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Charles II and James II (1660 - 1688)

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Coloured pigs (part one)

Modern times (part two)

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Departure

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Stone handaxe
THIS small handaxe is one of the most beautiful in the British Museum. It is made from quartz with attractive amethyst banding, a difficult material from which to make tools because it is extremely hard. The toolmaker would have had to hit with considerable force and accuracy to remove flakes. Such a high degree of difficulty makes the thin, symmetrical shape of this piece a masterpiece of the toolmakers’ art.
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Prince Albert
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Prince AlbertFive days after Victoria and Albert met for the second time at Windsor Castle in 1839, the queen proposed. She wrote that she would do everything in her power 'to render the sacrifice he has made (for sacrifice in my opinion it is) as small as I can.'

On their wedding day in 1840, Victoria and Albert promised to keep no secrets from each other. Although a marriage of great contentment on both sides, for Albert the position of prince consort - a title not formally granted until 1857 -proved to be difficult.

Inside Osborn
The Durbar Corridor at Osborne House contains paintings and objects with Indian associations, including portraits of Queen Victoria's Indian servants. From the corridor, guests turned into the Durbar Room, built in 1890- 91 as a state banqueting hall and the first principal room at Osborne to be lit by electricity.

Prince on the rails
Albert was interested in novelty, but prudent too. After the first royal journey by steam train, in 1842 from Windsor to Paddington, the prince is said to have remarked on alighting: 'Not so fast next time, Mr Conductor.'


'It was with some emotion that I beheld Albert-who is so beautiful!
Queen Victoria's journal, after seeing Albert, 10 October 1839


Albert had many admirable and gentlemanly qualities. He rode, shot, fenced and danced. A man of the highest integrity, he was a devoted father who - when deskwork was done - liked nothing better than to play with his children in the palace corridors. His only disappointment was the Prince of Wales, his eldest son, quite unlike him in character and whose behaviour both parents found scandalous.

The peak of Albert's success in Britain was the 1851 Great Exhibition, held inside Joseph Paxton's brilliant Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. Its object - the betterment of mankind - was a theme Albert earnestly approved, and the enormous organization it entailed was carried out under his personal direction.

In 1845, Victoria and Albert bought Balmoral:'a pretty little castle in the Scottish style'. Both loved the simplicity of highland life, despite the initial makeshift living arrangements - until Albert got down to 'improvements'.

But for all he did, Albert remained an outsider, the queen's husband rather than the people's prince. Overwork stressed and over-stretched him. In November 1861 he caught cold at a military inspection. Chill turned to fever, and the queen grew distraught as his condition worsened. Even in illness, the prince struggled with official business, skilfully redrafting a communication to the US government to defuse tense Anglo-US relations during the American Civil War.

Albert died on 14 December. There were stately public memorials, many smaller ones (a stone placed where he shot his last stag at Balmoral) but, in private, the queen was utterly lost. Albert's room became a shrine and her dead husband an iconic presence through the remaining 40 years of a life that would never be the same again.

Six million visitors
The Crystal Palace Great Exhibition of 1851 was the prince's triumph - a celebration of peace and progress through science, trade and industry. Six million people trooped through Joseph Paxton's immense glass building.

Prince Albert


Royal beekeeper
Albert had many interests. Here a cartoonist has fun with the prince consort and his beehives. Queen Victoria (as ever) is by his side.

Prince Albert

Prince albert’s bee-hives

Inside Osborn
The Durbar Corridor at Osborne House contains paintings and objects with Indian associations, including portraits of Queen Victoria's Indian servants. From the corridor, guests turned into the Durbar Room, built in 1890- 91 as a state banqueting hall and the first principal room at Osborne to be lit by electricity.

Prince Albert




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