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Sure enough, the romantic feelings of their daughter obligingly developed over a two-week courtship to mirror Albert’s political and strategic vision of Europe.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert surrounded by some of their children at Windsor Castle.

In the group are Princess Victoria; the future King Edward VII (as a young prince); Prince Alfred, Princess Alice and Princess Helena.

(GL Archive/Alamy Stock Photo) In the 1850s, Prince Albert grasped the potential of Protestant Prussia to unite all the German states under its banner, and the power this new country could wield in Europe.

He did not want a newly unified Germany under Prussian domination to exert its influence as a military dictatorship or autocracy.

Queen Victoria had long understood the importance of dynastic marital alliances to extend royal influence, and with more than 30 grandchildren growing up in palaces across the continent, it was within her unique power to shape the political landscape of Europe.

Writing for Queen Victoria with her children and grandchildren.

Suitable dynastic matches had already been identified for Albert and Victoria’s next two children.

Queen Victoria’s second daughter, Alice, married another German prince, Louis of Hesse, while her oldest son, the wayward Prince Albert Edward, or ‘Bertie’, married a Danish princess, Alexandra.

Traumatised and isolated in the German court, Vicky poured out her heart in her revealing correspondence to her mother.

The two royal families of Great Britain and Russia sit for a portrait during Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight in 1909.

These matches soon brought connections to the royal houses in Denmark, Greece and Russia.

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