Empress Eugenie on a prie-Dieu by Gustave Le Gray, 1856 via
Queen Victoria first met her German cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1836, and they became engaged during his second visit to England in 1839. Their wedding ceremony took place on 10 February 1840 at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.
Queen Victoria chose to marry Prince Albert in a white silk satin gown featuring Honiton lace, an unusual color choice for bridal gowns at the time; she started the white wedding gown tradition that remains today. On her wedding morning, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal:
Dressed….I wore a white satin gown with a very deep flounce of Honiton, imitation of old. I wore my Turkish diamond necklace and earrings, and Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch.
She also wore a wreath of orange blossoms (symbolising purity) and myrtle (symbolising love and domestic happiness), and these became the most common flowers carried and worn in Victorian weddings.
Their wedding day itself was inauspicious, a heavy rain falling; but immense multitudes assembled to gaze upon the processions. The bridal procession from Buckingham Palace to St. James’s begun to move through the triumphal arch at 12 o’clock. It was the first wedding of a reigning Queen in England since 1554.
Queen Victoria spent the evening after her wedding lying down with a headache, but wrote ecstatically in her diary:
I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!
Her marriage to Prince Albert brought nine children between 1840 and 1857. Most of her children married into other Royal families of Europe.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London, 10th February 1840. Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock via
A middle aged Victoria and Albert recreate their wedding day via
Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, early 1920s via
Princess Elizabeth by Cecil Beaton, Gelatin silver print, Buckingham Palace, March 1945. Museum no. E.1361-2010, © V&A Images via
Princess Margaret by Cecil Beaton bromide print, 1950 20 3/4 in. x 15 7/8 in. (527 mm x 403 mm) Purchased, 1987 NPG P349 © V&A Images via
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent by Cecil Beaton bromide print on white card mount, 1939 9 7/8 in. x 8 in. (252 mm x 203 mm) Given by Cecil Beaton, 1968 NPG x21151 © V&A Images via
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester by Cecil Beaton bromide print on white card mount, 1961 8 3/4 in. x 5 7/8 in. (223 mm x 150 mm) Given by Cecil Beaton, 1968
NPG x35198 © V&A Images via
Doña María Eugenia Ignacia Augustina de Palafox y KirkPatrick, 16th Countess of Teba, 15th Marchioness of Ardales (1826 – 1920), known as Eugénie de Montijo, was the last Empress consort of the French, from 1853 to 1871, as the wife of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French.
L’impératrice Eugénie agenouillée sur un prie-Dieu by Le Gray Gustave via
L’impératrice Eugénie agenouillée sur un prie-Dieu dans le salon du palais de Saint-Cloud by Le Gray Gustave via