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House of Hanover - Queen Victoria

Name: Queen Victoria
Father: Edward, Duke of Kent (son of George III)
Mother: Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Born: May 24, 1819 at Kensington Palace
Ascended to the throne: June 20, 1837 aged 18 years
Crowned: June 28, 1838 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Albert, son of Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, on February 10, 1840
Children: Four sons including Edward VII, and five daughters
Died: January 22, 1901 at Osborne, Isle of Wight, aged 81 years, 7 months, and 29 days
Buried at: Frogmore

Named Alexandrina Victoria but known as Victoria, she was the only child of Edward Duke of Kent and Victoria Saxe-Coburg. Her father died when she was 1 year old and her domineering mother kept her away from her ‘wicked’ uncles Kings George and William. She had a sheltered upbringing, and came to the throne shortly after her 18th birthday in 1837 on the death of her uncle William IV who had no surviving legitimate children. She was at the time unmarried and not crowned until June 28, 1838. In February 1840 she married her cousin and love of her life Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The British Empire was at the height of its power and she ruled over 450 million people, one quarter of the world’s population and approximately one quarter of the work’s landmass. It stretched so far around the globe from Canada to the Caribbean, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand that it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. India was Jewel in the Crown and in 1876 she was given the title Empress of India. The Victorian era was a time of immense industrial, political, trade, scientific and military progress for Great Britain. In her early years she was dependent on her Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and her uncle King Leopold of Belgium for advice, but increasingly her husband Albert became her main advisor. He was involved in organising the Great Exhibition in 1851, and persuaded her to take a more constitutional role in leaving the rule of the nation and Empire to Parliament. She was strong willed and her relations with her prime ministers ranged from the affectionate (Melbourne and Disraeli) to the stormy (Peel, Palmerston, and Gladstone).

Victoria and Albert had four sons, five daughters and 42 grandchildren who were married to royalty across Europe making her the ‘grandmother of Europe’. Her daughter Victoria was mother of the German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II, and her grand-daughter Alexandria was the wife of Nicholas II Emperor and last Tzar of Russia. The death of Albert from typhoid in 1861 plunged Victoria into mourning and she withdrew almost completely from public life spending her time at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Osborne house on the Isle of Wight where she spent time with her favourite Scottish servant John Brown. This encouraged republican sentiments and she was the target of several assassination attempts.

However she kept control of affairs, refusing her son Edward, Prince of Wales (who became Edward VII) any active role. Her golden jubilee in 1887 and diamond jubilee in 1897 regained her popular support and matriarchal role as Queen of the nation and Empire. She died at Osborne House on 22 January 1901, and was buried at Windsor. Her reign lasted 63 years and 7 months which is the second longest of any British monarch.

Queen Victoria's Signature

Timeline for Queen Victoria

1837 Victoria succeeds her uncle, William IV
1838 Publication of People’s Charter. Start of Chartism.
1839 First Afghan War. British Forces capture the fortress of Ghazi in Afghanistan.
1839 - 42 First Opium War. Britain gains Hong Kong.
1840 Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
1840 The Penny Post is introduced. First postage stamp is the Penny Black.
1840 First colonist settlement in New Zealand
1841 Sir Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister
1842 End of First Opium War. Britain gains Hong Kong
1843 Launch of SS Great Britain the worlds first all metal ship.
1844 Railway building mania starts. 5,000 miles of track are built in Britain by 1846
1845 - 1849 Irish Potato Famine kills more than a million people. Many emigrate to America.
1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws
1848 Major Chartist demonstration in London.
1848 Pre-Raphaelite movement begins
1849 Harrods store in London is opened
1851 Great Exhibition takes place in Hyde Park. Its success is largely due to Prince Albert.
1852 Death of the Duke of Wellington
1853 Vaccination against smallpox made compulsory.
1853 Victoria uses chloroform during the birth of Prince Leopold.
1854 -1856 Crimean War fought by Britain and France against Russia.
1854 Charge of the Light Brigade
1854 10,000 die of cholera from contaminated water in London.
1856 The Victoria Cross is instituted for military bravery.
1856 David Livingstone discovers the Victoria Falls
1857 -1858 Indian Mutiny against British rule.
1858 Isambard Kingdom Brunel launches The Great Eastern, the largest ship in the world and the first with a double iron hull.
1858 First trans-Atlantic telegraph service
1859 Publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species.
1861 Prince Albert dies of typhoid
1861 - 65 Civil War in America. Southern states unsuccessfully seek to involve Britain which has sufficient cotton from Egypt and India, but needs the Union North's grain.
1863 The world's first underground railway is opened in London
1863 Edward, Prince of Wales, marries Alexandra of Denmark
1863 The Salvation Army is founded.
1863 The Football Association is founded.
1865 Slavery is ended in America with Northern Union victory in the American Civil War
1867 The Second Reform Bill doubles the franchise vote to two million.
1867 Canada becomes the first independent dominion in the Empire.
1867 Karl Marx publishes the first volume of Das Kapital
1868 Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the first time.
1869 The Irish Church is disestablished.
1870 First Education Act. Primary education becomes compulsory.
1870 Death of Charles Dickens
1871 Trade Unions are legalized
1872 Secret voting is introduced for elections.
1872 Henry Stanley finds David Livingstone who had been missing in Africa.
1874 Disraeli becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1875 Suez Canal shares purchased for Britain.
1875 Thomas Moy demonstrates his Aerial Steamer the worlds first flying machine at Crystal Palace, London
1876 Victoria becomes Empress of India.
1876 Scots Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone
1878 Second Afghan War. British defend the Kyber Pass.
1878 William Booths Christian movement adopts the name The Salvation Army
1879 Tay Bridge disaster
1879 Zulu war, British troops massacred at Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift
1880 Gladstone succeeds Disraeli as Prime Minister
1880 - 1881 First conflict with Boers in South Africa
1883 British occupy Egypt
1884 Third Reform Act all adult males given the vote.
1884 Greenwich Meridian and Mean Time adopted
1886 First Irish Home Rule Bill fails to pass House of Commons. Gladstone resigns as Prime Minister.
1887 Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee. She has ruled for 50 years.
1887 Independent Labour Party is founded.
1891 Free schooling is introduced. 11 years later school attendance becomes compulsory for all children.
1893 Second Irish Home Rule Bill fails to pass the House of Lords.
1897 Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.
1897 Marconi demonstrates wireless transmission across the Bristol Channel
1899 -1902 Boer War in South Africa. Siege of Mafeking
1900 Labour party founded
1901 Queen Victoria dies, aged 81.