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Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901)

Name: Queen Victoria
Full Name: Alexandrina Victoria
Born: May 24, 1819 at Kensington Palace
Parents: Edward, Duke of Kent (son of George III) and Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Relation to Charles III: 3rd great-grandmother
House of: Hanover
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
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
Reigned for: 63 years, 7 months, 2 days
Succeeded by: her son Edward VII

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


‘Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves’ - Queen Victoria

’Being pregnant is an occupational hazard of being a wife’ - Queen Victoria’ (she had 9 children)

‘The Queen is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write or join in checking this mad, wicked folly of ‘Woman’s Rights’ with all its attendant horrors on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and propriety’ – Queen Victoria (she was against women’s rights despite being matriarch to nearly a quarter of the world’s population)

’The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.’ - Queen Victoria

Timeline for Queen Victoria

Year Event
1837Victoria succeeds her uncle, William IV
1838Publication of People’s Charter. Start of Chartism.
1839First Afghan War. British Forces capture the fortress of Ghazi in Afghanistan.
1839- 42 First Opium War. Britain gains Hong Kong.
1840Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
1840The Penny Post is introduced. First postage stamp is the Penny Black.
1840First colonist settlement in New Zealand
1841Sir Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister
1842End of First Opium War. Britain gains Hong Kong
1843Launch of SS Great Britain the worlds first all metal ship.
1844Railway 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.
1846Repeal of the Corn Laws
1848Major Chartist demonstration in London.
1848Pre-Raphaelite movement begins
1849Harrods store in London is opened
1851Great Exhibition takes place in Hyde Park. Its success is largely due to Prince Albert.
1852Death of the Duke of Wellington
1853Vaccination against smallpox made compulsory.
1853Victoria uses chloroform during the birth of Prince Leopold.
1854-1856 Crimean War fought by Britain and France against Russia.
1854Charge of the Light Brigade
185410,000 die of cholera from contaminated water in London.
1856The Victoria Cross is instituted for military bravery.
1856David Livingstone discovers the Victoria Falls
1857-1858 Indian Mutiny against British rule.
1858Isambard Kingdom Brunel launches The Great Eastern, the largest ship in the world and the first with a double iron hull.
1858First trans-Atlantic telegraph service
1859Publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species.
1861Prince 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.
1863The world's first underground railway is opened in London
1863Edward, Prince of Wales, marries Alexandra of Denmark
1863The Salvation Army is founded.
1863The Football Association is founded.
1865Slavery is ended in America with Northern Union victory in the American Civil War
1867The Second Reform Bill doubles the franchise vote to two million.
1867Canada becomes the first independent dominion in the Empire.
1867Karl Marx publishes the first volume of Das Kapital
1868Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the first time.
1869The Irish Church is disestablished.
1870First Education Act. Primary education becomes compulsory.
1870Death of Charles Dickens
1871Trade Unions are legalized
1872Secret voting is introduced for elections.
1872Henry Stanley finds David Livingstone who had been missing in Africa.
1874Disraeli becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1875Suez Canal shares purchased for Britain.
1875Thomas Moy demonstrates his Aerial Steamer the worlds first flying machine at Crystal Palace, London
1876Victoria becomes Empress of India.
1876Scots Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone
1878Second Afghan War. British defend the Kyber Pass.
1878William Booths Christian movement adopts the name The Salvation Army
1879Tay Bridge disaster
1879Zulu war, British troops massacred at Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift
1880Gladstone succeeds Disraeli as Prime Minister
1880- 1881 First conflict with Boers in South Africa
1883British occupy Egypt
1884Third Reform Act all adult males given the vote.
1884Greenwich Meridian and Mean Time adopted
1886First Irish Home Rule Bill fails to pass House of Commons. Gladstone resigns as Prime Minister.
1887Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee. She has ruled for 50 years.
1887Independent Labour Party is founded.
1891Free schooling is introduced. 11 years later school attendance becomes compulsory for all children.
1893Second Irish Home Rule Bill fails to pass the House of Lords.
1897Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.
1897Marconi demonstrates wireless transmission across the Bristol Channel
1899-1902 Boer War in South Africa. Siege of Mafeking
1900Labour party founded
1901Queen Victoria dies, aged 81.