Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, like most aristocratic and royal parents of their day, expected their children to act always in a dignified manner that reflected their exalted rank amongst society.  They spent very little time with children themselves while growing up.

Victoria had two elder half siblings from her mother’s first marriage. Her mother was a German princess, who firstly married a German prince. She was widowed while still in her childbearing years, and remarried to Victoria’s father, the British Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.  The only thing between Edward and the throne of Great Britain were a few childless elder brothers.  Victoria’s father died when she was about nine months old.  Victoria’s mother had left her son, Charles, Victoria’s half brother, in Germany, as he was heir to his father. Her younger child, Feodora, came with her to Britain when she married, but Feodora was much older than Victoria, and moved back to Germany to marry while Victoria was still young. Feodora and Victoria cherished each other, but the age gap meant that Feodora was much more of a mother than a playmate.  Victoria herself was to describe her childhood as very lonely.

Prince Albert had one sibling, an older brother very close in age. They were very close, but very different in temperament. Prince Albert was retiring and bookish, in contrast to his brother, Ernest, who was later to become known as a womanizer who liked to party. Like Victoria, Albert did not have many other children to play with while growing up. However, Albert was a much less distant parent to his own children than Victoria was.