Coburg, Windsor and Spencer
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With the will of Prince Albert in 1861, the history of royal wills entered a new, and altogether different, phase. Until this date the wills of sovereigns had been readily accessible at least to scholars and historians. They were stored in well-known places, although these places may have been various, and even multiple, according to the number of copies of the will. But, on the death of Albert, the whole question of his will was complicated by other issues, especially the mania of the Queen, Victoria, for secrecy. She was extremely proprietorial and never more so than with anything concerned with Albert and the children. She refused to let the fourth son, Prince Leopold, whose place in the succession was far distant, become Governor of Tasmania, as “what you have never understood, is that your first duty is to me!” The poor prince, the most academic of her sons, who longed to attend University, led a short and frustrated life, complicated by the haemophilia passed on through his mother (albeit unwitting in this instance). But one has to understand the nature of Queen Victoria herself to understand what she did, and what she didn’t do. She was, of all people, sui generis, a law unto herself.