On this day, 173 years ago, Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in a ceremony performed at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, a moment’s walk from Buckingham Palace, the home of the Monarch since the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign.
Queen Victoria was quite unusual by social convention, she was Queen, yet not yet married. Prince Albert was always set on marrying Victoria (at the time of their introduction, Princess Alexandrina Victoria), and in the end, so was Victoria. Princess Victoria was completely besotted by Prince Albert.
Victoria was looking for someone to confide in as well as to be her husband. Years of oppression from the Kensington System under her mother’s comptroller Sir John Conroy turned her into an independent and feisty young woman. Prince Albert offered her guidance and stability and after Victoria had banished her mother to another corner of her Palace, a friend.
It was only Prince Albert’s second visit to England that Victoria seized her chance to escape her mother once and for all (even as Queen her mother still posed a significant threat alongside Sir John) and proposed to Prince Albert on 15th October 1839. Prince Albert would have been unable to propose to Victoria as she was Sovereign.
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria married, on this day [10th February] 1840. Queen Victoria, unwittingly at the time, initiated the now worldwide trend of wearing a white wedding dress when she turned up in one on her wedding day. Prior to Queen Victoria’s wedding, any colour was used for brides’ wedding gowns and black was actually favoured by many.
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria remained madly in love and happily married until Prince Albert’s death in 1861. Queen Victoria insisted his clothes be laid out every day for the rest of her life and that nothing was to be disturbed in his apartments.