Victoria of the United Kingdom

Victoria of the United Kingdom

Infobox British Royalty|majesty
name =Victoria
title =Queen of the United Kingdom, Empress of India

caption =
reign =20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901
(age in years and days|1837|6|20|1901|1|22|mf=y)
coronation =28 June 1838
predecessor =William IV
successor =Edward VII
spouse =Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
issue =Victoria, German Empress
Edward VII
Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Helena, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
Louise, Duchess of Argyll
Arthur, Duke of Connaught
Leopold, Duke of Albany
Beatrice, Princess Henry of Battenberg

full name =Alexandrina Victoria
titles ="HM" The Queen
"HRH" Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent
royal house =House of Hanover
royal anthem =God Save the Queen
father =Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent
mother =Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
date of birth =birth date|1819|5|24|df=y
place of birth =Kensington Palace, London
date of christening =24 June 1819
place of christening =Kensington Palace, London
date of death =death date and age|1901|01|22|1819|05|24|df=y
place of death =Osborne House, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
date of burial =2 February 1901
place of burial =Frogmore, Windsor, Berkshire, United Kingdom


Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was from 20 June 1837 the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and from 1 May 1876 the first Empress of India until her death. Her reign as Queen lasted 63 years and seven months, longer than that of any other British monarch to date. The period centred on her reign is known as the Victorian era.

Though Victoria ascended the throne at a time when the United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy in which the king or queen held few political powers, she still served as a very important symbolic figure of her time. The Victorian era represented the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of significant social, economic, and technological progress in the United Kingdom. Victoria's reign was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire; during this period it reached its zenith, becoming the foremost global power of the time.

Victoria, who was of almost entirely German descent, was the granddaughter of George III and the niece of her predecessor William IV. She arranged marriages for her nine children and forty-two grandchildren across the continent, tying Europe together; this earned her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe".cite book|title=Her Little Majesty: The Life of Queen Victoria|author=Carolly Erickson|publisher=Simon & Schuster|isbn=0-7432-3657-2|year=1997] She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover; her son King Edward VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Through her mother, she was also a first cousin twice removed of Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress.

Early life

In 1817 a concern over succession arose when George IV's only legitimate child and George III's only legitimate grandchild, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, died. George III had twelve surviving children. The younger sons of Geroge III had not expected to figure in the line of succession to the throne of Britain, and therefore showed little interest in marriage. When Charlotte died, the remaining unmarried sons of King George III, now in their 40s and 50s, scrambled to marry and father children to guarantee the line of succession.cite book|title=The Life and Times of Queen Victoria|author=Dorothy Marshall|pages=16–154|asin=B0006DJ3R2|publisher=Book Club Associates|year=1972] As such, at the age of 50, The Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III, married a widow, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. The couple's only child, Victoria, was born in Kensington Palace, London, on 24 May 1819. At birth she was fifth in line to succeed her grandfather George III to the British crown after her father's three older brothers and her father.cite web|url=|title=History of the Monarchy > Hanovarians > Victoria|publisher=The Royal Family|accessdate=2008-09-13]

Victoria was baptised in the Cupola Room of Kensington Palace on 24 June 1819 by The Archbishop of Canterbury (Charles Manners-Sutton). Her godparents were The Prince Regent (her paternal uncle); the Russian Tsar (Alexander I, her fourth cousin (in whose honour she received her first name); The Princess Royal (her paternal aunt); and The Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (her maternal grandmother). Although christened Alexandrina Victoria—and from birth formally styled "Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria of Kent"—Victoria was called Drina within the family.cite book|title=Queen Victoria|author=Giles St. Aubyn|pages=9–27|publisher=Hodder & Stoughton|isbn=978-0340571095|year=1992|oclc=27171944]

Victoria's first language was German, which she was taught from birth. From the age of three she was taught English and French, and became virtually trilingual, though her mastery of English grammar remained incomplete. [cite web| url= | author=Lytton Strachey|title= "Queen Victoria"|accessdate=2008-08-23 |] She was also taught Italian, Greek, arithmetic, music, and history—her favourite subject. Her teachers were the Reverend George Davys and her governess, Baroness Louise Lehzen. When she learned from Baroness Lehzen that one day she could be queen, Victoria replied, "I will be good".cite book|title=Victoria: A Biography|author=Christopher Hibbert|pages=16–78|publisher=Da Capo Press|isbn=978-0306810855|year=2001|oclc=191215627 48687442]

Her name, originally chosen by the Prince Regent, the future King George IV, was a subject of dispute between close relatives. The future King William IV proposed "Elizabeth" and objected to naming the princess after her mother, by saying that "Victoria" was not English enough for an heiress to the throne. "Charlotte" was considered, in honour of the deceased princess, but it was ultimately decided to leave the name as Alexandrina Victoria; it had become popular in the British Press and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, refused a change. [cite book|title=Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera|author=Michael Nelson, Asa Briggs|publisher=I.B.Tauris|year=2001|isbn=9781860646461|oclc=45869281]

Victoria's father, the fourth son and fifth child of George III, died after a brief illness on 23 January 1820—just eight months after Victoria was born. King George III, her grandfather, died six days later on 29 January 1820. At that point, Victoria's uncle, the Prince Regent, inherited the Crown, becoming King George IV.

George IV died in 1830 and because the second son of George III, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, had died without issue in 1827, George IV was therefore succeeded by another brother. This was the third son of George III, Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who reigned as "William IV". The fourth child of George III, Charlotte, Princess Royal, though not in line for the throne before her brothers, had died in 1828. [cite web|url=|title=History of the Monarchy > The Hanovarians > George III|publisher=The Royal Family|accessdate=2008-09-13]

Heiress to the throne

William IV was the father of ten illegitimate children by his mistress, the actress Dorothy Jordan, but had no surviving legitimate children. As a result, the young Princess Victoria, his niece, became heiress presumptive.cite web|url=|title=History of the Monarchy > Hanoverians > William IV|publisher=The Royal Family|accessdate=2008-09-13]

The law at the time made no special provision for a child monarch. Therefore, a Regent needed to be appointed if Victoria were to succeed to the throne before coming of age at the age of eighteen. Parliament passed the Regency Act 1830, which provided that Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, would act as Regent during the Queen's minority. Parliament did not create a council to limit the powers of the Regent. King William disliked the Duchess and, on at least one occasion, stated that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so a regency could be avoided.

Princess Victoria met her future husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, when she was just seventeen in 1836. But it was not until a second meeting in 1839 that she said of him: "...dear Albert... He is so sensible, so kind, and so good, and so amiable too. He has besides, the most pleasing and delightful exterior and appearance you can possibly see." Prince Albert was Victoria's first cousin; his father was her mother's brother, Ernst. As a monarch, Victoria had to propose to him and in 1840 they married. Their marriage proved to be very happy.

Early reign


On 24 May 1837 Victoria turned 18, meaning that a regency was no longer necessary. On 20 June 1837, Victoria was awakened by her mother to find that William IV had died from heart failure at the age of 71.cite book|title=Queen Victoria|author=Giles St. Aubyn|pages=55–60|publisher=Hodder & Stoughton|isbn=978-0340571095|year=1992|oclc=27171944] In her diary Victoria wrote, "I was awoke at 6 o'clock by Mamma ...who told me the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here and wished to see me. I got out of bed and went into my sitting-room (only in my dressing gown) and alone, and saw them. Lord Conyngham then acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning, and consequently that I am Queen..." Victoria was now Queen of the United Kingdom. Her coronation took place on 18 May 1838, and she became the first Monarch to take up residence at Buckingham Palace.Cite web|url=|title=Buckingham Palace|accessdate=2008-09-14|publisher=The Royal Family]

Under Salic Law, however, no woman could be heir to the throne of Hanover, a realm which had shared a monarch with Britain since 1714. Hanover passed to her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, who became King Ernest Augustus I. (He was the fifth son and eighth child of George III.) As the young queen was as yet unmarried and childless, Ernest Augustus also remained the heir presumptive to the throne of the United Kingdom until Victoria's first child was born in 1840. [cite book|title=Victoria's Daughters|author=Jerrold M. Packard|pages=14–15|publisher=St. Martin's Press|isbn=978-0312244965|year=1999|oclc=43559899]

At the time of her accession, the government was controlled by the Whig Party, which had been in power, except for brief intervals, since 1830. The Whig Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, at once became a powerful influence in the life of the politically inexperienced Queen, who relied on him for advice—some even referred to Victoria as "Mrs. Melbourne". However, the Melbourne ministry would not stay in power for long; it was growing unpopular and, moreover, faced considerable difficulty in governing the British colonies, especially during the Rebellions of 1837. In 1839, Lord Melbourne resigned after the Radicals and the Tories (both of whom Victoria detested at that time) joined together to block a Bill before the House of Commons that would have suspended the Constitution of Jamaica. [cite web|url=|title=Lord Melbourne (1779 – 1848)|publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-09-19]

Victoria's principal adviser was her uncle King Leopold I of Belgium (her mother's brother, and the widower of Princess Charlotte). Queen Victoria's cousins, through Leopold, were King Leopold II of Belgium and Empress Carlota of Mexico.

The Queen then commissioned Sir Robert Peel, a Tory, to form a new ministry, but was faced with a débâcle known as the Bedchamber Crisis. At the time, it was customary for appointments to the Royal Household to be based on the patronage system (that is, for the Prime Minister to appoint members of the Royal Household on the basis of their party loyalties). Many of the Queen's Ladies of the Bedchamber were wives of Whigs, but Sir Robert Peel expected to replace them with wives of Tories. Victoria strongly objected to the removal of these ladies, whom she regarded as close friends rather than as members of a ceremonial institution. Sir Robert Peel felt that he could not govern under the restrictions imposed by the Queen, and consequently resigned his commission, allowing Melbourne to return to office.

Marriage and assassination attempts

The Queen married her first cousin, Prince Albert, on 10 February 1840, in the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace, London. [Her bridesmaids were the Ladies Adelaide Paget, Sarah Child Villiers, Frances Cowper, Elizabeth West, Mary Grimston, Eleanora Paget, Caroline Gordon-Lennox, Elizabeth Howard, Ida Hay, Catherine Stanhope, Jane Pleydell-Bouverie and Mary Howard] Albert became not only the Queen's companion, but an important political advisor, replacing Lord Melbourne as the dominant figure in the first half of her life following Melbourne's death. [cite web|url=|title=Prince Albert (1819 – 1861)|publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-09-19]

During Victoria's first pregnancy, eighteen-year-old Edward Oxford attempted to assassinate the Queen while she was riding in a carriage with Prince Albert in London.cite book|title=Queen Victoria|author=Giles St. Aubyn|pages=161–165|publisher=Hodder & Stoughton|isbn=978-0340571095|year=1992|oclc=27171944] Oxford fired twice, but both bullets missed. He was tried for high treason, but was acquitted on the grounds of insanity. [cite book|author=Michael Diamond|title=Victorian sensation|publisher=Anthem Press|year=2003|isbn=1-84331-150-X|oclc=57519212] Despite the shooting, the first of the royal couple's nine children, named Victoria, was born on 21 November 1840. [cite web|url=|title=Empress Frederick: The Last Hope for a Liberal Germany?|publisher=The Historian|date=1999-09-22|accessdate=2008-09-19]

Further attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria occurred between May and July 1842. First, on 29 May at St. James's Park, John Francis fired a pistol at the Queen while she was in a carriage, but was immediately seized by Police Constable William Trounce. Francis was convicted of high treason. The death sentence was commuted to transportation for life. Additionally, on 13 June 1842, Victoria made her first journey by train, travelling from Slough railway station (near Windsor Castle) to Bishop's Bridge, near Paddington (in London), in a special royal carriage provided by the Great Western Railway. Accompanying her were her husband and the engineer of the Great Western line, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The Queen and the Prince Consort both complained the train was going too fast at convert|20|mi/h|km/h|-1|abbr=on, fearing the train would derail off the railway line. Then, on 3 July, just days after Francis's sentence was commuted, another boy, John William Bean, attempted to shoot the Queen. Prince Albert felt that the attempts were encouraged by Oxford's acquittal in 1840. Although his gun was loaded only with paper and tobacco, his crime was still punishable by death. Feeling that such a penalty would be too harsh, Prince Albert encouraged Parliament to pass the Treason Act 1842. Under the new law, an assault with a dangerous weapon in the monarch's presence with the intent of alarming her was made punishable by seven years imprisonment and flogging. [cite web|url= |title=Treason Act 1842 (c.51) - Statute Law Database | |date= [16 July 1842] |accessdate=2008-09-18] Bean was thus sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment; however, neither he, nor any person who violated the act in the future, was flogged. [cite book|title=The Politics of Regicide in England, 1760–1850: Troublesome Subjects|author=Steve Poole|publisher=Manchester University Press|year=2000|isbn=0719050359|pages=199–203|oclc=185769902 222735433 44915199 47352204 59575274]

Early Victorian politics and further assassination attempts

Peel's ministry soon faced a crisis involving the repeal of the Corn Laws. Many Tories—by then known also as Conservatives—were opposed to the repeal, but some Tories (the "Peelites") and most Whigs supported it. Peel resigned in 1846, after the repeal narrowly passed, and was replaced by Lord John Russell. Russell's ministry, though Whig, was not favoured by the Queen. Particularly offensive to Victoria was the Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, who often acted without consulting the Cabinet, the Prime Minister, or the Queen.

In 1849, Victoria lodged a complaint with Lord John Russell, claiming that Palmerston had sent official dispatches to foreign leaders without her knowledge. She repeated her remonstrance in 1850, but to no avail. It was only in 1851 that Lord Palmerston was removed from office; he had on that occasion announced the British government's approval for President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte's coup in France without prior consultation of the Prime Minister.

The period during which Russell was Prime Minister also proved personally distressing to Queen Victoria. In 1849, an unemployed and disgruntled Irishman named William Hamilton attempted to alarm the Queen by firing a powder-filled pistol as her carriage passed along Constitution Hill, London. Hamilton was charged under the 1842 act; he pleaded guilty and received the maximum sentence of seven years of penal transportation. [Cite web|url= |title=Third Attack on American Presidents |date=7 September 1901 |work=New York Times |accessdate=2008-03-24]

In 1850, the Queen did sustain injury when she was assaulted by a possibly insane ex-Army officer, Robert Pate. As Victoria was riding in a carriage, Pate struck her with his cane, crushing her bonnet and bruising her. Pate was later tried; he failed to prove his insanity, and received the same sentence as Hamilton.


The young Queen Victoria fell in love with Ireland, choosing to holiday in Killarney in Kerry. Her love of the island was matched by initial Irish warmth towards the young Queen. In 1845, Ireland was hit by a potato blight that over four years cost the lives of over one million Irish people and saw the emigration of another million. [cite book|author=David Ross|title=Ireland: History of a Nation|publisher=New Lanark: Geddes & Grosset|year=2002|pages=268|isbn=1842051644|oclc=52945911] In response to what came to be called the Irish Potato Famine ("An Gorta Mór"), the Queen personally donated 2,000 pounds sterling to the starving Irish people. [cite web|url= |title=Multitext - Private Responses to the Famine | |author=Pope Pius IX |date= |accessdate=2008-09-18]

However, the policies of her minister Lord John Russell were often blamed for exacerbating the severity of the famine, which adversely affected the Queen's popularity in Ireland. Victoria was a strong supporter of the Irish; she supported the Maynooth Grant and made a point, on visiting Ireland, of visiting the seminary.cite web|url=|title=Victoria (queen of United Kingdom)|accessdate=2008-09-14|publisher=Encyclopedia Britannica]

Victoria's first official visit to Ireland, in 1849, was specifically arranged by Lord Clarendon, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—the head of the British administration—to try to both draw attention from the famine and alert British politicians through the Queen's presence to the seriousness of the crisis in Ireland. Despite the negative impact of the famine on the Queen's popularity she remained popular enough for nationalists at party meetings to finish by singing "God Save the Queen".cite book|title=Queen Victoria|author=Giles St. Aubyn|pages=|publisher=Hodder & Stoughton|isbn=978-0340571095|year=1992|oclc=27171944]

By the 1870s and 1880s the monarchy's appeal in Ireland had diminished substantially, partly because Victoria refused to visit Ireland in protest at the Dublin Corporation's decision not to congratulate her son, the Prince of Wales on both his marriage to Princess Alexandra of Denmark and on the birth of the royal couple's oldest son, Prince Albert Victor.

Victoria refused repeated pressure from a number of prime ministers, lords lieutenant and even members of the Royal Family, to establish a royal residence in Ireland. Lord Midleton, the former head of the Irish unionist party, writing in his memoirs of 1930 "Ireland: Dupe or Heroine?", described this decision as having proved disastrous to the monarchy and British rule in Ireland. [cite book|title=Ireland-dupe or Heroine|author=Midleton, William St. John Fremantle Brodrick Midleton, William St. John Fremantle Brodrick|publisher=William Heinemann|year=1932]

Victoria paid her last visit to Ireland in 1900, when she came to appeal to Irishmen to join the British Army and fight in the Second Boer War. Nationalist opposition to her visit was spearheaded by Arthur Griffith, who established an organisation called "Cumann na nGaedhael" to unite the opposition. Five years later Griffith used the contacts established in his campaign against the queen's visit to form a new political movement, Sinn Féin.


The Prince Consort died of typhoid fever on 14 December 1861 due to the primitive sanitary conditions at Windsor Castle. His death devastated Victoria, who was still affected by the death of her mother earlier that year.cite book|title=The Life and Times of Queen Victoria|author=Dorothy Marshall|pages=|asin=B0006DJ3R2|publisher=Book Club Associates|year=1972] She entered a state of mourning and wore black for the remainder of her life. She avoided public appearances and rarely set foot in London in the following years. Her seclusion earned her the name "Widow of Windsor". She blamed her son Edward, the Prince of Wales, for his father's death, since news of the Prince's poor conduct had come to his father in November, leading Prince Albert to travel to Cambridge to confront his son.

Victoria's self-imposed isolation from the public greatly diminished the popularity of the monarchy, and even encouraged the growth of the republican movement. Although she did undertake her official government duties, she chose to remain secluded in her royal residences—Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Windsor Castle.

As time went by Victoria began to rely increasingly on a manservant from Scotland, John Brown. A romantic connection and even a secret marriage have been alleged, but both charges are generally discredited. However, when Victoria's remains were laid in the coffin, two sets of mementos were placed with her, at her request. By her side was placed one of Albert's dressing gowns while in her left hand was placed a piece of Brown's hair, along with a picture of him. It was learned in 2008 that Victoria's body wore the wedding ring of John Brown's mother, placed on her hand after her death. [Cite web| title=Queen Victoria's sex life exposed (Royal Watch News)| date=2008-05-30 11:00 GMT | publisher=Monsters and | url= ] Rumours of an affair and marriage earned Victoria the nickname "Mrs Brown". The story of their relationship was the subject of the 1997 movie "Mrs. Brown". [Cite web|url=|title=Mrs. Brown (1997)|publisher=Rotten Tomatoes|accessdate=2008-09-19]

Later years

Golden Jubilee and an assassination attempt

Coin image box 1 double
header = Jubilee silver double florin of Queen Victoria, struck 1887

caption_left = Obverse: (Latin) "VICTORIA DEI GRATIA," or in English, "Victoria, by the Grace of God". This coin depicts the Queen and was struck in the year of her Golden Jubilee.
caption_right = Reverse: (Latin) "BRITT [ANIA] REG [INA] 1887 FID [EI] DEF [ENSOR] ," or in English, Queen of Britain, 1887, Defender of the Faith. Clockwise from the top, the arms of England, Ireland, England (again), and Scotland.
width = 250
position = right
margin = 0

In 1887, the British Empire celebrated Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Victoria marked the fiftieth anniversary of her accession on 20 June with a banquet to which 50 European kings and princes were invited. Although she could not have been aware of it, there was a plan—ostensibly by Irish anarchists—to blow up Westminster Abbey while the Queen attended a service of thanksgiving. This assassination attempt, when it was discovered, became known as the Jubilee Plot. On the next day, she participated in a procession that, in the words of Mark Twain, "stretched to the limit of sight in both directions". By this time, Victoria was once again an extremely popular monarch.

Diamond Jubilee

On 22 September 1896, Victoria surpassed George III as the longest-reigning monarch in English, Scottish, and British history. The Queen requested all special public celebrations of the event to be delayed until 1897, to coincide with her Diamond Jubilee. The Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, proposed that the Diamond Jubilee be made a festival of the British Empire.

The Prime Ministers of all the self-governing dominions and colonies were invited. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee procession included troops from every British colony and dominion, together with soldiers sent by Indian princes and chiefs as a mark of respect to Victoria, the Empress of India. The Diamond Jubilee celebration was an occasion marked by great outpourings of affection for the septuagenarian Queen. A service of thanksgiving was held outside St. Paul's Cathedral. Queen Victoria sat in her carriage throughout the service; she wore her usual black mourning dress trimmed with white lace. Many trees were planted to celebrate the Jubilee, including 60 oak trees at Henley-on-Thames in the shape of a Victoria Cross. [cite web|url=
title=Special trees and woods - Henley Cross The Chilterns AONB | |date= |accessdate=2008-09-18

Death and succession

Following a custom she maintained throughout her widowhood, Victoria spent the Christmas of 1900 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. She died there from a cerebral hemorrhage on Tuesday 22 January 1901 at half past six in the afternoon, [Cite web|url= | title= Calendar for year 1901|| accessdate=2008-08-23] [cite web|url=|title=Supplement to The London Gazette|date=23 January 1901|publisher="London Gazette" |accessdate=2008-08-23] at the age of 81. At her deathbed she was attended by her son, the future King, and her eldest grandson, German Emperor William II. As she had wished, her own sons lifted her into the coffin. She was dressed in a white dress and her wedding veil. Her funeral was held on Saturday 2 February, and after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park. Since Victoria disliked black funerals, London was instead festooned in purple and white. When she was laid to rest at the mausoleum, it began to snow. [cite book|title=Queen Victoria|author=Giles St. Aubyn|pages=600|publisher=Hodder & Stoughton|isbn=978-0340571095|year=1992|oclc=27171944]

Flags in the United States were lowered to half-staff in her honour by order of President William McKinley, a tribute never before offered to a foreign monarch at the time and one which was repaid by Britain when McKinley was assassinated later that year. Victoria had reigned for a total of 63 years, seven months and two days—the longest of any British monarch—and surpassed her grandfather, George III, as the longest-lived monarch three days before her death. She was subsequently surpassed by her great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth II on 21 December 2007.cite web|url=|title=The record-breaking age of Elizabeth, longest-lived monarch to reign over us|publisher=The Times|accessdate=2008-09-14|date=2007-12-21]

Victoria's death brought an end to the rule of the House of Hanover in the United Kingdom. As her husband belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her son and heir Edward VII was the first British monarch of this new house. Later, in 1917, her grandson King George V changed the house name from "Saxe-Coburg and Gotha" to the (currently serving) House of Windsor.

Victoria outlived 3 of her 9 children, and came within seven months of outliving a fourth (her eldest daughter, Vicky, who died of spinal cancer in August 1901 aged 60. She outlived 11 of her 42 grandchildren (3 stillborn, 6 as children, and 2 as adults).cite web|url=|title=Grieving a grown-up child|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=2008-09-14|date=2002-02-15]


Within Britain

Queen Victoria's reign marked the gradual establishment of modern constitutional monarchy. A series of legal reforms saw the House of Commons' power increase, at the expense of the House of Lords and the monarchy, with the monarch's role becoming gradually more symbolic. Since Victoria's reign the monarch has had only, in Walter Bagehot's words, "the right to be consulted, the right to advise, and the right to warn".

As Victoria's monarchy became more symbolic than political, it placed a strong emphasis on morality and family values, in contrast to the sexual, financial and personal scandals that had been associated with previous members of the House of Hanover and which had discredited the monarchy. Victoria's reign created for Britain the concept of the "family monarchy" with which the burgeoning middle classes could identify.

Victoria was the first known carrier of haemophilia in the royal line. Since no haemophiliacs were among her known ancestors, hers was quite possibly an instance of spontaneous mutation, which account for about 33% of all haemophilia A and 20% of all haemophilia B cases. The sudden appearance of haemophilia in Victoria's descendants has led to suggestions that her true father was not the Duke of Kent but a haemophiliac. This belief is dismissed by geneticists, who consider it more likely that the mutation arose because Victoria's father was old (haemophilia arises more frequently in the children of older fathers). There is no documentary evidence of a haemophiliac man in connection with Victoria's mother, and as male carriers always suffer the disease, even if such a man had existed he would have been seriously ill. [cite episode| title = In the blood| episodelink =| serieslink = In the blood| credits = Jones, Steve| network = BBC| station = | city =| airdate = 1996| minutes = | transcripturl= ] Evidence indicates Victoria passed the gene on to two of her five daughters: Princess Alice and Princess Beatrice. Her son, Prince Leopold, was affected by the disease. The most famous haemophilia victims among her descendants were her great-grandson, Alexei, Tsarevich of Russia, and Alfonso, Prince of Asturias and Infante Gonzalo of Spain, the eldest and youngest sons of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Queen Victoria Eugenie (Victoria's granddaughter). [cite book|title=Genetics|publisher=Jones & Bartlett|year=2005|isbn=9780763715113|author=Daniel L. Hartl, Elizabeth W. Jones|oclc=55044495]

Queen Victoria experienced unpopularity during the first years of her widowhood, but afterwards became extremely well-liked during the 1880s and 1890s. In 2002, the BBC conducted a poll regarding the 100 Greatest Britons; Victoria attained the eighteenth place. [cite web|url=|title=The 100 greatest Britons: lots of pop, not so much circumstance|publisher=Guardian|accessdate=2008-09-14|date=2002-08-22]

The design of the Queen's head on the first postage stamp was based upon the 1837 Wyon City medal engraved by a famous coin engraver William Wyon. The design of Queen Victoria's head is based on a sitting when she was a princess aged 15.cite web|url=|title=A Royal Icon - The Machin Stamp|accessdate=2008-09-14|publisher=Postal Heritage] Victoria also started the tradition of a bride wearing a white dress at her wedding. Before Victoria's wedding a bride would wear her best dress of no particular colour.Cite web| url= | title= Here comes the scarlet bride| accessdate=2008-09-14 |publisher=The Times|date=2006-04-09]

Around the world

Internationally Victoria was a major figure, not just in image or in terms of Britain's influence through the empire, but also because of family links throughout Europe's royal families, earning her the affectionate nickname "the grandmother of Europe". For example, three of the main monarchs with countries involved in the First World War on the opposing side were either grandchildren of Victoria's or married to a grandchild of hers. Eight of Victoria's nine children married members of European royal families, and the other, Princess Louise, married Marquess of Lorne, a future Governor-General of Canada. [cite book|title=Meanings of Modernity|author=Martin J. Daunton, Bernhard Rieger|publisher=Berg Publishers|year=2001|isbn=9781859734025|oclc=186477900 238671662 45647912 46737764]

As of 2008, the European monarchs and former monarchs descended from Victoria are: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (as well as her husband), King Harald V of Norway, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Juan Carlos I of Spain (as well as his wife), and the deposed kings Constantine II of Greece (as well as his wife) and Michael of Romania. The pretenders to the thrones of Serbia, Russia, Prussia and Germany, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Hanover, Hesse, Baden and France (Legitimist) are also descendants. [cite book|title=Queen Victoria: Born to Succeed|author=Elizabeth Harman Pakenham Longford|publisher=Harper & Row|year=1965]

Several places in the world have been named after Victoria, including two Australian States (Victoria and Queensland), the capitals of British Columbia (Victoria), and Saskatchewan (Regina), the capital of the Seychelles, Africa's largest lake, and Victoria Falls.

Victoria Day is a Canadian statutory holiday celebrated on the last Monday before or on 24 May in honour of both Queen Victoria's birthday and the current reigning Canadian Sovereign's birthday. While Victoria Day is often thought of as a purely Canadian event, it is also celebrated in some parts of Scotland, particularly in Edinburgh and Dundee, where it is also a public holiday. [cite web|url=|title=Let's get rid of Victoria Day|accessdate=2008-09-14|publisher=The Toronto Star|date=2008-05-15]

Queen Victoria remains the most commemorated British monarch in history, with statues to her erected throughout the former territories of the British Empire. These range from the prominent, such as the Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace—which was erected as part of the remodelling of the façade of the Palace a decade after her death—to the obscure: in the town of Cape Coast, Ghana, a bust of the Queen presides, rather forlornly, over a small park where goats graze around her. Many institutions, thoroughfares, parks, and structures bear her name.

There is a statue of Queen Victoria in Victoria Square in Adelaide, capital city of the Australian state of South Australia; [cite web|url=|title=Adelaide - Statues and Memorials|accessdate=2008-09-14|publisher=State Library South Australia] in Queen's Square in Brisbane, capital city of the Australian state of Queensland; [cite web|url=,25197,24048837-16947,00.html|title=Valour of the visionary|accessdate=2008-09-14|date=2008-07-21|publisher=The Australian] and in the Domain Gardens in Melbourne, the capital of the Australian State of Victoria. A bronze statue of Queen Victoria stands in the main street of the city of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. At Bangalore, India, the statue of the Queen stands at the beginning of MG Road, one of the city's major roads. [cite web|url=|title=Striving for musical freedom|publisher=Decan Herald|accessdate=2008-09-14] Statues erected to Victoria are common in Canada, where her reign was coterminous with the confederation of the country and the creation of several new provinces. A bas-relief image of Victoria is on the wall of the entrance to the Canadian Parliament, and her statue is in the Parliamentary library as well as on the grounds. [cite web|url=|title=Sun never sets on Queen Victoria statues|accessdate=2008-09-14|publisher=The Toronto Star|date=2008-05-17]

Queen Victoria invited Martha Ann Ricks, on behalf of Liberian Ambassador Edward Wilmont Blyden, to Windsor Castle on 16 July 1892. Martha Ricks, a former slave from Tennessee, had saved her pennies for more than fifty years, to afford the voyage from Liberia to England to see the Queen and thank the Queen for sending the British navy to patrol the coast of West Africa to prevent slavers from exporting Africans for the slave trade. Martha Ricks shook hands with the Queen and presented her with a Coffee Tree quilt, which Queen Victoria later sent to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition for display. A mystery remains as to where the Coffee Tree quilt is today. [cite book|title=Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria|author=Kyra E. Hicks|publisher=Brown Books Publishing Group|year=2006|isbn=978-1933285597|oclc=70866874]

Titles, styles, coat of arms and cypher

Infobox British Monarch Styles
royal name=Victoria of the United Kingdom
dipstyle=Her Majesty
offstyle= Your Majesty

Titles and styles

* 24 May 1819 – 20 June 1837: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Victoria of Kentcite book|title=The Constitution of Victoria|author=Greg Taylor, Nicholas Economou|publisher=Federation Press|pages=72–74|isbn=9781862876125|year=2006|oclc=81948853]
* 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901: "Her Majesty" The Queen
** 1 May 1876 – 22 January 1901: "Her Imperial Majesty" The Queen-Empress (occasionally)

As the male-line granddaughter of a King of Hanover, Victoria also bore the titles of "Princess of Hanover" and "Duchess of Brunswick and Lunenburg". In addition, she held the titles of "Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha" and "Duchess in Saxony" etc. as the wife of Prince Albert.

Coat of arms

Victoria's coat of arms was not uniform throughout the United Kingdom: "Quarterly, I and IV Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or (for England); II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland); III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland)." This same coat of arms has been used by every subsequent British monarch. [cite book|title=The Constitution of Victoria|author=Greg Taylor, Nicholas Economou|publisher=Federation Press|pages=19|isbn=9781862876125|year=2006|oclc=81948853] cite book|title=Royal Insignia|author=Stephen Patterson|publisher=Merrell Holberton|year=1996|isbn=9781858940250|oclc=185677084 243897335 37141041]

Royal Cypher

Victoria's Royal Cypher was the first to be used on a postbox. The letters are "VR" interlaced, standing for "Victoria Regina". Although Victoria eventually used the cypher "VRI" ("Victoria Regina Imperatrix") when she became Empress, this never appeared on postboxes. Victoria's cypher was the only one to appear on postboxes without a crown above it.



style=font-size: 90%; line-height: 110%; background-color: transparent; margin:auto;
boxstyle=padding-top: 0; padding-bottom: 0;
boxstyle_1=background-color: #fcc;
boxstyle_2=background-color: #fb9;
boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1= 1. Victoria of the United Kingdom
2= 2. Edward, Duke of Kent
3= 3. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Dowager Princess of Leiningen
4= 4. George III of the United Kingdom
5= 5. Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
6= 6. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
7= 7. Princess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
8= 8. Frederick, Prince of Wales
9= 9. Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
10= 10. Charles Louis Frederick, Duke of Mecklenburg-Mirow
11= 11. Princess Elizabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen
12= 12. Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
13= 13. Sophia Antonia, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
14= 14. Henry XXIV, Count Reuss of Ebersdorf
15= 15. Countess Caroline of Erbach-Schönberg
16= 16. George II of Great Britain & Ireland
17= 17. Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach
18= 18. Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
19= 19. Princess Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst
20= 20. Adolf Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
21= 21. Princess Christiane Emilie of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
22= 22. Ernest Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen
23= 23. Countess Sophia Albertine of Erbach-Erbach
24= 24. Francis Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
25= 25. Princess Anna Sophie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
26= 26. Ferdinand Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
27= 27. Duchess Antoinette Amalie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
28= 28. Henry XIX, Count Reuss of Ebersdorf
29= 29. Countess Sophia Dorothea of Castell-Castell
30= 30. George Augustus, Count of Erbach-Schönberg
31= 31. Countess Ferdinanda of Stolbert-Gedern

See also

* List of coupled cousins
* Small diamond crown of Queen Victoria
* Victorian architecture
* Victorian fashion
* Victorian morality
* Victoria and Albert Museum
* Royal descendants of Queen Victoria and King Christian IX
* Cultural depictions of Victoria of the United Kingdom
* Abdul Karim, Queen Victoria's Munshi

Notes and references

Further reading

* Auchincloss, Louis. "Persons of Consequence: Queen Victoria and Her Circle". Random House, 1979. ISBN 0-394-50427-5
* Cecil, Algernon. "Queen Victoria and Her Prime Ministers". Eyre and Spottiswode, 1953.
* Benson, Arthur Christopher & Esher (Viscount). "The Letters of Queen Victoria: A Selection From Her Majesty's Correspondence Between The Years 1837 and 1861". John Murray, 1908
* Eilers, Marlene A. "Queen Victoria’s Descendants". 2d enlarged & updated ed. Falköping, Sweden: Rosvall Royall Books, 1997. ISBN 0-8063-1202-5
* Farnborough, T. E. May (1st Baron). "Constitutional History of England since the Accession of George the Third". 11th ed. Longmans, Green, 1896.
* Hibbert, Christopher. "Queen Victoria: A Personal History". Harper Collins Publishing, 2000.
* Hicks, Kyra E. "Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria". Brown Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-933285-59-7
* Marshall, Dorothy. "The Life and Times of Queen Victoria". George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd, 1972.
* Packard, Jerrold, M. "Victoria's Daughters". St. Martin's Press, 1998. ISBN 0 312 24496 7
* Potts, D. M. & W. T. W. Potts. "Queen Victoria’s Gene: Haemophilia and the Royal Family". Alan Sutton, 1995. ISBN 0-7509-1199-9
* St. Aubyn, Giles. "Queen Victoria: A Portrait". Sinclair-Stevenson, 1991. ISBN 1 85619 086 2
* Strachey, Lytton. "Queen Victoria". Londres, Chatto et Windus Publishers, 1921. ISBN 2-228-88610-6
* Waller, Maureen, "Sovereign Ladies: Sex, Sacrifice, and Power. The Six Reigning Queens of England". St. Martin's Press, New York, 2006. ISBN 0-312-33801-5
* Weiberg, Thomas: ... wie immer Deine Dona. Verlobung und Hochzeit des letzten deutschen Kaiserpaares. Isensee-Verlag, Oldenburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-89995-406-7.
* "Queen Victoria". "Encyclopædia Britannica". 11th ed. Cambridge University Press, 1911.

External links

* [ The letters of Queen Victoria Volume I] at
* [ The letters of Queen Victoria Volume II] at
* [ The letters of Queen Victoria Volume III] at
* [ "Victoria's Dark Secrets"] (online chapbook)
* [ Speeches in Parliament] at
* [ Leaves from the journal of our life in the Highlands, from 1848-1861] at
* [ More leaves from the journal of a life in the Highlands, from 1862 to 1882] at
* [ Queen Victoria Memorial Page] at Find a Grave
* [ Victorian style, 1837-1901] at
* [ Historica’s Heritage Minute video docudrama “Responsible Government.”] (Adobe Flash Player.)


NAME= Queen Victoria
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Alexandrina Victoria
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India from 1 May 1876, until her death on 22 January 1901. The period centered on her reign is known as the Victorian era.
DATE OF BIRTH= 24 May 1819
PLACE OF BIRTH= Kensington Palace, London, England
DATE OF DEATH= 22 January 1901
PLACE OF DEATH= Osborne House, Isle of Wight, England

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