The Death of Prince Albert
Queen Victoria endured the darkest year of her life in 1861, beginning with the death of her mother in March. Later in the year, her oldest son, Bertie first in line to the throne created a scandal by becoming romantically involved with an actress. Prince Albert traveled to Cambridge to chastise his son, despite feeling weak and feverish. He returned to Windsor Castle, where his condition deteriorated over the next few weeks. Prince Albert died on December 14, 1861 from probable stomach cancer.A widow at fortytwo, the queen was devastated. Faced with her official duties as well as the care of her children, she felt incapable of carrying on. Queen Victoria became a recluse, avoiding public events and social engagements and even refused foreign visitors.Victorias children suffered as well. They had lost their father; now their mother, too, seemed to abandon them in her grief. Some of the younger children became depressed and withdrawn, and Bertie became the object of his mothers anger. The queen blamed the twentyoneyearold prince for his fathers death. She felt that her sons misbehavior had compelled Prince Albert to make the trip to Cambridge, worsening his illness.The public and Parliament began to lose patience with the queen, who neglected her duties and remained in mourning for more than three years.