Queen Victoria’s funeral took place on this day in British history, 2 February 1901. After 63 years on the throne, Victoria died at the age of 81 at Osborne House on The Isle of Wight. Her military state funeral was held in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. John Humphrys narrates this video footage of the historic event that marked the end of an era in British history.
Prior to her death on 22 January 1901 Queen Victoria had written instructions for her funeral, which was to be military as befitting a soldier’s daughter and the head of the army. Though she had worn black since her husband Albert’s death in 1861, she requested that she be dressed in white for her funeral and burial.
On 25 January, Edward VII, the Kaiser and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, helped lift her into the coffin. She was dressed in a white dress and her wedding veil. An array of mementos commemorating her extended family, friends and servants were laid in the coffin with her, at her request, by her doctor and dressers. One of Albert’s dressing gowns was placed by her side, with a plaster cast of his hand, while a lock of John Brown’s hair, along with a picture of him, were placed in her left hand concealed from the view of the family by a carefully positioned bunch of flowers. Items of jewellery placed on Victoria included the wedding ring of John Brown’s mother, given to her by Brown in 1883.