Queen Victoria is a really interesting issue, including stamps, minisheet and PSB. We get an insight to both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, not only of their famously intense relationship, but we also see what an insightful and forward-thinking man Prince Albert was.
We are also huge fans of the way the stamps depict other influential men in Queen Victoria’s life. Queen Victoria was clearly a force to be reckoned with, which was nothing to be ashamed of back in those days!
Victoria and Albert hated Buckingham Palace and the smoggy London air. Windsor Castle, so cold and draughty in winter, as not congenial to family life either. Albert was determined to create a purpose-built home, which he achieved with Osbourne on the Isle of Wight. The Italiante house overlooking the Solent was constructed between 1845 to 1848 to Albert’s own design.
Life there was focused on healthy, outdoor activities, with lots of bracing the sea air. Until 1861, Victoria and Albert spent most of their birthday’s at Osbourne House; it was their ‘little Paradise’. It was their first private home together, and they came every year, for three or four months, briefly turning this quiet spot off England’s south cost into ‘Westminster-on-Sea’ and the centre of the British Empire.
Prince Albert – the early years
Albert was born near Coburg, Germany, the second son of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and his first wife, Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert’s future wife, Victoria, was born earlier in the same year with the assistance of the same midwife, Charlotte von Siebold.
In 1825, Albert’s great-uncle, Frederick IV, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, died, and this led to a realignment of Saxon duchies, resulting in Albert’s father becoming the first reigning duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Albert and his elder brother, Ernest, spent their youth in a close companionship marred by their parents’ turbulent marriage and eventual separating and divorce.
The brothers were educated privately at home by Christoph Florschutz and later studied in Brussels, where Adolphe Quetelet was one of their tutors. Like many other German princes, Albert attended the University of Bonn, where he studied law, political economy, philosophy and the history of art. He played music and excelled at sport, especially fencing and riding.
Did you know…?
- Queen Victoria was the first reigning monarch to take up residence at Buckingham Palace.
- Prince Albert made Balmoral one of the traditional homes of the Royal Family in 1847. When the original owner of the castle dies, Albert eventually acquired the lease.
- Queen Victoria frequently conversed in German when speaking with her husband, as she was fluent.
- Prince Albert used his position and wealth to support many philanthropic causes, such as raising the legal working age to prevent child labour, and updating the educational system to teach natural sciences and modern history to students.
- Queen Victoria was the first monarch to ride a train. In 1842, Victoria road from Slough near Windsor Castle, to Paddington in West London – it took thirty minutes to complete.
- Prince Albert’s father divorced Albert’s mother on grounds of adultery and exiled her; Albert was aged 7 and never saw her again; she died of cancer at the age of 30yrs. His father remarried his own niece…