Memorial edition of The Graphic magazine, 1892
Commemorating the death of Prince Albert Victor, who died of Russian Flu
It’s now thought that the 1918 epidemic was a strain of bird flu. Vyki: “We also spoke to Professor John Edmunds at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who studies past outbreaks to improve our understanding of how diseases spread. We have good data going back as far as the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918-19."
Through statistical analysis, Professor Edmunds has established, for example, that during the 1957 influenza outbreak there was no peak in mortality among those aged over eighty – because that generation had gained immunity by surviving the 1892 outbreak of Russian Flu. It’s believed that these may have been similar strains of the disease.”
That outbreak, also featured in Disease X, provides one of the most arresting objects on display. It’s Queen Victoria’s mourning dress, which she wore during the “Russian Flu” pandemic of 1892. According to one estimate, 25% of Londoners contracted the disease, with thousands dying. Among them was Prince Albert Victor, eldest grandson of Queen Victoria. He died less than a week after his 28th birthday, while planning his wedding to Princess Mary of Teck, who later married his brother George. It’s a reminder that disease can strike anyone, regardless of their status.