On 14th December 1861, Queen Victoria lost Prince Albert, the love of her life. A few days later, on the 20th, the Queen poured out her grief in a letter to their uncle, King Leopold Of Belgium:
Osborne, 20th December 1861
My own dearest, kindest Father,—For as such have I ever loved you! The poor fatherless baby of eight months is now the utterly broken-hearted and crushed widow of forty-two! My life as a happy one is ended! the world is gone for me! If I must live on (and I will do nothing to make me worse than I am), it is henceforth for our poor fatherless children—for my unhappy country, which has lost all in losing him—and in only doing what I know and feel he would wish, for he is near me—his spirit will guide and inspire me! But oh! to be cut off in the prime of life—to see our pure, happy, quiet, domestic life, which alone enabled me to bear my much disliked position, cut off at forty-two—when I had hoped with such instinctive certainty that God never would part us, and would let us grow old together (though he always talked of the shortness of life)—is too awful, too cruel! And yet it must be for his good, his happiness! His purity was too great, his aspiration too high for this poor, miserable world! His great soul is now only enjoying that for which it was worthy! And I will not envy him—only pray that mine may be perfected by it and fit to be with him eternally, for which blessed moment I earnestly long. Dearest, dearest Uncle, how kind of you to come! It will be an unspeakable comfort, and you can do much to tell people to do what they ought to do. As for my own good, personal servants—poor Phipps in particular—nothing can be more devoted, heartbroken as they are, and anxious only to live as he wished!
Good Alice* has been and is wonderful.
The 26th will suit me perfectly. Ever your devoted, wretched Child,
The Queen wrote to him again on Christmas Eve:
Osborne, 24th December 1861.
My beloved Uncle,—Though, please God! I am to see you so soon, I must write these few lines to prepare you for the trying, sad existence you will find it with your poor forlorn, desolate child—who drags on a weary, pleasureless existence! I am also anxious to repeat one thing, and that one is my firm resolve, my irrevocable decision, viz. that his wishes—his plans—about everything, his views about every thing are to be my law! And no human power will make me swerve from what he decided and wished—and I look to you to support and help me in this. I apply this particularly as regards our children—Bertie, etc.—for whose future he had traced everything so carefully. I am also determined that no one person, may he be ever so good, ever so devoted among my servants—is to lead or guide or dictate to me. I know how he would disapprove it. And I live on with him, for him; in fact I am only outwardly separated from him, and only for a time.
No one can tell you more of my feelings, and can put you more in possession of many touching facts than our excellent Dr Jenner, who has been and is my great comfort, and whom I would entreat you to see and hear before you see any one else. Pray do this, for I fear much others trying to see you first and say things and wish for things which I should not consent to.
Though miserably weak and utterly shattered, my spirit rises when I think any wish or plan of his is to be touched or changed, or I am to be made to do anything. I know you will help me in my utter darkness. It is but for a short time, and then I go—never, never to part! Oh! that blessed, blessed thought! He seems so near to me, so quite my own now, my precious darling! God bless and preserve you. Ever your wretched but devoted Child,
What a Xmas! I won’t think of it.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s daughter. She passed away on the anniversary of her father’s death, in 1878.
The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III