Portrait of Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-1861), Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony; Consort of the British monarch (1840-1861)
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband and consort 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 20, he married his first cousin, Queen Victoria; they had nine children. Initially he felt constrained by his role of consort, which did not afford him power or responsibilities. He gradually developed a reputation for supporting public causes, such as educational reform and the abolition of slavery worldwide, and was entrusted with running the Queen's household, office and estates. He was heavily involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which was a resounding success. Victoria came to depend more and more on his support and guidance. He aided the development of Britain's constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to be less partisan in her dealings with Parliament—although he actively disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston's tenure as Foreign Secretary. In 1857, Albert was given the formal title of Prince Consort. Albert died at the relatively young age of 42. Victoria was devastated, entered into a deep state of mourning, and wore black for the rest of her life. On her death in 1901, their eldest son succeeded as Edward VII, the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged. Albert was born at Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, Germany, the second son of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and his first wife, Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.
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