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On this date in History: March 10, 1863. Marriage of Prince Albert-Edward, Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

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In September 1861, Albert-Edward, Prince of Wales was sent to Germany, supposedly to watch military manoeuvres, but actually in order to engineer a meeting between him and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark (future King Christian IX) and his wife Louise of Hesse-Cassel. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had already decided that Albert-Edward and Alexandra should marry.

They met at Speyer on September 24 under the auspices of his elder sister, Victoria, Princess Royal who had married the Crown Prince Friedrich-Wilhelm of Prussia in 1858. Albert-Edward’s elder sister, acting upon instructions from their mother, had met Princess Alexandra at Strelitz in June; the young Danish princess made a very favourable impression. Albert-Edward and Alexandra were friendly from the start; the meeting went well for both sides, and marriage plans advanced.

Marriage

Once widowed, Queen Victoria effectively withdrew from public life. Shortly after Prince Albert’s death, she arranged for Albert-Edward to embark on an extensive tour of the Middle East, visiting Egypt, Jerusalem, Damascus, Beirut and Constantinople. The British Government wanted Albert-Edward to secure the friendship of Egypt’s ruler, Said Pasha, to prevent French control of the Suez Canal if the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

It was the first royal tour on which an official photographer, Francis Bedford, was in attendance. As soon as Albert-Edward returned to Britain, preparations were made for his engagement, which was sealed at Laeken in Belgium on September 9, 1862. Albert-Edward married Alexandra at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on March 10, 1863. He was 21; she was 18.

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