Princess to order
She was born at the beginning of the fifth morning on May 24, 1819, and only three months later a man was born, intended for Victoria by Providence himself – Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. By coincidence, both the one and the other childbirth took the same midwife. It seems that the life of Victoria in general was full of accidents, each of which every time turned out to be fateful.
Victoria was born "to order". Her father was never a monarch, being only one of the 15 children of King George III of Great Britain and the fifth in line to the throne. But it so happened that with such numerous offspring, George had only two legitimate granddaughters. The first – Princess Charlotte, died in childbirth at the age of 21 (the child was born dead). The second was Victoria, born two years later of this sad event that threatened the existence of the royal dynasty. The marriage of her father, Edward Augustus, the Duke of Kent, and the mother, Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was hasty and had one goal: to give birth to a child, able to continue the royal race. The fate of the girl was sealed.
Before being on the throne, Victoria had to go through a lot of trials. The future queen herself described her childhood years as “rather dreary”, and this was putting it mildly. Forced to be brought up by a despotic mother, she spent her youthful years away from the light, which, according to Victoria, was the center of debauchery. The only joy of the girl was the hours spent with her faithful friend, Spaniel Dash, although even she was given a lot of time playing games with her beloved dog: Victoria spent the morning and night reading books, studying several foreign languages and working with hired teachers without a break. The strict mother also put into practice several rules that now may seem absurd to us: Victoria was supposed to sleep in the same room with her mother before marriage, was not allowed to talk to strangers, and also cry in public (the latter, by the way, would not hurt and many modern girls). In addition to other absurd prohibitions and conditions, young Victoria was obliged to travel around England – her mother was preparing her for the role of queen, as if forgetting that the current ruler of England, Uncle Victoria, King William is still alive and even relatively healthy, despite her stormy youth. The people received the young princess with delight, so her trips were made almost endless – in the cold, rain, snow or sun Victoria was shaking in an uncomfortable carriage, traveling tens of kilometers, suffering from fever, pneumonia and other diseases that her mother chose not to pay any attention . The sufferings of the future queen lasted until 1837, until the death of childless Wilhelm IV.
On June 20, 1837, at five o’clock in the morning, the eighteen-year-old princess was woken by her mother and informed that the first chamberlain of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury wanted to see her. As soon as Victoria entered the great hall, the first chamberlain knelt down. There was no doubt – the king is dead, and Victoria has to take his place. Before embarking on her immediate duties, the new ruler of Great Britain ordered her to take her bed out of her mother’s bedroom: long-awaited freedom had come!
Two meetings and one love
They first met in England a year before Victoria took the throne. Even then, another uncle of Victoria, who became king of Belgium, cherished the dream to strengthen family ties even more, having married Albert Saxe-Coburg-Gothsky’s nephew and … niece. However, in those days such marriages were not closely related but were in the order of things, so it was only the young queen who was in no hurry to marry, and the first meeting with Albert did not make any impression on her. Moreover, in letters to a caring uncle, Victoria casually called a potential husband “a delicate stomach” and even “an invalid”, arguing that “the very idea of marriage is disgusting to her”. But what else did you want from a girl who barely passed 17 years old?
Albert found the cousin good-natured, but no more. Indeed, Victoria’s beauty was no different, detractors gloated: the queen’s upper sponge was much smaller than the lower one, and therefore she was often forced to keep her mouth ajar, which was considered a serious drawback. Victoria treated her looks with irony. In her diary, historians have found, for example, the following record: “We, however, are rather low for a queen.”
Everything changed the second meeting. On October 10, 1839, Albert and his brother Ernest arrived at Windsor for a visit, and the queen’s usual existence, along with radical views on family life, collapsed like a house of cards: youth took her own way, the queen fell in love. Victoria now looked at Albert differently. In her diary she noted the external merits of the bridegroom: “a refined nose”, “graceful mustaches and small, barely noticeable whiskers”, “a beautiful figure, wide in shoulders and thin at the waist”. The very next day after the fateful meeting, Victoria accepted Alberta alone and … made an offer to her elect. Nobody expected such a turn, however, the future husband of the queen did not stubbornly, and on February 10, 1840 they got married.
At her wedding, later called "the main wedding of the XIX century"The Queen, contrary to tradition, appeared in a snow-white dress, decorated with the same white petals of orange flowers, and with a 5-meter train. On the head of Victoria was a wreath and snow-white veil. Photos of her robes instantly hit the press, giving a start to the triumphal procession of white in the wedding fashion. Now it’s hard to believe that the white dress of the bride, the veil, the groom’s boutonniere, and even the classic wedding cake are not a tribute to the centuries-old traditions of the ancestors, but an invention of the young and fond English Queen Victoria, which suddenly became a classic and an example to be followed. .
Marriage without flaws
The queen was passionately in love, seeing in Alberta not only a profitable party, which was the rule rather than the exception at that time, but also the love of her life. Victoria turned out to be one of those few lucky women who managed to get married not only by the dictates of duty. After the wedding night, the Queen again turned to her diary: “I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening! My dear, dear, dear Albert. his great love and affection gave me a feeling of heavenly love and happiness, which I never hoped to feel before! He put me in his arms, and we kissed each other again and again! His beauty, his sweetness and gentleness – how can I ever be truly grateful for such a Husband. It was the happiest day of my life! ”
Was Albert as fascinated by his wife as she was to them? About this, which is already a century, historians of the whole world argue fiercely. Given that Albert’s women’s society was disheartening, and the lovers of women were more frightened than attracted, he had never been a passionate lover. Most likely, the young husband was led primarily by a sense of duty, but Albert’s sincere affection for Victoria cannot be denied either. At least, he wrote to friends about family life very restrained, mentioning only that he was quite happy with his young wife.
The prince is hardly hypocritical. This trait was not in his character. Some believe that, in response to the young cousin’s boundless loyalty, he naturally experienced feelings of tenderness and gratitude, but his all-consuming response passion was over. Although he liked Victoria very much, in the current unusual situation he was more interested in his own feelings. And here was something to ponder.
Of course, Albert, who had absolutely nothing to do with the British throne, suggested that the role in the palace would be assigned to the most insignificant, but he could not even imagine all the difficulties he had to face when he became the Queen’s husband. Despite the magnificent upbringing and education, the newly-born prince was not allowed to politics, the secular environment did not take Albert seriously, and even in family life, which, as before, was arranged by the hour, he was forced to obey the imperious wife (however, things even suited Albert).
Unlike her husband, Victoria did not have a high intellect and did not aspire to self-education, often relying on the opinion of advisers, and was much more attracted to her husband. Despite the fact that the prince consort’s manic pedantry at the court was a real horror story, the relations of the spouses became the benchmark of an almost exemplary family. No betrayal, no scandals, not even the slightest disreputable marital virtue rumors. There is even a kind of bike, telling about the only conflict in their entire life together. Quarrel inflamed because of the daughter’s illness. The couple argued which treatment is better. The first flared mother. In tears, she ran out of the room. Albert sat down at the table and wrote a message to her, warning that the death of the child would be on her conscience if she persisted in her recommendations. Victoria gave way.
After a year of married life, Victoria gave birth to her first child — a girl who was traditionally called Victoria, and then a boy — he was to become King Edward VII and the founder of the Saxe-Coburg dynasty, which during World War I, so as not to irritate compatriots with German sound, was renamed in the Windsor dynasty. In total, the selfless queen gave birth to nine children to her husband. Only for this, Victoria can be considered a heroine, especially considering that Her Majesty hated being pregnant, disgusted with breastfeeding, and considered newborn to be ugly creatures.
Over time, overcoming the neglect of the royal entourage, Albert became the only and irreplaceable adviser to the queen. Rising from bed before sunrise, he went to work: he wrote letters, wrote answers to the requests of ministers. And when Victoria joined him, she needed only to sign the papers prepared by him. She noticed that Albert is more and more interested in politics and public affairs every day and is well versed in everything. “But I,” she wrote again in her personal diary, “I lose interest in business. We, women, are not created for government, if we were honest with ourselves, we would refuse to engage in male activities. Every day I am increasingly convinced that women should not take over the rule of the Kingdom. ”
Thanks to him, Victoria revised her view of some things that had previously seemed unacceptable to her. So, for example, she stopped being afraid to use the railway, and the same one agreed to receive guests in her residence, whose society tired her. But for the sake of her husband, Victoria was ready to give up her own interests. Over the years, emboldened Albert became almost unofficial ruler of England. “My dear angel,” as his wife called her, gently but surely removed her spouse from work, allowing her to do what she really liked — to work with children and at home.
But, as you know, cloudless happiness can not last forever. In 1861, the year Albert fell ill. However, Victoria, who seemed confident in the immortality of her idol, did not betray the soreness of the meaning and only came to her senses when the court physicians carried out a disappointing verdict – Albert dies. Her Albert, her love, angel, light, the meaning of life died, having managed to say only “my dear wife.” Life is cut short. And for him and for her.