But it was marriage to her high-minded cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which transformed her life. Her letters and journals leave no doubt that she was deeply in love with him, and the union was never simply a matter of political expediency. One reason for her passionate attachment was her sense of kinship with Albert as a German. Victoria’s mother was German, with imperfect English. Her father was half-German. Albert was a handsome prince from another land, but he made her feel at home. In 1874, long after Albert’s death, a visitor to Osborne House noted with surprise that the royal family spoke German to each other in the privacy of their home. Victoria, who has come to seem the quintessence of Englishness, was in many ways scarcely English at all.
I knew the family was of German origin, of course, but I had no idea Victoria and her family spoke German to each other at home.