‘An angel whose brightness shall illume my life”. The passionate words of a young prince in love, written to the queen he had just been asked to marry, are among the many items shared on a new website celebrating the life and achievements of one of the most famous royals of all. On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Prince Albert, the Royal Collection Trust is launching a new resource dedicated to the consort of Queen Victoria.
The site contains over 17,500 digitised items relating to Albert including many of his own letters and photographs. The majority have never been shared publicly before and for royal fans, this is the gift that keeps on giving as by the end of 2020 it’s hoped that another 6,000 pieces will have been added to the website.
The love letter written by Albert as he marked his engagement to Victoria in 1839 is just one insight into the relationship between the couple. Also on show is another missive from the prince to the queen, sent soon after her accession. Albert sent his warmest congratulations to his cousin, adding ” you are Queen of the mightiest land of Europe, in your hand lies the happiness of millions”.
His dramatic description not only underlines the task placed before the eighteen year old Victoria. It also underlines Albert’s character as a deep thinker, able to see the potential in all situations. His involvement in the social, cultural and political life of his wife’s realm following their marriage is also evident in the material now available. Among the documents is the transcript of a speech given by the prince soon after his marriage underlining his support for the abolition of slavery.
Victoria and Albert’s family life is also celebrated with a wide range of images of them and their children as well as diary entries by the queen in which she describes how her husband would play with their sons and daughters.
The sad end to the love story is also covered as items relating to Albert’s early death, in 1861, have been digitised along with letters and journal notes by Victoria in the early part of her widowhood.
Prince Albert was born on August 26th 1819. The collection, launched just days ahead of the 200th anniversary of his birth, is available to view at albert.rct.uk.