Prince Albert and Progress Studies
Prince Albert died a hundred and sixty years ago today, so I wrote a profile him for UnHerd. He is an ideal candidate for attention from the Progress Studies movement.
Albert had been ill for years: rheumatic, depressed, full of stomach cramps, shivering in between bouts of diarrhoea. But he had not always been a sickly royal. In his short time as Victoria’s consort, Albert transformed the monarchy and Britain. Those 42 years had been enough for him to achieve in a lifetime what most people couldn’t dream of in a dozen. He is a model of hard work, someone who ought to be an object of fascination to Progress Studies for his ability to see the big picture and the details, and to get things done.
The wonders of his name form a dizzying list. Without Albert, we would never have had the V&A, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College. That swath of South Kensington was based on his vision and paid for by money raised by the Great Exhibition, which he enabled and promoted. His proposals for affordable, sanitary housing for the poor were presented there.
As well as being a public dynamo, Albert was something of a private nuisance, and I cover his not entirely happy marriage to Queen Victoria in the essay as well. Do read the whole thing.