Albert, prince consort to Queen Victoria and social and cultural visionary in his own right, defined the culture and direction of nineteenth century Britain—a superpower at the zenith of its influence—more than any other British royal or politician. The role he played in shaping Victorian culture stands today as indisputable proof of the enduring legacy of a man who spent just two decades of his short life in England.
Though overshadowed in history by his adoring wife and at times even mocked by her subjects, it was arguably Albert who gave form and substance to the Victorian Age. From the outset, he strove to win “the respect, the love and the confidence of the Queen and of the nation,” pursuing an extraordinary social and cultural crusade that has become his greatest legacy. From the Great Exhibition and the construction of many of London’s great museums to his social campaigns against slavery and the Corn Laws, Albert’s achievements were truly remarkable—in fact, very few have made such a permanent mark on British society.