Prince Sigismund, the fourth child of Vicky and Fritz, was born on 11 September, 1864. Both parents doted on this young prince, who seemed so much more clever and intelligent than their other children. Vicky was even convinced he would come to resemble her beloved father. But their pleasure was short lived. Sigismund died from meningitis on 18 June, 1866, aged twenty-one months.
VIcky’s grief and despair were intense. When the child fell ill, Fritz had been away from home, leading the Prussian forces into battle against Austria. He had taken all the available doctors with him to the front, and so Vicky was powerless to alleviate the suffering of her child or to prevent his death. She poured out her misery in letters to Queen Victoria: ‘My pride, my joy, my hope, is gone, gone.’ And, a few days later, ‘Oh to see it suffer so cruelly, to see it die and hear its last piteous cry - was an agony I cannot describe, it haunts me night and day!’ The memory of Sigismund’s death was to haunt Vicky for the rest of her life.
Queen Victoria’s Grandchildren - Lance Salway