Prince Albert: The Man Who Saved the Monarchy (Paperback)
In this companion biography to the acclaimed Victoria, A. N. Wilson offers a deeply textured and ambitious portrait of Prince Albert
For more than six decades, Queen Victoria ruled a great Empire at the height of its power. Beside her for more than twenty of those years was the love of her life, her trusted husband and father of their nine children, Prince Albert. But while Victoria is seen as the embodiment of her time, its values, and its paradoxes, it was Prince Albert, A. N. Wilson expertly argues, who was at the vanguard of Victorian Britain’s transformation as a vibrant and extraordinary center of political, technological, scientific, and intellectual advancement. Far more than just the product of his age, Albert was one of its influencers and architects. A composer, engineer, soldier, politician, linguist, and bibliophile, Prince Albert, more than any other royal, was truly a “genius.” It is impossible to understand nineteenth century England without knowing the story of this gifted visionary leader, Wilson contends.
Albert lived only forty-two years. Yet in that time, he fathered the royal dynasties of Germany, Russia, Spain, and Bulgaria. Through Victoria, Albert and her German advisers pioneered the idea of the modern constitutional monarchy. In this sweeping biography, Wilson demonstrates that there was hardly any aspect of British national life which Albert did not touch. When he was made Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in his late twenties, it was considered as purely an honorific role. But within months, Albert proposed an extensive reorganization of university life in Britain that would eventually be adopted, making it possible to study science, languages, and modern history at British universities—a revolution in education that has changed the world.
Drawn from the Royal archives, including Prince Albert’s voluminous correspondence, this brilliant and ambitious book offers fascinating never-before-known details about the man and his time. A superb match of biographer and subject, Prince Albert, at last, gives this important historical figure the reverence and recognition that is long overdue.
A. N. Wilson grew up in Staffordshire, England, and was educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he holds a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is a prolific and award-winning biographer and celebrated novelist. He lives in North London.
“Was ‘Victorian’ England in fact shaped less by Queen Victoria than by her husband, Prince Albert? This biography makes the case for his underrated genius and lasting influence.” — New York Times Book Review, New and Noteworthy
“A magnificently understanding biography of Victoria’s spouse….Albert led a brief life—dying at age 42—but his impact on his adopted homeland, Great Britain, especially on the functioning of the monarchy, was immense, hence the subtitle of this wise new portrait. That is the thesis Wilson develops, comfortably resting his narrative on two legs: complete thoroughness and joyful buoyancy.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Readers interested in British historyand royals will appreciate this accessible, well-researched study of an admired leader.” — Library Journal
“An engrossing biography that continues the author’s long engagement with the Victorian age….Mr. Wilson makes good use of documents from the period and has consulted experts, particularly on details having to do with Albert’s German background. His most striking contribution, though, is a psychologically astute approach to Victoria and Albert, one that results in a persuasive and humane account of their marriage.” — Wall Street Journal
"For those impassioned by all things Victoriana, A.N. Wilson’s generously detailed biography of the iconic British sovereign’s beloved husband, Albert, brings long-overdue recognition to a complex, brilliant and even tragic figure in history." — Bookreporter.com