The first time Albert Francis Charles Augustus Emmanuel from Germany met his British first cousin, queen-to-be Alexandrina Victoria, in 1836, the notion of the two marrying had already surfaced within their well-connected families [source: PBS]. With their uncle Leopold I, King of Belgium, acting as matchmaker, Queen Victoria popped the question to her lower-status suitor in 1839, and the couple wed the following year. Albert ultimately became heavily involved in Queen Victoria's daily affairs, serving as her personal secretary, confidant and father to their nine children.
Although it took 17 years for the royal court to grant him the official title of Prince Consort, he and Victoria secured the future of the British crown with their second child, Prince Albert, who would become King Edward VII in 1901. All but one of Edward's brothers and sisters also married into other European royal houses, establishing diplomatic alliances with Germany, Prussia and Russia [source: PBS]. Incidentally, Albert's stern parenting toward his oldest son did little to steer the future monarch toward sound morals, and as a result, King Edward VII became known for his vice-loving nature [source: PBS]. Despite such rebellions, King Edward adopted his father's family at coronation, transitioning the throne to the House of Wettin, which would be renamed the House of Windsor by King George V.