In our previous segment on "Kissing cousins...", we described the numerous royal ancestries that trace back to King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark. Now we'll tackle an even more complex family tree...one with a hell of a lot more people...that of Queen Victoria.
Right. In 1840, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, then aged 20, married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, also age 20. He was the son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, whose sister, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was Victoria's mother.
The marriage was a happy, passionate one. The queen and her prince consort had nine children together, and when Albert died of typhus in 1861, Victoria was inconsolable and spent the rest of her long life in mourning.
Children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert -
1. Princess Victoria, The Princess Royal: Victoria and Albert's eldest child, "Vicky" was precocious, highly intelligent, and constantly outshone her younger brother, Bertie. She fulfilled her father's dreams of uniting Britain with Germany when she married Prince Frederick of Prussia, who would later become German Emperor and King of Prussia. Little could she have known in her early days the dramatic, tragic impact her eldest son, Wilhelm II, would have upon modern world history.
2. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII: Known as "Bertie" in his family, he lingered in the shadows of his sister Vicky, who was constantly praised by their parents while Bertie was regarded as a disappointment. Preferring leisure to academics, Bertie's wayward love life infuriated Victoria and Albert. He married the beautiful Princess Alexandra of Denmark and ascended the throne as King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India in 1901.
3. Princess Alice: Sensitive, somber Alice was especially close to her brother Bertie, and proved herself to be the family caretaker when she dutifully comforted Queen Victoria upon her mother's death, and nursing her father with painstaking care through his final illness. She married the handsome Prince Louis of Hesse, who became Grand Duke of Hesse in 1877. Her liberal-mindedness caused a stir both with her mother and within Hesse, though she earned respect for her constant devotion to nursing and charities. Alice died in 1878 from an outbreak of diphteria that had also killed her youngest daughter. Alice's youngest surviving daughter, Alix, would grow up to become the ill-fated Empress Alexandra of Russia.
4. Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha: Prince Alfred began his studies at naval college at the age of 12. When King Otho was deposed as King of Greece in 1862, the Greeks enthusiastically clamored for Alfred to become their next king, but Victoria disliked the notion and the Great Powers had decided that no one from their countries would take the Greek crown. He was created Duke of Edinburgh, and later married Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, daughter of Tsar Alexander II. Though the marriage was unhappy, they had five children; one of them would grow up to become the legendary Queen Marie of Romania. Alfred succeeded his childless uncle, Prince Albert's brother Ernst II, as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893.
5. Princess Helena: Regarded as the most shy and plain of Victoria's daughters, Helena grew up as something of a tomboy and in the shadows of her elder sisters. She married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, an impoverished German prince with whom she had six children. Helena and her husband lived a quiet and comfortable, if not remarkable, life in the vicinity of her mother.
6. Princess Louise: The most beautiful, artistic and vivacious of Victoria's daughters, Louise would certainly have become a renowned sculptor were it not for her royal birth. She has the dual distinction of being the first child of a British monarch to marry a subject of non-royal blood since 1515, and of also being the only child of Queen Victoria to not have children of her own.
7. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught: Arthur enjoyed a long, successful career in the army, lasting 40 years and seeing him advance to the rank of general. Arthur also served as Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. He married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia and became the grandfather of a Danish queen and great-grandfather of the present Swedish king.
8. Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany: Leopold suffered the unfortunate distinction of being the only of her children afflicted with the disease hemophilia, though two of Victoria's daughters would pass the disease onto their own sons and grandsons. Though his fragile condition caused Victoria to keep him as close to home as possible, Leopold lived long enough to marry and produce children of his own- very rare among hemophiliacs of the time. His daughter, Alice, would pass the disease to her own son.
9. Princes Beatrice: From childhood, Victoria was determined to follow the common Victorian era practice where widowed mothers would keep their youngest daughters as their personal companions. Beatrice grew up shy and resigned herself to never marrying so that she could remain at her mother's side. However, she fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg and, despite her mother's initial protests, married him in 1885. In exchange for allowing Beatrice to marry, Victoria forced the couple to live by her side at her numerous residences, and their four children allowed Victoria in her twilight years to become an indulgent grandmother. Beatrice's daughter, Victoria Eugenie, later became the queen of Spain.
So now that we've completed the arduous task of chronicling Victoria and Albert's children, it's time to weave our way through the tangled web of their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
Queen Victoria's grandchildren who became monarchs or consorts to monarchs were:
Wilhelm II (son of Victoria, Princess Royal), Emperor of Germany
George V (son of Edward VII), King of the United Kingdom
Princess Marie of Edinburgh (daughter of Prince Alfred), Queen of Romania
Princess Sophie of Prussia (daughter of Victoria, Princess Royal), Queen of Greece
Princess Maud of Wales (daughter of Edward VII), Queen of Norway
Princess Alix of Hesse (daughter of Princess Alice), Empress of Russia
Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (daughter of Princess Beatrice), Queen of Spain
Queen Victoria's great-grandchildren who became monarchs or consorts to monarchs:
Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom (son of King George V of Britain)
George VI, King of the United Kingdom (son of King George V of Britain)
George II, King of Greece (son of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Alexander, King of Greece (son of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Paul, King of Greece (son of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Olav V, King of Norway (son of Princess Maud of Wales)
Carol II, King of Romania (son of Princess Marie of Edinburgh)
Louise Mountbatten, Queen of Sweden (granddaughter of Princess Alice)
Princess Ingrid of Sweden, Queen of Denmark (granddaughter of Prince Alfred)
Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, Queen of Romania (daughter of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Princess Marie of Romania, Queen of Yugoslavia (daughter of Princess Marie of Edinburgh)
Princess Elisabeth of Romania, Queen of Greece (daughter of Princess Marie of Edinburgh)
Great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria who became monarchs or consorts to monarchs:
Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom (granddaughter of King George V of Britain)
Prince Philip of Greece, Duke of Edinburgh (consort to Elizabeth II) (great-grandson of Princess Alice)
Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark (great-granddaughter of Prince Alfred)
Harald V, King of Norway (grandson of Princess Maud of Wales)
Constantine II, King of Greece (grandson of Princess Sophie of Prussia, also great-grandson of Wilhelm II, German Emperor)
Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, Queen of Greece (great-granddaughter of Prince Alfred)
Juan Carlos, King of Spain (grandson of Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg)
Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, Queen of Spain (granddaughter of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Michael, King of Romania (grandson of Princess Marie of Edinburgh)
Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden (great-grandson of Prince Alfred)
Princess Frederica of Hanover, Queen of Greece (granddaughter of Wilhelm II of Germany)
And there we have it.