Queen Victoria, Biography: The Growth of the Royal Family


Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert produced nine children and a very happy family life.

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their nine children.
Between 1840 and 1857 saw the growth of the queen’s family. She eventually mothered nine children, whose descendants would earn her the moniker “Grandmother of Europe.”

Queen Victoria Gives Birth to Nine Children
The Princess Royal, future Empress
Frederick of Germany

In a span of 17 years, from 1840 to 1857, Queen Victoria gave birth to four sons and five daughters, who all grew up to occupy relevant positions in European royal history.

The eldest daughter, Victoria, the Princess Royal, was born in Nov. 1840. Precocious and perhaps the most intelligent of Queen Victoria's daughters, she married the future Emperor Frederick III of Germany in 1858. 


She gave birth to eight children: the Emperor William II, Charlotte, Grand Duches of Saxe-Meiningen, Prince Henry, Prince Sigismund (who died in childhood), Victoria, Princess Adolph of Schaumburg-Lippe, Sophia, Queen of the Hellenes; and Margaret, Margravine of Hesse-Cassel. She died in 1901 after suffering from breast cancer.


The second child and eldest son, Albert Edward, was Prince of Wales by birth. In 1901, he succeed her mother as King Edward VII. She married Princess Alexandra of Denmark, daughter of King Christian IX in 1863. 


The Prince and Princess of Wales, afterwards King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra with their children.
They had six children: Albert, Duke of Clarence, who died in 1892; King George V, who succeed in 1910; Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife; Princess Victoria, who remained single; Maud, Queen of Norway by marriage to King Haakon; and Prince Alexander John who died in infancy.
Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse


Then followed Princess Alice, shy but intelligent whose compassion led her to suffer melancholy in her later years, was born 1942. She married Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, in 1862. 


They were blessed with seven children: Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven; the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia, who was martyred by the Bolsheviks; Princess Irene, Princess Henry of Prussia; Ernest Louis, who succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Hesse; Prince Frederick, who died an infant; the ill-fated Empress Alexandra of Russia; and Princess Marie, who died in childhood. She died a victim of typhoid during the plague that hit Darmstadt in 1878.


Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, followed in 1844. He married Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, only daughter of Czar Alexander II of Russia. 


Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh,
Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
They had five children: Prince Alfred, who committed suicide in 1899; Princess Marie, later Queen of Romania; the Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna of Russia, wife of the pretender to the throne Grand Duke Cyril; Princess Alexandra, Hereditary Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg; and Infanta Beatrice of Spain, Duchess of Galliera.

Princess Helena, who married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, was born1846. She is the queen's plainest and most dependable daughter. She and Prince Christian enjoyed the happiest and longest-lasting marriage among Queen Victoria's children. 


They had five children: Prince Christian Victor, who died of enteric fever in Pretoria in 1900; Prince Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein; Princess Helena Victoria; and Princess Marie Louise, who married and divorced Prince Aribert of Anhalt.

Princess Louise, born 1848, was the queen's boldest, most independent, and most artistic child, being a skilled painter and sculptor. 


Princess Helena, with husband
Prince Christian
She was the only child to marry a commoner, John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, who was heir to one of Scotland's richest and most powerful families. He was appointed Governor-General of Canada, and eventually sat at the House of Lords after inheriting the Dukedom of Argyll. The couple had no issue.

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and later Governor-General of Canada, was born 1850. He was the last surviving son of the queen, dying in 1942. 


He married Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia and together, they had three children: Prince Arthur of Connaught, later Governor-General of the Union of South Africa; Princess Margaret, Crown Princess of Sweden; and Princess Patricia, who voluntarily gave up her royal title and style upon marriage of The Hon. Alexander Ramsay.

In 1853, the queen gave birth to Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. He was the sickliest but most intelligent of the queen's son. 


Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll
He married Princess Helena of Waldyck-Pyrmont. However, his life was cut short after he sustained hemorrhage due to hemophilia in 1883. He had a daughter, Princess Alice, Princess Francis of Teck and later Countess of Athlone, the longest-living princess of the blood royal; and a posthumous son, Prince Charles Albert, Duke of Albany, and later Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, born 1883.

The youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice was born in 1857. She would remain Queen Victoria's secretary and attendant throughout her adult life. 


In 1885, he married Prince Eugene of Battenberg and bore him four children: Alexander, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke; Victoria Eugenie, Queen of Spain; Lord Leopold Mountbatten; and Prince Maurice of Battenberg.

Queen Victoria’s Family Life with Prince Albert

Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
The growing size of and the demands of raising the family, which required much of queen’s attention and brought her unexplained happiness, coupled by Albert’s influence, eventually produced a change in the queen’s habits and attitudes. 


She was entirely happy and satisfied, knowing that her beloved Albert and her family were right beside her. She even told Albert: “It was you who have entirely formed me.” Indeed, gone was her love for idle splendor and, as she described it, “mere amusement.”


The early 1840s was known as the “hungry forties” and to relate with the mass, Victoria informed Peel about her desire to minimize the expenses of the court and set aside a sizable part of her income to charity. But Peel advised the queen to reconsider her decision.


Princess Beatrice, Princess Henry
of Battenberg
“I am afraid that the people would only say,” Peel replied, “that Your Majesty was returning them change for their pounds in half-pence.”


According to Peel, it is the duty of the sovereign to do things in order, not to seek praise or adulation, but to serve as an example in all aspect, even in throwing away banquets and balls.

Indeed, the queen and Prince Albert’s dinner-parties were a prime example of proper decorum, though guests found them rather too formal and amusing. The queen also earned praise on her display of dignity and wise discretion on her several visits abroad, in the first the first ten years of her married life, to King William IV of Prussia, King Louise-Philippe of France, and Emperor Nicholas I of Russia.

Comments