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Queen Victoria on her deathbed, and her death. The old queen remembers.

Updated on February 14, 2016

Contents.

Queen Victoria. Memories of a long and interesting life. The early years.

Queen Victoria. Her husband, some politicians, and some very dear friends.

Son and Grandson together, at the deathbed of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria discovers love.

Victoria in pictures.

Young Victoria with her controlling mother.
Young Victoria with her controlling mother.
Victoria and Albert at home.
Victoria and Albert at home.
The Queen in old age. Enjoying a happy moment.
The Queen in old age. Enjoying a happy moment.

Queen Victoria. Memories of a long and interesting life. The early years.


As she lay in the little bed at Osborne House, with her family crowding round her, calling out their names, to see if there was any flicker of recognition from the frail figure in the bed, what kind of memories floated into the head of the dying Queen Empress Victoria.

Did she remember her visit as a small child to her rather frightening old uncle George IV? She charmed the old rogue, by saying that her favourite tune was" God save The King".

Perhaps it was the day when she realised that she would become Queen that stuck in her memory. All she said was, "I will be good". Did she feel she had been?.

Perhaps she shuddered at the remembrance of Sir John Conroy. Did she really see him kissing her mother?

Sir John, and her mother had controlled every aspect of her growing up. She didn't even have a room of her own until she became Queen.

The dying woman trembled in the bed. Was it the memory of that time, when she was only a teenager, alone and ill at Ramsgate, that troubled her now? Sir John and her mother had tried to terrorise her into appointing him to be her private secretary. But she had resisted. The steel was in her being even then.

The speech at his birthday party, made by her old uncle William IV, with it's violent, but justified, attack on the character of her mother, might be a fleeting thought at this time.

Being woken up to be told that she was The Queen. That was good. Her mother was not pleased, when she had her bed moved into a room of her own for the first time. Conroy was raging. But he would not be a problem anymore.

The old Queen Victoria smiled in her bed. Was it the recollection of those first years as Sovereign that brought a smile to those dying lips? If she winced, it was probably at the remembrance of how the archbishop had tried to force the ring onto the wrong finger at her coronation. That had been a day to remember, all right. Afterwards she had rushed upstairs in Buckingham Palace to bathe "Dash", her little dog. She'd loved that little dog. His successor was sitting on her deathbed now.

Lord Melbourne was her first Prime Minister. His cynicical observations on life coloured her attitudes on many subjects. She was so fond of him that she engineered problems for his successor, in order to keep him on. Sir Robert Peel had to beat a retreat in the face of outraged majesty.

Did she feel a flicker of guilt over Lady Flora Hastings, and the malicious rumours that she allowed to be circulated about that blameless woman, as she died from stomach cancer. The gossips at court, led by the inexperienced queen, were convinced she was pregnant. Still she did apologise to her before she died.


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Queen Victoria. Her husband, some politicians, and some very dear friends.


Thoughts of her beloved husband Albert must have been in her mind a lot as she lay there. Beautiful, kind, wise, sexy, Albert. They'd had nine children, and they enjoyed greatly making every single one. She had loved her offspring, but she had hated the inconvenience of being pregnant, and the indignity of giving birth. Albert, she had adored, although they did sometimes have fierce rows. The making up was always fantastic.

The memory of her husband playing "horsey" with the young ones, and the look of wonder on their childish faces, when they saw their first Christmas tree, had stayed with her all her life.

Balmoral had always been their favourite home. The excitement, when the whole family, and all the servants, rushed up the hill to light the huge beacon, when they received news of the relief of Sevastopol, was a special memory from there.

Shades of her beloved's great triumph of the Great Exhibition must have brought a feeling of pride remembered to the dying queen. It was the only time when the nation was united in his praise.

Did a tear run down the cheek of The Queen Empress, as she lay on her deathbed? If it did, it was probably the dreadful memory of that day in 1861, when she realised that her great love had departed this world. She wore black for the rest of her life. His clothes were laid out for him every single day since. Her houses were full of his statues, and pictures. There was a portrait of him above her bed now. He was seldom out of her thoughts.

When her worldly wise prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, was dying, he declined a visit from his sovereign.

"She will only want to give me a message to Albert", he is reported to have said.

If she remembered her prime ministers, Disraeli was one that could always make her smile. So many people, when meeting royalty, got either tongue tied or pompous. This old charmer always treated her like a woman, as well as a queen.

If her lips were seen to purse in distaste, as she laid there, it was most likely the remembrance of William Ewart Gladstone, that momentarily wrinkled that expiring mouth.

He had probably been the best of her first ministers, but he was too earnest, and preachy for Queen Victoria. She hated people who spoke to her as if they were giving a sermon. And poor Gladstone almost always did that. For the same reason she loathed all bishops.

If she blushed, it was probably because flickering memories of tales about Lord Palmerston, another of her prime ministers, and his bed hopping, had crossed her mind. Even in the palace that philanderer could never stay in his own room.

Undoubtedly the fondest memories, outside of those reserved for her husband, went to two servants. The strong Scottish accent of John Brown as he bossed her around,(for her own good, mind you), must have prompted many happy thoughts. He loved his Queen, and would snap at anyone, who he thought, was disrespecting her. He drank a bit too much, but Victoria always forgave him. He died from a chill, that he caught when he was searching her garden for terrorists one winter night.

Abdul Karim, (The Munshi), was her friend and helper in her older years. The favour that Queen Victoria lavished on him caused great resentment among many of her courtiers. The fact that he was just "a native" really got up many noses. But Victoria was very ahead of her time, in that she did not have a racist bone in her body. She just ignored them.

One other memory that may have flickered into the mind of Queen Victoria, as her life ebbed away, might have been of the crowds cheering, just three years previously, as she drove to St Paul's cathedral to give thanks at her Diamond Jubilee. The cheering sounded as if it would split the stones of the city. She must have been good.


Son and Grandson together, at the deathbed of Queen Victoria.

Perhaps, in the last moments of her life, Queen Victoria may have been vaguely aware of the two mutually antagonistic men that were supporting her dying frame, one on each side.

Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany, and King of Prussia, was devoted to his dying grandmother. The minute that he heard she was seriously ill, he had rushed from Germany to be at her side. He had a reputation for being pompous and arrogant, and very conscious of his high position. But now he could not be more nice and considerate. He had come, not as the All High Emperor, but as a loving grandson. The impression that he left in Britain, then could not have been better. It is one of history's sadness’s that he could not continue that way.

On the other side of the queen's bed stood Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and her heir. He loved his mother, but was always frightened of her. Queen Victoria jealously guarded her position, and her eldest son was never given any great responsibility. He had to make his own role, and a lot of it involved caressing other men's wives. If The Queen gave him a thought as she lay dying, it was probably that he would undo all her great work. He didn’t. He did things differently, but he became a very good king. That's a story for another day, however.

The Kaiser and The Prince of Wales disliked each other intensely, and this mutual antipathy helped to spread the poisons that eventually lead to World War I. But, at least for this day, they were just a loving son, and a devoted grandson, saying goodbye to their dying mother, and grandmother.

So here we will leave the scene. Exactly what the dying queen was thinking about, as she prepared to breathe her last, in that little room on The Isle of Wight, I cannot with certainty say. Her last word was "Bertie". But whether she was saying hello to her beloved husband, or goodbye to her son, I don’t know. Hopefully I will be able to fill that gap in my knowledge in the next world.


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