Mourning dress worn by a grief-stricken Queen Victoria following the death of her grandson at 28 goes on display for the first time
- Dress Queen Victoria wore to mourn death of Prince Albert to be displayed
- Albert, then second in line to throne, was 28 when died from Russian flu in 1892
- Victoria was 72 and thought to be just 4 ft 8 inches when she wore black dress
- Displayed at Museum of London as part of Disease X: London’s Next Epidemic?
The mourning outfit worn by Queen Victoria following the death of her grandson is set to go on display for the first time at the Museum of London.
The black bustle dress, made from crêpe silk and worn by Victoria after Prince Albert Victor lost his battle with the deadly Russian flu, will be seen in the new exhibition looking at the potential threat caused by any future epidemic.
Her grandson, affectionately known as Prince Eddy, was second in line to the throne when he died at Sandringham at the age of 28 in 1892.
His death, while apparently fit and healthy, shocked the nation, and the royal court went into mourning for four months, plunging the 72-year-old queen into a period of mourning.
The mourning outfit worn by Queen Victoria after her grandson Prince Albert died with Russian flu in 1892 will be displayed for the first time at the Museum of London next week
‘Prince Eddby’ he was heir presumptive-until his untimely death from pneumonia in 1892, as a result of which his brother later became George V
The queen was 72 years old when she wore the dress, and was estimated to stand at just 4 ft 8 when Albert died aged 28 (both pictured together with his father Edward VII before his untimely death)
Speaking about the display, curator Roz Sherris revealed that visitors may be surprised at the 4ft 8in queen’s petite stature.
‘She was very small. I think that is going to surprise a lot of people,’ she said.
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Vyki Sparkes, co-curator of the new exhibition, Disease X, added: ‘Displaying the dress shows the impact that influenza can have, that nobody is immune from an outbreak.
‘This is a member of the royal family, a young member of the royal family who died and that changed the course of history, this changed the whole lineage to the throne,’ she said.
This dress, worn by Victoria when Prince Albert Victor lost his battle with the deadly flu, will be seen in the new exhibition looking at the potential threat caused by any future epidemic
Speaking about the display, curator Roz Sherris revealed that visitors may be surprised at the queen’s petite stature
‘He was just due to marry. The nation was gearing up for a wedding and not a funeral. So it was a huge shock, not only to the family but the nation.
‘It changed the course of history with his younger brother becoming king, King George V.
‘But it also changed the way epidemics were seen. Influenza, before that, was seen as not very serious.
‘This really drove home that influenza was a serious and virulent disease.’
Describing the dress, Ms Sparkes said it was ‘quite practical’, with one large patch pocket on the front and a number of hidden pockets inside, as well as the thick band of black mourning crêpe silk, designed to display the depth of Queen Victoria’s sadness.
Describing the dress, Ms Sparkes said it was ‘quite practical’, with one large patch pocket on the front and a number of hidden pockets inside
A memorial portrait is seen marking Prince Albert’s death in 1892 which will be seen in the exhibition Disease X: London’s Next Epidemic? at the Museum of London next week
‘She definitely wanted to wear it and make it a useful dress,’ she said.
It took 50 hours to make the mannequin ‘of the exact size and shape’ of Queen Victoria, who was of very short stature, and conserve the gown for display.
The exhibition will also capture the story of a ‘dashing hero’ of the First World War, William Leefe Robinson, who was struck down by flu shortly after returning to England in 1918.
He had been awarded the Victoria Cross for shooting down a Zeppelin on its way to London and later made three attempts to escape after being captured and imprisoned in France.
Disease X: London’s Next Epidemic? opens on November 16 and runs until February 2019 at the Museum Of London
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