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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Quick Facts

Him: Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg

Her: Queen Victoria of England

Setting: England, mid-19th century



Background

After marrying in 1840, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert put together one of the most successful marriages in British history. Known for the depth of their connection, her grief after his death in 1858 led many to wonder if she was fit to rule England for the 40 years she survived without him.



Story

Named queen on the death of her uncle in 1837, Queen Victoria assumed the throne of England at the tender age of 18. Intelligent and strong-willed, it was naturally assumed she would need to find a doormat to marry – someone who could be rolled over the moment she made a decision. What she got was quite the opposite, as Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, a first cousin from the German royal family, turned out to be the perfect foil for her.

The two were introduced in 1839, when Prince Albert visited London and immediately charmed Queen Victoria – without any real intention of doing so. Despite her apparent romantic inclination towards him from the first encounter, he had serious reservations about pursuing a relationship with her. These doubts would not last, though, as the two were married the following winter, in February of 1840.



Over the next 18 years, the couple would have nine children and Prince Albert would become the Queen’s most trusted advisor on a variety of domestic and foreign policies. Though she had been counseled to avoid the problems of “paupers” before meeting her husband, the Prince brought many of the country’s most pressing social ills right to Queen Victoria’s doorstep. Thanks to his influence, she was made aware of Britain’s issues with child labor and other problems related to serious poverty in London, as well as elsewhere in the country.

Late in 1861, Prince Albert contracted a case of typhoid fever from which he was unable to recover. Devastated by the loss, Queen Victoria retreated to her home in the highlands of Scotland, refusing to do anything more than required of her by law. Parliament was displeased with the Queen’s apparent distaste for her responsibilities and talk turned, in some corners, to an outright end to the monarchy.

That day never came, though, as Queen Victoria continued in her role as the figurehead of the British government until her death in 1901. Despite leading one of the wealthiest nations in the world, she refused to remarry after the loss of Prince Albert.


Reputation

When it comes to most romances, the idea of a fairy tale in which the two rule the world as king and queen is little more than wishful thinking. What makes Queen Victoria and Prince Albert one of the most famous love stories in history is that they appeared to make this into a reality, on some level.

The fact they were born into noble families helped, yet her continued devotion to him long after his death is what makes the relationship so special. Few could argue that her love for him was anything other than the deepest imaginable, especially when some advocated taking the crown away because her grief was so serious.



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