Queen Victoria’s 9 Children: History and Biographies
Queen Victoria, an ex-monarch of the United Kingdom (reign – 1837-1901) and Ireland, had 9 children (five princesses and four princes) with her spouse Prince Albert. Many of those royal children of Victoria went on to marry several monarchs and royals from different European countries. It is for this and many other reasons Victoria is often referred to as the “Grandmother of Europe”. Here is everything that you need to know about Queen Victoria’s 9 children:
Princess Victoria (Princess Royal) and future German Empress and Queen of Prussia
Princess Royal was born on November 21, 1840. As the first child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Princess Victoria was her father’s favorite. Vicky, as she was often called, grew up to become a very beautiful and multi-talented member of the royal family. At a tender age, she was fluent in German, English, and French. She spent most of her time painting and reading. She was closest to sister Princess Alice in the household. Some British Royal historians have stated that Princess Victoria did not get along so well with her younger brother, Prince Edward (Bertie) because the latter often teased her.
Princess Victoria married German Emperor Frederick III. This made her German Empress and the Queen of Prussia only briefly for about 99 days. After her husband’s death, her son, Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor became King Wilhelm II (1888-1918).
Princess Victoria succumbed to breast cancer and passed away on August 5, 1901. She was 60 years old. Her death came seven months after her mother’s death in 1901.
Prince Edward Albert (The Prince of Wales)
Edward (‘Bertie’) was the first male child of the British royal couple: Victoria and Albert. He was born at the Buckingham Palace on 9th November 1841. Edward became the undoubted legal inheritor of the throne when Queen Victoria passed away in 1901.
Growing up, Bertie used to have severe temper tantrums. He was also slacking in school with heavy doses of bad behavior. He maintained this bad patch all the way into his teen years and early adulthood. This posed immense worry for his parents.
Also, he almost brought the royal family into disrepute after his scandalous affair with actress Nellie Clifden. In the immediate aftermath of Victoria’s husband’s death, Bertie and the Queen’s already sour relationship got even worse.
Compared to his predecessors, Edward was the longest serving Prince of Wales as at that time. [Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest child, Prince Charles, currently holds that record as the longest reigning Prince of Wales]. While his mother sat on the throne, Edward wasn’t actively involved in politics, but he did represent Britain at international meetings.
As King Edward VII, he developed the British Navy and tried to restore it to its old glory. He did a lot of rebuilding in the army as well. During his reign as king, important traditional festivities were re-declared as public holidays. The peaceful relationships he kept with other European nations earned him the nickname, “Peacemaker”. In sharp contrast to his time as Prince of Wales, the British public gradually warmed up to him during his reign as Edward VII.
In the spring of 1910, Edward VII died at the age of 68 from some complications with his heart and lungs.
Read More: Life and Reign of King Edward VII
Alice was the third child of Victoria and Albert. Born on 25th April 1943, she grew to become a duchess who reigned over Hesse and Rhine. Alice’s education was planned by her parents; they let her study German language, French, sewing and woodwork.
Right from childhood, Alice was caring and a very composed princess. Queen Victoria described her as “good amiable Alice”. She was the one who took care of her father Prince Albert until he passed away in 1861. When the Queen went into a long period of mourning, Alice stood in and performed secretarial duties for her mother until she recovered.
At the age of 19, Princess Alice got married to a German royal, Prince Louis of Hesse and Rhine. As a woman with nursing skills, Alice dedicated much of her time attending to injured persons, including soldiers who fought during wars against France and Austria.
The deaths of first her son Frederich in 1873 from haemophilia and then her daughter Marie in 1878, left her grief struck and depressed. The pain, as well as a debilitating throat infection which she picked up from her other son Ernest Louise, eventually got the better of her. Princess Alice passed away aged 35 on December 14, 1878.
Fun Fact: Princess Alice is the great-grandmother of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II‘s husband. As a matter of fact, Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg (1885 – 1969), was named after Princess Alice.
Prince Alfred Ernest
Born on 6th August 1844, Alfred (or ‘Affie’) was a remarkably cheerful and playful child. He also had a bit of mischief in him. He loved spending time at the Swiss cottage where toys were manufactured.
In the line of succession, he was 2nd, but his position was even shifted away from the throne when his elder brother (Edward) gave birth to boys. While at Edinburgh, he took violin lessons. At age 12, Alfred became interested in the Navy. He passed the military examinations and became a young officer in the Royal Navy in 1858. From there onward, he slowly took top positions in the Navy, such as lieutenant and captain. Six years later, in 1866, he became the Duke of Edinburgh.
Also, in 1893, he inherited the Dukedom and the affairs of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from his late paternal uncle, Ernest I. Sadly, Alfred died on July 30, 1900, as a result of a bad case of cancer. His death was primarily due to his excessive drinking and smoking. He was 56 years old at the time of his death. His mother, the Queen, was absolutely distraught upon hearing his death.
Born on May 25, 1846, Princess Helena was the 5th child of her parents. Commonly called ‘Lenchen’ by her mother, Helena had a boisterous personality and was often interested in cooking and gardening.
On the education side of things, she was largely home-schooled by her personal teachers. She spent her childhood accompanying her parents on royal trips. It was all joy until her father passed away in 1861.
Helena was reported to have entered into a romantic relationship with a German librarian who had ties with Prince Albert. When her mother discovered their secret romance, she sacked the librarian back to Germany.
In July of 1866, Helena got married to Prince Christian – a poor ruler of Schleswig and Holstein. She and her husband resided in Britain while assisting with the Queen’s secretarial works. Among her siblings, Princess Helena was regarded as the most hard-working. She spent most of her time working for several charities in England.
On June 6, 1923, Princess Helena passed away after a series of heart attacks.
The 6th child of Queen Victoria, Princess Louise, was born on 18th March 1848. Like her sister Princess Helena, Louise’s childhood was mainly about accompanying her parents on royal visits to their residences. She had quite a strong character and was sometimes very jovial and naughty. Like her older sister, Princess Victoria, Louise loved painting, sculpting and horse riding. Louise was enthusiastic about the arts. To further this passion of hers, she enrolled in the National Art Training School.
Princess Louise also worked as secretary to her mother, before marrying Duke Campbell in 1871. Initially, Queen Victoria wasn’t supportive of her marriage to the foreign Prince, but she later changed her mind and endorsed their marriage.
At a ripe age of 91 years, Princess Louise passed away on December 3, 1939.
Prince Arthur William
Prince Arthur was born on 1st May 1850. Growing up, Arthur was a well organized and well-behaved child. The Queen enjoyed her time the most spending it with Arthur. He was Victoria’s favorite. In a letter to her husband, Albert, the Queen described Arthur as very affable and the dearest of her children.
While growing up, Arthur always dreamed of becoming a soldier. He was taught by his personal teachers before he was enlisted to a military academy at age 16. After graduating from the academy, he was made a lieutenant of the Army. His military career lasted for almost 40 years.
Arthur was named Duke in charge of Cannaught and Strathearn affairs. He married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. He was also the only prince of British descent to ever take up the top governmental position of Governor General of Canada.
Similar to the age that his older sister Princess Louise passed away, Princess Arthur died at the age of 91 on January 16, 1942.
Leopold was the 8th child of his parents. Among his parents’ sons, he was the youngest of the boys. Leopold was born on 7th April 1853. He became the Duke in charge of Albany. Academically, he was an intelligent child; however, he was ill most of the time. He received praises for exhibiting good thoughts and manners. He overcame several health adversities and obtained a degree in civil law from Oxford University.
His fragile health made it difficult for him to participate in military services. However, none of that stopped him from getting married to Princess Helena of Waldeck-Pyrmont. The couple had two children together. Prior to the birth of his younger son, Leopold died on March 28, 1884. Unfortunately, Leopold inherited hemophilia gene from his mother; a condition which caused his death at an early age of 30.
She was the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Beatrice was born on 14th April 1857. Her parents often called her ‘Baby’. She was a real bundle of joy in and around the courthouse. As compared to her older siblings, Beatrice did not get a lot of stern treatment and tough parenting from Queen Victoria.
Sadly, the joys of her early years were marred by her father’s passing. She stayed and took care of Queen Victoria when marriage separated her other sisters from their mother. It took Beatrice a year before she could convince her mother to allow her to marry Prince Henry: a royal from Battenberg. Her husband died in 1896 from mosquito bites while partaking in the British war against the Ashanti Empire of Ghana.
Beatrice spent her remaining years editing journals written by her late mother. Princess Beatrice died at the age of 87 on October 26, 1944.