Was compelled by failing health to appoint a regent, and chose his sister, Catherine of Braganza, queen-dowager of England.
Her marriage dower had been seized by the queen dowager Isabella to pay a body of Hainauters, with whose help she had compassed her husband's deposition.
He married in 1869 Lady Mary Douglas Hamilton, by whom in 1870 he had a son, Prince Louis: that marriage was, however, annulled in 1880, and subsequently Prince Albert married Alice, dowager-duchess of Richelieu, from whom he was divorced in 1902.
During this period he acquired some knowledge of Russian, and gained the warm regard of the tsar, as well as of the dowager-empress, herself a Prussian princess.
In that circle they discountenanced those who advised hurried preparations for a removal to Kazan of the court and the girls' educational establishments under the patronage of the Dowager Empress.