2019: Celebrating Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
This year sees the Bicentenary of the births of Queen Victoria and her German-born husband Prince Albert. And if you want to know where it all started for this extraordinary royal couple, put the Cultural Heart of Germany and Thruingia’s Friedenstein Palace on your travel list …
The former residence of the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha, Albert’s family, in the small town of Gotha is Germany’s largest early baroque complex and closely related to the British royal family. It holds various museums and is, together with the Ducal Museum that founded by Prince Albert’s brother Ernst, part of Gotha’s “Baroque Universe”. The late 16th century Ekhof Theatre, still with its original stage machinery, is an absolute gem! As is the spectacular ballroom where guests were entertained in style – and Queen Victoria was one of them:
Originally built by Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, the palace eventually reached Prince Albert’s father. Victoria and Albert were cousins and when she was 17, her uncle engaged in a bit of matchmaking and a little while later … well, the rest is history. Victoria, Albert and their children visited Gotha frequently to see the German side of the family and the palace was left to Victoria’s second son Alfred by Albert’s brother Ernst II who didn’t have children.
More information on Friedenstein Palace: www.stiftungfriedenstein.de/en/