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Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
(1819 - 1861)

picture of Prince Albert

Most obstetricians in Europe and America were opposed to the use of anaesthesia for uncomplicated deliveries. They argued it was dangerous and unnecessary; Professor James Simpson was an outspoken exception. However, Prince Albert, HRH The Prince Consort, took an interest in chloroform anaesthesia as early as 1848. Although Queen Victoria's seventh delivery, the birth in 1850 of Arthur, the future Duke of Connaught, was performed without anaesthesia, Prince Albert prevailed on the sceptical Royal physicians to contact Dr John Snow after the Queen became pregnant again. Dr Snow used an open drop method of chloroform administration rather than the inhaler he had earlier devised, both for Victoria's eighth delivery, Prince Leopold, in 1853, and also for the delivery of Victoria's youngest child, Princess Beatrice, in 1857.


Utopian Surgery
Refs and Further Reading
Anaesthesia and Anaesthetics
Queen Victoria and John Snow
Obstetric Chloroform Apparatus
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha