11. A Plaster Cast of Her Late Husband’s Hand
When Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, died, she was devastated. The way that she went on to mourn him reveals much about the queen’s attitude towards both life and death: she created a cult of death surrounding him and even went on to worship him.
One might say that she did not healthily grieve his loss and never really did let go of him. Sadly, her approach to grief and loss defined much of the culture of the day. Possibly it was at least somewhat informed by her dealings with the occult, which was also not uncommon in the era (even though people were still punished for witchcraft).
After Prince Albert’s death, the queen had his servants carry out his dressing ritual every morning by bringing in hot water, razors, and his clothes for the day into his bedroom. Every evening, the same â unused â items would be removed. She had a plaster cast of his hand and slept with it every night.
In her final requests, she asked that the plaster cast of his hand be buried with her. Perhaps she believed that in doing so, they would be reunited in the afterlife.