Victoria's third child, Arthur, was born in 1844, 3 years after his older brother Albert. Two older sisters has already preceeded him. He was born on the Duke of Wellington's birthday and the Duke was made Arthur's God Father. Arthur was Victoria's favorite son, in part because he was the only one hi never gave her any real trouble.
Arthur was Victoria and Albert's seventh child and third boy.
Albert was the born into the royal family of a small German principality. He was stictly raised and very well educated. His mairrage to Victoria brought him to the throne of the most powerful country of the day. He was only the Prince Consort and not a co-ruler with his wife. His advise to his poorly educated wife, however, was of great value to England, especially his advise that England not support the South in the American Civil War. He took the education of their chiodren very seriously--especially heir, the future Edward VII very seriously. Despite the attention given to the care and education of the children. Albert's untimely death devestated the Victoria.
Queen Victoria was Britain's longest serving monarch. Her mairrage with Albert was the love story of the 19th century. She set the moral tone of the nation and helped shape Britain's emergence as a truly democratic nation. Victoria witnessed an extrodinary development of British power and influence. She and Albert changed how Britain's looked on their monarch. She became in many ways the gramdmother of Europe, forging dynastic ties
throughout the Continent. She also played a major role in influencing boys clothing around the world by the garments she selected for the young princes.
Prince Arthur was born on May 1, 1850. It was the 81st birthday of the the Duke of Wellington's birtday. The Duke was asked to be the Prince's odfather--certainly a fortuitous choice in that the young prince took an early interest in the army and all things military. His was named Arthur in honor of the Duke. His other names came from: 2) the Prince of Prussia (later German Emperor), 3) a rembrance of Queen Victoria's visit to Ireland in 1849, and 4) Albert was after his father.
Victoria and Albert had nine children, four boys and five girls. They saw themselves and in many ways were suitably enough an ideal Victorian family. The mairrages and offspring of these children are truely remarkable. Victoria in more than name was the grandmother of Europe. HBC at this time knows little about the relationship between the children. Bertie is often pictures with Alfred so the two may well have been close.
Few details at this time are avialable on Arthur's relationship with his brothers and sisters. Presumably, the primary relationship was with the the ones nearest him in age.
Bertie and Affie (Alfred) are often pictured together in paintings and photographs because they were so close in age. Arthur was quite a bit younger. He became Victoria's favorite son, primarily because he was the only one of her sons who caused her no real bother.
Victory began having children soon after marrying Albert and thu=is hppy event conicided with with the invention of photography in France. Thus we have an extrodinary visual record of the Brirish royal family. It would be the best illustrated family in history until the 20th century. Photography did not take off in Britain as it did in America, but the Royal Family was an exception. And not only is there a massive photographic record, but there are charming drawings and watercolors by Victoria herself and many masterful works by Winterhalter. Arthur arrved decade after photography began and thus we begi to see more than Daguerreotypes. We thus know a great deal about how Pribce rthur was dressed from his earliest years.
Arthur was entralled by the army and liked nothing better as a gift than a sword or gun. After an encounter with some stable cats while rescuing his terrier, ananxious governess asked her blodied charge what had happened. Wonded! In execution of my duty. The governess, Lady Lyttleton, incidentally is related to Princess Diane. It was Arthur who in his youthful inosence put his finger on the occasion bouts of "lowness" that his father occasionally suffered from, "If Mama is Queen, why is not Papa King?" He loved to play soldier. He loved the miniature military earthworks that his father had constructed at Osbourne for the children.
We have only limited information at this time about the clothes Prince Arthur wore as a boy. Arthur like his older brother wore dresses as a little boy. I have few details on the dresses, but there seem to have been little difference between the boys' dresss and those of his sisters. The famous painting by Winterhalter shows his older brother in a tunic and Arthur at about 2 years in a dress with a low cut neck, just like his sisters.
I do not know when Arthur was breeched or just what kind of ceremony, if any, occurred. After he was breeched, Arthur was mostly dressed in kilts and sailor suits. He and his older brother often wore identical Higland kilt outfits while in Scotland. I assume they also wore identical sailor suits, but I have no images confirming this.
Arthur like his older brother wore dresses as a little boy. I have few details on the dresses, but there seem to have been little difference between the boys' dresss and those of his sisters. The famous painting by Winterhalter shows his older brother in a tunic and Arthur at about 2 years in a dress with a low cut neck, just like his sisters. We do not know when Arthur was breeched or just what kind of ceremony, if any, occurred. After he was breeched, Arthur was mostly dressed in kilts and sailor suits. He and his older brother often wore identical Higland kilt outfits while in Scotland. I assume they also wore identical sailor suits, but I have no images confirming this.
Arthur was entralled by the army and liked nothing better as a gift than a sword or gun. After an encounter with some stable cats while rescuing his terrier, ananxious governess asked her blodied charge what had happened. Wonded! In execution of my duty. The governess, Lady Lyttleton, incidentally is related to Princess Diane. It was Arthur who in his youthful inosence put his finger on the occasion bouts of "lowness" that his father occasionally suffered from, "Of Mama is Queen, why is not Papa King?"
After the daliances of their predecesors, Victoria and Albert sought to set the standard for rectitude. Although historians vary somewhat the young family seems to nave been very happy. The children were not relegated to a nursery and rarely visited by their parents. Albert deloghted in playing with the children. He not only joined in their games, but invented many for them. [Bennett, p. 128.] I'm less sure about Victoria's role. It is clear that the family participated in many activities together. The engaged in familt theatricals. Albert taught them games. They enjoyed producing tableaux vivants. Albert would read from books they could all enjoy like Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. They also traveled together, taking may trips on the royal yacht, Victoria and Albert together. The children grew up thinking that papa knew how to do everything and Victoria her self with her limited outlook and education also came to look to her husband for guidance. In family maters after the Lehzen matter was resolved, Albert was the undisputed head of household. Victoria gradually turned to Albert on matters of state. In this regard, Albert very tactfully gained her confidence. There were little tiffs from time between Victoria and Albert, but they appear to have been a wonderfully happy family. Most of the disputes resolved around Victoria's frustration. She wanted him to be successful and admired, but as he rose in stature there were more demands on his time. This took him away from her which she did not want. The standards set by the royal couple with the children and their family life was to set a standard that many of their descendents found difficult to meet. Edward in fact made no effort to do so and was a notorious philanderer.
The first child of Arthur's older sister Victoria, the future Wilhelm II, made quite a stir in the royal family. Arthur's younger sister Beatrice was the first to run afoul of Willie when he tossed her muff out the window of the cairrage on the way to the Prince of Wales' wedding. At the wedding, Willie who was done up in a higland kilt outfit began playing with the dirk in his kilt. I'm not sure how Arthur was dressed, but he may have been wearing a kilt as well. Willy finally threw the dirk noisily across the floor of the chapel. Prince Arthur who was about 13 years old and Prince Leopold who were sitting near Willy tried to get him to behave. The result was that Willie bit them on their legs. [Van der Kiste, pp. 9-10.]
As a yonger boy, Arthur was a favorite of his mother. The Queen wrote that she ‘adored our little Arthur from the day of his birth. He has never given us a day's sorrow or trouble, she may truly say, but ever been like a ray of sunshine in the house.’ We have few details at this time about Prince Arthur's relationship with his father. It was 11-year old Arthur along with Bertie that followed their father's coffin up the aisle at St St. George's Chapel. We do not sure how they were dressed for this sad occassion.
Shortly before the OPrince's 9th birtday, Sir Howard Crawfurd Elphinstone [q.v.] was appointed his governor. They became close friends and companions which continued even after the prince reached adulthood.
Queen Victoria shortly after the death of his father installed Prince Arthur at Ranger's House (1862). One wonder if the Queen decided to get him out from under foot. Presumbaby the little ray of sunshire was getting rowdier as he got older. Prince Arthur's had lived with the family, but in 1862 he ws still only 12 years old. Without Prince Albert he appears to have been more ifficult to manage. At Ranger House he studied under the supervision of Sir Howard. Looking back he remembers being very lonely. He was 'called at 6.45 a.m., my studies began about 7.15 and I worked till about 9 a.m., when I breakfasted, work being resumed at 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Then I had a short walk and lunched at 2 p.m. In the afternoon I walked and twice a week boys came from various schools to play with me. We played football, hockey, etc. Lessons were again resumed at 5 p.m. until 7.30 p.m. Supper at 8 p.m. and afterwards I prepared lessons until about 10 p.m. for the following day.’ What the Prince does not mention, perhaps he did not know, was that the boys who came were carefully sellected. Their job was to amuse the rince. They usually played war games and were instructed to loose to the Prince when the time came to die.
Prince Arthur while still a young teenager began to travel, taking trips to London without his family (1864). He stayed at the Schloss Rosenau, the Coburg family palace, for 2 months. It was here jis father grew up. The Prince worked at perfecting his German. He then went on a walking tour in Switzerland where he also did some climbing. Next he went to Ouchy, a popular lakeside resort Lausanne, to work on his French before returning to Britain. Next he made another short trip to Germany with his close frind Prince Adolphus of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Then with his improved language skills he made what might be called the Grand Tour. He toured the Mediterranean aboard the Enchantress--this was a dispatch vessel launched in 1862 and became the Admiralty yacht. He stopped in Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, and Palestine. He then peformed his first public public function, the family business (1865). He unveiled a statue of his father at Tenby.
Arthur then began to prepare for his military creer. Arthur is said to have ‘passed very well’ into the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He contnued, however, to live at Ranger's House, but received the the military training of the oher cadets. His cadet traiing was unterupted by a visit to the French Emperor, Napoleon III (1867) and a life-threatening bout smallpox. But he completed his training (1868). At the final inspection he received his commission in the Royal Engineers from the Duke of Cambridge, the commander-in-chief at the time. Arthur described himself as feeling ‘very proud at having at last become an officer’. He then was installed at the School of Military Engineering. After a visit to Switzerland, he was posted to the Royal Artillery at Woolwich. This was his first command, given charge over men, horses, and guns. It was there that he describes himself as learning ‘an idea of responsibility’. Hus first overseas posting came next. He was transferred to the 1st battalion of the Rifle Brigade in Montreal, Canada (1869). The company commander was impressed with the Prince and when he went on leave, left him in command. There was apolitical aspect to the posting. The consuitutinal future of Canada was uncertain at the time. Canada was besginning to experiment with home rule. Arthur wrote to the Queen, "The more I visit Canada, the more I like and admire the people. They are a set of fine honest free thinking but loyal Englishmen." Arthur thus began his ambition by becoming a soldier. He had felt destined for the Army as a boy. He served many years in the Army. The Queen made the Duke of Connaught.
Arthur mairred Princess Louise of Prussia. Two of their children were Prince Arthur and Princess Margaret. A photo taken in 1885 shows the two in identical frilly white dresses with colored sashes. Arthur has short cut hair while his sister has longer curled hair, the only real difference in their attire.
Arthur outlived all his brothers and sisters except Beatrice, passing away in 1942.
The HBRC pages concerning Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, their children, court staff, and other related invividuals such as Government officials and European royals is quite involved. It is sometimes difficult to follow this extensive suite of pages without knowing who the different individuals are. We have thus created an alphabetized biography page provide a thumbnail sketch explaining who the various individuals are. Please let us know if we have omitted anyone who should be included are if you think some note should be made on these pages about these individuals.
Bennett, Daphne. King Without a Crown: Albert Prince Consort of England, 1819-1861 (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1977).
Van der Kriste, John. Kaiser Wilhelm II: Germany's Last Emperor (Bodmin: Sutton Publishing, 1999), 244p.
Woodham-Smith, Cecil. Queen Victoria: Her Life and Times (1972).
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site Royal pages:
[Return to the main Main Victoria and Albert's children page]
[Belgium] [Bulgaria] [France] [Germany] [Italy] [Japan] [Jordon] [Luxemburg] [Monaco] [Monaco] [Netherlands] [Norway] [Romania] [Russia] [Spain]  [Yugoslavia]