Queen Victoria, who ruled Britain from 1837 until her death in 1901 at the age of 81, is known for the Victorian era- a period of industrial, political, scientific, and military change within the UK. It was also marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She is also the second-longest serving monarch of Britain after the current Queen Elizabeth II, and was the longest-serving in her time with her reign of 63 years and seven months.
However, the monarch also made a name for peculiar reasons, like being accused of spreading haemophilia in European royalty, and her long mourning periods that heavily impacted the politics in the country. After spending several years in mourning over the deaths of her close family members including her mother and her three children, she went into deep mourning when she lost her husband Prince Albert on December 14, 1861. She wore black every day for the remainder of her life- forty years, and mourned with wearable mementos of her loved ones, creating a new fashion for mourning jewellery throughout Victorian Britain.
She avoided public appearances and rarely set foot in London in the following years, while her weight also increased a lot due to comfort eating, adding to her lack of desire to step out. She earned herself the nickname "widow of Windsor" for her seclusion, and remained hidden for five years. Her immense love for her husband could also be seen in numerous letters when he was alive where she talked about his charms and looks.
However, letters written by Prince Albert which have been recently made available online reveal a different side of the story, the one with the marital spats as he called his wife "selfish" and "nagging." Experts from the Royal Collection Trust claim Albert was a meticulous chronicler, who took pride in his neat and methodical writings, but these letters written between 1841 and 1861 were barely legible suggesting that the royal was agitated when he wrote them.
"You have again lost your self-control quite unnecessarily. I did not say a word which could wound you and I did not begin the conversation, but you have followed me about and continued it from room to room," he wrote to his wife in his native German.
"There is no need for me to promise to trust you for it was not a question of trust, but of your fidgety nature, which makes you insist on entering, with feverish eagerness, into details about orders and wishes which, in the case of a Queen, are commands to whomever they may be given. I do my duty towards you even though it means that life is embittered by 'scenes' when it should be governed by love and harmony," he added.
The-then Prince Consort went on to tell his wife that he looks at the situation as a test of his patience, adding "but you hurt me desperately and at the same time do not help yourself."
In another letter, he scolded Victoria for her selfishness, writing, "We cannot, unhappily, bear your bodily sufferings for you – you must struggle with them alone. The moral ones are probably caused by them, but if you were rather less occupied with yourself (if that is possible) and your feelings (if that is possible) and took more interest in the outside world you would find that the greatest help of all." He also told the mother-of-nine that it is a "pity" she does not find consolation in the company of her children.
Victoria and Albert were first cousins, both born in 1819, and were married for 21 years until the latter's death at the age of 42.