Emmanuel von Mensdorff-Pouilly
Emmanuel, count of Mensdorff-Pouilly was an army officer in the Imperial and Royal Army of the Austrian Empire, vice-governor of Mainz. The Mensdorff-Pouilly family originated from the barony of Pouilly in Stenay on the river Meuse in Lorraine. Albert-Louis, Baron de Pouilly et de Chaffour, Comte de Roussy and his wife Marie Antoinette emigrated together with their children during the French revolution, their sons and Emmanuel, took the name Mensdorff from a community in the county of Roussy, Luxembourg. The brothers entered military service against revolutionary and Napoleonic France, Albert was killed in battle. At the start of the War of the Fifth Coalition Emmanuel held the rank of major. On 13 April 1809 he was wounded while leading a company of the 8th Jäger in action near Amberg. By 23 April he had recovered enough to partake in the cavalry battles at the start of the Battle of Ratisbon, he was decorated with the Military Order of Maria Theresa for his services in the war. In 1810 he was given command of the Galician regiment of ulans „Erzherzog Carl“ Nr. 3.
Serving as a commander of a cavalry brigade in Bohemia, Mensdorff-Pouilly became commander of the Fortress of Mainz. From 1829 to 1834 Mensdorff-Pouilly served as vice-governor of Mainz. After again having served in Bohemia, in 1840 Mensdorff-Pouilly became vice-president of the Hofkriegsrat. In 1848 he retired from the army with the rank of feldmarschallleutnant. During the Revolution of 1848 Mensdorff-Pouilly was sent as a commissioner to Prague, where he tried in vain to impress on the Prince of Windisch-Grätz the necessity to avoid bloodshed. Emmanuel von Mensdorff-Pouilly married Princess Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, the daughter of Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, on 22 February 1804 at Coburg. Through this marriage he was the brother-in-law of King Leopold I of Belgium and the uncle of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of the United Kingdom, of King Ferdinand II of Portugal. Emmanuel and Sophie had six sons: Hugo Ferdinand Alphons, Count von Mensdorff-Pouilly, ∞ 1. 1843 Countess Therese von Dietrichstein-Proskau-Leslie, ∞ 2.
1862 Countess Maria Thersia von Lamberg. Alfred Carl. Alexander, Fürst von Dietrichstein zu Nikolsburg 1868, was Austrian Foreign Minister and Prime Minister of Austria in the 1860s, ∞ 1857 Countess Alexandrine Maria von Dietrichstein-Proskau-Leslie Leopold Emanuel Arthur August, ∞ 1. 1853, Div. 1882 Magdalene Kremzow, ∞ 2. 1902 Countess Bianca Albertina von Wickenburg Emmanuel was created Count of Mensdorff-Pouilly in Vienna on 29 November 1818. In 1838, Emmanuel purchased Schloss Preitenstein in the Plzeň Region of Bohemia, which remained the property of the Mensdorff-Pouilly family until 1945. Eddie de Tassigny: Les Mensdorff-Pouilly. Le destin d'une famille émigrée en 1790. Paris: Le Bois d’Hélène, 1998
Saalburg-Ebersdorf is a town in the Saale-Orla-Kreis district, in Thuringia, Germany close to the Bavarian border. It is situated on the river Saale, 10 km southwest of Schleiz, 30 km west of Plauen and 30 km north-west of Hof; the town is an administrative union of two large villages lying either side of the Saale river near the Bleilochtalsperre as well as several smaller villages in between and around them. The earliest records of the towns and villages of Saalburg-Ebersdorf are from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, they lay around the historical trade route between Nuremberg and Leipzig. Saalburg and Ebersdorf became important in the seventeenth century as regional seats of the Counts von Reuss. Saalburg was established under the Lobdaburger reign in around 1313; some ruins from this early settlement remain today, including a 3-meter-high remnant of the city wall. From 1647-1666, Saalburg was the seat of the state of Reuss-Saalburg. Saalburg subsequently became part of the state of Reuss-Greiz.
Ebersdorf dates its foundation to 1401. In 1678, the state of Reuss-Lobenstein was partitioned and the state of Reuss-Ebersdorf was created under Heinrich X. Schloss Ebersdorf was built in 1692-1694 to house the court of the new state. Under the influence of the Reuss Princes, Ebersdorf became a centre of Pietism in Germany; the related Moravian faith took a minority hold in Ebersdorf after the marriage of Erdmuthe Dorothea Reuss-Ebersdorf to Nicolaus Zinzendorf. The Moravian Church was built in 1746; the classical west facade of Schloss Ebersdorf, shown in the main photo above, was designed by Christian Friedrich Schuricht and was completed in 1792. On 8 October 1806, Napoleon's troops first entered Prussian territory and battles took place on the banks of the Saale between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. Napoleon spent the night of 8 October in Schloss Ebersdorf. This, was the first battle of the War of the Fourth Coalition. From 1807 until 1813, the Principality of Reuss-Ebersdorf became part of the Confederation of the Rhine.
From 1813, the Principality became a member of the German Confederation the Thuringian Trade Association, the Central German Trade Association and the Zollverein. In 1849, the Principality became a constitutional monarchy. During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the Principality took a neutral position while the Reuss, Elder Line was aligned with the Austrian Empire. Both joined the North German Confederation in 1866 and became part of unified Germany in 1871. In 1919, Ebersdorf became part of the independent Republic of Reuss, before this state joined the Weimar Republic. After the Second World War, the region became part of the newly created District of Gera in 1952 within the German Democratic Republic. After German reunification in 1990, Salburg and Ebersdorf became part of the restored state of Thuringia. Saalburg and Ebersdorf were merged on 1 January 2003 and, on 6 May 2006, they absorbed the independent municipalities of Friesau, Röppisch, Schönbrunn and Zoppoten; the Steinerne Rose is a rare form of natural rock monument.
Saalburg-Ebersdorf hosts the SonneMondSterne festival, an outdoor music festival, one of the largest in Europe and which has featured acts such as Massive Attack. Saalburg-Ebersdorf is twinned with Renningen. Countess Augusta Reuss-Ebersdorf, daughter of Count Heinrich XXIV, was the mother of Leopold I of Belgium and Victoria, Duchess of Kent and grandmother of Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Ferdinand II of Portugal, Leopold II of Belgium, Empress Carlota of Mexico, among others. Heinrich LXXII met Lola Montez in London in the middle of 1843 and gave her a loose invitation to visit him in Ebersdorf, her visit was not a success and she was moved on again. Erdmuthe Dorothea, Countess von Reuss-Ebersdorf married Nicolaus Ludwig, Imperial Count von Zinzendorf Renewer of the Moravian Church in 1722, her family became involved in the Moravian Church and a Moravian Settlement was started in Ebersdorf in the 1730s. The settlement was social work in the Thuringian Forest.
Today the Moravian Church operates a children's home and retreat center in the Congregation in Ebersdorf
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, he was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, never visited Hanover. His life and with it his reign, which were longer than those of any of his predecessors, were marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, places farther afield in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of Britain's American colonies were soon lost in the American War of Independence.
Further wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793 concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In the part of his life, George III had recurrent, permanent, mental illness. Although it has since been suggested that he had bipolar disorder or the blood disease porphyria, the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established. George III's eldest son, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent until his father's death, when he succeeded as George IV. Historical analysis of George III's life has gone through a "kaleidoscope of changing views" that have depended on the prejudices of his biographers and the sources available to them; until it was reassessed in the second half of the 20th century, his reputation in the United States was one of a tyrant. George was born in London at Norfolk House in St James's Square, he was the grandson of King George II, the eldest son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.
As he was born two months prematurely and thought unlikely to survive, he was baptised the same day by Thomas Secker, both Rector of St James's and Bishop of Oxford. One month he was publicly baptised at Norfolk House, again by Secker, his godparents were the King of Sweden, his uncle the Duke of Saxe-Gotha and his great-aunt the Queen of Prussia. Prince George grew into a healthy but shy child; the family moved to Leicester Square, where George and his younger brother Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany, were educated together by private tutors. Family letters show that he could read and write in both English and German, as well as comment on political events of the time, by the age of eight, he was the first British monarch to study science systematically. Apart from chemistry and physics, his lessons included astronomy, French, history, geography, commerce and constitutional law, along with sporting and social accomplishments such as dancing and riding, his religious education was wholly Anglican.
At age 10, George took part in a family production of Joseph Addison's play Cato and said in the new prologue: "What, tho' a boy! It may with truth be said, A boy in England born, in England bred." Historian Romney Sedgwick argued that these lines appear "to be the source of the only historical phrase with which he is associated". George's grandfather, King George II, disliked the Prince of Wales, took little interest in his grandchildren. However, in 1751 the Prince of Wales died unexpectedly from a lung injury at the age of 44, George became heir apparent to the throne, he inherited his father's title of Duke of Edinburgh. Now more interested in his grandson, three weeks the King created George Prince of Wales. In the spring of 1756, as George approached his eighteenth birthday, the King offered him a grand establishment at St James's Palace, but George refused the offer, guided by his mother and her confidant, Lord Bute, who would serve as Prime Minister. George's mother, now the Dowager Princess of Wales, preferred to keep George at home where she could imbue him with her strict moral values.
In 1759, George was smitten with Lady Sarah Lennox, sister of the Duke of Richmond, but Lord Bute advised against the match and George abandoned his thoughts of marriage. "I am born for the happiness or misery of a great nation," he wrote, "and must act contrary to my passions." Attempts by the King to marry George to Princess Sophie Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel were resisted by him and his mother. The following year, at the age of 22, George succeeded to the throne when his grandfather, George II, died on 25 October 1760, two weeks before his 77th birthday; the search for a suitable wife intensified. On 8 September 1761 in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, the King married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whom he met on their wedding day. A fortnight on 22 September both were crowned at Westminster Abbey. George remarkably never took a mistress, the couple enjoyed a genuinely happy marriage until his mental illness struck, they had 15 children -- six daughters. In 1762, George purchased Buckingham House for use as a family retreat.
His other residences were Windsor Castle. St James's Palace was retained for
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'; the ROC, as well as the primate thereof ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019; the Christianization of Kievan Rus' seen as the birth of the ROC, is believed to have occurred in 988 through the baptism of the Kievan prince Vladimir and his people by the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose constituent part the ROC remained for the next six centuries, while the Kievan see remained in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686.
The ROC claims its exclusive jurisdiction over the Orthodox Christians, irrespective of their ethnic background, who reside in the former member republics of the Soviet Union, excluding Georgia and Armenia, although this claim is disputed in such countries as Estonia and Ukraine and parallel canonical Orthodox jurisdictions exist in those: the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Metropolis of Bessarabia, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, respectively. It exercises ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the autonomous Church of Japan and the Orthodox Christians resident in the People's Republic of China; the ROC branches in Belarus, Latvia and Ukraine since the 1990s enjoy various degrees of self-government, albeit short of the status of formal ecclesiastical autonomy. The ROC should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America, another autocephalous Orthodox church, that traces its existence in North America to the time of the Russian missionaries in Alaska in the late 18th century; the ROC should not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, headquartered in the United States.
The ROCOR was instituted in the 1920s by Russian communities outside Communist Russia, which refused to recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate de facto headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky. The two churches reconciled on May 17, 2007; the Christian community that developed into what is now known as the Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew, thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the legends, Andrew reached the future location of Kiev and foretold the foundation of a great Christian city; the spot where he erected a cross is now marked by St. Andrew's Cathedral. By the end of the first millennium AD, eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In 863–69, the Byzantine monks Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, both from the region of Macedonia in the Eastern Roman Empire translated parts of the Bible into the Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs and Slavicized peoples of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Southern Russia.
There is evidence that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople either by Patriarch Photius or Patriarch Ignatios, c. 866–867. By the mid-10th century, there was a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Bulgarian and Byzantine priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion. Princess Olga of Kiev was the first ruler of Kievan Rus′, born a Christian, her grandson, Vladimir of Kiev, made Rus' a Christian state. The official Christianization of Kievan Rus' is believed to have occurred in 988 AD, when Prince Vladimir was baptised himself and ordered his people to be baptised by the priests from the Eastern Roman Empire; the Kievan church was a junior metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch appointed the metropolitan, a Greek, who governed the Church of Rus'. The Kiev Metropolitan's residence was located in Kiev itself, the capital of the medieval Rus' state; as Kiev was losing its political and economical significance due to the Mongol invasion, Metropolitan Maximus moved to Vladimir in 1299.
Following the tribulations of the Mongol invasion, the Russian Church was pivotal in the survival and life of the Russian state. Despite the politically motivated murders of Mikhail of Chernigov and Mikhail of Tver, the Mongols were tolerant and granted tax exemption to the church; such holy figures as Sergius of Radonezh and Metropolitan Alexis helped the country to withstand years of Mongol rule, to expand both economically and spiritually. The Trinity monastery founded by Sergius of Radonezh became the setting for the flourishing of spiritual art, exemplified by the work of Andrey Rublev, among others; the followers of Sergius founded four hundred monasteries, thus extending the geographical extent of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In 1439, at t
Ferdinand I of Bulgaria
Ferdinand I, born Ferdinand Maximilian Karl Leopold Maria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was the second monarch of the Third Bulgarian State, firstly as ruling prince from 1887 to 1908, as king from 1908 until his abdication in 1918. He was an author, botanist and philatelist. Ferdinand was born on 26 February 1861 in Vienna, a German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry, he was baptised in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna on 27 February, having as godparents Archduke Maximilian of Austria and his wife Princess Charlotte of Belgium, he grew up in the cosmopolitan environment of Austro-Hungarian high nobility and in their ancestral lands in Hungary and in Germany. The House of Koháry descended from an immensely wealthy Upper Hungarian noble family, who held the princely lands of Čabraď and Sitno in present-day Slovakia, among others; the family's property was augmented by Clémentine of Orléans' remarkable dowry. The son of Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and his wife Clémentine of Orléans, daughter of King Louis Philippe I of the French, Ferdinand was a grandnephew of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and of Leopold I, first king of the Belgians.
His father August was a brother of King Ferdinand II of Portugal, a first cousin to Queen Victoria, her husband Albert, Empress Carlota of Mexico and her brother Leopold II of Belgium. These last two and Carlota, were first cousins of Ferdinand I's through his mother, a princess of Orléans; this made the Belgian siblings his first cousins, as well as his first cousins once removed. Indeed, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha had contrived to occupy, either by marriage or by direct election, several European thrones in the course of the 19th century. Following the family trend, Ferdinand was himself to found the royal dynasty of Bulgaria; the previous ruling prince of Bulgaria, Alexander of Battenberg, had abdicated in 1886 after a pro-Russian coup, only seven years after he had been elected. Ferdinand, an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, was elected Prince of autonomous Bulgaria by its Grand National Assembly on 7 July 1887 in the Gregorian calendar. In desperate attempts to prevent Russian occupation of Bulgaria, the throne had been offered, before Ferdinand's acceptance, to princes from Denmark to the Caucasus and to the King of Romania.
The Russian tsar himself had nominated his aide, Nichols Dadian of Mingrelia, but his candidacy was rejected by the Bulgarians. Ferdinand's accession was greeted with disbelief in many of the royal houses of Europe. Should be stopped at once." To the amazement of his initial detractors, Ferdinand made a success during the first two decades of his reign. Bulgaria's domestic political life was dominated during the early years of Ferdinand's reign by liberal party leader Stefan Stambolov, whose foreign policy saw a marked cooling in relations with Russia seen as Bulgaria's protector. Stambolov's fall and subsequent assassination paved the way for a reconciliation of Bulgaria with Russia, effected in February 1896 with Ferdinand's decision to convert his infant son, Prince Boris, from Roman Catholicism to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. However, this move earned him the animosity of his Catholic Austrian relatives that of his uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. On 5 October 1908, Ferdinand proclaimed Bulgaria's de jure independence from the Ottoman Empire.
He proclaimed Bulgaria a kingdom, assumed the title of tsar—a deliberate nod to the rulers of the earlier Bulgarian states. The Bulgarian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed by him at the Holy Forty Martyrs Church in Tarnovo, was recognized by Turkey and the other European powers. Ferdinand was known for being quite a character. On a visit to German Emperor Wilhelm II, his second cousin once removed, in 1909, Ferdinand was leaning out of a window of the New Palace in Potsdam when the Emperor came up behind him and slapped him on the bottom. Ferdinand was affronted by the gesture but the Kaiser arrogantly refused to apologize. Ferdinand however exacted his revenge by awarding a valuable arms contract he had intended to give to the Krupp's factory in Essen to French arms manufacturer Schneider-Creusot. Another incident occurred on his journey to the funeral of his second cousin, King Edward VII in 1910. A tussle broke out over where his private railway carriage would be positioned in relation to the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
The Archduke won out. Ferdinand's was placed directly behind. Realising the dining car of the train was behind his own carriage, Ferdinand obtained his revenge on the Archduke by refusing him entry through his own carriage to the dining car. On 15 July the same year during a visit to Belgium Ferdinand became the first head of state to fly in an airplane. Like many other rulers before him, Ferdinand desired the creation of a "new Byzantium". In 1912, Ferdinand joined the other Balkan states in an assault on the Ottoman Empire to free occupied territories, he saw this war as a new crusade declaring it, "a just and sacred struggle of the Cross against the Crescent." Bulgaria contributed the most and lost the greatest number of soldiers. The Great Powers insisted on the creation of an independent Albania. Though the Balkan League allies had fought together against the common enemy in the First Balkan War, not enough to o
Hildburghausen is a town in Thuringia in central Germany, capital of the district Hildburghausen. It is situated in the Franconian part of Thuringia south of the Thuringian Forest, in the valley of the Werra river; the town centre is located 20 km northwest of Coburg. The settlement of Hilteburgehusin was first mentioned in a 1234 deed, when the Counts of Henneberg sold it to the Prince-Bishops of Würzburg. Repurchased in 1316, the Henneberg lords vested the citizens with town privileges in 1324 and had city walls erected. In 1353 the estates of Hildburghausen were inherited by the Wettin landgrave Frederick III of Thuringia and upon the 1485 Treaty of Leipzig became part of the Ernestine duchies. In 1528 the Hildburghausen citizens turned Protestant; the town fell to the newly established Duchy of Saxe-Coburg in 1572 and upon the extinction of the line in 1638 passed to the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1680 it became the residence of the Ernestine dukes of Saxe-Hildburghausen until its dissolution in 1826, after which it passed to the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen.
The town became part of the new state of Thuringia in 1920. Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Hildburghausen Princess Louise of Saxe-Hildburghausen Joseph Meyer Marie of Saxe-Altenburg Hans Meyer Ronald Weigel b. 1959 in Hildburghausen Justus Johann Friedrich Dotzauer Media related to Hildburghausen at Wikimedia Commons
Albert, Prince Consort
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the husband of Queen Victoria. He was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, to a family connected to many of Europe's ruling monarchs. At the age of 20, he married Queen Victoria, he felt constrained by his role of prince consort, which did not afford him power or responsibilities. He developed a reputation for supporting public causes, such as educational reform and the abolition of slavery worldwide, was entrusted with running the Queen's household and estates, he was involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851, a resounding success. Victoria came to depend more on his support and guidance, he aided the development of Britain's constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to be less partisan in her dealings with Parliament—although he disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston's tenure as Foreign Secretary. Albert died at the young age of 42. Victoria was so devastated at the loss of her husband that she entered into a deep state of mourning and wore black for the rest of her life.
On her death in 1901, their eldest son succeeded as Edward VII, the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged. Albert was born at Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, the second son of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, his first wife, Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert's future wife, was born earlier in the same year with the assistance of the same midwife, Charlotte von Siebold. Albert was baptised into the Lutheran Evangelical Church on 19 September 1819 in the Marble Hall at Schloss Rosenau with water taken from the local river, the Itz, his godparents were the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1825, Albert's great-uncle, Frederick IV, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, died, his death led to a realignment of Saxon duchies the following year and Albert's father became the first reigning duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Albert and his elder brother, spent their youth in a close companionship marred by their parents' turbulent marriage and eventual separation and divorce.
After their mother was exiled from court in 1824, she married her lover, Alexander von Hanstein, Count of Polzig and Beiersdorf. She never saw her children again, died of cancer at the age of 30 in 1831; the following year, their father married his sons' cousin Princess Marie of Württemberg. The brothers were educated at home by Christoph Florschütz and studied in Brussels, where Adolphe Quetelet was one of their tutors. Like many other German princes, Albert attended the University of Bonn, where he studied law, political economy and the history of art, he played music and excelled at sport fencing and riding. His tutors at Bonn included the poet Schlegel; the idea of marriage between Albert and his cousin, was first documented in an 1821 letter from his paternal grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, who said that he was "the pendant to the pretty cousin". By 1836, this idea had arisen in the mind of their ambitious uncle Leopold, King of the Belgians since 1831. At this time, Victoria was the heir presumptive to the British throne.
Her father, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III, had died when she was a baby, her elderly uncle, King William IV, had no legitimate children. Her mother, the Duchess of Kent, was the sister of both Albert's father—the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—and King Leopold. Leopold arranged for his sister, Victoria's mother, to invite the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his two sons to visit her in May 1836, with the purpose of meeting Victoria. William IV, disapproved of any match with the Coburgs, instead favoured the suit of Prince Alexander, second son of the Prince of Orange. Victoria was well aware of the various matrimonial plans and critically appraised a parade of eligible princes, she wrote, " is handsome. Alexander, on the other hand, she described as "very plain". Victoria wrote to her uncle Leopold to thank him "for the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give me, in the person of dear Albert... He possesses every quality that could be desired to render me happy."
Although the parties did not undertake a formal engagement, both the family and their retainers assumed that the match would take place. Victoria came to the throne aged eighteen on 20 June 1837, her letters of the time show interest in Albert's education for the role he would have to play, although she resisted attempts to rush her into marriage. In the winter of 1838–39, the prince visited Italy, accompanied by the Coburg family's confidential adviser, Baron Stockmar. Albert returned to the United Kingdom with Ernest in October 1839 to visit the Queen, with the objective of settling the marriage. Albert and Victoria felt mutual affection and the Queen proposed to him on 15 October 1839. Victoria's intention to marry was declared formally to the Privy Council on 23 November, the couple married on