|Queen Victoria in 1859|
One immediate and significant result was the severing of the link with Hanover, which did not allow female succession.
Albert: uncrowned king?In February 1840 Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. The engagement had brought into the open the problems of defining the status of the consort of a reigning queen. The precedents were not happy: Philip of Spain, the husband of Mary I, had been deeply unpopular, and George of Denmark, Queen Anne’s husband, had been a nonentity. The queen reluctantly accepted the advice of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, that Albert should not receive the title of King Consort.
It was not until 1857 that he was given the title of Prince Consort.
|Victoria and Albert in 1854|
Faced with the discouraging precedents, Albert had to carve out a role for himself. He proved a highly interventionist consort. Victoria's many pregnancies gave him the opportunity to take on many of her duties, and the two of them worked together at their despatches at adjoining desks. When Peel was struggling for his political life in January 1846, Albert went to the Commons to lend him moral support – retrospectively, a very partisan gesture. He was never popular, and even his key role in the Great Exhibition was controversial.
Had he lived, his political role might have created problems for the monarchy.