It was mainly thanks to Prince Albert’s conduct and to his political instinct that the image of the throne in the United Kingdom started to improve once more. A particularly important element was the staging of a happy family in paintings displayed in public or disseminated in print. Even though Victoria hated being pregnant and later developed a rather distant relationship to all of her nine children, the depiction of an exemplary family life by means of artistic media formed a preferred tool for the improvement of the relations between the royal family and the people.
The acquisition and expansion of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight offered the possibility to retreat from the business of government into the private sphere. With the purchase of Balmoral in the Highlands as a summer retreat, it became possible to underpin the connection between the crowns of England and Scotland. During their stays, Albert and his sons dressed in Highland fashion and were depicted in this kind of costume.
Albert’s eldest daughter Vicky (Princess Royal, 1840–1901) became his special confidante for reason of her particular talents. By means of her marriage to the German Crown Prince Friedrich (1831–1888) who would become German Emperor in 1888 for a mere 99 days, Albert’s wish was fulfilled to bind the destinies of England and Germany more closely together under Prussian guidance.
Among Albert’s greatest public successes in England must be counted the “Great Exhibition” of 1851 in the Hyde Park in London. In 1850, he took on the chairmanship of the Royal Commission appointed by parliament for the preparation of the exhibition. Contrary to opposition forming itself at the beginning, he led the World Exhibition in which his vision of a synthesis of technique, science, art and trade manifested itself to a fulminant success.