The art of monarchy: the web of royalty

A new Radio 4 series, in collaboration with the Royal Collection, is exploring Britain's monarchs through the works of art they have acquired. One of the featured images is this Victorian royal portrait. Sophie Gordon, a senior curator at the Royal Collection, considers what it tells us

A photograph of Queen Victoria and her descendants, taken in April 1894 in Coburg, Germany. The photograph shows Queen Victoria's position at the centre of a network of alliances created by strategic marriages, which gave her the name 'the grandmother of Europe'. (Alamy)

This article was first published in the February 2012 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Queen Victoria and descendants, Coburg, 1894

This photograph was taken in April 1894 in Coburg, Germany. Queen Victoria sits at the centre of a group, including five of her children, ten grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Family members had gathered to celebrate the wedding of two of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren: Ernest Grand Duke of Hesse (son of Princess Alice) and Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (daughter of Prince Alfred). This marriage joined the British, Russian and Hessian royal families. The photograph shows Queen Victoria’s position at the centre of a network of alliances created by strategic marriages, which gave her the name ‘the Grandmother of Europe’. Here we take a look at 10 of the individuals featured…

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Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia (1853–1920)

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