of Wales attended his funeral, along with members of the Royal Household, including Sir Henry Ponsonby and Major Arthur Bigge. A headstone over his grave reads: 'This stone was erected by the Queen and the Prince of Wales to mark their appreciation of the long and valuable services of Joseph Julius Kanné.’