The royal children

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By Pat Hughessenior lecturer, Liverpool Hope University

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had a large family of nine children. Despite the Victorian view that children ‘should be seen and not heard’, it is said that she loved to hear the sound of ‘little feet and merry voices’

On 10 February 1840 Queen Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Colburg-Gotha at St James’ Palace. The ceremony was followed by a large wedding breakfast held at Buckingham Palace. Like most royal marriages, this was a highly political union, however there is no doubt that Victoria found great happiness with her ‘Beloved Albert’. The couple had nine children before Albert died of typhoid fever in 1861, at the age of 42.

The royal plan

There is evidence to support the fact that the Queen and Prince had a keen interest in their children’s welfare. With one of their advisors, they drew up a ‘plan’ to map out the education of their eldest son, the Prince of Wales – who was also known as Bertie. By the time Bertie was five years old Queen Victoria found her son to be ‘a very good child and not at all wanting in intellect’. Sadly, her opinion altered over the years and evidence indicates that the Queen grew to dislike her eldest son and heir. She blamed him for Albert’s death and is recorded several times as finding him stupid. Nevertheless Queen Victoria loved children and rarely travelled without a child in tow. She felt ‘dreadful’ when the royal nursery was closed in 1865 and was delighted to reopen it for her grandchildren. ‘I love to hear the little feet and merry voices above’, she is quoted as saying.

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