AN Wilson on The Man who Saved the Monarchy
Prince Albert is perhaps one of the least known royals – famous for the Great Exhibition and popularising the Christmas tree – yet he quietly revolutionised the royal family. At a time when royalty was perceived as “a distant gilded viper’s nest of dissoluteness”, he was fundamental in creating a royal family that put scandal-free family life at its centre. He understood that, to be liked, the royal family must appear accessible and with the same pastimes and moral code as their subjects. This illusion of propriety – still on show to this day – made the monarchy aspirational for the first time.