The funeral of Queen Victoria




By Gill Hicks, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The new Queen consort, born Alexandra of Denmark, refused to be acknowledged as Queen and would not let anyone kiss her hand until after the funeral. Queen Victoria had left written instructions for her funeral, down to the model of the coffin. The day after her death, her body was moved to her normal bed by Sir James Reid, who wrote that she had a ventral hernia and a prolapse of the uterus. She was dressed, and her body was surrounded by loose flowers and palms. When she was ready, the Bishop of Winchester held a service in the room. On 24 January 1901, the court officially went into mourning, causing quite some consternation as it had been 64 years since the last death of a monarch and no one knew what to wear exactly. Once the coffin arrived, Victoria was placed in it, and the coffin was placed in the dining room, which had been arranged as a chapel. In the early hours of the 26th, the coffin was moved to the chapel where a service was held with most of the royal family present.

On 1 February, the coffin was placed on a gun carriage and was taken in procession to the Alberta. The fleet fired a gun salute as the Alberta sailed by on her way to Portsmouth. Mary, the Duchess of Cornwall and York, wrote, “One of the saddest finest things I have ever seen, a mixture of great splendour and great simplicity, a never to be forgotten sight on the most perfect of sunny days.” From Portsmouth the following day, the coffin was loaded onto a train towards Victoria station. Both the Emperor and the new King briefly kneeled by the coffin. Crowds lined the streets of London, and they waited in silence. In the procession, Princes joined on horseback, and the Princesses were conveyed in carriages while officers of the household marched on foot. From Paddington Station, a slow travelling train brought the coffin to Windsor. The funeral service took place that afternoon at St George’s Chapel.

On 3 February, a full Morning Prayer was had at St George’s Chapel with the entire royal family present. Then at last, on 4 February, the coffin was taken to the Frogmore Mausoleum where Queen Victoria was to interred next to her husband, Prince Albert. Her son-in-law, the Duke of Argyll, wrote, “The pipers blew their lament in front, muffled drums rolled out plaintive notes of subdued sorrow, and the bands relived them at intervals; and so, with lamentation and solemn dignity, her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren following her, our dear Queen was brought to where she would be at rest beside her Prince. In the tomb, sunk into the grey granite sarcophagus, his coffin was seen, and upon it lay the sword that he wore. Her own coffin was lifted, and then slowly lowered by her faithful Life Guards until it lay by his. For thirty-nine years the loving spirits had been separated. How long it seems, and yet what an unfelt moment in the being of the Eternal!”1

 

  1. Read more: Stewart Richards – Curtain down at Her Majesty’s (US & UK)






About Moniek 1968 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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