Thursday, November 20, 2014

Queen Victoria proposes to Prince Albert

Thursday, November 20, 2014
Prince Albert
Loretta reports:

On 23 November 1839 Queen Victoria announced her engagement to Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg.  The story, as told in Gillian Gill’s We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals is interesting, indeed, for Her Majesty was in charge.

“She imposed upon Albert a series of tests and ordeals.  The prince had to beg through family intermediaries for an invitation to come to England to see the Queen.”  The invitation was quite a cool one, apparently.  Then, “After Victoria had looked Albert over and decided that, indeed, he was the husband she was looking for, her first impulse was not to clasp her beloved in her arms but to go into delicious conclave with her prime minister over how exactly she should propose and what arrangements would have to be made for the wedding.”

England wasn’t happy about her choice.  Albert was foreign and poor.  Caricatures, insults, and mocking poetry ensued. Parliament voted him an allowance of only £30,000, though in the 17th century, Prince George of Denmark, Queen Anne’s spouse, had received £50,000.

Victoria is engaged
I’ve clipped from a lengthy memoir in the 1839 Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, which, along with detailing his pedigree, gets in a few subtle digs about the Saxe-Coburg family’s amazing success in marrying English royals.  Leopold, King of Belgium by this time, had been “a simple major in the Austrian service” when he married Charlotte, Princess of Wales (only legitimate offspring of King George IV).

For more dish on Victoria & Albert, I highly recommend (again) We Two.

Illustration: Prince Albert, a print "after George Baxter, 1804–1867" made after 1855.  Image courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the captions will allow you to read at the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


Kathryn said...

I'm a huge fan of We Two. It's been a while... might need to pull it off of the shelf and re-read. Thanks for the inspiration!

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