Prince Albert deliberately kept mother-of-nine Queen Victoria pregnant so he could be ‘king in all but name‘ says historian Lucy Worsley
He is known for his innovation in science, art and industry in the UK.
But Prince Albert should have been ‘fulfilling the more traditional role‘ of single-mindedly supporting his spouse which he failed to do, historian Lucy Worsley has claimed.
A determined Albert ‘kept those babies coming‘ which, she said, allowed him to pursue an ambition of becoming ‘king in all but name‘.
She explained that while Victoria was busy having children he was able to take over some of her duties, consequently taking on some of her power.
Speaking at the Hay Festival she said: ‘By child seven, Victoria realised that was enough. But Albert kept those babies coming.
‘And that‘s because he could see that while she was busy with that, he could get on with making himself king in all but name.
‘Taking over some of her duties, taking over some of her power.
‘I sense that some of you are thinking ‘No, I just don‘t believe this. Albert is a great man. He‘s brilliant, he‘s a polymath, he organised the Great Exhibition, he supported science and art and industry‘.
‘Well that is true, but I don‘t think he should necessarily have been doing those things.
‘I think he should have been fulfilling the more traditional role of a Queen or a princess in this relationship, which was single-mindedly to support his spouse, which he didn‘t do.‘
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Miss Worsley suggested to a packed audience of 1,700 people that history is too kind to Prince Albert.
The truth, she said, is that he was a man who lacked emotional intelligence and manipulated Victoria for his own ends.
Miss Worsley, who has recently written the book Queen Victoria: Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow, said that to be fair to Albert, men in the 19th century were expected to be boss.
She added: ‘I think Albert gets a good press from historians most of the time. Partly because he had a lot of the personal qualities that historians themselves admire.
‘He was really interested in filing systems. He was a thinker, not a feeler. He definitely had a massive IQ.
‘But today, in our leaders, I think we value something a bit different to that, we value emotional intelligence. That, I think Victoria had, and he didn‘t.‘
Miss Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces and a familiar face and voice on TV and radio, said that Victoria had nine children in quick succession and often suffered symptoms that would today be diagnosed as postnatal depression.
During the talk Miss Worsley was asked by an audience member how she thought Victoria would deal with the current Prime Minister and react to Brexit.
She responded: ‘She was very European in her outlook. She would deal with it by identifying all the heads of state in the European Union and marrying her children to them.‘