The marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was one of the rare matches of true love between Royals.
One of Queen Victoria’s favorite things was Christmas. She was familiar with the Christmas tree, having been introduced to it by her grandmother, Queen Charlotte, when she was just a girl. However, it wasn’t until after she married Albert that the tree became such an iconic part of Victorian life. Prince Albert wanted to make Christmas very special for his beloved, and of course finding the perfect gift for a monarch who could easily have anything she wanted must have been a daunting task. Because the Christmas tree was a German custom that had been such a part of his life growing up, Albert decided this would be the perfect gift for his bride. He began plans and preparations for the presentation of his gift. Albert surprised Victoria with his Tree of Love -- carefully selected and lovingly ornamented with many delicate and gorgeously intricate decorations made by his own hand. Victoria was overwhelmed -- so much so that Christmas and in particular this tree became one of her most cherished traditions. Each year they celebrated Christmas in this way until finally in 1848, with his wife’s encouragement, Prince Albert allowed the London News to print an illustration of the royal family gathered round their beautiful Christmas tree. From that moment on, the world became smitten with the tree that represented their eternal love. It became the rage in London to have a tree and the reprinted article introduced the Christmas tree to Canadian and American societies, thus ensuring that the bond between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would forever be immortalized through the symbol of their Christmas tree – the Tree of Love.
Tragically Prince Albert died just a few short years later at the age of 42.
Queen Victoria never completely recovered from the shock of Albert’s death. She went into mourning and wore black for the rest of her life. Her reign was a long and prosperous one for England and there are still symbols of their deep and abiding love in the countless monuments that were built by Victoria to honor Albert. But of all the monuments that symbolize their love, none is so widespread or as deeply woven into so many countries’ celebrations of Christmas as that of the Tree of Love!