Queen Victoria, the nagging wife: Prince Albert's revealing letters

Queen Victoria, the nagging wife: Prince Albert’s revealing letters tell how the ‘selfish’ Queen ‘lost control’ and followed him ‘from room to room’ as bust-up escalated

  • Letters meticulously recorded Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s marital spats
  • The letters are barely legible, showing how agitated he was when he wrote them
  • Most of the letters were written between 1841 and 1861, with many in German
  • They were destroyed by Princess Beatrice but some had been photographed 

They were a royal love match known for their passion and devotion.

So it’s rather comforting to know that even Queen Victoria and her beloved Prince Albert were not immune from the odd marital spat.

Their rows were meticulously recorded by Albert and are among 22,000 papers and photos relating to his life and legacy made available online for the first time. 

In one letter, in his native German, Albert angrily chides feisty Victoria that she has again ‘lost her self-control’ and revealed how she followed him ‘from room to room’ rowing and refusing to back down.

He says: ‘You have again lost your self-control quite unnecessarily. I did not say a word which could wound you and I did not begin the conversation, but you have followed me about and continued it from room to room.

‘There is no need for me to promise to trust you for it was not a question of trust, but of your fidgety nature, which makes you insist on entering, with feverish eagerness, into details about orders and wishes which, in the case of a Queen, are commands to whomever they may be given.’

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s rows were meticulously recorded by Albert and are among 22,000 papers and photos relating to his life and legacy made available online for the first time

He adds angrily: ‘I do my duty towards you even though it means that life is embittered by “scenes” when it should be governed by love and harmony.

‘I look upon this with patience as a test which has to be undergone, but you hurt me desperately and at the same time do not help yourself.’ 

Experts from the Royal Collection Trust say Albert was a meticulously chronicler, who took pride in his neat and methodical writings. 

But many of these letters – largely written between 1841 and 1861 – to his passionate wife were barely legible, showing how agitated he was when he wrote them.

In the aftermath of marital rows, Albert often communicated his hurt and frustration through scribbled notes to his wife in German. 

Many of these letters – largely written between 1841 and 1861 – to his passionate wife were barely legible, showing how agitated he was when he wrote them

These were later destroyed by their youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, though not before an unknown person made photographic copies for the Royal Archives. 

In one, Albert scolds Victoria for her selfishness.

He writes: ‘We cannot, unhappily, bear your bodily sufferings for you – you must struggle with them alone. The moral ones are probably caused by them, but if you were rather less occupied with yourself (if that is possible) and your feelings (if that is possible) and took more interest in the outside world you would find that the greatest help of all.’

Albert even lectures Victoria – who bore him nine children during their 21-year marriage – about motherhood and says it is a ‘shame’ she does not relax and enjoy their company more.

‘It is indeed a pity that you find no consolation in the company of your children,’ he says.

‘The root of the difficulty lies in the mistaken notion that the function of a mother is to be always correcting, scolding, ordering them about and organising their activities… 

‘It is not possible to be on happy, friendly terms with people you have just been scolding, for it upsets scolder and scolded alike.’

The couple, who were first cousins, were both born in 1819, but Albert died aged 42 after suffering typhoid fever while Victoria, who went into deep mourning, survived until 1901 when she died aged 81. 

Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy can be found at albert.rct.uk

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