Maybe; if asked this question; your response could be –“who was Prince Albert?” However, many probably have heard of at least one prince named Albert;and that would be Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha who was the one who married England’s Queen Victoria. Although married to a queen; he could never be king and was referred to as the Prince Consort. Queen Victoria lived a very long life; but her husband died early (in 1861 at 42 years of age; Victoria lived on to 1901). In expression of her grief, Victoria had the Albert Memorial constructed which stands close by to the Albert Hall where, today, people flock to see the famous London Proms or attend the annual Eric Clapton concerts; but most concert goers would not be able to tell you much about Albert – let alone his smoking habits.
Albert and Victoria had nine children and the eldest son was named Albert Edward; but is better remembered as the Prince of Wales who went on to become King Edward VII. It is this Albert who, as a very long serving Prince of Wales, gained something of a playboy image on both sides of the Atlantic; an image that did include his liking of both cigars and cigarettes – the world best selling American cigar (the King Edward is named after him). However, little is recorded about his thoughts on pipe smoking.
Nevertheless; the Prince of Wales’ American popularity was such that; when the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company introduced a new range of pipe tobaccos in 1903; R.J. Reynolds himself chose to name it after Prince Albert (Edward). That was in 1907 and, by the 1930’s; their Prince Albert Pipe Tobacco was a confirmed best seller and was, reportedly, the second best selling line for Reynolds. In fact, the Prince Albert Pipe Tobacco tins have become something of an American icon and the subject of numerous jokes, puns and pranks.
In the late 1980’s; Reynolds sold the brand to the John Middleton Co; which had grown from a tobacconist shop in Philadelphia which John Middleton opened in 1856.Today, that company is part of a multi-national group; but Prince Albert Pipe Tobacco still survives and the same burley tobacco blend is also being used for cigar manufacture; mainly in small cigar format both with or without a plastic mouthpiece. The original pipe tobacco is available as well as a range of flavored tobaccos.
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