Albert, Prince Consort

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel; later the Prince Consort; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband of Queen Victoria. He was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld to a family connected to many of Europe’s ruling monarchs. At the age of twenty he married his first cousin, Queen Victoria, with whom he would ultimately have nine children. Initially, Albert felt constrained by his position as consort, which did not confer any power or duties upon him. Over time he lent his support to many public causes, such as educational reform and the worldwide abolition of slavery, and took on the responsibilities of running the Queen’s household, estates and office. He was heavily involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which was a resounding success. As the Queen depended more and more on his help and guidance, Albert aided in the development of Britain’s constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to show less partisanship in her dealings with Parliament—although he actively disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston’s tenure as Foreign Secretary. He died at the relatively young age of forty-two, plunging the Queen into a deep mourning that lasted for the rest of her life. Upon Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, their eldest son, Edward VII, succeeded as the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged.

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