Her Majesty The Late Queen Victoria - 5

Victoria was deeply attached to her husband and she sank into depression after he died, aged 42, in 1861. She had lost a devoted husband and her principal trusted adviser in affairs of state. For the rest of her reign she wore black. Until the late 1860s she rarely appeared in public; although she never neglected her official Correspondence, and continued to give audiences to her ministers and official visitors, she was reluctant to resume a full public life. She was persuaded to open Parliament in person in 1866 and 1867, but she was widely criticised for living in seclusion and quite a strong republican movement developed. (Seven attempts were made on Victoria's life, between 1840 and 1882 - her courageous attitude towards these attacks greatly strengthened her popularity.) With time, the private urgings of her family and the flattering attention of Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister in 1868 and from 1874 to 1880, the Queen gradually resumed her public duties.

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