Queen Victoria’s Husband – Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Prince Albert was the better half of the famous British ex-monarch, Queen Victoria. He shared a very strong emotional affection for his wife, such that when he untimely passed away in 1861, the queen wept bitterly for the rest of her life. Albert had a great influence on his wife’s monarchical decisions. Born in August of 1819, Prince Albert’s full name was Albert Francis Charles.
At the age of 7, his parents got divorced when his dad suspected that Albert’s mother was unfaithful to him. After the divorce, Albert’s mother was exiled to Switzerland. She wasn’t allowed to connect with her children back in England. Prince Albert grew up and got wedded to his cousin (Queen Victoria).
He took up advisory roles in the monarchy when the then Prime Minister (Lord Melbourne), passed away. Melbourne was a man who offered paternal encouragement to Queen Victoria. Following Melbourne’s death, Albert acted as a secretary to Queen Victoria. He used his position to spark his wife’s passion for social welfare. Even though Albert performed a lot of private royal duties, he wasn’t very popular in the eyes of the public. It was later in 1857 that he became officially accepted as a royal figure and was honored “Prince Consort”.
Birth and Early Life
He was born to Ernest I and Princess Louise, on 26th August 1819. His birth took place at Coburg, Bavaria. Coincidentally, would-be wife (Victoria) had the same year of birth. There are reports that the same midwife attended to their birth. Though Albert and Victoria were cousins, it appeared they were destined to be life partners right from birth. A Lutheran Church baptized Albert in September of 1819.
When Albert’s uncle who was a Duke of Saxe-Gotha (Frederick IV) died, Albert’s dad became a Duke who reigned over two states: Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha. Albert had an elder sibling called Ernest. The two brothers lived their youthful days together, despite the rocky relationship of their parents which ended up in a divorce.
Their exiled mother never caught sight of her children again. She later remarried but died of cancer in 1832. She was only 30 years old at the time of her death.
Like other royal children, Albert and his siblings were given private tuition at the comfort of their residence. Their personal tutor was Christoph Florschutz. Albert later furthered his education at Brussels (the Belgian capital). Again, following the educational footsteps of many royal princes, Albert went to the University of Bonn. There, he took courses in law, philosophy, art history as well as political economy. Aside from academia, Albert had a passion for music. He also took an interest in sports and riding.
Marriage and Children
The union between Albert and Victoria was written as early as 1821. Albert’s paternal grandma wrote a letter to him which suggested that he was the perfect man to marry his pretty cousin. 15 years later, Leopold, their great uncle also envisioned the marriage between the two cousins. At that time, it became evident that Victoria was set to be crowned queen of the British throne.
Leopold played a big role in helping connect Victoria and Albert. It has been said that Queen Victoria wrote a letter to thank Leopold for bringing the handsome Albert into her life. Victoria went on to heap praises on Albert, describing him as a perfect man who would bring joy to her life.
The two became romantically obsessed with each other, despite the fact that they were not officially engaged. At the age of 20, Victoria was crowned queen. While on the throne, she respected Albert’s educational background, viewing him as one who would be very beneficial in her life.
In 1839, Victoria asked for Albert’s hand in marriage. There was mutual affection; the two got married in February 1840. They raised a very big family as well. Prince Albert fathered 9 children with Victoria (5 girls and 4 boys) within a span of about 20 years. The eldest of the boys, Prince Edward (King Edward VII), would go on to succeed Queen Victoria in 1901.
Royal Duties and Accomplishments of Prince Albert, Prince Consort
Prince Albert soon found himself in difficult times with regard to his marriage to the queen. Albert felt powerless. He was quoted as saying that, even though he was the husband, he wasn’t the boss he deserved to be. The reason is that Victoria had an assistant who took charge of many household affairs. This limited Albert’s status as a husband to the queen. Consequently, Albert took steps and got the queen’s governess to pack out from her position.
When the Queen got pregnant, 2 months after the marriage, Albert became involved in public duties. He became the leader of a slavery abolishment group. At the same time, he assisted the queen with clerical duties.
Albert worked to promote science, art, as well as commerce and industrialization. In 1852, He played key roles in establishing an exhibition which was meant to celebrate the industrial revolution and the enlargement of the British Empire. He also helped to bring lasting peace between Britain and the U.S.A, when the two countries nearly went into war, following events in the American Civil War.
Prince Albert’s Illness and Death
Albert complained of severe abdominal pains in August of 1859. Before that, he had survived a wagon crash. He singly rode on a wagon which was pulled by 4 horses and got involved in a collision with another wagon packed close to a railway. Albert sustained minor injuries because he jumped off the wagon earlier. The crash killed 1 of the horses. That was not the first time he had come close to death. Albert and Queen Victoria narrowly missed death in June 1840. A mentally unstable man shot at them while they rode through town. Luckily, they escaped unhurt.
In a conversation with his brother and one of his daughters, Albert predicted his early death after the accident. When the queen’s mother passed away in March 1861, Albert continued to undertake royal duties, even though his stomach pains worsened over time. He was diagnosed with typhoid and died on 14th December 1861.