Although their match may have been put together by others, Albert and Victoria fell in love at first sight. The couple became quite devoted to each other and the queen listening to her husband’s advice before that of most of her official advisors.
But Albert’s health had always been fragile and by Friday, December 13 1861 was diagnosed with typhoid fever.
In the King’s Room the Queen longed for some sign of recognition from her husband despite his deliriums. She leant forward and in German, Albert’s native language that she had grown up speaking, whispered in his ear: ‘Es ist kleines Frauchen’ – It is your little wife – and asked for ‘ein Kuss’ – a kiss – but he could barely raise his head. She retired to the anteroom, where she sank to the floor, her face buried in her hands and said: ‘Why must I suffer this? It is like tearing the flesh from my bones.’
Back and distraught, Victoria kissed Albert and clung to him. His breathing became gentle. ‘Oh, this is death,’ she said and added, ‘I know it. I have seen this before,’ as she knelt by his side. It took some persuasion to get her to leave the room. He was just 42.
Victoria did not appear in public for three years. However, under the influence of the Prime Minister, she resumed public life. But Victoria never stopped mourning her beloved prince, wearing black until her death in 1901.