Albert, Prince of Wales - Early Initiator of the School and first Royal Patron

Albert, Prince of Wales (1841 – 1910) responded to Richard Jebb’s call in the Fortnightly Review (1883) to establish a British Institute in Athens by calling a meeting at Marlborough House to discuss it. The meeting was attended by influential people including Gladstone, Lord Salisbury and Lord Rosebery and resolved unanimously to establish a British institute in Athens.

Albert was the oldest son of Queen Victoria and he was Prince of Wales for nearly 60 years until his mother’s death in 1901 when he became King Edward VII. After Prince Albert’s secondary studies, Robert Bruce, the son of Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (of Elgin Marbles notoriety) was appointed as his personal governor and they made an educational visit to Rome in 1859. Prince Albert studied at the University of Edinburgh, Christ Church, Oxford and Trinity College, Cambridge.

Albert was the first Royal Patron of the British School at Athens, a tradition that has continued ever since.

Artist’s Note: Unlike most of the other people chosen for this BSA exhibition, the inclusion of Albert, Prince of Wales was entirely my choice, so this portrait relies on inspiration from sources other than the BSA archive. I had a lot to think about with Prince Albert as I had to decide whether to depict him in his youth (with only a light beard) as he was around the time he was supporting the development of the BSA or if I should depict him with the more mature and classic look after he became King, with which we are generally more familiar. In the end,I chose the latter as I felt it would be more fitting to his memory to be in the LC Family at a more mature age. Did you know that “Sometimes, Always, Never!”, the motto and fashion about never buttoning the bottom button of our jackets or waistcoats, was started by King Edward VII? So you will see on this LEGO portrait that I have left the bottom button of Prince Albert’s vest undone. Personally, as someone who always dresses in a vest and tie (yes even on the weekends), I obey this law of fashion to the letter!