According to A&E's Biography, Prince Albert was the husband of Queen Victoria of England, and he is famous for his social and diplomatic work. In addition to promoting the well-being of Britons and guiding the Queen through tricky diplomatic difficulties with Prussia and the United States, he was the mastermind of the 1851 Great Exhibition. The celebration of British culture and achievement became the model for later World Fairs.
Prince Albert played a role in the American Civil War. In 1861, a US Navy vessel boarded the British ship RMS Trent and apprehended a pair of Confederate agents. Britain immediately protested, seeing the attack as a violation of neutrality. Prince Albert managed to tone down the British Foreign Office's diplomatic communications with the United States, allowing cooler heads to prevail and possibly even preventing Great Britain's entry into the war against the Union. Prince Albert died at the age of 42, and his grieving widow established many monuments and buildings in his name, such as the Royal Albert Hall.
It is important to note that neither the tobacco brand at the heart of the "Prince Albert in a Can" joke nor the piercing known as a Prince Albert refer to Queen Victoria's husband. The tobacco was named after his son, who would become King Edward VII, and the piercing has no relation to him whatsoever.