PRINCE Albert has long been remembered as Queen Victoria’s beloved husband and consort.
But who was Albert’s father and what are the rumours about him being illegitimate? Here’s what you need to know.
Who was Prince Albert’s father and was Albert illegitimate?
Officially, Prince Albert’s father was Ernest I Duke Of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, however his marriage to Albert’s mother, Princess Louise Of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, was an unhappy one.
The pair married in 1817, and they quickly had two children: Ernest II and Albert.
However, during their marriage, Ernest had plenty of affairs and fathered at least three illegitimate children – and there were rumours that Louise also engaged in extra-marital relationships.
Ernest eventually divorced Louise on grounds of adultery – which suggests there is a possibility that Albert was illegitimate.
But, Albert’s biographer Hector Bolitho, who closely examined the couple’s divorce papers, found “there was not even a hint in the documents that the Duchess had been unfaithful, until at least four years after Prince Albert was born.”
After Albert and Louise separated, Louise was forced to leave court in 1824 – and forbidden from seeing her young sons.
Two years later the marriage was dissolved, and Louise married the Baron Alexander von Hanstein in secret – he has also been caught up in speculation about Albert’s paternity.
Did Prince Albert’s uncle Leopold have an affair with his mother Princess Louise?
In 1972, author David Duff argued that Ernest’s brother Leopold may have been Albert’s father.
Leopold had visited a few months before Albert was born, meaning the timelines could add up.
What happened in TV show Victoria?
TV show Victoria seemed to play along with the theory in the episode four.
When Albert (played by Tom Hughes) learned the news that his father Ernest had died, he traveled to Coburg, Germany right away to be with his family.
During the visit, Albert was told by his uncle Leopold that he is his biological father – which caused him great distress and prompted him to drown his sorrows with brother Prince Ernest (David Oakes).