Illustration of the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 10 February 1840
On 6 February 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Māori iwi and the British Crown, profoundly shifting New Zealand’s political and cultural landscape. On the other side of the globe the personification of the Crown at the time, young Queen Victoria aged 20, may have had other things on her mind as she was due to wed her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha four days later. Although engineered as a dynastically convenient arrangement, Victoria was besotted with her groom and the couple had a large number of children. In 1861 Albert was diagnosed with typhoid fever and he died in Victoria’s presence at age 42. Victoria’s grief at his death was so overwhelming that she withdrew from public life as much as she could, although this threatened the stability and popularity of the monarchy at the time.
This illustration of the marriage comes from a 1905 publication ‘The Illustrated London News Record of the glorious reign of Queen Victoria, 1837-1901. The Life and Accession of King Edward VII, and the Life of Queen Alexandra’. This book comes from a series of scrapbooks collected by former New Zealand Prime Minister Richard Seddon (1845-1906) covering the main years of his political career, and was deposited with Archives New Zealand in 1957 by his family.
Archives reference: ACHW 8635 SEDDON3 72/72 (R21151388)
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Material from Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Images are reproduced with kind permission of The Illustrated London News/Mary Evans Picture Library.