The marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was a rare match of true love between Royals.
Though Victoria’s young life was turbulent, one of her fondest memories was of Christmas with her grandmother, Queen Charlotte, where she was introduced to the Christmas tree. It wasn’t until after she married Albert, however, that the tree became an iconic part of Victorian life.
Prince Albert wanted to make Christmas very special for his new bride, and finding the perfect gift for a monarch who could have anything she wanted must have been a daunting task. Because the Christmas tree had always been a part of his Christmas growing up in Germany, Albert decided it would be a perfect gift for his beloved. After careful planning and preparation, Albert surprised Victoria with his Tree of Love -- carefully selected and lovingly ornamented with delicate and gorgeously intricate decorations made by his own hand. Victoria was enchanted, and from that moment on the tree became one of her most cherished traditions.
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 given from his heart to hers. It became the rage in London to have a Christmas tree, and the reprinted illustration introduced the royal tree to Canadian and American societies, thus ensuring that the bond between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would forever be immortalized. Tragically Prince Albert died just a few short years later at the age of 42.
Though her reign was a long and prosperous one for England, Queen Victoria never recovered from the shock of Albert’s death. She mourned and wore black for the rest of her life. Today, there are still symbols of their deep and abiding love in countless monuments Victoria built to honor Albert. But of all the monuments that symbolize their love, none is so sweeping or as deeply woven into cultural tradition as that of the Christmas tree ~ their Tree of Love!