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Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Birth: Aug. 26, 1819
Coburger Stadtkreis
Bavaria (Bayern), Germany
Death: Dec. 14, 1861
Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough
Berkshire, England

English Royalty. He is remembered as the Prince Consort of his cousin, Queen Victoria of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, whom he married on February 10, 1840 at the Chapel Royal, Saint James Palace, in London, England. He 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. He and his elder brother, Ernest, spent their youth in a close companionship scarred by their parents' turbulent marriage and eventual separation and divorce. After his mother was exiled from court in 1824, she married her lover, Alexander von Hanstein, Count of Polzig and Beiersdorf. She probably never saw Albert or his brother again and died of cancer at the age of 30 in 1831. The following year, his father married his own niece, his sons' cousin Princess Antoinette Marie of Wurttemberg, but the marriage was not close, and Antoinette Marie had little, if any, impact on her stepchildren's lives. He was privately educated at home and later studied in Brussels, Belgium. Like many other German princes, Albert attended the University of Bonn as a young adult, where he studied law, political economy, philosophy, and art history. He played music, and excelled in gymnastics, especially fencing and riding. By 1836, the idea of marriage between Albert and his cousin, Victoria, had arisen in the mind of their ambitious uncle, Leopold, who had been King of the Belgians since 1831. At this time, Victoria was presumed to be the heiress to the British throne. Her father, Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George III, had died when she was a baby, and her elderly uncle, King William IV, had no legitimate children. Her mother, the Duchess of Kent, Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was the sister of both Albert's father, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Leopold, King of the Belgians. Leopold arranged for Victoria's mother, to invite the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his two sons to visit her in May 1836, with the purpose of meeting Victoria. However, King William IV disapproved of any match with the Coburgs, and instead favored Prince Alexander, second son of the Prince of Orange. On June 20, 1837 Victoria came to the throne at the age of 18. In October 1839 he returned to England to visit the Queen, with the object of settling the marriage. They both had a mutual affection for each other and the Queen proposed to him on October 15, 1839. Just before the marriage, he was naturalized by Act of Parliament, and granted the style of Royal Highness by an Order in Council. At first, he was not popular with the British public as he was perceived to be from an impoverished and undistinguished minor state, barely larger than a small English county. For the next 17 years, he was formally titled "HRH Prince Albert" until June 25 1857, when Victoria formally granted him the title Prince Consort. Victoria soon became pregnant and he started to take on public roles; he became President of the Society for the Extinction of Slavery (slavery had already been abolished throughout the British Empire, but was still lawful in places such as the United States and the colonies of France); and helped Victoria privately with her government paperwork. In June 1840, while on a public carriage ride, he and Victoria were shot at by Edward Oxford, who was later judged insane. Neither he nor Victoria was hurt and he was praised in the newspapers for his courage and coolness during the attack. Their first child, Victoria, named after her mother, was born in November 1840. Eight other children would follow over the next seventeen years and all nine children survived to adulthood. In 1841 he was appointed as chairman of the Royal Commission in charge of redecorating the new Palace of Westminster. The Palace had burnt down seven years before, and was being rebuilt. As a patron and purchaser of pictures and sculpture, the commission was set up to promote the fine arts in England. He was more successful as a private patron and collector. Among his notable purchases were early German and Italian paintings, such as Lucas Cranach the Elder's "Apollo and Diana" and Fra Angelico's "St Peter Martyr," as well as contemporary pieces from Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Edwin Landseer. He and Victoria were shot at again on both 29 and 30 May 1842, but were unhurt. The culprit, John Francis, was detained and condemned to death, although he was later reprieved. By 1844 he had managed to modernize the royal finances and, through various economies, had sufficient capital to purchase Osborne House on the Isle of Wight as a private residence for their growing family. Over the next few years, he and builder Thomas Cubitt designed and built a house modeled in the style of an Italianate villa, laying out the grounds, and improved the estate and farm. He also managed and improved the other royal estates. His model farm at Windsor was admired by his biographers and under his stewardship the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall, the hereditary property of the Prince of Wales, steadily increased. Unlike many landowners who approved of child labor and opposed Peel's repeal of the Corn Laws, he fully supported moves to raise working ages and free up trade. In 1847 he was elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and used his position to campaign successfully for reformed and more modern university curricula, expanding the subjects taught beyond the traditional mathematics and classics to include modern history and the natural sciences. A man of progressive and relatively liberal ideas, he not only led reforms in university education, welfare, the royal finances and slavery, he had a special interest in applying science and art to the manufacturing industry. The Great Exhibition of 1851 arose from the annual exhibitions of the Society of Arts, of which he was President from 1843, and owed most of its success to his efforts to promote it. He served as president of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and fought relentlessly for every stage of the project. Queen Victoria opened the exhibition in a specially designed and built glass building known as the Crystal Palace on May 1, 1851, and it proved to be a colossal success. By March 1854, Britain and Russia were embroiled in the Crimean War. Albert devised a master plan for winning the war by laying siege to Sevastopol while starving Russia economically, which became the Allied strategy after the Tsar decided to fight a purely defensive war. Early British optimism soon faded as the press reported that British troops were ill-equipped and mismanaged by aged generals using out-of-date tactics and strategy. The conflict dragged on as the Russians were as poorly prepared as their opponents. The Prime Minister, Lord Aberdeen, resigned and Lord Palmerston succeeded him. A negotiated settlement eventually put an end to the war with the Treaty of Paris. During the war, Albert arranged to marry his fourteen-year-old daughter, Victoria, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia, though he delayed the marriage until Victoria was seventeen. As a supporter of education and technological progress, he was invited to speak at scientific meetings, such as the memorable address he delivered as president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science when it met at Aberdeen, Scotland in 1859. His espousal of science spawned opposition from the Church of England. His proposal of a knighthood for Charles Darwin, after the publication of his "On the Origin of Species," was rejected. In August 1859 he became seriously ill with stomach cramps. During a trip to Coburg in the autumn of 1860, he was driving alone in a carriage drawn by four horses that suddenly bolted. As the horses continued to gallop toward a stationary wagon waiting at a railway crossing, he jumped for his life from the carriage. One of the horses was killed in the collision, and he was badly shaken, but only sustained a few cuts and bruises. In 1861, Queen Victoria's mother and his aunt, the Duchess of Kent, died and Victoria was grief-stricken. He took on most of the Queen's duties, despite being ill himself with chronic stomach trouble. The last public event he presided over was the opening of the Royal Horticultural Gardens on June 5, 1861. When the Trent Affair, the forcible removal of Confederate envoys from a British ship by Union forces at the beginning of the American Civil War, threatened war between the US and Britain, he intervened although gravely ill, to soften the British diplomatic response and put aside any further pursuit of war. On December 9, 1861, one of his doctors, William Jenner, diagnosed him with typhoid fever and he died five days later in the Blue Room at Windsor Castle, in the presence of the Queen and five of their nine children. Modern writers have speculated that he was ill for at least two years before his death, which may indicate that a chronic disease, such as Crohn's disease, renal failure, or cancer, was the actual cause of death. The Queen's grief was overwhelming, and the tepid feelings the public had felt previously for him were replaced by sympathy. Victoria would wear black in mourning for the rest of her long life, and his rooms in all his houses were kept as they had been, even with hot water brought in the morning, and linen and towels changed daily. Victoria withdrew from public life and went into seclusion for the most part until 1866, and her seclusion eroded some of his work in attempting to remodel the monarchy as a national institution setting a moral, if not political, example. Despite his request that no effigies of him should be raised, many public monuments were erected all over the country, and across the British Empire, with the most notable being the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial in London. Numerous objects are named after him, from Lake Albert in Africa, the city of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and the Albert Medal presented by the Royal Society of Arts. Four regiments of the British Army were named after him, the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars, Prince Albert's Light Infantry, Prince Albert's Own Leicestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry, and The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade. His British honors include Knight of the Garter, Knight of the Thistle, Knight of Saint Patrick, Great Master of the Order of the Bath, Knight Companion of the Star of India, and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. He was also given the foreign honor, the Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Family links: 
  Ernst I von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1784 - 1844)
  Louise of Saxe-Coburg-Altenburg (1800 - 1831)
   Victoria (1819 - 1901)
  Victoria Adelaide Mary Saxe-Coburg (1840 - 1901)*
   Edward VII (1841 - 1910)*
  Alice Saxe-Coburg (1843 - 1878)*
  Alfred Saxe-Coburg (1844 - 1900)*
  Helena Saxe-Coburg (1846 - 1923)*
  Louise Saxe-Coburg (1848 - 1939)*
  Arthur Saxe-Coburg (1850 - 1942)*
  Prince Leopold Duke of Albany (1853 - 1884)*
  Leopold Saxe-Coburg (1853 - 1884)*
  Beatrice Saxe-Coburg (1857 - 1944)*
  Duke Ernest II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1818 - 1893)*
  Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819 - 1861)
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Typhoid
Royal Burial Grounds at Frogmore
Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough
Berkshire, England
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1441
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
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Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
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Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
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