Prince Alfred and the British Monarchy
Queen Victoria’s second son Prince Alfred was one of the first fully-fledged “Sailor Princes” of the nineteenth century. He entered the Royal Navy in 1858. Today, he is probably best remembered for the world cruise he undertook as captain of HMS Galatea in the years 1867-1871. During this two-part voyage, Alfred visited all the major colonies of the British Empire (the Cape Colony, Australia, New Zealand, India) and beyond (e.g. China and Japan). Although he was a professional naval officer with heart and soul, Alfred had to retire from active service in 1893 upon the death of his paternal uncle. He succeeded the childless Ernst II as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and had to spend the rest of his life in Germany, far away from the sea.
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In 1863, Prince Alfred faced a curious dilemma: He had to decide whether he wanted to become King of the Hellenes, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha or rather stay in the British Navy. If you want to find out how he eventually resolved the dilemma, read my Blog Post on the Heirs-to-the-throne project website: Prince Alfred’s Romance: Which crown will he choose?
One of the main experts regarding the life and travels of Prince Alfred is Cindy McCreery from the University of Sydney (Australia). Read her lovely essay A British Prince and a transnational life here. Or browse the volume she recently edited together with Robert Aldrich: Crowns and Colonies. European Monarchies and Overseas Empires.