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Albert
Albert
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dangerous grandeur of royalty,’ and on the duchess's death in November 1831 her views were adopted by her son King Leopold.

In 1836 it became a certainty that the Princess Victoria would succeed to the throne at no very distant date. Of the several aspirants for her hand, King Leopold, who, since the death of the Duke of Kent, had fulfilled the duties of a father to the young princess, thought that none was so qualified to make her happy as her cousin Albert. But in a matter of such grave importance he would not trust his own judgment. He therefore called to his assistance his old and tried friend, Baron Christian Friedrich von Stockmar, on whose penetrating judgment of men and things, as well as fearless independence, the king knew by long experience that he might place implicit trust. Stockmar, after seeing Leopold fairly established as king of the Belgians, had retired to his native town of Coburg. Stockmar knew and loved the young princess. He had hoped to see the Princess Charlotte filling the throne by the side of his master and friend Prince Leopold, and to aid them in making monarchy in England a model of what a monarchy might be. That hope was extinguished by the untimely death of the princess in 1817. But now it seemed as though it might be revived by the union of the cousins, if the high qualities required to satisfy Stockmar's austere judgment should be found in the young Prince Albert. Writing to King Leopold in the beginning of 1836, Stockmar speaks of the prince ‘as a fine young fellow, well grown, with agreeable and valuable qualities,’ with an English look, prepossessing in person, and with ‘a kindly, simple, yet dignified demeanour.’ As to mind he has heard much to the prince's credit; but he must observe him longer before he can form a judgment upon his capacity and the probable development of his character. ‘He is said to be circumspect, discreet, and even now cautious. But all this is not enough. He ought to have not merely great ability, but a right ambition and great force of will as well. To pursue for a lifetime a political career so arduous demands more than energy and inclination; it demands also that earnest frame of mind which is ready of its own accord to sacrifice mere pleasure to real usefulness.’

Within the next few months Stockmar had the opportunity of observing the prince closely, and he satisfied himself that his mind and character were such that time and training were alone wanted to develop in him the qualities which Stockmar demanded as essential for the high vocation for which the prince's uncle designed him. But in the selection of her future consort he stipulated that the Princess Victoria must be left wholly unfettered, and, before any claim for her hand was preferred, an impression in the prince's favour must first have been produced. The cousins must meet, and neither must be aware of the object of their meeting, ‘so as to leave them completely at their ease.’

In May 1836 the Duke of Coburg came to England with his two sons, and remained there for about four weeks. The secret was kept, but the desired impression was produced. Finding this to be the case, King Leopold, almost simultaneously with the prince leaving England, made his niece aware of what his wishes were. The Princess Victoria's answer showed that these were in accordance with her own. The prince was, however, still kept in the dark, but a plan for his education was laid out, with a view to the possibility of his becoming the prince consort of the Queen of England. Brussels was selected by Baron Stockmar as the place most favourable for the requisite personal training and political study. The prince would there be under the eye and influence of his uncle, who was working out the problem of constitutional government in a country where it had been previously unknown. To Brussels accordingly the prince and his brother went in 1836, and here they remained for ten months, closely occupied with the study of history and European languages. To these the Prince Albert added the higher mathematics and the application of the law of probabilities to social and natural phenomena. His guide in these was M. Quetelet, the eminent statist and mathematician, to whose instructions the prince always acknowledged himself to be deeply indebted.

From Brussels the princes went in April 1837 to Bonn, where they continued to prosecute their studies for the next eighteen months. ‘Amongst all the young men of the university,’ writes his friend Prince William of Löwenstein, ‘Albert was distinguished by his knowledge, his diligence, and his amiable bearing in society. He liked above all things to discuss questions of public law and metaphysics, and constantly, during our many weeks, juridical principles or philosophical doctrines were thoroughly discussed.’ At the same time the prince excelled in all manly exercises. In a fencing match he carried off the prize from about thirty competitors. To music he was passionately devoted, and had already shown considerable skill as a composer. He entered with eagerness, again to quote the same friend, ‘into every study in which he engaged, whether belonging to science or art. He spared no