HBRC at this time has only limited information on Prince Albert and clothing. We know virtually nothing about his childhood clothes. We do know that a youth he was very interested in clothes--viewed by some as a dandy. We do know that Albert designed dresses for Victoria at special occassions. One dress he designed that Victoria wore to a fancy dress ball in 1845 was judged as rather risqué. [Bennett, p. 131.] He had not yet developed a reputation as a prude. We do not know to what extent he was involved in the children's clothing. Certainly if he had a hand in Victoria's clothes, he may well have been involved with the children's clothing. We do know that he obtained a sewing machine for the nursery.
We know virtually nothing about his childhood clothes. His mother looks to be an elegant dresser. So while she was still with them, you assume that she would have dressed them very elegantly. One later drawing, dome after ther mother had left, show him at about age 10 in approximately 1829 show him wearing what looks to be a large lace collar.
There are reports that as a youth he was very interested in clothes--viewed by some as a dandy. Others describe somber clothes. Albert when he and his brother came to visit Victoria in 1939 did appear for the hunt in a pair of red leather top boots which impressed Victoria. His father had no approved. But he explained that they were an inovation of the Coburg hunt. The hunting party assumed he was a dandy because of the get up, but Albert proceeded to out shoot and out hunt the party--astonishing everyone.
We do know that Albert designed dresses for Victoria at special occassions. One dress he designed that Victoria wore to a fancy dress ball in 1845 was judged as rather risqué. [Bennett, p. 131] He had not yet developed a reputation as a prude. I am not sure how often he did this. Presumably he did not dsign all of their dresses. One wonders why they did not design their own drresses. Did the Queen and Princess Royal willing concede that Prince Albert knew more about fasion than they did. While the Princess surely knew more about most subjects than they did, you would think that fashion migt be one area in which the Queen and Vicky might be better informed or even have their own ideas. Perhaps they were flattered with is interest and did not want to hurt his feelings. One historian mentions him designing dresses for both the Queen and Princess Royal on several occasions. He appears to have created quite elaborate outfits which did not escape criticism at the time. [Bennett, p. 281]
Prince Albert apparently read disapprovingly of Mediterrean bathing costumes which apparently displayed some curviture when wet. He decided to personally design a costume suitable for his wife. The result was a heavy, voluminous outfit which one historian describes as modestly covering every "scrap of plump queenly flesh". [Bennett, p. 190]
There are portraits of Albert wearing Scottish kilts. Presumably he wore them at Blamoral. I'm not sure how often he wore them or when he began doing so. We do know that the royal couple began regular trips to Scotland in 1844. They decided to buy their own place in 1848. We are also not sure to what extent he had the children wear kilts and at what age. The few photographs we have at this time, mostly show the boys wearing them when they were younger, even when not in Scotland. One drawing made about 1847 shows both Bertie and Affie wearing identical green and black kilts.
We do not know to what extent he was involved in the children's clothing. Certainly if he had a hand in Victoria's clothes, he may well have been involved with the children's clothing. We do know that he obtained a treadle sewing machine for the nursery. Clearly Albert had an interest in their clothing. [Bennett, p. 173]
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).
Woodham-Smith, Cecil. Queen Victoria: Her Life and Times (1972).
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