Victoria and Albert
Berkshire's greatest Royal love story
For Valentine's Day, find out about one of history's greatest love stories that bloomed in Windsor and lasted for more than 20 years.
See photos of Victoria and Albert through the ages here:
The union between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is one of the greatest love stories in history.
Queen Victoria with a portrait of Albert
She was an 18-year-old young woman who had just become Queen of England in 1837. He was her cousin and they married in 1840.
Queen Victoria was most pleased with her new husband. She wrote to her uncle Leopold thanking him "for the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give me in the person of dear Albert.
"He possesses every quality that can be desired to make me perfectly happy."
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were devoted to Windsor, which became their principle Royal residence.
State visits were held there, and Victoria lived there on and off for 64 years, longer than any other monarch.
It was also there that Victoria and Albert's great romance blossomed through the ages.
Albert was not only a dutiful husband and father but also Victoria's political advisor, which came into full force after the death of Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne.
Albert began to act as the Queen's private secretary and encouraged in his wife a greater interest in social welfare.
Victoria relied heavily on Albert and it was during his lifetime that she was most active as a ruler.
Berkshire historian Jane Walton says: "He had actually been her right-hand man, he had helped with all the business, he'd taken the load of monarchy off her shoulders to a certain extent.
"He devoted himself to sorting out the Royal finances, so much so they could afford to buy Osborne House - a home of their own that was their private residence."
For 21 years they lived in close harmony and had a family of nine children, many of whom married into the European monarchy.
"He was a great father to all their children, he was a great supporter," says Jane, "so no wonder that when he died, she was absolutely beside herself."
Prince Albert died suddenly of typhoid at Windsor on 14 December 1861 which, according to Jane, could have been caused by the bad drains at the castle.
It was in the Private Apartments at Windsor that Victoria first laid eyes on Albert in 1839, and it was in the same apartments that he died.
Victoria kept the room as a shrine and Prince Albert was buried in a spectacular mausoleum that Queen Victoria constructed at Frogmore in the Windsor Home Park.
"Victoria had already built a mausoleum at Frogmore to her mother the Duchess of Kent, but wanted a monument really worthy of him. " says Jane.
"So he was temporarily interred at St George's Chapel until she could build the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore."
Victoria was overwhelmed by grief and remained in mourning until the end of her life.
Cliveden in Berkshire offered some peace and quiet during political difficulties, such as when the Second Reform Act was going through the House Of Commons in 1867.
She would arrive at Cliveden with a 90-strong entourage and a huge portrait of Albert, which she positioned on an easel at the end of the bed she stayed in, and a smaller portrait by her pillow.
Jane says: "The one by her pillow was actually a portrait of Albert sleeping, so when she woke up it was as if Albert was still there."
last updated: 09/02/2009 at 14:07