Queen Victoria, Biography: Marriage to Prince Albert

Queen Victoria married her true love, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840.

Queen Victoria in her wedding dress.
Queen Victoria’s love story was quite a lucky one. Unlike other royals of her era, she was able to marry the man she truly loved who, in return, loved her too, and raise a family that would populate most of Europe’s thrones by the dawn of the 20th century.
The wedding ceremony.

Initial Prospects of Marriage

Prince Alexander of Orange, a
prospective groom for the future queen.

 As early as 1836, the duchess of Kent, and her brothers King Leopold and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was keen to wed off Victoria with Prince Albert, the duke’s second son. Thus, in May 1836, a carefully arranged meeting took place between the cousins when the Duke and his two sons paid a visit to the duchess and her daughter in Kensington Palace.

King William IV, however, detested the match and the visit since he wanted Victoria to marry Prince Alexander of Orange.

Lord Melbourne Urges Queen Victoria to Marry Prince Albert

Not too long after she ascended, Lord Melbourne advised the young queen to marry to set herself free from her mother, the Duchess of Kent. As a matter of fact, her letters that time were filled with interest in Albert’s education and role it would play should he take him as her husband. But marriage plans did not push through until 1839.

Baron Stockmar Comes to Prince Albert’s Aid

The Baron Stockmar, one of the finest
statesmen of Europe during his time
and Prince Albert's mentor and
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha had long been under the tutelage of Baron Stockmar, who was one of the most important and least conspicuous figures of 19th century politics and it was was even suggested during that time that Albert was Stockmar’s creation, and later on, it has been said that, from 1840 onwards, Queen Victoria was Albert’s creation.

Queen Victoria proposes for marriage to Prince Albert

On Oct. 10, 1839, Prince Albert traveled to London with his brother Ernest to visit the Queen Victoria, with the plan of finally settling the marriage. On Oct. 15, Queen Victoria proposed to him after their first meeting; as queen, Victoria could not receive a proposal.

The Queen was delightful to know that Prince Albert felt the same for her as she had for him. Prince Albert later sent her a letter, saying that “even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on Earth.”

Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha were married at the Chapel Royal in St. James’s Palace on Feb. 10, 1840, the queen being entirely dressed of British manufacture.

In contrast with the rich display of verging on ostentation shown by her predecessors, Queen Victoria’s wedding gown was a note of simplicity. Her dress of white Spitalfields satin with a low neckline, fitted bodice, and full-pleated skirt was indeed a highlight of any Victorian wedding theme.

The newly wed couple walk hand in hand after their wedding ceremony.

She popularized the notion of wearing orange blossom on the wedding and her wedding dress was a display of originality – her gown was trimmed by bobbin Honiton lace and her face was concealed by a wedding veil, the popularity of which designers credited to her.

But Victoria chose to be married at midday so the public could enjoy the spectacle. Her wedding cake was a sight to behold; it stood 9 feet tall and measured 16 inches wide.

After the wedding, the Queen and Prince Albert embarked on a short honeymoon, which, as she described to Lord Melbourne, “was the most gratifying and bewildering night,” with Albert. Nine months later, Queen Victoria bore their first child and they went on to have nine children.

Read more about Queen Victoria's wedding on the following resources:

Queen Victoria, by Lytton Strachey, Chapter IV: Marriage
Queen Victoria's Marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha 
Victorian Wedding: Queen Victoria Wedding
Queen Victoria's Wedding Dress: The One that Started it All
Wedding Dresses, and What They Meant (National Geographic)
Queen Victoria's Wedding, or Why Women Wear White


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