Although Prince Henry, husband of Princess Beatrice; died on the 20th January, Queen Victoria and Princess Beatrice only received the news via telegram two days later.
She writes -
'This has been such an awful day that it is almost impossible to describe it. A terrible blow has fallen on us all, especially on my poor darling Beatrice. Our dearly loved Liko has been taken from us! — Whilst I was dressing Arthur knocked at the door, & I could not think what it could be, but told him to come in. When I saw his pale serious face, I felt sure there was something wrong, still more so, when he said he wished to speak to me alone. The maids went out of the room & he told me the news. "What," I exclaimed, not taking it in, & never thinking of what was to come. He added "Poor Liko is dead"! Can I write it? He was so much better, & we were anxiously awaiting the news of his arrival at Madeira. What will become of my poor child? I said I could not undertake to tell her, & Arthur said he would do so gradually & gently. She had already begun breakfast in my room. I finished dressing & then went in, & clasped my poor Child in my arms. All she said in a trembling voice, apparently quite stunned, was "The life is gone out of me". She went back to her room with Louischen, who as well as dear Arthur have been most tender to her, & I felt as if my heart must break. Darling Liko had seemed to be getting well over his illness. The poor little children cried so piteously & could not be pacified. There is such grief in the house. Dear Liko was beloved. — Went over to Beatrice's room & sat a little while with her, she is so gentle, so piteous in her misery. — A late luncheon, only with Arthur & Louischen. — Telegrams being sent off, so much to do, & all so distressing. What have we not all lost in beloved, noble Liko, who has died, in the wish to serve his country. He was our help the bright sunshine of our Home. My heart aches for my darling child, who is so resigned & submissive. God in His mercy help us! — Took a short late drive with Harriet P., & we talked over everything. It seems as though the years 61, & 62 had returned, also the time when we lost dear Leopold. — The beloved remains are being brought back by the "Blonde" to Madeira where we had hoped dear Liko would recover, & Beatrice go out to join him. This makes it all the more pathetic. She will not hear of its being said, that Liko ought not to have gone, & in a way she is right. She talks so heartrendingly of her vanished happiness. They were so absolutely devoted to one another. God bless & help my poor Child! We have telegraphed for Franz Jos & Louis. — Telegrams are already coming in in great numbers & are very kind. — Dear Beatrice came over to wish me good night. — I dined alone with Arthur & Louischen — My grief is great, & I am quite unnerved by the shock of this dreadful news'
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012
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