The greatest love story of the Victorian era began on May 18th, 1836, when Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha attended the future Queen Victoria’s 17th birthday party in London. They were introduced to each other by Leopold I, King of Belgians, who was their uncle. Yes, Victoria and Albert were first cousins: Victoria’s mother and Albert’s father were siblings.
Victoria’s diary from this time leaves very little doubt that she was attracted to the Prince immediately. She commented on him being handsome, his big blue eyes, and his good looking teeth. Albert’s own writings similarly show that the young man also fell very quickly and earnestly in love. Albert usually started his letters with “My dearest, most beloved Victoria” and Victoria would start hers with “Dear Angel.”
On October 15, 1839, Victoria wrote to Albert, requesting a moment alone: “Dearest Albert, Can you come to me alone for a moment? Your devoted V.” Victoria proposed to the prince, and her diary entries from this moment illustrate the ecstatic adoration shared between the couple:
NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!
That same day the couple exchanged 5 letters, and Albert’s writings similarly show his deep devotion to the Queen:
“My dearest, most beloved Victoria. I am so touched by the evidence of trust that you give me in sending your letters… How have I earned so much love and so much warm-hearted kindness… May I succeed in making you quite quite happy, as happy as you deserve to be. With body and soul I remain forever your slave. Your devoted Albert.”
On the 15th of November, 1839 Albert wrote a love letter to Victoria during their separation before their wedding, set to be on the 10th of February, 1840.
“Dearest deeply loved Victoria… I need not tell you that since we left, all my thoughts are with you at Windsor, and that your image fills my whole soul. Even in my dreams, I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth. How that moment shines for me still when I was close to you, with your hand in mine. Those days flew by so quickly, but our separation will fly equally so… With promises of unchanging love and devotion, Your ever true Albert.”
Victoria’s letters to Albert show that she craved more of such love letters from her fiance. On the 15th of December 1839 she wrote Albert a letter saying “…Again no letter from you!…” Still, Victoria wrote to Albert very frequently throughout their engagement. On the day of their wedding, Victoria sent Albert a letter showing her excitement of marrying him:
“Dearest… How are you to-day, and have you slept well? I have rested very well, and feel very comfortable to-day. What weather! I believe, however, the rain will cease. Send one word when you, my most dearest loved bridegroom, will be ready. Thy ever-faithful, Victoria R.”
Victoria and Albert spent 21 years married. Together they had 9 children which will be talked about in the next blog. When Albert died on December 14th, 1861, Victoria went into mourning for the rest of her life. She would lean on her children for support but would almost always be more stubborn than them. From these letters it is plain to see that they were both head over heels in love with each other and did not hide it from the world or from themselves.