Prince Albert was born in Schloss Rosenau, Coburg, Germany and was the second son of Ernest Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. His parentís marriage was turbulent and in 1824 they separated. His mother Louise was exiled from court and married her lover Alexander von Hanstein. She never saw her children again and died of cancer in 1831. His father, who became Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was the brother of Victoriaís mother, Duchess of Kent, and of Leopold, King of the Belgians.
Albert and his elder brother Ernest were educated privately and Albert later studied in Brussels and law, philosophy and art history at the University of Bonn. His uncle Leopold arranged for Albert to visit his cousin Victoria in England in May 1836, during which he made a favourable impression on her. Victoria became Queen in 1837 on the death of her uncle William IV but she did not want to rush into marriage. She and Albert wrote to each other while he travelled to Italy. Albert and Ernest visited England again in 1839 and Victoria proposed to Albert. They were married in February 1840.
Albert as a German was initially unpopular. He was not granted a British Dukedom and was titled HRH Prince Albert. Victoria had been dominated by her mother and her household was run by her former governess Baroness Lehzen. Albertís position as her husband and Consort but without direct power was a difficult one. In June 1840 while they were out riding in their carriage Albert and Victoria, who was pregnant with their first child, were shot at by a deranged individual. Albertís courage during the attack was publically praised. After the death in 1848 of Lord Melbourne, who had exerted a strong paternal influence over the young queen, Albert's political influence over his wife increased. He encouraged her to take a more constitutional role as monarch and leave the rule of Parliament to her ministers. Albert took a keen interest in social the arts, science, trade and industry, and planned and managed the Great Exhibition in 1851 to celebrate the great advances of the age and empire. The profits of this successful exhibition enabled the building in London of the Royal Albert Hall and the museums in South Kensington.
Albert and Victoria had nine children who also survived infancy and married into the other royal houses of Europe. They purchased Osborne House on the Isle of Wight as residence for their growing family. When Albert died suddenly of typhoid on December 14, 1861, Victoria was devastated by grief and remained in mourning until the end of her life. She commissioned several monuments in his honour including the Royal Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens (Royal family history: www.britroyals.com)