The personal passions and public causes of Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert are being laid bare as more than 17,500 photographs, prints, private and official papers are published this week - most of them for the first time, to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth.

The new website Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy sheds fresh light on Albert’s contribution as Queen Victoria’s unofficial Private Secretary before his premature death at the age of 42, his impact on Victorian society and his influence on our world today.

It is part of a project to digitise 23,500 items relating to Albert by the end of next year. The project is being supported by Sir Hugh and Lady Stevenson in honour of Sir Hugh’s sister the late Dame Anne Griffiths DCVO, former Librarian and Archivist to The Duke of Edinburgh.

Tim Knox, Director of the Royal Collection, said: "It is fitting that in the year in which we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Prince Albert’s birth, we launch the website ‘Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy’, which reflects the contribution the Prince Consort made to 19th-century Britain and the wider world. We hope that the publication of material held in the Royal Archives and the Royal Collection and by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 will increase awareness and understanding of the achievements of this extraordinary man."

‘Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy’ is available at

History largely remembers Prince Albert as Queen Victoria's German husband whose untimely death inspired decades of mourning.

The release of the new material could transform his image.

Albert’s enthusiasm for industry, technology and design put Britain on the world stage when his vision for the first international trade fair was realised in the Great Exhibition, which more than six million visitors attended - a third of the population of Britain at the time.

Albert was President of the Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade, as well as president of the Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes which pioneered the innovaton of running water and indoor lavatories.