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RA VIC/MAIN/Z/296/24

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Letter from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria written during their engagement, 15 November 1839

RA VIC/MAIN/Z/296/24 (view an extract from the document)

The future Queen Victoria first met her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, when he travelled to England in May 1836, and confided in her Journal that she thought him ‘extremely handsome'.

Sir William Ross (1794-1860), Prince Albert (1819-1861), 1839, RCIN 420268 ©

Sir William Ross (1794-1860), Queen Victoria (1819-1901), 1839, RCIN 420260 ©

When the Prince visited England again in autumn 1839 the couple's feelings developed, and on 15 October, Queen Victoria told Albert ‘that it would make me too happy if he would consent to what I wanted (that he should marry me)'.

Prince Albert had to return to Coburg to settle his affairs before their wedding on 10 February 1840, so the couple were apart for much of their engagement, but they exchanged letters, including this example, written in the Prince's native German during his return journey to Coburg.

The letter reads:

Dearest deeply loved Victoria.

According to your wish, and by the urging of my heart to talk to you and open my heart to you, I send these lines. We arrived safely at Calais, and Lord Alfred [Paget] is to re-cross in a ¼ of an hour, and will arrive at Windsor early tomorrow. The state of the tide and strong wind forced us to start at 2.30 in the morning, and we reached here at about 6 o’clock. Even then the Firebrand could not approach the quay, so that we decided to go ashore in a smaller boat. We both, Schenk, and all the servants were fearfully ill; I have hardly recovered yet.

I need not tell you that since we left, all my thoughts have been with you at Windsor, and that your image fills my whole soul. Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth. How that moment shines for me still when I was close to you, with your hand in mine. Those days flew by so quickly, but our separation will fly equally so.

Ernest wishes me to say a thousand nice things to you.

With promises of unchanging love and devotion

Your ever true

Albert.

My best respects to dear Aunt and B[aroness] Lehzen