That the royal ladies of history are made of at least as much mettle as their male counterparts shouldn’t come as a surprise, but did you know that Queen Victoria once saved her husband Prince Albert’s life (and changed the course of history in the process)?
In 1841, the couple had been married only a year. They were out for a walk around the Buckingham Palace grounds when Albert decided (as one does, I guess) to strap on his ice skates and take a turn around the frozen lake. Though Victoria noted in her diary entry on the event that the ice mostly seemed smooth and hard, as her new husband skated toward her, she noticed the ice around the bridge looked too thin to hold his weight.
“I, standing alone on the bank, said ‘it is unsafe here,’ and no sooner had I said this, than the ice cracked, and Albert was in the water up to his head, even for a moment below.”
The only people present were Victoria and her lady-in-waiting, both of whom screamed at the sight. Then Victoria instinctively offered her arm to Albert while her attendant provided an anchor on solid ground.
Albert grabbed onto his wife and hauled himself to safety, and even though he had a cut on his chin and surely quite the chill, it was nothing that a hot bath and a nap couldn’t cure once they were back home.
A contemporary account, published in The Times, corroborated Victoria’s account of the incident, and Albert himself told of the experience in a letter to his step-grandmother, Duchess Caroline of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.
“I was making my way to Victoria, who was standing on the bank with one of her ladies, when I fell plump into the water, and had to swim for two or three minutes in order to get out. Victoria was the only person with the presence of mind to lend me assistance, her lady being more occupied in screaming for help.”
Albert did come down with a bad cold but managed to eke out another 20 years.
Had he died that day, the future King Edward VII would not have been conceived – in fact all 7 of their children, whose direct descendants sat on thrones around Europe during WWI, would not have been born. It surely would have changed the blueprint of the world in one way or another, and that’s without even musing on the fact that Kaiser Wilhelm II could have ended up ruling both Germany and the U.K.
What a world, what a world, we might have lived in if not for the quick thinking and stout upper body strength of a queen – not a king – of England.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not the least bit surprised.