The patron: Prinz Albert

Prince Franz Albrecht August Karl Emanuel was born on 26 August 1819 at the Schloß Rosenau near Coburg, as the second son of Duke Ernst I. From the very start he was known by his second name, Albert. His mother, Duchess Luise, came from the dynasty of Saxe-Gotha Altenburg of Saxe-Coburg Saalfeld. When her father died with no male heirs the territories were divided between the Ernestine Dukes, and so Coburg merged with Gotha in 1826, so Albert grew up to be a prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. After being educated in Brussels and at the University of Bonn, on 10 February 1840 Albert married his cousin Victoria, who on 20 June 1837 had succeeded her uncle William IV and become Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. This marriage between Albert, of the Wettin dynasty, and the Queen, who belonged to the House of Hanover, resulted in nine children, including the next British king, the future Edward VII as well as Prince Alfred, who succeeded to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. After his marriage Prince Albert became private secretary and consequently the closest advisor to his wife. It was under his influence that, for example, she gave up her preference for the Whigs in favour of a more neutral party-political stance.

Albert, who was interested in many aspects of art, designed alongside the architect Thomas Cubitt a new royal summer residence on the Isle of Wight, Osborne House. At the same time the summer palace at Balmoral was purchased and rebuilt. As a patron of the sciences and arts, Albert participated in the planning and organisation of the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Place in London in 1851. While Victoria reigned until 1901, Albert died at Windsor Castle in December 1861 at the age of just 42. The reputation of the monarchy improved greatly under Victoria and Albert.

Copyright: Chemnitz University of Technology (Imprint), Design: University Bayreuth (Imprint)