The 22nd January 1901 marked the end of a Queen’s reign and the beginning of a King’s.
Queen Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, her family home that she and Albert had built many years earlier. This was her favourite home, by all accounts, closely followed by Balmoral in Scotland.
Her eldest son would become Edward VII on her death. The relationship between the two was quite strained, to say the least. She blamed him for the death of his father, her beloved husband.
Also at her bedside as she died was the Kaiser of Germany, her grandson, who wouldin only a few years, play a pivotal role in World War 1 against Great Britain.
Victoria had planned her own funeral, choosing a military style one. She went against convention in demanding that she be buried in her wedding dress, instead of black clothing.
In the coffin with her went a dressing gown belonging to Albert, and a plaster cast of his hand, who had died forty years earlier. She had never fully coped with his death, having his clothes set out on his bed every day for many years after he died.
A couple of other interesting items went into the coffin with her as mementos of her loyal servant, John Brown who had died in 1883. She ordered that a lock of his hair was placed in her hand, which her ladies covered with flowers so as not to upset the royal family, who had not been fans of Mr Brown. The other thing of Brown’s was his mother’s wedding ring, which he had given to the Queen many years before.
There was a rumour that Brown and the Queen had married in secret, on one of their trips to Scotland. As he was a commoner, the marriage would never have been accepted in royal circles, so no public announcement was made. She was obviously very close to the man and distraught when he died, so a form of morganatic marriage might not be too far a stretch of the imagination.
After all, she wouldn’t be the first monarch to marry in secret, now, would she????