Queen Victoria, So Familiar with Grieving, Writes to Lily, the Dean of Windsor’s Widow, With Her Concern Over the Illness of Lily’s Son

“You must let me say how I feel for you, how deeply, tenderly, I wish I could go and tell you for I know to well what you must be going through with this most tedious and trying illness.”

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The boy died a week later

Gerald Wellesley, nephew of the great Duke of Wellington, was appointed personal chaplain to the Queen in 1849, becoming Dean of Windsor in 1854. He married Magdalen ‘Lily’ Montagu, daughter of Lord Rokeby, in 1856. The couple were in constant contact with the royal family, and...

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Queen Victoria, So Familiar with Grieving, Writes to Lily, the Dean of Windsor’s Widow, With Her Concern Over the Illness of Lily’s Son

“You must let me say how I feel for you, how deeply, tenderly, I wish I could go and tell you for I know to well what you must be going through with this most tedious and trying illness.”

The boy died a week later

Gerald Wellesley, nephew of the great Duke of Wellington, was appointed personal chaplain to the Queen in 1849, becoming Dean of Windsor in 1854. He married Magdalen ‘Lily’ Montagu, daughter of Lord Rokeby, in 1856. The couple were in constant contact with the royal family, and he was one of the Queen’s closest advisors. He died in 1882. The couple’s only child died in early 1883 at age 18. Both were laid to rest in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Prince Albert, Victoria’s husband, had died in 1861, and Victoria went into deep mourning. Thus, in 1882 both Victoria and Lily had lost their husbands to early deaths, and Lily lost a son in 1883.

Autograph letter signed, on her Buckingham Palace letterhead, March 13, 1883, to Lily, sending her thoughts amidst the anxiety of Lily’s son’s fatal illness. “You must let me say how I feel for you, how deeply, tenderly, I wish I could go and tell you for I know to well what you must be going through with this most tedious and trying illness. More I will not say, but that you can be assured of the truth and empathy of VRI.”

She adds as a PS: “Pray, tell your sister to write and tell me any particular & way the dear boy could have caught it. Bernice wishes also to say how she feels for you.”

This letter shows Victoria’s concern and empathy; a week later Lily’s son was dead, leaving her distraught.

Purchase $2,500

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