HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
THE PRINCE CONSORT.
The Saxe-Coburg Family.--Birth and early Infancy of the Princes.-- Birth of Princess Victoria.--Letters from the Duchess of Coburg, and from the Dowager Duchesses of Coburg and of Gotha.
PRINCE ALBERT was descended from the Ernestine, or elder branch of the great Saxon family. That branch had, however, lost its birthright in the course of the 16th century. Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, had been the protector of Martin Luther, and was one of the first to embrace the doctrines of the Reformed Church, of which he was the most powerful supporter. His immediate successors adhered to the same religious opinions, and after the defeat of John Frederick the Magnanimous by Charles V., at Mühlberg, in 1547, they paid the penalty of their devotion to the Protestant faith in the forced surrender of their inheritance to the younger,