One of Queen Victoria's dresses is to go on display at the Museum of London, it's been revealed – and royal fans that go to see the exhibition may find themselves a little surprised at the garment's size! The black dress was actually the Queen's mourning outfit, worn after her grandson Prince Albert Victor died from the Russian flu – and the display aims to look at the potential threat caused by any future epidemic. Pictures of the very petite dress show one of the museum's staff arranging it ahead of the exhibition – and its height doesn't come much higher than the woman, who is crouched on her knees.
Speaking about the display, co-curator Roz Sherris revealed that visitors may be surprised at the 4ft 8in Queen's stature. "She was very small. I think that is going to surprise a lot of people," she said. It was also revealed that it took 50 hours to make the mannequin "of the exact size and shape" of Queen Victoria, and conserve the gown for display.
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Prince Albert Victor, known as Prince Eddy, was second in line to the throne when he died at Sandringham at the age of 28 in 1892. The royal court went into mourning for four months, with Queen Victoria believed to have worn the dress for the earliest period. Fellow co-curator Vyki Sparkes said it was "quite a practical dress", with one large patch pocket on the front and a number of hidden pockets inside, as well as the thick band of black mourning crepe silk, designed to display the depth of Queen Victoria's sadness.
She added: "This is a member of the royal family, a young member of the royal family who died and that changed the course of history, this changed the whole lineage to the throne. He was just due to marry. The nation was gearing up for a wedding and not a funeral. So it was a huge shock, not only to the family but the nation. This really drove home that influenza was a serious and virulent disease." The free exhibition opens on November 16 and runs until February 2019 at the Museum Of London.
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