Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
The 200th birthdays of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is occasion enough for the Upper-Franconian town of Coburg to turn its full attention to the 19th century royal couple.
At the latest, ever since Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha - to this day, the most famous of Coburg’s sons - and the British Queen Victoria got married in 1840, the small principality of Coburg has been well-known throughout the world. Marriages of convenience were commonplace in the highest aristocratic circles of the time - but a real love match like between Victoria and her German cousin Albert, was very rare. The couple had 9 children, which are the reason why Coburg’s roots are to be found in aristocratic circles all over the world even today.
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were, however, much more than a close loving couple. As Queen, Victoria characterised an era that has gone down in history as the “Victorian era”. Albert - thanks to his aristocratic upbringing - highly educated, with a wide range of interests and extremely innovative, was also the closest and most important advisor to the young Queen, who already ascended to the British throne at the age of 18. He designed model farms and thus revolutionised (not only) British agriculture. As the ‘spiritual father’ of social housing, in the 19th century he was already instrumental in the building of affordable homes and significant improving the sanitary conditions for the working class. It was also his idea to hold the first Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London in 1851 and his designs, the Crystal Palace - a huge steel and glass construction build in London’s Hyde Park especially for the occasion, are regarded as architectural masterpieces to this day.
Their common enthusiasm for architecture, design, art, literature and music, together with a pronounced passion for collecting things, laid the foundation for several world-renowned museums and collections we are still familiar with today - for example the Victoria and Albert Museum in the British capital or their country residence, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
When Albert died at the young age of 42, Victoria was deeply devastated, she not only missed her loyal husband, but also the prudent advisor who was able to tell her what to do, as a result she withdrew from the public eye completely. In order to keep his memory alive, in a kind of morbid veneration, she had numerous Albert memorials set up all over the world- the first of them in Coburg - which she also inaugurated in person with her nine children. The statue stands at the centre of the historical market square in Coburg to this day.
In 2019, for the occasion of the 200th birthday of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, a variety of events will take place in Coburg. In addition to numerous exhibitions, lectures and installations, the town in Upper Franconia offers tours with guides in costume as the British Queen. From May, the Coburg state theatre will also focus on the jubilee during the first ever open-air summer festival, with the production of “Robin Hood”, “Shakespeare in Love”, and “Mrs de Winter”, as a dance evening. In August and September, “Albert and Victoria” - the musical” can be seen in the magnificent Hall of Giants in the Ehrenburg Palace, and there is a concert with the Coburg state theatre’s symphonic orchestra together with the London Royal Choral Society, first in the British capital in May and then on 8 July in the St Moriz church in Coburg. You can find the details of the performances at the Coburg state theatre under www.landestheater-coburg.de