Wondering what happened during the “happily ever after” of that most famous Victorian couple Queen Victoria and Prince Albert? Unfortunately for these lovers, there’s no fairytale ending here.
Queen Victoria quickly became pregnant after her wedding, and she came to realize she did not like being with-child. Unfortunately for her, she would go on to have 9 children. The oldest of Queen Victoria’s children was Victoria aka Vicky (1840-1901). Vicky was considered Albert’s favorite child and Victoria became very jealous that he was spending more time with Vicky then herself. Bertie (Albert Edward, Prince of Wales 1841-1910) was the eldest son and heir to the English throne. The relationship between Bertie and the Queen would be rocky but Victoria took great pride in her son’s education. Their relationship would forever be ruined when Albert became ill after going on a long walk in the rain with Bertie to confront their son about a scandalous relationship. This illness led to Albert’s death, and Victoria would never truly forgive her son.
Next was Princess Alice (1843-1887), who cared for her sick father until the time of his death, and Prince Alfred, Duke Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900), the Royal Naval captain. They were followed by Princess Helena (1846-1923) the tomboy, Princess Louise (1848-1939) the rebel and artist, and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (1850-1942), the one most like his father. Out of all the sons, Arthur was Victoria’s favorite. He did as he was told, never asking questions, and had a very successful military career. The youngest of Victoria and Albert’s children were Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (1853-1884) who was the only one of Victoria and Albert’s children to have hemophilia, and Princess Beatrice (1857-1944). Beatrice was Victoria’s favorite child. Once Albert died, Beatrice was the one Victoria leaned on for support. When Beatrice fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg , the Queen was beside herself. Beatrice ended up marrying him and after his passing ten years into their marriage, she devoted the rest of her life to her mother.
Giving birth to nine children puts a toll on any woman’s body. Victoria was pregnant so often that between the birth of her first and fourth children she was only pregnancy-free for a total of 17 months. She suffered from postpartum depression, but it wasn’t known to the medical field when Victoria was Queen. She described the aftermath of birth to her eldest daughter Vicky as a time of much weeping. With her second child, Bertie, Victoria reported that she was having hallucinations and feared that she was losing her mind. She absolutely hated breastfeeding, saying that it “ruined young ladies”. When Victoria found out her daughters were breastfeeding their own children, she became so upset that she referred to her daughters as “cows”.
Albert, on the other hand, doted on his children. He was present at all nine births and took great care in helping them choose clothing. He believed that education was of the utmost importance, and made the children each study for at least seven hours a day. It is thought that perhaps Albert’s hands-on approach to parenting was a response to the lack of attention and affection from his own father. Unfortunately once Albert passed, the family’s harmony died with him. Victoria could not look at her son, Bertie, for years. Needless to say Victoria was hard on all of her children and it only got worse after the death of her true love. She leaned on Albert for absolutely every decision made, whether it was for the well-being of her country or her children. Victoria and Albert’s children all went on to marry into influential European families, and their descendants include some of the continent’s most famous historical figures. Vicky’s eldest son was Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, and Alice’s second eldest daughter was Alexandra Feodorovna, the last Tsarina of Russia. Even though Victoria hated being pregnant, she and Albert created the perfectly-imperfect family.