These two dresses were worn by the rather
rotund Queen Victoria ca. 1894, via The Costume Institute of The
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Queen Victoria is often cited as having set the example for mourning
after her beloved husband, Prince Albert, died unexpectedly in 1861.
Because who wouldn’t seriosuly fucking mourn losing this?
She spent three years in the seclusion of deep mourning, and had her
entire court put into mourning, as well. These dresses are from the
forty plus years she spend afterwards, in second mourning. While she is
cited with the model of victorian mourning, she was hardly the
At the time of Prince Albert’s death, The United States was embroiled
in the Civil War. With everyone losing a husband or son or father or
brother, wearing mourning was banned in parts of the Confediracy because
of the serious morale and resource drain all the young women dressed in
black and isolating themselves presented. Even where it wasn’t banned,
young widows abandoned mourning out of practicality and sometimes (if Gone With The Wind
is going to be held as historically accurate) out of simple necessity.
Elaborate and drawn-out mourning in the US never fully caught on again
after the end of the Civil War, despite Queen Victoria’s example.