Prince Consort Albert, England and Europe

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819–1861) is the most prominent representative of the Coburg ducal family who since the end of the eighteenth century had successfully managed an international wedding policy over the course of several generations. Family connections continue to the ruling houses in Belgium, the United Kingdom and Sweden. As prince consort of the English Queen Victoria (1819–1901, queen 1837–1901) Albert had essential influence on political and cultural aspects in the British Empire.

Numerous objects in the art collections at the Veste Coburg (Coburg Fortress) which originated in the former ducal property bear witness to the close connections between Coburg and the European thrones during the nineteenth century. With Prince Albert in the centre of attention, this dynastic network is illustrated exemplarily in six chapters.

Proceeding from the development of independent rule in Saxony-Coburg, the attention is initially centred on Albert's grandparents from Coburg, whose marriage policy brought the duchy into the focus of European history. The environment of his childhood and youth as well as his upbringing completes the image of his origins. A look at the dynastic connections and careers of other members of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and of its Catholic branch Saxe-Coburg-Koháry during the course of the nineteenth century follows. In two further sections, Albert's union with Victoria and his role in the family, politics and society of the United Kingdom are highlighted.

One part is devoted to his continuing ties to his hometown after his marriage to Victoria, then Prince Albert and the memorial culture developed by Queen Victoria gain centre stage in a second section. The objects of the art collections at the Veste Coburg in their entirety illustrate many aspects of the theme outlined and at the same time show in which way and to what extent Prince Albert and the dynastic relations helped to determine the character of the collections.

About the exhibition