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Publisher's Summary

How did Prince Albert, an obscure German prince, leave an indelible mark on the British monarchy?

In 10 lectures, award-winning historian Patrick N. Allitt transports listeners to England in the 1840s and 1850s. During those two decades, Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, became one of the most influential people in the country and remains a figure of fascination even today. In fact, the British royal family as we know it wouldn't exist without the private and public actions of this detached, impartial, and upright political figure.

During his brief life of only 42 years, Prince Albert gave the world the new Houses of Parliament and the Great Exhibition of 1851. He helped Great Britain nimbly dodge the violent revolutions sweeping through mainland Europe and played important roles in both the Crimean War and the American Civil War. Trusted by politicians 25 years his senior, Prince Albert was a negotiator with superior insight into the minds of foreign leaders like Abraham Lincoln. Finally, he was husband to an iconic queen who would define an entire era in British history.

Parliamentary leaders come and go, but the British monarchy endures. Listeners will learn what great debt the monarchy owes to Prince Albert. 

©2019 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

Our favorite moments from The Life and Times of Prince Albert

Lecture 2, Chapter 2: Albert’s First Years in England
  • Lecture 2, Chapter 2: Albert’s First Years in England
Albert’s first years in England
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Lecture 5, Chapter 5: Victoria and Albert’s Family Life
  • Lecture 5, Chapter 5: Victoria and Albert’s Family Life
An outsider to British life
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Lecture 9, Chapter 9: Idea of the Monarchy in the Era of Victoria and Albert
  • Lecture 9, Chapter 9: Idea of the Monarchy in the Era of Victoria and Albert
What the people thought of Albert
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  • Lecture 2, Chapter 2: Albert’s First Years in England
  • Albert’s first years in England
  • Lecture 5, Chapter 5: Victoria and Albert’s Family Life
  • An outsider to British life
  • Lecture 9, Chapter 9: Idea of the Monarchy in the Era of Victoria and Albert
  • What the people thought of Albert

About the Professor

Patrick N. Allitt is Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University. Professor Allitt won Emory's Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2000 was appointed the N.E.H. / Arthur Blank Professorship of Teaching in the Humanities. A widely published and award-winning author, he has written several books, including The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities throughout American History; Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950-1985; and Religion in America since 1945. In addition to his many lecture series with The Great Courses, Professor Allitt has written for The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

What listeners say about The Life and Times of Prince Albert

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Master Storyteller

Professor Patrick Allitt is a master storyteller. I've listened to two of his other lecture series with Great Courses, one on the American West, another on Queen Victoria's life and times, and this new addition on Prince Albert is yet again a compelling listen.

Unlike the other two, the Prince Albert series is short--clocking in at just over four hours. So this is a whirlwind bus tour of the man and his era. But Prof Allitt is more than up to the challenge. He has a pleasing speaking voice (not all Great Courses lecturers do). And he has the storyteller's gift of threading his narrative with juicy tidbits and side notes on persons and technology and whatnot that even if you've heard this story before you'll learn something new.

I would say, however, that if you know a heck of a lot about Queen Victoria, you might find this too basic. I'm no expert. So for me this series was really good at jogging my memory on Albert and Victoria's courtship, Victoria's dislike and fear of child birth, her ecstatic diary entries on the pleasures of the marital bed (no "Victorian" prudishness there), Albert's impatience with his role as royal consort and his maneuvers to gain more influence, his obsession with technology, his stiff manners and Germanic delight with orderliness.

Prince Albert was an asset to Victoria, even if on a personal level they fought like cats and dogs--and then I'm sure made up for those blowouts with romps in the marital bed (Victoria scribbling notes in her diary afterwards???). Prof Allitt spends a good deal of time on Albert's involvement in the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the building of the Crystal Palace, as well as the prince's role as Chancellor of Cambridge University and the events surrounding the Crimean War. The last lecture touches on Albert's death and Victoria's never-ending grief. Charles Dickens, for one, grew impatient with her prolonged mourning.

I picked up this title because I like Prof Allitt's work but also because the lecture series is a collaboration between Audible and Great Courses. I don't know how that collaboration came about but it's a no-brainer. What I like about the Audible-produced Great Courses series is they tend to be short, bite-sized courses that zero in on a niche subject--like Romantic Comedy movies or Prince Albert--that might otherwise be too niche or off-the-beaten-path for a standard course.

48 people found this helpful

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prince Albert turns out to be an interesting guy!

For a lark, I thought this would be an interesting diversion. I sort of see what Victoria saw in him, despite a tumutuous relationship.
Added perk: the professor who narrates is first rate in addition to soinding like the Geico gecko!

22 people found this helpful

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  • JD
  • 05-11-20

So Horribly Boring and Uneventful

I love history but I couldn't finish this audiobook. Prince Albert, apparently, was a VERY boring and un-unique person. History on people is written for one or two reasons- 1. The person played a big role in history. or 2. The person's life has a very interesting story to tell. Prince Albert has neither of those. Unless you are a diehard Britain-History fan, this audiobook will be very forgettable and will mean nothing to you.

15 people found this helpful

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Very Enjoyable and Informative

Like many people in this generation I’ve always had an interest in the “Royal Family.” What I have read, besides current tabloid type news, has been English history of the 17th and 18th century and since World War I. I, of course, new of the Victorian era and the long reign of Victoria, but I knew little about Prince Albert.

I’ve also listened to quite a few of the Great Courses and found many of them to be presented in a dry and monotone manner.

This course was not only informative, but it was well presented. I recommend it to all Audible “arm chair historians.”

10 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

This is probably one of the most interesting accounts I have listened to in quite some time. The narrator is absolutely professional, the story so well written and organized. As an Anglophile I am both embarrassed that I did not know some of the content and thrilled at every bit of information presented. Well done. So much so I’ll listen again.

8 people found this helpful

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Solid history lesson, little to no dramatization.

The Life and Times of Prince Albert could be best described as a historical biography of none other than Prince Albert. It is composed and narrated by the illustrous Patrick Allitt, who is an authority on British history and the royal families. No surprises here, it's exactly what it says on the tin. Unfortunately that's my biggest criticism of the book--it's kind of bland during low points of contention because...well, it's history. When the stakes are high, the book is interesting and captivating. When the focus is on societal milestones that we take for granted, less so.

Patrick did an excellent job assembling these notes and narrating them, but at times I felt like I was experiencing deja vu because Patrick assembled his notes based on subject matter or topics. This feels disjointed when we're fast forwarding and rewinding in time. One minute Albert is young and dapper, the next he's on his deathbed, then back again. All because we went from talking about arts and humanities to talking about public relations with the United States.

If you're passionate about history, or interested at all in Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, you have already made up your mind. And for those of you who are interested, this book is worth a read. If you could care less about history, and are looking for some adventure, look elsewhere.

5 people found this helpful

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Captured by Lectures 1 ,2 - Bored by 3rd

I was bored by the 3rd lecture annoyed by the gushing delivery , gave up.

5 people found this helpful

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To dry

There is no representation of Alberts personality and no character development. It’s only a monologue of events, maybe interesting, but not compelling.

4 people found this helpful

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Professor Allitt does it again

I've bought all the great courses by Professor Allitt, and here is another excellent course. Professor Allitt's enthusiasm for his topics comes through in his lectures. Well paced with plenty of interesting anecdotes. I've read and listened to a lot on the Victorian era, and its generally Queen Victoria who takes the limelight. In this lecture series Prince Albert gets the attention and emerges as more than the fusty bore that he is portrayed as in many books. Do yourself a favour and experience Professor Allitts approach to history. Its hard to stop at just one!

3 people found this helpful

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TOO LONG AND RAMBLING

Didn't finish it. Got bored wiyh it. Fe't more like a boring history lesson. Mostly becayse of the narrator's style of presentation

2 people found this helpful