Birthday: August 17, 1786
Died At Age: 74
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Marie Louise Victoire, Marie Luise Viktoria
Born in: Coburg, Germany
Famous as: Princess
Women Historical Personalities
Spouse/Ex-: 2nd Prince of Leiningen (m. 1803), Duke of Kent and Strathearn (m. 1818), Emich Carl, Prince Edward
father: Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
mother: Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
children: 3rd Prince of Leiningen, Carl, Princess Feodora of Leiningen, Queen Victoria
Died on: March 16, 1861
Who was Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld?
Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg Saalfed was a German Princess and later Duchess of Kent and Strathearn. She was the mother of the famous Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Born in Coburg, in the Holy Empire of the German Nation, to Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and Countess Augusta of Reuss-Ebersdorf, she was married to Prince Emich Carl at the early age of seventeen. Carl, however, passed away after eleven years of their marriage, after which she served as regent of the Principality of Leiningen. A few years after Carl’s death, she got married to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. A year later, she gave birth to their daughter, Princess Victoria, who later became the famous British monarch Queen Victoria. Prince Edward passed away shortly. After the death of her father-in-law King George III, her daughter Victoria was the third in line to become the successor to the throne, after her uncles Frederick, Duke of York, and William, Duke of Clarence. Victoria therefore decided to stay in England, instead of going back to her homeland, Germany, in order to help Victoria ascend to the throne. Eventually, her daughter ascended the throne at the age of 18. Princess Victoria has been portrayed in a few TV series such as ‘Edward the Seventh’, a British drama series that aired during the 1970s. She has also been portrayed in the British-American drama film ‘The Young Victoria’.
Childhood & Early Life
Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg Saalfied was born on 17th August 1786, in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. She was the fourth daughter and seventh child of Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and his wife Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf.
While she was seventeen years of age, she was married to Emich Carl, 2nd Prince of Leiningen, in December 1803. She was the second wife of Carl, who was older to her by 23 years. They had two children, Carl, 3rd Prince of Leiningen, and Princess Feodora of Leiningen.
Emich Carl passed away of pneumonia in 1814, after which he was succeeded by his son Carl, who was only ten years of age. Meanwhile, Princess Victoria served as regent of the Principality of Leiningen.
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In November 1818, after the death of Princess Charlotte of Wales in childbirth, it became necessary for the sons of King George III to get married, so that they could provide an heir to the throne, as Charlotte had been the only legitimate grandchild of the king.
One of the sons of King George III, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, proposed to Princess Victoria, and she accepted. They got married in May 1818, and moved to Germany. The following year, in April, their daughter Alexandrina Victoria was born. Prince Edward passed away in January 1820, due to pneumonia.
Six days later, Edward’s father, King George III, also passed away. Therefore Duchess Victoria, instead of going back to Coburg, decided to stay in hopes of her daughter’s claim to accession, as young Princess Victoria was only third in line for the throne.
Though she sought support from the British government, the provisions she gained were not substantial. Along with several other impoverished members of the Royal family, she had to reside in the suite of rooms at the Kensington Palace. She received very little financial support. However, she received aid from her brother Leopold.
She also relied a lot on her personal secretary, Sir John Conroy, who wanted to use his position to garner power and influence. Both Conroy and the Duchess were quite strict with Victoria, and imposed several rules on her. Because of this, her relationship with her daughter suffered a lot.
After the death of her uncle King William IV, Victoria finally ascended to the throne at the age of eighteen. Conroy wanted to force her to make him her personal secretary; however, his plans backfired, and even the Duchess was relegated to a separate accommodation, away from her daughter.
Queen Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. With Albert’s persuasion, Queen Victoria and her mother finally reconciled. The Duchess’ relationship with her daughter improved and became better than it had ever been. Conroy, however, had no influence anymore, and lived mostly in exile.
Rumors of Affairs
There were several rumors that the Duchess and Conroy were lovers, and it was even alleged that Princess Victoria had cheated on her husband with Conroy. Some sources even suggested that Victoria was not the Duke of Kent’s biological daughter.
Death & Legacy
At the age of 74, the Duchess went through a surgery on her arm in order to remove an ulcer; it led to the development on a severe infection. Her condition worsened with time. Queen Victoria, along with Albert and her daughter, immediately traveled from London to Windsor where the duchess resided. They found her in a semi-comatose state, breathing with great difficulty.
The Duchess breathed her last on 16th March 1861. She was buried in the Duchess of Kent’s Mausoleum located at Frogmore.
In her memory, Queen Victoria and her husband Albert dedicated a window in the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park.
Her mother’s death had a huge negative impact on Queen Victoria. Later the same year, she would also lose her beloved husband Albert.