1. Queen Victoria takes First Prize – half a century. Prince Albert died in 1861, she in 1901.
2. Empress Eugénie is a close second. She died in 1920, fifty years after her husband, Napoleon III was overthrown. He had died in Chislehurst, Kent, in 1873.
3. Cosima Wagner (1837–1930), the daughter of Franz Liszt and dominating guiding spirit of Bayreuth, died in 1930, outliving her husband, Richard, by forty-eight years. Their son Sigfried died in the same year, at sixty-one.
4. Adele Strauss, the widow of Johann Strauss, died in 1930, outliving her husband by thirty-one years. Brahms had scribbled on her fan the first three notes of The Blue Danube, “Regrettably not by me.” Johann called the chambermaid in Die Fledermaus Adele.
5. Geneviève Strauss survived the composer Georges Bizet, her first husband, by fifty-one years. He had died in 1875 at the age of thirty-six of a sudden heart attack, three months after his opera Carmen was first performed. They had been married for six years, interrupted by a short separation. In 1886 she married Emile Strauss, a lawyer for the Rothschild Bank. The novelist Marcel Proust was among many celebrities who frequented their elegant and brilliant salon. Geneviève became a model for his character Oriane de Guermantes. She died in 1926.