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This striking young gent in the Highland uniform is Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, eighth child and fourth son of Queen Victoria. I found this photo today and found him extremely handsome, with a piquant expression in his face; however, Katherine reminded me that we had a discussion about Queen Victoria’s strange antipathy for her son, or indeed, her own children. Some particularly ridiculous quotes, courtesy of Victoriana, are as follows:

“Leopold…is the ugliest.” … “I think he is uglier than he ever was.” …”I hope, dear, he [Vicky’s young son] won’t be like [Leopold] the ugliest and least pleasing of the whole family.” … “He [Leopold] walks shockingly–and is dreadfully awkward–holds himself as badly as ever and his manners are despairing, as well as his speech–which is quite dreadful. It is so provoking as he learns so well and reads quite fluently; but his French is more like Chinese than anything else; poor child, he is really very unfortunate.”

Yikes. What mother says this about her 6 year old?! And yet, there’s this photo. It makes you wonder about her perception of him versus the reality. Was he awkward and ungainly in personality? Or did she choose to control the narrative surrounding public perception of her son through manipulation of the photo-shoot itself: “Here, shoot him from this angle. Tilt your head down and to the left, Leopold; it’s your least ugly side. And look pensive! That helps.”

On the other hand, he did a fine job with his more traditionally handsome (and hopefully Vicky-approved?) son, Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who succeeded to his father’s titles after Leopold’s early death at age 30 to hemophilia. I think he looks very much like his grandfather, Prince Albert.

I mean, Queen Vicky wouldn’t have had anything bad to say about him, right?? Not even about his crappy language skills?

He reigned as the fourth and last Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, since the advent of World War I (and Charles Edward’s eventual support of Germany and unfortunately, his joining of the Nazi party as a SA Gruppenführer) led the royal family (via George V) to change their name from the House of Saxe-Coburg to (you guessed it) the House of Windsor in order to distance themselves from their German heritage. Under the terms of the Titles Deprivation Act, per Wiki, “an Order in Council on 28 March 1919 formally removed Charles Edward’s British peerages, the Dukedom of Albany, Earldom of Clarence, and the Barony of Arklow.” An ignominious end to the House of Saxe-Coburg, but one that led to the advent of the House of Windsor and a new era of British sovereignty.

History, hotties, and sometimes notties. (And hotties who become notties? The Vicky A’s in no way, shape, or form endorse Nazism as ‘hot’. His deeply unfortunate life choices pull him into the nottie category, but have nothing to do with his superficial,  Leslie Howard-esque good looks.) Just your average Tuesday here with the Vicky A’s.

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