Hello everyone, it has been so long since I updated this story that if anyone is still reading it I'll consider myself incredibly fortunate. If you are reading it, thank you so much for sticking with me and I hope this story doesn't let you down.
The next morning Victoria awoke to the sunlight streaming in through curtains as she looked over to Albert. She was relieved to see that he was still peacefully resting and that he had regained some of his colour back. Victoria knew she would soon have to rise and focus on the many tasks awaiting her but right now she was simply enjoying the peace that the early morning afforded her. Lying in bed next to her beloved husband she couldn't quite believe how close she had come to losing all of this. The events of the previous days had taken their toll on Victoria, and she was determined to be a better wife and to ensure Albert's full recovery. Thinking of Albert, she noticed he was beginning to stir so she gently reached over and brushed a stray lock of hair from his face. He looked at her and smiled "good morning my love" his voice was still thick with sleep, but he sounded stronger each day with reassured her almost immeasurably.
"Good morning my angel, how are you feeling today?" Victoria moved to support Albert as he sat up against the pillows. "I feel better today thank you, it is nice to be warm and feel my strength returning".
Victoria smiled as she got up to begin getting ready. The physician was coming to assess Albert again today and it did not do for the Queen to greet her physician in her nightgown unless she herself was unwell. She knew Albert was eager to be allowed to get up today and whilst the bedrest had done him a lot of good she thought it would be pleasant to have some sense of normality returning and her husband able to get up and hopefully see their youngest children. Victoria had just finished dressing when she heard a knock at the door. Coming of from behind her dressing screen she brushed down her dress and indicated for Abigail to open the door. Behind her Albert sat up straighter in bed, looking eager to see the physician.
The physician entered bowing graciously at his Queen before turning his attention to the prince. "Good morning your highness, how fare you this morning?" The physician approached the bed and began checking Albert's pulse rate as he replied, "better than I was, thanks to your expert care and the care of my devoted wife". The physician nodded his acknowledgement as he continued his examination. "Are you still experiencing feeling lightheaded?" "Not as much as before" replied Albert. As the physician finished his examination Victoria stepped forward, once again returning to her position at her husband's side. She took his hand and began absentmindedly drawing a pattern on the back of his hand.
"How is he?" asked Victoria.
"The prince's pulse is steady and strong which is a vast improvement. He must still eat regular meals, working to increase his intake but I am happy for him to get up and begin to move around. However, your highness you must take it easy and under no circumstances are you allowed to work. You gave your body quite the excursion and whilst you are recovering, you are not fully healed yet and placing a strain on yourself too quickly could lead to a relapse"
Albert nodded his understanding as Victoria thanked the physician. The physician placed his equipment back into his bag and left, bowing at his monarchs, and informing them he would return tomorrow to assess how the prince had managed being up and about.
Once the physician had left Victoria turned back to her husband smiling. "Do you feel ready to get up and have a wash my love or would you like to eat breakfast first?" Albert appeared to consider it before responding "I think I shall get up; I would enjoy the chance to have a bath and then I can eat breakfast sat at a table instead of lying-in bed." Albert gently pulled the covers aside as Victoria popped outside to ask a passing servant to fetch Albert's valet immediately. As she came back into the room Albert was trying to stand unsteadily. Victoria rushed to his side to steady him as he took his first steps since collapsing days previously. "I apologise my love; I did not think I would be this weak". Victoria shook her head affectionately at her husband and she helped him towards the bath. "You have been unwell; it took a toll on your body. You must give yourself a break and take it steady." As they approached the bath a knock at the door sounded the arrival of Albert's valet. Victoria informed them she would leave them to it as she wanted to inform their children that Albert was up. Now no longer confined to bed rest Victoria thought Albert would enjoy seeing their younger children. They had initially been kept away to ensure they were not distressed by their father's infirmity nor that they could delay his recovery but she felt now that it was important for them to see him.
Victoria went first to Vicky and Bertie, asking the governess to complete their morning lessons before bringing the children to their chambers. Afterwards she headed to the nursery where her youngest children were, they squealed in delight as she entered the room and after hugging and kissing them all she informed their nanny that they would be able to see their father later that morning.
Returning to her chambers she was pleased to see Albert washed and dressed and sitting in his chair. He smiled at her and held his hand out as she entered the room. Taking his hand Victoria settled herself onto the chair next to him. "You look much improved now my love, are you ready for some breakfast?" Albert smiled and responded, "it feels good to have been able to get clean and dressed, although I have worked up a bit of an appetite so breakfast would be lovely". Victoria smiled at her husband as his valet left to inform the kitchen they would be ready for breakfast. As they waited Victoria informed Albert that she had asked Vicky and Bertie as well as their youngest children to see him today. Albert smiled thinking of his children; he had missed them these past months. He had missed playing chess with Vicky and watching her and Bertie do their drama performances. His thoughts also drifted to his younger children, wondering how they had grown and thinking back to getting to play with each of them, watching their first steps and he wondered how much of their lives he had missed. He knew from experience that a few months could make all the difference to a baby and that he would never get that time back. Victoria noticed her husband's distraction but before she could ask him, a servant announced that breakfast had arrived. Albert seemed to perk up during breakfast and whilst Victoria worried that he might overexert himself she was pleased to se his appetite returning and that he was able to eat more each day.
Once the breakfast dishes had been cleared away Victoria settled to do some paperwork from her boxes whilst Albert sat next to her reading. Their dogs sat peacefully at Albert's feet and every so often he would reach down and pet them affectionately. As Victoria finished the last of her paperwork there was a knock at the door signalling the arrival of their children. Victoria called for them to enter and Vicky and Bertie were straight in running to their father before seeming to remember he was unwell and slowing as they approached him. Albert smiled as he greeted them both and listened as they updated him of all they had learned in their lessons, Albert felt immense pride when Vicky told him she intended to learn the piano next to be able to play as well as both her parents. Bertie was hanging back until Albert reached into his pocket and pulled out the toy soldier Bertie had given him on his last visit. Bertie seemed delighted that his father had kept it and began telling him of the battles he'd re-enacted. Albert promised both children that soon they would be doing activities together again. The four of them chatted for a while before another knock at the door announced the arrival of their youngest children. As they entered Albert felt a twinge of sadness looking at them, he realised how much he had missed especially looking at how much the youngest two had grown. The youngest approached cautiously encouraged by Victoria and their nanny. Albert reached down and lifted the youngest two onto his lap holding them close whilst Victoria picked another child.
The children and Albert talked and played for hours, the oldest children had become protective of their father and intervened whenever one of the younger ones became a bit rowdy. Victoria smiled at the eldest and as she watched her husband interacting with their children she knew that whatever trials lay ahead she would be there and would have Albert by her side.