boys clothing: British royalty Victoria and Albert--biography of children, staff, and comtemprary notables

British Royalty: Victoria and Albert's Biography

Figure 1.--Winterhalter's noted portrait of Victoria and Albert's young family. Edward wears a tunic outfit, but the other children, including Alfred at the left all wear dresses. Notice how in this portrait painted around 1845 that Albert wears knee breeches as formal wear.

The HBRC pages concerning Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, their children, court staff, and other related invividuals such as Government officials and European royals is quite involved. It is sometimes difficult to follow this extensive suite of pages without knowing who the different individuals are. We have thus created an alphabetized biography page provide a thumbnail sketch explaining who the various individuals are. Please let us know if we have omitted anyone who should be included are if you think some note should be made on these pages about these individuals.

Albert, Prince Consort (1819-1861)

Albertt, a scion of a small impoverished German principality, mairred the youthful Queen Victoria in 1839. It proved to be the great love story of the 19th century. It was Albert's learning anf astute judgement that helped the young, poorly prepared and self-centered queen become one of Britain's most successful monarchs. Albert was regarded by even the queen as the head of household. He played a major role in the nursery and in planning the children's education. We are not yet sure, however, to what extent he helped determine the clothes worn by the princes and princesses.

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910)

Victoria's second pregnancy produced a son and heir. Edward or Bertie as he was called was born the following year in 1841. He was a fine, large boy. Victoria reported later that only Pussy was not pleased. Edward was the first male heir born to the throne since George IV in 1759??. Her subjects were delighted. The parents soon found that Bertie was going to be difficult to deal with. As heir to the thrown he was of great concern. Despite extrodinary efforts to assist him, he was to cause more difficulty than any of the other children. Well before Balmoral was purchased, Victoria began dressing the young prince in kilts. I'm not sure precisely when she began dressing Edward in kilts, proably as soon as he emerged from dress about 5 or 6 years of age. Clearly Edward was wearing kilts by the late 1840s. Despite the parent's concern, Edward in fact proved to be a success as king.

Alice, Princess (1843-1878)

Princess Alice was born in 1843 and knicknammed Fatima. The Queen was pleased when going through the baby linen and found almost nothing new needed to be purchased. Allice mairred Prince Frederick William of Hesse, becoming Grand Duchess of Hesse and the Rhine. She had strong views favoring the emancipation of women and pursued a livelong interest in education and nursing. Her daughter Victoria mairred Prince Louis of Battenburg and gave birth to the future Lord Mountbatten. She died at the young age of only 35 years.

Arthur, Prince (1850-1942)

The third son, Prince Arthur, fufilled his ambition by becoming a soldier. He was born on the Duke of Wellington's birthday and the Duke was made Arthur's God Father. Arthur was entralled by the army and like nothing better as a gift than a sword or gun. After an encounter with some stable cats while rescuing his terrier, an anxious governess asked her blodied charge what had happened. Wonded! In execution of my duty. The governess, Lady Lyttleton, is related to Proncess Diane. Prince Arthur became Victoria's favorite son. The only one who caused her no real bother. He was made the Duke of Connaught and mairred Princess Louise Margueriteof Prussia. He outlived all his brothers and sisters except Beatrice.

Alfred, Prince (1844-1900)

Prince Alfred or "Alfie" was born in 1844, the only child not to be born in Buckingham Palace. The Queen wrote when Alfred was over a year old, was the possesor of a very good manly temper which he reportedly retained for the rest of his life. Alfie may have been the most mischivious of the children. Prince Albert was always worrying about the boy hurting himself. Alfredf was often depicted with his older brother, the two of them outfitted in kilts. Alfred became the Duke of Edinburgh--a precursor to Prince Phillip. Alfred was the first member of the royal family to visit Australia. He visited in 1867-68 and was shot at by a dereigned Irishman. He served in the Royal Navy and eventually married the autocratic Russian Grand Duchess Marie, the only daughter of the Czar. Neither proved very popular. He reigned as the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Stories circulated about his drinking and temper.

Beatrice, Princess (1857-1944)

The last child was Beatrice who was referred to as "Baby" in the family. She was to establish the Battenburg line of the British royal family and was to be the grandmother of Lord Louis Mounbatten of Burma. Victoria was delighted with the baby and her letters to Vicky describe the joy she got out of playing with the child. It was only 4 years, however, before the death of the Prince Consort Albert and the dramatic change in the life of the children. Victoria later wrote, Beatrice was the only thing I think I feel keeps me alive. Unfortunately the esquisite child grew ibto a lonely, sad, and repressed woman. She was not allowed to be in a room with a man unless she was accompanied. When she told her mother she had fallen in love, the Queen stopped talking to her. Beatrice stayed home with her mother all her life. Even her marriage to the minor princeling Henry of Battenberg in 1885 did not remove her from Victoria's side. A painfully shy person, Princess Beatrice was known to rest her shoulder against her neighbor's at dinner. She was devastated by her husband's death in 1896 in Africa during the Boer War. After her mother's death in 1901, Beatrice lived for her children, principally her daughter, Victoria Eugenie. Mother and daughter shared much in common and, significantly, both were transmitters of hemophilia, as became known after Victoria Eugenie became Queen Ena of Spain. On May 31, 1906, Ena married Alfonso XIII of Spain. In 1907 she produced an heir, Prince Austrias, who was hemophilic. A second son, born the following year, was a deaf mute. Another was stillborn. Two daughters and one son were born healthy, but Ena's last child was a hemophiliac as well.

Birch, Henry

Henry Birch, a Eton mater, was the first tutor for Princes Albert Edward and Alfred.

Brown, John

One of the interesting aspects of Victoria's life was the relationship with her servant, John Brown. Their relationship scandalized 1860s England, divided the royal family and provided the Tory government's enemies--and its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli -- with a stack of political cannonballs. Still, the actual nature of what transpired between the queen and the commoner remains a mystery. All that is known for certain is that Brown exerted control over the Queen and her activities, allowing and denying access with impunity--astonishingly even to her eldest son the Prince of Wales who detested him.

Ernest II, Duke (1818- )

Albert's older brother was christened Ernest Augustus Karl Johann Leopold Alexander Eduard. A historian comments that their mother was nothing if not tactful. The two boys so close in age were inseparable, especially after their mother left them in 1824. Ernest was the more outgoing, cheerful of the two boys. We know nothing, however, about their boyhood clothes. As the older son, Ernest became the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Gibbs, Frederick Weymouth

Alfred and his brother were tutored by first Henry Birch, a Eton mater, and then Frederick Weymouth Gibbs, a Cambridge don. Both were taken back by the volitile and virtually impossible to control Prince Albert Edward (Bertie). I'm less sure how they found Alfred. Gibbs was a gifted teacher when it came to bright university scholars. He soon found teaching the heir to the throne was a very different matter.

Helena (1846-1923)

Helena was considerd the tomboy of the family. The Queen did not regard Helena and Louise with the same affection as her older and younger daughters. Helenena at the age of 20 in 1866 mairred a landless German Prince, Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, who was 15 years her senior. (Another source says Prince Christian of Denmark.)

Lehzen, Baroness

Hanovarian-born Baroness Lehzen is one of the truly poisoness personalities that at first influenced Victoria. She was appointed as governess to the young princess. As her mother showed little interest, she was soon closer to Victoria than her own mother. She did an indifferent job of educating Victoria, but bragged about what a splendid job she did. (It was difficult to take issue with her without criticizing Victiria. She succedded in alienating Victoria from her mother. She also tried to become between Victoria and her new husband. Albert had to demand that she be expelled from the court, occasioning the most seriius argument the two ever had.

Leopold I, King of the Belgians (1790-1865)

King Leopolod was Albert's uncle who played a ley role in a lonely boy's unbringing. Interestingkly, he had mairred Charlotte, Princess of Wales, the daughter of William IV who was posed to become Queen of England, but died as a result of a still-born son. He then played a key role in bringing Victoria and Albert together, drawing upon the years he spent in England. Leopold was beloved by both Prince Albert and Queen Victoria and was an astute political and diplomatic adviser to the youthfu Albert after he mairred Victoria. The Queen addressed her letters, "Dearest Uncle".

Leopold II, King of the Belgians (1835-1909)

Victoria was not very impressed with Leopold I's son the Duke of Barbant. After mairrage, the Duke brough his new bride to meet prince Albert and Queen Victoria. The Queen, who was never one to withold her opinions, wrote to his father estatically about the bride, bu adding how inadequate the groom was. Leopold went on to become one of the crulest and most reviled monarchs of the 19th century.

Leopold, Prince (1853-84)

Leopold was the starcrossed child. He was born with hemeophilia, but the disorder was unknown at the time. Prince Leopold was made the Duke of Albany. He was treated unsympathetically by his mother. The Queen wrote when Leopold was 4 years old that he was not an engaging child, though amusing. He was carefully sheltered by his mother and spent his entire life trying to free himself from her desire to protect him. Raised as an invalid, Prince Leopold had to fight his doting mother for any chance to live an adult life. Victoria thought it unnecessary for him to live in a home of his own, to marry. or to have children. He was the youngest and most studious of Victoria's sons. He finally managed to marry in 1882 to Princess Helena of Waldeck, only 2 years before his untimely death in 1884. Though the Queen continued to keep a close watch, Leopold would occasionally escape curfew to kick up his heels. Unfortunately, his last escapade was in Monte Carlo where, suffering a fall at a roulette table, he bled to death from internal hemorrhaging.

Louise, Princess (1848-1939)

Louise was the pertiest of the children. The Queen considered her, with some reason as being rebellious. Louise in 1871 mairred the Marquess of Lorne--the first non-royal mairrage of a British soverign's daughter since the sister of Henry VIII wed Charles Brandon. The "experiment", however, was unsuccessful and the two separated. Louise was the only one of Victoria's children not to have children of her own. She lived to the ripe old age of 91.

Lyttelton, Lady

Lady Lyttelton was chosen by Prince Albert to be the governess of the growing brood of princes and princesses. He soon earn the hearts of chidren and parents. She was ideally suited for the job. Even gher formidable skills could not control the mercurial and backward oldest son, Bertie. His tantrums and confrontations with the other children, especially Vicky who refused to put up with him, reaked havock in the nursery. She hoped that he would eventually grow out of it. Finally she had to withdraw from royal service unable to cope with the demands of so many children, but undoubtedly worn out by having to constantly deal with Bertie.

Stockmar, Baron Christian Friedrich (1787- )

Baron Christian Friedrich Stockmar was a confident of both Leopold I and Prince Albert. He was born and educated in provincial Coburg and then studied medicine at important German universities. Leopold met him during the Napoleonic Wars in which he served as an army doctor. Leopold appointed him as his personal physcian in 1816 and after Princess Charlott's death in 1817, he became Leopold' private secretary beginning a long association with England, even before Albert was born. He was dispatched by Leopold to look into his nephew's welfare after his brother, Duke Ernest I divorced their mother. He was astute and discrete and his advise was sought after by crowned heads all over Europe. He was one of Victoria and Albert's most important advisers, serving almost as a substitute father to both Albert and Victoria.

Victoria, Queen (1819-1901)

Victoria is arguably the most important monarch of the 19th century. The oversaw Britain's emergence into a democratic nation. She through her extensive brood wove a network of family connections among the major powers of Europe. Upon her asecion to the throne, no one would have guessed the role that the young queen would come to play. Her longevity was one factor, but her choice of Albert as her husband was to provide her an astute and loyal adviser that enabled her to become one of Brotain's great rulers. An entire era extending six decades are associated with her. While Queen, it was Albert who was the head of the household. Social values and fashions established during here reign are still with her. Major boys' fashiones were in fact established by the royal family. HBRC has not yet determined, however, the role that Victoria herself played in selecting those fashions.

Victoria, Princess (1840-1901)

Victoria and Alfred's oldest child was th Princess Royal, named Victoria after her mother. The Princess Royal was born in 1840 and Victoria was concerned that her subjects would be dissapointed that her first child was a girl. Most were delighted that "Uncle Earnest," King of Hanover, was no longer directly in line to inherit the throne. She was called "Pussy," "Pussette," or "Vicky," in the family. Before the age of 3 years she was conversing in English, ' Germa, and French. The Queen once commented that we find Pussy amazingly advanced in inteligence and also in naughtines. The Princess Royal once told her governess, I'm sorry I was naughty--but I mean to be just as naughty next time. She married Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia who was to become Kaiser Frederick III, but reigned only a few days. She strove to introduce English manners and the precepts of constitutional monarachy, but was opposed by Bismark. Even her influence on her son and grandson were limited by Bismark. When her husband died, she was long estrainged from her bombastic son who became Wilhelm II.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: May 8, 2001
Last updated: May 8, 2001