After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the Queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his 20-year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert’s death was so extreme that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.
Drawing on many letters, diaries, and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Helen Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama – the crucial final months of the prince’s life and the first long, dark 10 years of the Queen’s retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history.
A Magnificent Obsession also sheds new light on the true nature of the prince’s chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year-old myth that he died of typhoid fever.