William Sterling

Victoria and Albert

Life and Times of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Queen Victoria was our longest reigning monarch (so far). She gave her name to an Age and her family life set the moral standard that is still referred to today as the ideal. Her family called her “more a pocket-sized Hercules than a pocket-sized Venus” and she had enormous energy for one so frail. Her marriage was a true love match and her widowhood from 42 a national tragedy. She was later derided as the “Widow of Windsor” or even (as in film) “Mrs Brown.” Prince Albert was probably the most brilliant member of the royal family since Elizabeth I. His greatest project, the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, was as troubled as our own Millennium Dome but ended up as a magnificent triumph. If only History could have repeated itself.  Albert was an accomplished musician and I played recordings of several of his works in the session.  I also played music by other composers of the time escpecially the Mendelssohns.  Fekix visited Victoria and Albert and the queen consented to sing some of his songs with him and pronounced her favourite to be one which was in fact by Fanny but had been published under Felix’s name.  The first recorded occasion that Mendelssohn’s Wedding March was used for a wedding was the marriage of the Princess Royal in 1858.  I also illustraed the course with a selection of slides from  my own collection, especially using ones from the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

She gave her name to an Age, he gave us a cultural heritage to be proud of.

I ran this workshop at Crayford Manor (Bexley College) November 1998 as the first in a series on the Kings and Queens of England.  I repeated it at the City Lit on 9 February 2014.

Some of the resources I used are below



Journal extracts

1 Visit as a child to Chatsworth and surroundings chatsworth

2 Record of her coronation in 1838 coronation journal entry

3 Reflections on the Great Exhibition, the Crimean War and Florence Nightingale Great Exhibition


children and grandchildren