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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

The life of Queen Victoria - Part 2, Wifehood and Motherhood

From the moment they were born, Victoria and Albert had several things in common. They were first cousins (through her mother and his father); they were both brought up in less wealthy families, they each had an absent parent and they even shared the same midwife! However, unlike his future bride, Albert wasn’t heir to the British throne.

After an early suggestion from their mutual grandmother, Princess Alexandrina Victoria and Prince Albert grew up knowing that they would likely be wed. Despite this, the couple didn’t meet for almost seventeen years! On 18th May 1836, Prince Albert arrived at Kensington Palace, along with his brother, Ernst, and Father, Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Although both Victoria and Albert later admitted it was almost love at first sight, they didn’t meet again until October 1839. During that time, they continued to exchange frequent letters. A year after their initial meeting, Victoria’s life changed forever as she succeeded her uncle, King William IV, as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Thought their frequent letters, Albert proved to be a great support to the new Queen

Despite going against normal tradition, Victoria's role as the monarch meant that she had to propose to her future husband. From their births in 1819, a match between the two had been plotted by their mutual family and on 15th October 1839, Queen Victoria finally decided to propose to Prince Albert at Windsor Castle.

In the early evening on October 10th 1839, Prince Albert and Prince Ernst arrived at Windsor Castle after traveling on an overnight boat trip through rough seas from the Continent to Dover. Victoria stood at the top of a grand stone staircase in Windsor, she greeted the rather seasick Princes who were still in their travelling clothes.

The night before the engagement took place, Prince Albert grasped her hand in the Corridor at Windsor, when they wished each other good night.

On Tuesday, October 15th, at twelve-thirty, Victoria sent a summons when Albert was out hunting. She had left a note lying on his dressing table which requested him to meet her alone In the Blue Closet inside Windsor Castle. Half an hour later, Albert went to see her. Victoria asked him to sit down, then tried to make some small talk. She was trembling a little, and speaking too quickly.

"I said to him that I thought he must be aware why I wished him to come and that it would make me too happy if he would consent to what I wished (namely to marry me); we embraced each other over and over again, and he was so kind, so affectionate; Oh! To feel I was, and am, loved by such an Angel as Albert was too great a delight to describe! He is perfection; perfection in every way--in beauty in everything!"

Albert accepted to proposal instantly. Victoria told him she was not worthy of him, lifted his "dear hand," and kissed it repeatedly before she called for his brother Ernest to tell him the news. . Albert went to pay his respects to Baroness Lehzen- the woman Victoria truly thought of as her mother.

For almost a month, Victoria kept her secret from her mother. In her contentious biography of the queen published in 1840, Agnes Strickland wrote that the betrothal was "sanctioned" by the Duchess

of Kent. Victoria firmly scribbled in the margins: "Never. The Duchess of Kent never knew anything of it until the Queen told it to her a few days before the Prince left." Victoria distrusted her mother and had persuaded Albert that her mother would tell people and cause mischief. Finally, the queen summoned her mother to her room on the 9th of November and told her the news.

Wedding plans started almost immediately and the date was set for 10th February 1840. The ceremony took place at St James's Palace and was followed by a wedding breakfast. They later travelled to Windsor Castle, where they spent their three day honeymoon.

Victoria quickly became pregnant with their first child. During the pregnancy, the couple experienced their first assassination attempt during their daily carriage ride. The man responsible was Edward Oxford. Thankfully no one was injured and Oxford was quickly detained. Through the attack, she was able to rejoice her popularity amongst her subjects.

Her popularity grew even more upon the birth of her first child, Princess Victoria, on 21st November. Although at first they were disappointed with a daughter, Victoria and Albert were pleased to have produced an heir. A year later, Princess Victoria was moved down to second in line after the birth of her brother, Prince Albert Edward. Needing more space for their growing family, Victoria and Albert brought Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and also Balmoral Castle in the Scottish highlands. In total, Victoria and Albert had nine children in the space of seventeen years!

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