British monarchy has twice been rescued by Germans. First, at the start of the 18th century, when the House of Hanover supplied the Protestant succession to the throne, ensuring the banishment of the Catholic Stuarts. Second, perhaps less obviously, in the mid-19th century, when Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha married Queen Victoria. So, argues A.N. Wilson in “Prince Albert: The Man Who Saved the Monarchy,” an engrossing biography that continues the author’s long engagement with the Victorian age (most recently in “Victoria: A Life” and “Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker”). Not only did Albert provide Victoria with a much-needed emotional pillar and plenty of legitimate heirs, Mr. Wilson observes; he also modernized the monarchy to make it better serve the needs of the industrial age.“. . . deeply moving, well researched, and fittingly appropriate tribute to the enduring legacy of Prince Albert . . .”For more than six decades, Queen Victoria ruled over the British Empire. Beside her for more than 20 of those years was her husband. Prince Albert lived only 42 years. In that time, Prince Albert fathered the royal dynasties of Germany, Russia, Spain and Bulgaria. Through Victoria, Albert and her German advisers pioneered the idea of the modern constitutional monarchy.A.N. Wilson portrays Prince Albert as one of Britain’s leading promoters of its transformation as a vibrant and extraordinary centre of political, technological, scientific, and intellectual advancement. Wilson claims that Albert was one of its principal influencers, and to properly understand Britain during this time period would be impossible without considering Albert’s effect and influence. “Deeply engaged as he was, and would be, in European and British political issues, knowledgeable as he was, and would be about scientific and technological advance, widely read in contemporary literature, Prince Albert would be no mere observer of these developments. He was determined, from the moment he left Germany . . . that he should find a role for himself personally, and a role for the monarchy, in the new world which was dawning.”On December 14, 1861, Prince Albert died from typhoid fever at Windsor Castle, in the presence of Victoria and five of their nine children. Victoria never recovered from Albert’s death. By the time of his death, Albert was an almost universally admired figure.“Both Victoria and Albert were full-time busy public figures, steering the institution of monarchy into something which could be sustained in the era of universal suffrage and parliamentary government . . . two fallible beings, whose egos clashed, but who remained lovers to the end, and who were in every sense partners.”For anyone interested in 19th-century history, Prince Albert: The Man Who Saved the Monarchy is a must-read — not just once, but at least twice, to savor the full range of Wilson’s abundant research and enticing prose.