Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

A piercing where?!

September 9, 2009 · 3 Comments

So, last night we went to the Royal Albert Hall for an orchestral concert. I really liked the first and the last piece, and although i only took a short nap during the second piece, I spent most of the evening thinking about the architecture. I kind of felt like we were sitting at the bottom of a pond, looking up a lilly pads and gazing out onto a greenly- illuminated organ. There was even a frog. I had done some background research on good old Prince Albert before because of my trip to Kensington Gardens. But I realized that most people probably don’t know much about Prince Albert or what he did for British society. Other than being the name-sake of some painful looking rings, he doesn’t really come into conversation much on the day to day basis. Prince Albert was a consort, which meant he had no actual power or duties, but I guess that’s what you get when you marry your first cousin. Anyway, because of this he had to look elsewhere to make a name for himself. Thus he looked to make social changes. He dipped his hands in the abolition of slavery in the colonies, child labor laws and social welfare. As I mentioned in a previous post, he was a great supporter of the arts; the monument dedicated to him expresses that quite efficiently.  He was also one of the first people to introduce new areas of study into Cambridge.

So why is it that he goes so unsung other than through the efforts of his wife’s broken heart? He halted potential war with the United States, for Pete’s sake! I would wager it is his status, and the classist infrastructure of English society. In his own words “but the difficulty in filling my place with the proper dignity is that I am only the husband, not the master in the house.” (courtesy of wikipedia and Albert to William von Lowenstein, May 1840, quoted in Hobhouse, p. 26). To everyone else, he was just the husband and so all these actions he did were, I think of selfish endeavors rather than actual attempts to better the world. Surely it all ended well and good, but i wonder if he had been King, would he have still gone through with his crusade for the poor and downtrodden, or the artistically inclined? Maybe it would have gone the same way. After all Queen Victoria opened up the parks for the factory workers and worked to create a stronger constitutional monarchy.

Also as a note: the Prince Albert piercing has not connection historically to our good fellow, except in sharing a name.

Used this source and the one noted above: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/albert_prince.shtml

Anyway, cheers

Categories: Andrew R
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3 responses so far ↓

  •   jeylam // Sep 9th 2009 at 08:56

    I am glad that you have completed the research on the Royal Albert Hall and who it is named after. Most of us were taken by the beautiful architecture and the music but to be completely honest I did not even think of who it is named after. Just like you mentioned, did Albert really care about the social issues or were his actions driven by the need to be recognized?
    Whatever the reason, he seemed to have a great influence on British history and society. And now we can remember him by entering the magnificent
    building and listening to music that moves our soul.

  •   mliberty // Sep 9th 2009 at 18:07

    I’m really impressed by all the research and depth you looked into Prince Albert. I also love that this post is about the Royal Albert Hall, quite literally! One of the things I am most taken by on this city is the architecture and I really appreciate you looking into it further. Thanks for teaching me a few fun facts!

  •   russella // Sep 10th 2009 at 11:02

    Ha ha ha, no worries. I think what is most interesting about Prince Albert, and most political figures (as Jeyla pointed out) is that the why rarely matters in the end. The irony of this is quite strange. In life, we hold the why to such great importance yet in the end our actions, not our moral struggles, define us.

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