If he had lived, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, would be turning 195 years old today. Alas, the over-worked monarch died at the young age of 42 years. His demise was incredibly unfortunate for humanity and his death pivoted the image of the Victorian era forever.
You see, Albert, was a gentle, industrious soul who never abused the hero worship put on him by the Queen. As a consort, he was extremely limited by his initial role capacity and was deeply hurt his wife did not trust him with Monarchal duties. However, she relented to the man who was her rock and allowed him to slowly become involved in the politics of the crown. Once Victoria gave Albert permission, he flourished!
He was deeply affected by the wealth strata and ushered in social reform, from sanitation to improving the slums and quality of life. Do keep in mind, that he could never issue a direct order and had to work through the Queen, whom in turn, was becoming more of a figurehead and could not issue a decree without approval of Parliament. Yet, Albert worked his angles. He even fought and argued with Victoria on some of these points. He would get into such a snit and storm off, which frightened the Queen and she almost always relented. He rarely pulled these “tantrums” but he did so on the issues he was most passionate about.
He influenced Victoria with the idea of honesty and simplicity. Considering all the previous Monarchs, the Victorian Royal Family was down right “normal.” They did not drain the entire coffers of the kingdom. They did not have wild indiscretions flaunted around the press (in fact, as far as we know there were no affairs!) They ate simple English meals, relatively speaking. They were even economical with their candles! They both did not like attending or hosting large court parties, but did so on occasion out of a sense of obligation.–They sound kinda boring actually.