Wedding dress of Queen Victoria
The wedding dress of Queen Victoria was worn by Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, at her wedding to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on 10 February 1840. She selected a white dress, considered an unusual choice at a time when colours were more usual, made from heavy silk satin; the Honiton lace used for her wedding dress proved an important boost to Devon lace-making. Queen Victoria has been credited with starting the tradition of white weddings and white bridal gowns, although she was not the first royal to be married in white; the lace was designed by William Dyce, head of the Government School of Design, mounted on a white satin dress made by Mary Bettans. The plain, cream-coloured satin gown was made from fabric woven in Spitalfields, east London, trimmed with a deep flounce and trimmings of lace hand-made in Honiton and Beer, in Devon; this demonstrated support for English industry the cottage industry for lace. The handmade lace motifs were appliquéd onto cotton machine-made net.
Orange flower blossoms, a symbol of fertility trimmed the dress and made up a wreath, which Victoria wore instead of a tiara over her veil. The veil, which matched the flounce of the dress, was four yards in length and 0.75 yards wide. Victoria's jewellery consisted of a necklace and earrings made up of diamonds presented to her by the Sultan of Turkey, a sapphire cluster brooch given to her by Albert a day earlier; the slippers she wore matched the white colour of the dress. The train of the dress, carried by her bridesmaids, measured 18 feet in length. Queen Victoria described her choice of dress in her journal thus: "I wore a white satin dress, with a deep flounce of Honiton lace, an imitation of an old design. My jewels were my Turkish diamond necklace & earrings & dear Albert's beautiful sapphire brooch." While photography existed in 1840, the techniques were not yet developed. A series of photographs taken by Roger Fenton on 11 May 1854 of Victoria and Albert are described as wedding or reenactment photographs, with the dress identified as her wedding dress.
The Royal Collection has refuted these interpretations, stating that the images are the first photographs to show Victoria as a queen, rather than as a wife or mother, that she and Albert are wearing court dress. In 1847, Victoria commissioned Franz Xaver Winterhalter to paint a portrait of her wearing her wedding clothes as an anniversary present for Prince Albert; the portrait was copied as an enamel miniature by John Haslem. Victoria revisited the lace-makers to create the christening gown worn by her children, including Albert Edward, the future Edward VII; this gown was worn for the christening of all subsequent Royal babies until the baptism of James, Viscount Severn in 2008, when a replica was used for the first time. As a mark of support for the Honiton industry, in addition to wearing their lace on her and her children's clothes, Victoria insisted her daughters order Honiton lace for their wedding dresses. Victoria wore her wedding lace mounted on the dresses she wore to the christenings of her nine children.
She wore it to the weddings of two of her children, her eldest daughter, Victoria, in 1858, her youngest son, Leopold, in 1882. Her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, was permitted to wear it as part of her wedding gown in 1885. Victoria wore the lace to the wedding of her grandson George to Mary of Teck in 1893, for her Diamond Jubilee official photograph in 1897; when Victoria died, she was buried with her wedding veil over her face. In 2012 it was reported that while the dress itself had been conserved and displayed at Kensington Palace that year, the lace was now too fragile to move from storage. Wearing white was adopted by wealthy, fashionable brides. Less than a decade Godey's Lady's Book would incorrectly claim that white wedding gowns were an ancient custom reflecting a bride's virginity, writing "Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material, it is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one" though white had been a distinctly uncommon choice for bridal gowns before Victoria's wedding and was not chosen by a majority of brides until decades later.
Following the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, comparisons were drawn between the bride's white wedding dress and Queen Victoria's own. BBC audio slideshow featuring her wedding dress
Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll
Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, was the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In her public life, she was a strong proponent of the arts and higher education and of the feminist cause, her early life was spent moving among the various royal residences in the company of her family. When her father, the prince consort, died on 14 December 1861, the court went into a long period of mourning, to which with time Louise became unsympathetic. Louise was an able sculptor and artist, several of her sculptures remain today, she was a supporter of the feminist movement, corresponding with Josephine Butler, visiting Elizabeth Garrett. Before her marriage, from 1866 to 1871, Louise served as an unofficial secretary to her mother, the Queen; the question of Louise's marriage was discussed in the late 1860s. Suitors from the royal houses of Prussia and Denmark were suggested, but Victoria did not want her to marry a foreign prince, therefore suggested a high-ranking member of the British aristocracy.
Despite opposition from members of the royal family, Louise fell in love with John, Marquess of Lorne, the heir of the Duke of Argyll. Victoria consented to the marriage, which took place on 21 March 1871. Despite a happy beginning, the two drifted apart because of their childlessness and the queen's constraints on their activities. In 1878, Lorne was appointed Governor General of Canada, a post he held 1878–1884. Louise was viceregal consort, her names were used to name many features in Canada. Following Victoria's death in 1901, Louise entered the social circle established by her brother, the new king, Edward VII. Louise's marriage survived thanks to long periods of separation. After the end of the First World War in 1918, at the age of 70, she began to retire from public life, undertaking few public duties outside Kensington Palace, where she died at the age of 91. Louise was born on 18 March 1848 at London, she was the fourth daughter and sixth child of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria, her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Her birth coincided with revolutions which swept across Europe, prompting the queen to remark that Louise would turn out to be "something peculiar". The queen's labour with Louise was the first to be aided with chloroform. Albert and Victoria chose the names Louisa Caroline Alberta, she was baptized on 13 May 1848 in Buckingham Palace's private chapel by John Bird Sumner, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Though she was christened Louisa at the service, she was invariably known as Louise throughout her life, her godparents were Duke Gustav of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. During the ceremony, the Duchess of Gloucester, one of the few children of King George III, still alive, forgot where she was, got up in the middle of the service and knelt at the queen's feet, much to the queen's horror. Like her siblings, Louise was brought up with the strict programme of education devised by her father, Prince Albert, his friend and confidant, Baron Stockmar; the young children were taught practical tasks, such as cooking, household tasks and carpentry.
From her early years, Louise was a talented and intelligent child, her artistic talents were recognised. On his visit to Osborne House in 1863, Hallam Tennyson, the son of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, remarked that Louise could "draw beautifully"; because of her royal rank, an artistic career was not considered. However, the queen first allowed her to attend art school under the tutelage of the sculptor Mary Thornycroft, allowed her to study at the National Art Training School, now The Royal College of Art. South Kensington. Louise became an able dancer, Victoria wrote, after a dance, that Louise "danced the sword dance with more verve and accuracy than any of her sisters", her wit and intelligence made her a favourite with her father, with her inquisitive nature earning her the nickname "Little Miss Why" from other members of the royal family. Louise's father, Prince Albert, died at Windsor on 14 December 1861; the queen was devastated, ordered her household to move from Windsor to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
The atmosphere of the royal court became gloomy and morbid in the wake of the prince's death, entertainments became dry and dull. Louise became dissatisfied with her mother's prolonged mourning. For her seventeenth birthday in 1865, Louise requested the ballroom to be opened for a debutante dance, the like of which had not been performed since Prince Albert's death, her request was refused, her boredom with the mundane routine of travelling between the different royal residences at set times irritated her mother, who considered Louise to be indiscreet and argumentative. The queen comforted herself by rigidly continuing with Prince Albert's plans for their children. Princess Alice was married to Prince Louis, the future Grand Duke of Hesse, at Osborne on 1 June 1862. In 1863, the Prince of Wales, married Princess Alexandra of Denmark; the queen made it a tradition that the eldest unmarried daughter would become her unofficial secretary, a position which Louise filled in 1866, despite the queen's concern that she was indiscreet.
Louise, proved to be good at the job: Victoria wrote shortly afterwards: "She is a clever de
Clock Tower, Brighton
The Clock Tower is a free-standing clock tower in the centre of Brighton, part of the English city of Brighton and Hove. Built in 1888 in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, the distinctive structure included innovative structural features and became a landmark in the popular and fashionable seaside resort; the city's residents "retain a nostalgic affection" for it though opinion is divided as to the tower's architectural merit. English Heritage has listed the clock tower at Grade II for its architectural and historical importance; the small fishing village of Brighthelmston was transformed into a fashionable seaside resort and thriving commercial centre after local doctor Richard Russell's treatise explaining the health-giving effects of drinking and bathing in seawater became a fad in the late 18th century. Royal patronage ensued—the Prince Regent moved into a farmhouse which became the lavish Royal Pavilion—and speculative residential and commercial development, encouraged by transport improvements, attracted large numbers of day-trippers and new residents throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
By the 1780s, North Street had become established as an important shopping street, its status as the commercial heart of Brighton grew over the next century. It first developed as a route in the 14th century, when it formed the medieval village's northern boundary, ran from west to east from the end of the main route from London towards the Royal Pavilion and the seafront. West Street, the ancient western boundary of the settlement, ran southwards towards the beach and seafront; the western section of North Street was renamed Western Road in the 1830s to match the rest of that road, built as an access route to the high-class Brunswick Town estate but became the town's main shopping street by the 1860s. The roads were widened in the second half of the 19th century, by 1880 the junction of North Street, Western Road, West Street and Queen's Road was a major landmark with a small, old waiting shelter in the middle; the site was ideal for redevelopment, in 1881 a competition was held for a replacement building.
Architects Henry Branch and Thomas Simpson were recorded as the winners, but their plans were never executed and the site stood vacant until 1888. Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1887, many towns built Jubilee clock towers to commemorate the occasion. A local advertising contractor, James Willing, decided to commission one for Brighton, he donated £2,000. The town organised an architectural competition, won by a London-based architect, John Johnson; the tower was completed at the start of 1888 and was unveiled on 20 January 1888 on Willing's 70th birthday. Local inventor Magnus Volk—responsible for Britain's oldest surviving electric railway, an eccentric sea-based railway line, a pioneering electric car and Brighton's first telephone link—designed a time ball for the clock tower soon after it opened; the hydraulically operated copper sphere moved up and down a 16-foot metal mast every hour, based on electrical signals transmitted from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. The feature was disabled after a few years.
The tower was the focal point of several bursts of anti-Victorian sentiment in Brighton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The tower is acknowledged as one of Brighton's main landmarks, it has been described as "the hub of modern Brighton"; the "nostalgic affection" felt by the city's population towards the structure, the difficulty of demolishing or removing it without great expense, have ensured its survival despite demands for its destruction. Criticism by architectural historians has sometimes been intense, although others have praised the tower. Nikolaus Pevsner and Ian Nairn dismissed it as "worthless", it has been likened to "a giant salt-cellar"; the Clock Tower was listed at Grade II by English Heritage on 26 August 1999. This status is given to "nationally important buildings of special interest"; as of February 2001, it was one of 1,124 Grade II-listed buildings and structures, 1,218 listed buildings of all grades, in the city of Brighton and Hove. The Clock Tower is a Classical-style structure with Baroque touches.
It rises to 75 feet, the mast for Volk's time ball adds a further 16 feet. The four clock faces have a diameter of 5 feet. James Willing and 1887 are inscribed on the clock faces; the square base is of pink granite. On each side, the tapering columns rise part way up the shaft and are topped by pediments with open bases, below, elaborately carved scrollwork and a protuberance designed to resemble the gunwale of a ship. Incised lettering on each ship indicates where they are pointing: clockwise from north, they show to the station, to kemp town, to the sea and to hove. Below these, each side has an arched recess containing a medallion-style mosaic portrait of a member of the Royal F
The Frogmore Estate or Gardens comprise 33 acres of private gardens within the Home Park, adjoining Windsor Castle, in the English county of Berkshire. It is the location of Frogmore House, a royal retreat, Frogmore Cottage; the name derives from the preponderance of frogs which have always lived in this low-lying and marshy area near the River Thames. This area is part of the local flood plain, it is the site of three burial places of the British Royal Family: the Royal Mausoleum containing the tombs of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The gardens are Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Frogmore House was built in the 1680s and purchased by George III as a country retreat for Queen Charlotte in 1792, she employed the architect James Wyatt to expand Frogmore House for her. In 1900 Earl Mountbatten of Burma was born there. On the estate near the House is Frogmore Cottage; this mausoleum within the Frogmore Gardens is the burial place of Queen Victoria's mother, Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, the Duchess of Kent.
The Mausoleum was designed by the architect A J Humbert, to a concept design by Prince Albert's favourite artist, Professor Ludwig Gruner. In the latter years of her life, the Duchess lived in Frogmore House and in the 1850s, construction began on a beautiful domed'temple' in the grounds of the estate; the top portion of the finished building was intended to serve as a summer-house for the Duchess during her lifetime, while the lower level was destined as her final resting place. The Duchess died at Frogmore House on 16 March 1861 before the summer-house was completed so the upper chamber became part of the mausoleum and now contains a statue of the Duchess; the second mausoleum in the grounds of Frogmore, just a short distance from the Duchess of Kent's Mausoleum is the much larger Royal Mausoleum, the burial place of Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert. Queen Victoria and her husband had long intended to construct a special resting place for them both, instead of the two of them being buried in one of the traditional resting places of British Royalty, such as Westminster Abbey or St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
The mausoleum for the Queen's mother was being constructed at Frogmore in 1861 when Prince Albert died in December of the same year. Within a few days of his death, proposals for the mausoleum were being drawn up by the same designers involved in the Duchess of Kent's Mausoleum: Professor Gruner and A J Humbert. Work commenced in March 1862; the dome was made by October and the building was consecrated in December 1862, although the decoration was not finished until August 1871. The building is in the form of a Greek cross; the exterior was inspired by Italian Romanesque buildings, the walls are of granite and Portland stone and the roof is covered with Australian copper. The interior decoration is in the style of Albert's favourite painter, Raphael, an example of Victoriana at its most opulent; the interior walls are predominantly in Portuguese red marble, a gift from King Luis I of Portugal, a cousin of both Victoria and Albert, are inlaid with other marbles from around the World. The monumental tomb itself was designed by Baron Carlo Marochetti.
It features recumbent marble effigies of the Prince Albert. The sarcophagus was made from a single piece of flawless grey Aberdeen granite; the Queen's effigy was made at the same time, but was not put in the mausoleum until after her funeral. Only Victoria and Albert are interred there. Among those is a monument to Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse-Darmstadt, Victoria's second daughter, who died of diphtheria shortly after her youngest daughter May. In the centre of the chapel is a monument to Edward, Duke of Kent, Victoria's father, he is buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor. One of the sculptures is of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in Saxon Dress, commissioned after Prince Albert's death and executed by William Theed, it was unveiled on 20 May 1867 in Windsor Castle, was moved to the Royal Mausoleum in 1938. The plaster model, exhibited in 1868 at the Royal Academy of Arts, is on loan from the Royal Collection to the National Portrait Gallery, London; the official guidebook includes an image of the sculpture, mentions that the Queen recorded in her diary that the idea for it came from Victoria, Princess Royal and that the inscription on the plinth is a quotation from The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith.
The inscription on the plinth alludes to the poet's lament for the passing of the imagined village of'Sweet Auburn'. The building is structurally unsound with the foundations having become waterlogged and the lower elements of the building beginning to disintegrate with paint and plaster peeling off the walls, it has been closed to the public since 2007. As of 2011, it was unknown. In February 2018, the Royal Household announced it was undertaking work on the mausoleum - drying it out - in order to be able reopen it to the public. Work commenced in June 2018, with a deep trench being dug out around the building to create a dry moat to allow the stonework to begin drying out. With the long dry Summer that occurred in 2018, this will have benefitted that process; the leaking roof and windows will be repaired/replaced before the internal restoration can commence. Since its inauguration in 1928, most members of the royal family, except for Kings and Queens, have been interred in the Royal Burial Ground, a cemetery behind Queen Victoria's mausoleum.
Princess Helena of the United Kingdom
Princess Helena of the United Kingdom was the third daughter and fifth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Helena was educated by private tutors chosen by her father and his close friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar, her childhood was spent with her parents, travelling between a variety of royal residences in Britain. The intimate atmosphere of the royal court came to an end on 14 December 1861, when her father died and her mother entered a period of intense mourning. Afterwards, in the early 1860s, Helena began a flirtation with Prince Albert's German librarian, Carl Ruland. Although the nature of the relationship is unknown, Helena's romantic letters to Ruland survive. After the Queen found out in 1863, she dismissed Ruland. Three years on 5 July 1866, Helena married the impoverished Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein; the couple remained in Britain, in calling distance of the Queen, who liked to have her daughters nearby. Helena, along with her youngest sister, Princess Beatrice, became the Queen's unofficial secretaries.
However, after Queen Victoria's death on 22 January 1901, Helena saw little of her surviving siblings, including King Edward VII. Helena was the most active member of the royal family, carrying out an extensive programme of royal engagements, she was an active patron of charities, was one of the founding members of the British Red Cross. She was founding president of the Royal School of Needlework, president of the Workhouse Infirmary Nursing Association and the Royal British Nurses' Association; as president of the latter, she was a strong supporter of nurse registration against the advice of Florence Nightingale. In 1916 she became the first member of her family to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary, but her husband died a year later. Helena outlived him by six years, died aged 77 at Schomberg House on 9 June 1923. Helena was born at Buckingham Palace, the official royal residence in London, on 25 May 1846, the day after her mother's 27th birthday, she was the third daughter and fifth child of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria, her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Albert reported to his brother, Ernest II, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, that Helena "came into this world quite blue, but she is quite well now". He added that the Queen "suffered longer and more than the other times and she will have to remain quiet to recover." Albert and Victoria chose the names Helena Augusta Victoria. The German nickname for Helena was Helenchen shortened to Lenchen, the name by which members of the royal family invariably referred to Helena; as the daughter of the sovereign, Helena was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Helena from birth. Helena was baptised on 25 July 1846 at the private chapel at Buckingham Palace, her godparents were the Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Helena was a lively and outspoken child, reacted against brotherly teasing by punching the bully on the nose, her early talents included drawing. Lady Augusta Stanley, a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, commented favourably on the three-year-old Helena's artwork. Like her sisters, she could play the piano to a high standard at an early age.
Other interests included science and technology, shared by her father Prince Albert, horseback riding and boating, two of her favourite childhood occupations. However, Helena became a middle daughter following the birth of Princess Louise in 1848, her abilities were overshadowed by her more artistic sisters. Helena's father, Prince Albert, died on 14 December 1861; the Queen was devastated, ordered her household, along with her daughters, to move from Windsor to Osborne House, the Queen's Isle of Wight residence. Helena's grief was profound, she wrote to a friend a month later: "What we have lost nothing can replace, our grief is most, most bitter... I adored Papa, I loved him more than anything on earth, his word was a most sacred law, he was my help and adviser... These hours were the happiest of my life, now it is all, all over."The Queen relied on her second eldest daughter Princess Alice as an unofficial secretary, but Alice needed an assistant of her own. Though Helena was the next eldest, she was considered unreliable by Victoria because of her inability to go long without bursting into tears.
Therefore, Louise was selected to assume the role in her place. Alice was married to Prince Louis of Hesse in 1862, after which Helena assumed the role—described as the "crutch" of her mother's old age by one biographer—at her mother's side. In this role, she carried out minor secretarial tasks, such as writing the Queen's letters, helping her with political correspondence, providing her with company. Princess Helena began an early flirtation with her father's former librarian, Carl Ruland, following his appointment to the Royal Household on the recommendation of Baron Stockmar in 1859, he was trusted enough to teach German to Helena's brother, the young Prince of Wales, was described by the Queen as "useful and able". When the Queen discovered that Helena had grown romantically attached to a royal servant, he was promptly dismissed back to his native Germany, he never lost the Queen's hostility. Following Ruland's departure in 1863, the Queen looked for a husband for Helena. However, as a middle child, the prospect of a powerful alliance with a European royal house was low.
Her appearance was a concern, as by the age of fifteen she was described by her biographer as chunky and double-chinned. Furthermore, Victoria insisted that Helena's future hu
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper issued by a post office, postal administration, or other authorized vendors to customers who pay postage, who affix the stamp to the face or address-side of any item of mail—an envelope or other postal cover —that they wish to send. The item is processed by the postal system, where a postmark or cancellation mark—in modern usage indicating date and point of origin of mailing—is applied to the stamp and its left and right sides to prevent its reuse; the item is delivered to its addressee. Always featuring the name of the issuing nation, a denomination of its value, an illustration of persons, institutions, or natural realities that symbolize the nation's traditions and values, every stamp is printed on a piece of rectangular, but sometimes triangular or otherwise shaped special custom-made paper whose back is either glazed with an adhesive gum or self-adhesive; because governments issue stamps of different denominations in unequal numbers and discontinue some lines and introduce others, because of their illustrations and association with the social and political realities of the time of their issue, they are prized for their beauty and historical significance by stamp collectors whose study of their history and of mailing systems is called philately.
Because collectors buy stamps from an issuing agency with no intention to use them for postage, the revenues from such purchases and payments of postage can make them a source of net profit to that agency. Throughout modern history, numerous methods were used to indicate that postage had been paid on a mailed item, so several different men have received credit for inventing the postage stamp. William DockwraIn 1680, William Dockwra, an English merchant in London, his partner Robert Murray established the London Penny Post, a mail system that delivered letters and small parcels inside the city of London for the sum of one penny. Confirmation of paid postage was indicated by the use of a hand stamp to frank the mailed item. Though this'stamp' was applied to the letter or parcel itself, rather than to a separate piece of paper, it is considered by many historians to be the world's first postage stamp. Lovrenc KoširIn 1835, the Slovene civil servant Lovrenc Košir from Ljubljana in Austria-Hungary, suggested the use of "artificially affixed postal tax stamps" using "gepresste papieroblate", but although civil bureaucrats considered the suggestion in detail, it was not adopted.
Rowland HillIn 1836, a Member of Parliament, Robert Wallace, gave Sir Rowland Hill numerous books and documents about the postal service, which Hill described as a "half hundred weight of material". After a detailed study, on 4 January 1837 Hill submitted a pamphlet entitled Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicability, marked "private and confidential," and not released to the general public, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Thomas Spring Rice; the Chancellor summoned Hill to a meeting at which he suggested improvements and changes to be presented in a supplement, which Hill duly produced and submitted on 28 January 1837. Summoned to give evidence before the Commission for Post Office Enquiry on 13 February 1837, Hill read from the letter he wrote to the Chancellor that included a statement saying that the notation of paid postage could be created "...by using a bit of paper just large enough to bear the stamp, covered at the back with a glutinous wash...". This would become the first unambiguous description of a modern adhesive postage stamp.
Shortly afterward, Hill's revision of the booklet, dated 22 February 1837, containing some 28,000 words, incorporating the supplement given to the Chancellor and statements he made to the Commission, was published and made available to the general public. Hansard records that on 15 December 1837, Benjamin Hawes asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer "whether it was the intention of the Government to give effect to the recommendation of the Commissioners of the Post-office, contained in their ninth report relating to the reduction of the rates of postage, the issuing of penny stamps?"Hill’s ideas for postage stamps and charging paid-postage based on weight soon took hold, were adopted in many countries throughout the world. With the new policy of charging by weight, using envelopes for mailing documents became the norm. Hill’s brother Edwin invented a prototype envelope-making machine that folded paper into envelopes enough to match the pace of the growing demand for postage stamps. Rowland Hill and the reforms he introduced to the United Kingdom postal system appear on several of its commemorative stamps.
James ChalmersIn the 1881 book The Penny Postage Scheme of 1837, Scotsman Patrick Chalmers claimed that his father, James Chalmers, published an essay in August 1834 describing and advocating a postage stamp, but submitted no evidence of the essay's existence. Until he died in 1891, Patrick Chalmers campaigned to have his father recognized as the inventor of the postage stamp; the first independent evidence for Chalmers' claim is an essay, dated 8 February 1838 and received by the Post Office on 17 February 1838, in which he proposed adhesive postage stamps to the General Post Office. In this 800-word document concerning methods of indicating that postage had been paid on mail he states: "Therefore, of Mr Hill’s plan of a uniform rate of postage... I conceive that the most simple and economical mode... would be by Slips... in the hope that Mr Hill’s plan may soon be carried into operation I would sugg
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