Queen Victoria
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 centred on her reign is known as the Victorian era.
Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
Biography
Queen Victoria's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Queen Victoria
News
News abour Queen Victoria from around the web
EXHIBITION REVIEW; Morgan Library’s ‘Charles Dickens at 200’ - Review
NYTimes - over 5 years
Devotees know these sketched figures almost as if they were relations: the lean urchin approaching his shocked overseer with an empty bowl, begging for more; the dreamy girl on a wind-swept sea coast, a beached boat for her home; the bald, vested gentleman with an ornate pocket watch, pontificating while waiting for something to turn up. There are
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CURRENTS | Q&A; Robert Wilson on His Passion for Chairs
NYTimes - over 5 years
While he is best known for his theatrical work, the avant-garde stage director and playwright Robert Wilson is an all-around creative soul who, among other things, also paints, draws, sculptures and designs lighting and furniture. Mr. Wilson earned a degree in architecture from Pratt Institute and at one point studied with the architect Paolo
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Exhibition of Victoria & Albert Museum Hats
NYTimes - over 5 years
STEPHEN JONES is as close to a rock star as a milliner can be. In addition to designing his own marvelous hats, he has provided headgear to a bunch of designers: Marc Jacobs, Rei Kawakubo, L’Wren Scott. When asked to organize a hat exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, from its archives, even Mr. Jones was a little awed.
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FROM THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE; 100, 75, 50 Years Ago
NYTimes - over 5 years
1911 Fighting Continues in Bilbao Affairs at Melilla, Bilbao, and in the Asturias were considered to-day at the Cabinet Council in Madrid, which judged the situation at the gravest faced since 1909. It was decided to deal with the internal troubles with an iron hand. Captain-General Aguilar has been ordered to suppress at any cost the Bilbao
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Internet video spoof calls time on Belfast's Albert Clock - Belfast Telegraph
Google News - over 5 years
It was built between 1865 and 1869 in memory of Queen Victoria's late husband. Because of the well-known defect, the pictures have made anyone who knows the clock tower do a double-take, wondering if it has actually happened
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UVL to celebrate Christmas like Queen Victoria, Victoria Beckham and Minnie Mouse - ITCM
Google News - over 5 years
The survey showed a host of famous faces have celebrated Christmas with UVL including Queen Victoria and her family taking afternoon tea at Madame Tussaud's, Somerset House hosting a special performance by champion ice-skaters Torvill and Dean,
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Cunard's Queen Victoria on sale for three days in September - USA Today
Google News - over 5 years
Cunard's posh Queen Victoria ocean liner is on sale for a limited time with deals on cruises in the Americas. The price savings, offered Sept. 7 to 9, includes two-for-one discounts on some voyages, up to $300 onboard credit per stateroom and reduced
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Gardener wanted for royal estate - The Press Association
Google News - over 5 years
The estate in Aberdeenshire has been the Scottish home of the royal family since it was bought by Queen Victoria in 1848. It covers around 20000 hectares and includes "heather-clad hills" and "ancient Caledonian woodland", according to the Balmoral ... -
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All change at the university library - Victoria Times Colonist
Google News - over 5 years
When Marnie Swanson first arrived at the McPherson Library, she was greeted by rows upon rows of card catalogues filling the first floor and an austere Queen Victoria portrait hanging on the back wall
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The place to be or not to be - Queen Victoria Hotel - FM.co.za
Google News - over 5 years
In April, Newmark opened a third hotel at the waterfront: the 35-room Queen Victoria in the tucked-way Portswood precinct on the embankment, which also houses its even smaller Dock House & Spa. Both are transformed old buildings and overlook the
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BOOKS; Highlighting Differences in Interpretations of the Opium War
NYTimes - over 5 years
HONG KONG -- Julia Lovell's book tour for ''The Opium War'' sailed along the historic path of the conflict itself. The book was introduced last month in Hong Kong, a city whose modern history began when it was handed to Britain after China's defeat in the first Opium War in 1842, marking the start of 155 years as a prosperous crown colony. Fourteen
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Cunard's Queen Victoria stars in new Kitty Pilgrim thriller - USA Today
Google News - over 5 years
New in bookstores this month, the 360-page hardback is a fast-paced international thriller that's partially set on one of Cunard's newest ships, the three-year-old Queen Victoria. Pilgrim, a first-time novelist best known for her years as a CNN
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Blues to face SGS - Fiji Times
Google News - over 5 years
QUEEN Victoria School has opted to be tagged as the underdog prior to its Deans quarter-final showdown on Saturday. The Vulinitu boys will take on Suva Grammar School in its Fiji Secondary School Deans Tier One under-18 quarter-final dual at the tfl
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Queen Victoria
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  • 1901
    She died on Tuesday, 22 January 1901, at half past six in the evening, at the age of 81.
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  • 1900
    Following a custom she maintained throughout her widowhood, Victoria spent the Christmas of 1900 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
    More Details Hide Details Rheumatism in her legs had rendered her lame, and her eyesight was clouded by cataracts. Through early January, she felt "weak and unwell", and by mid-January she was "drowsy... dazed, and confused".
    By April 1900, the Boer War was so unpopular in mainland Europe that her annual trip to France seemed inadvisable.
    More Details Hide Details Instead, the Queen went to Ireland for the first time since 1861, in part to acknowledge the contribution of Irish regiments to the South African war. In July, her second son Alfred ("Affie") died; "Oh, God! My poor darling Affie gone too", she wrote in her journal. "It is a horrible year, nothing but sadness & horrors of one kind & another."
  • 1897
    In 1897, Victoria had written instructions for her funeral, which was to be military as befitting a soldier's daughter and the head of the army, and white instead of black.
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    The Queen requested that any special celebrations be delayed until 1897, to coincide with her Diamond Jubilee, which was made a festival of the British Empire at the suggestion of Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain.
    More Details Hide Details The prime ministers of all the self-governing dominions were invited to London for the festivities. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee procession on 22 June 1897 followed a route six miles long through London and included troops from all over the empire. The procession paused for an open-air service of thanksgiving held outside St Paul's Cathedral, throughout which Victoria sat in her open carriage, to avoid her having to climb the steps to enter the building. The celebration was marked by vast crowds of spectators and great outpourings of affection for the 78-year-old Queen. Victoria visited mainland Europe regularly for holidays. In 1889, during a stay in Biarritz, she became the first reigning monarch from Britain to set foot in Spain when she crossed the border for a brief visit.
  • 1896
    On 23 September 1896, Victoria surpassed her grandfather George III as the longest-reigning monarch in English, Scottish, and British history.
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  • 1894
    In 1894, Gladstone retired and, without consulting the outgoing prime minister, Victoria appointed Lord Rosebery as prime minister.
    More Details Hide Details His government was weak, and the following year Lord Salisbury replaced him. Salisbury remained prime minister for the remainder of Victoria's reign.
  • 1888
    Victoria's eldest daughter became Empress consort of Germany in 1888, but she was widowed within the year, and Victoria's grandchild Wilhelm became German Emperor as Wilhelm II.
    More Details Hide Details Under Wilhelm, Victoria and Albert's hopes of a liberal Germany were not fulfilled. He believed in autocracy. Victoria thought he had "little heart or Zartgefühl tact – and... his conscience & intelligence have been completely wharped ". Gladstone returned to power after the 1892 general election; he was 82 years old. Victoria objected when Gladstone proposed appointing the Radical MP Henry Labouchere to the Cabinet, so Gladstone agreed not to appoint him.
  • 1887
    In 1887, the British Empire celebrated Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
    More Details Hide Details Victoria marked the fiftieth anniversary of her accession on 20 June with a banquet to which 50 kings and princes were invited. The following day, she participated in a procession and attended a thanksgiving service in Westminster Abbey. By this time, Victoria was once again extremely popular. Two days later on 23 June, she engaged two Indian Muslims as waiters, one of whom was Abdul Karim. He was soon promoted to "Munshi": teaching her Hindustani, and acting as a clerk. Her family and retainers were appalled, and accused Abdul Karim of spying for the Muslim Patriotic League, and biasing the Queen against the Hindus. Equerry Frederick Ponsonby (the son of Sir Henry) discovered that the Munshi had lied about his parentage, and reported to Lord Elgin, Viceroy of India, "the Munshi occupies very much the same position as John Brown used to do." Victoria dismissed their complaints as racial prejudice. Abdul Karim remained in her service until he returned to India with a pension on her death.
  • 1885
    Victoria was pleased when Gladstone resigned in 1885 after his budget was defeated.
    More Details Hide Details She thought his government was "the worst I have ever had", and blamed him for the death of General Gordon at Khartoum. Gladstone was replaced by Lord Salisbury. Salisbury's government only lasted a few months, however, and Victoria was forced to recall Gladstone, whom she referred to as a "half crazy & really in many ways ridiculous old man". Gladstone attempted to pass a bill granting Ireland home rule, but to Victoria's glee it was defeated. In the ensuing election, Gladstone's party lost to Salisbury's and the government switched hands again.
  • 1884
    In early 1884, Victoria did publish More Leaves from a Journal of a Life in the Highlands, a sequel to her earlier book, which she dedicated to her "devoted personal attendant and faithful friend John Brown".
    More Details Hide Details On the day after the first anniversary of Brown's death, Victoria was informed by telegram that her youngest son, Leopold, had died in Cannes. He was "the dearest of my dear sons", she lamented. The following month, Victoria's youngest child, Beatrice, met and fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg at the wedding of Victoria's granddaughter Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine to Henry's brother Prince Louis of Battenberg. Beatrice and Henry planned to marry, but Victoria opposed the match at first, wishing to keep Beatrice at home to act as her companion. After a year, she was won around to the marriage by Henry and Beatrice's promise to remain living with and attending her.
  • 1883
    Items of jewellery placed on Victoria included the wedding ring of John Brown's mother, given to her by Brown in 1883.
    More Details Hide Details Her funeral was held on Saturday, 2 February, in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park. With a reign of 63 years, seven months and two days, Victoria was the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant in world history until her great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth II surpassed her on 9 September 2015. She was the last monarch of Britain from the House of Hanover. Her son and successor Edward VII belonged to her husband's House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. According to one of her biographers, Giles St Aubyn, Victoria wrote an average of 2,500 words a day during her adult life. From July 1832 until just before her death, she kept a detailed journal, which eventually encompassed 122 volumes. After Victoria's death, her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, was appointed her literary executor. Beatrice transcribed and edited the diaries covering Victoria's accession onwards, and burned the originals in the process. Despite this destruction, much of the diaries still exist. In addition to Beatrice's edited copy, Lord Esher transcribed the volumes from 1832 to 1861 before Beatrice destroyed them. Part of Victoria's extensive correspondence has been published in volumes edited by A. C. Benson, Hector Bolitho, George Earle Buckle, Lord Esher, Roger Fulford, and Richard Hough among others.
    On 17 March 1883, she fell down some stairs at Windsor, which left her lame until July; she never fully recovered and was plagued with rheumatism thereafter.
    More Details Hide Details Brown died 10 days after her accident, and to the consternation of her private secretary, Sir Henry Ponsonby, Victoria began work on a eulogistic biography of Brown. Ponsonby and Randall Davidson, Dean of Windsor, who had both seen early drafts, advised Victoria against publication, on the grounds that it would stoke the rumours of a love affair. The manuscript was destroyed.
  • 1882
    On 2 March 1882, Roderick Maclean, a disgruntled poet apparently offended by Victoria's refusal to accept one of his poems, shot at the Queen as her carriage left Windsor railway station.
    More Details Hide Details Two schoolboys from Eton College struck him with their umbrellas, until he was hustled away by a policeman. Victoria was outraged when he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, but was so pleased by the many expressions of loyalty after the attack that she said it was "worth being shot at—to see how much one is loved".
  • 1880
    To Victoria's dismay, Disraeli lost the 1880 general election, and Gladstone returned as prime minister.
    More Details Hide Details When Disraeli died the following year, she was blinded by "fast falling tears", and erected a memorial tablet "placed by his grateful Sovereign and Friend, Victoria R.I."
  • 1879
    In May 1879, she became a great-grandmother (on the birth of Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen) and passed her "poor old 60th birthday".
    More Details Hide Details She felt "aged" by "the loss of my beloved child". Between April 1877 and February 1878, she threatened five times to abdicate while pressuring Disraeli to act against Russia during the Russo-Turkish War, but her threats had no impact on the events or their conclusion with the Congress of Berlin. Disraeli's expansionist foreign policy, which Victoria endorsed, led to conflicts such as the Anglo-Zulu War and the Second Anglo-Afghan War. "If we are to maintain our position as a first-rate Power", she wrote, "we must... be Prepared for attacks and wars, somewhere or other, CONTINUALLY." Victoria saw the expansion of the British Empire as civilising and benign, protecting native peoples from more aggressive powers or cruel rulers: "It is not in our custom to annexe countries", she said, "unless we are obliged & forced to do so."
  • 1878
    On 14 December 1878, the anniversary of Albert's death, Victoria's second daughter Alice, who had married Louis of Hesse, died of diphtheria in Darmstadt.
    More Details Hide Details Victoria noted the coincidence of the dates as "almost incredible and most mysterious".
  • 1876
    He also pushed the Royal Titles Act 1876 through Parliament, so that Victoria took the title "Empress of India" from 1 May 1876.
    More Details Hide Details The new title was proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1 January 1877.
  • 1874
    He passed the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874, which removed Catholic rituals from the Anglican liturgy and which Victoria strongly supported.
    More Details Hide Details She preferred short, simple services, and personally considered herself more aligned with the presbyterian Church of Scotland than the episcopal Church of England.
  • 1871
    In August and September 1871, she was seriously ill with an abscess in her arm, which Joseph Lister successfully lanced and treated with his new antiseptic carbolic acid spray. In late November 1871, at the height of the republican movement, the Prince of Wales contracted typhoid fever, the disease that was believed to have killed his father, and Victoria was fearful her son would die.
    More Details Hide Details As the tenth anniversary of her husband's death approached, her son's condition grew no better, and Victoria's distress continued. To general rejoicing, he pulled through. Mother and son attended a public parade through London and a grand service of thanksgiving in St Paul's Cathedral on 27 February 1872, and republican feeling subsided. On the last day of February 1872, two days after the thanksgiving service, 17-year-old Arthur O'Connor (great-nephew of Irish MP Feargus O'Connor) waved an unloaded pistol at Victoria's open carriage just after she had arrived at Buckingham Palace. Brown, who was attending the Queen, grabbed him and O'Connor was later sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment. As a result of the incident, Victoria's popularity recovered further. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British East India Company, which had ruled much of India, was dissolved, and Britain's possessions and protectorates on the Indian subcontinent were formally incorporated into the British Empire. The Queen had a relatively balanced view of the conflict, and condemned atrocities on both sides. She wrote of "her feelings of horror and regret at the result of this bloody civil war", and insisted, urged on by Albert, that an official proclamation announcing the transfer of power from the company to the state "should breathe feelings of generosity, benevolence and religious toleration". At her behest, a reference threatening the "undermining of native religions and customs" was replaced by a passage guaranteeing religious freedom.
  • 1868
    Derby resigned in 1868, to be replaced by Benjamin Disraeli, who charmed Victoria. "Everyone likes flattery," he said, "and when you come to royalty you should lay it on with a trowel."
    More Details Hide Details With the phrase "we authors, Ma'am", he complimented her. Disraeli's ministry only lasted a matter of months, and at the end of the year his Liberal rival, William Ewart Gladstone, was appointed prime minister. Victoria found Gladstone's demeanour far less appealing; he spoke to her, she is thought to have complained, as though she were "a public meeting rather than a woman". In 1870, republican sentiment in Britain, fed by the Queen's seclusion, was boosted after the establishment of the Third French Republic. A republican rally in Trafalgar Square demanded Victoria's removal, and Radical MPs spoke against her.
  • 1867
    The following year she supported the passing of the Reform Act 1867 which doubled the electorate by extending the franchise to many urban working men, though she was not in favour of votes for women.
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  • 1866
    In 1866, Victoria attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time since Albert's death.
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  • 1861
    In March 1861, Victoria's mother died, with Victoria at her side.
    More Details Hide Details Through reading her mother's papers, Victoria discovered that her mother had loved her deeply; she was heart-broken, and blamed Conroy and Lehzen for "wickedly" estranging her from her mother. To relieve his wife during her intense and deep grief, Albert took on most of her duties, despite being ill himself with chronic stomach trouble. In August, Victoria and Albert visited their son, the Prince of Wales, who was attending army manoeuvres near Dublin, and spent a few days holidaying in Killarney. In November, Albert was made aware of gossip that his son had slept with an actress in Ireland. Appalled, Albert travelled to Cambridge, where his son was studying, to confront him. By the beginning of December, Albert was very unwell. He was diagnosed with typhoid fever by William Jenner, and died on 14 December 1861. Victoria was devastated. She blamed her husband's death on worry over the Prince of Wales's philandering. He had been "killed by that dreadful business", she said. 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 nickname "widow of Windsor".
  • 1859
    Derby's ministry did not last long, and in June 1859 Victoria recalled Palmerston to office.
    More Details Hide Details Eleven days after Orsini's assassination attempt in France, Victoria's eldest daughter married Prince Frederick William of Prussia in London. They had been betrothed since September 1855, when Princess Victoria was 14 years old; the marriage was delayed by the Queen and Prince Albert until the bride was 17. The Queen and Albert hoped that their daughter and son-in-law would be a liberalising influence in the enlarging Prussian state. Victoria felt "sick at heart" to see her daughter leave England for Germany; "It really makes me shudder", she wrote to Princess Victoria in one of her frequent letters, "when I look round to all your sweet, happy, unconscious sisters, and think I must give them up too – one by one." Almost exactly a year later, Princess Victoria gave birth to the Queen's first grandchild, Wilhelm, who would become the last German Kaiser.
  • 1858
    Victoria and Albert attended the opening of a new basin at the French military port of Cherbourg on 5 August 1858, in an attempt by Napoleon III to reassure Britain that his military preparations were directed elsewhere.
    More Details Hide Details On her return Victoria wrote to Derby reprimanding him for the poor state of the Royal Navy in comparison to the French one.
    On 14 January 1858, an Italian refugee from Britain called Orsini attempted to assassinate Napoleon III with a bomb made in England.
    More Details Hide Details The ensuing diplomatic crisis destabilised the government, and Palmerston resigned. Derby was reinstated as prime minister.
  • 1857
    Victoria was so impressed by the relief it gave from the pain of childbirth that she used it again in 1857 at the birth of her ninth and final child, Beatrice, despite opposition from members of the clergy, who considered it against biblical teaching, and members of the medical profession, who thought it dangerous.
    More Details Hide Details Victoria may have suffered from postnatal depression after many of her pregnancies. Letters from Albert to Victoria intermittently complain of her loss of self-control. For example, about a month after Leopold's birth Albert complained in a letter to Victoria about her "continuance of hysterics" over a "miserable trifle". In early 1855, the government of Lord Aberdeen, who had replaced Derby, fell amidst recriminations over the poor management of British troops in the Crimean War. Victoria approached both Derby and Russell to form a ministry, but neither had sufficient support, and Victoria was forced to appoint Palmerston as prime minister.
  • 1855
    Napoleon III, since the Crimean War Britain's closest ally, visited London in April 1855, and from 17 to 28 August the same year Victoria and Albert returned the visit.
    More Details Hide Details Napoleon III met the couple at Dunkirk and accompanied them to Paris. They visited the Exposition Universelle (a successor to Albert's 1851 brainchild the Great Exhibition) and Napoleon I's tomb at Les Invalides (to which his remains had only been returned in 1840), and were guests of honour at a 1,200-guest ball at the Palace of Versailles.
  • 1853
    In 1853, Victoria gave birth to her eighth child, Leopold, with the aid of the new anaesthetic, chloroform.
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  • 1851
    It was only in 1851 that Palmerston was removed after he announced the British government's approval of President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte's coup in France without consulting the Prime Minister.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, President Bonaparte was declared Emperor Napoleon III, by which time Russell's administration had been replaced by a short-lived minority government led by Lord Derby.
  • 1850
    In 1850, the Queen did sustain injury when she was assaulted by a possibly insane ex-army officer, Robert Pate.
    More Details Hide Details As Victoria was riding in a carriage, Pate struck her with his cane, crushing her bonnet and bruising her forehead. Both Hamilton and Pate were sentenced to seven years' transportation.
  • 1849
    Victoria's first visit to Ireland in 1849 was a public relations success, but it had no lasting impact or effect on the growth of Irish nationalism.
    More Details Hide Details Russell's ministry, though Whig, was not favoured by the Queen. She found particularly offensive the Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, who often acted without consulting the Cabinet, the Prime Minister, or the Queen. Victoria complained to Russell that Palmerston sent official dispatches to foreign leaders without her knowledge, but Palmerston was retained in office and continued to act on his own initiative, despite her repeated remonstrances.
    In a similar attack in 1849, unemployed Irishman William Hamilton fired a powder-filled pistol at Victoria's carriage as it passed along Constitution Hill, London.
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  • 1848
    At the height of a revolutionary scare in the United Kingdom in April 1848, Victoria and her family left London for the greater safety of Osborne House, a private estate on the Isle of Wight that they had purchased in 1845 and redeveloped.
    More Details Hide Details Demonstrations by Chartists and Irish nationalists failed to attract widespread support, and the scare died down without any major disturbances.
  • 1846
    By 1846, Peel's ministry faced a crisis involving the repeal of the Corn Laws. Many Tories—by then known also as Conservatives—were opposed to the repeal, but Peel, some Tories (the "Peelites"), most Whigs and Victoria supported it. Peel resigned in 1846, after the repeal narrowly passed, and was replaced by Lord John Russell.
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  • 1843
    In 1843 and 1845, she and Albert stayed with King Louis Philippe I at château d'Eu in Normandy; she was the first British or English monarch to visit a French one since the meeting of Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France on the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.
    More Details Hide Details When Louis Philippe made a reciprocal trip in 1844, he became the first French king to visit a British sovereign. Louis Philippe was deposed in the revolutions of 1848, and fled to exile in England.
  • 1841
    Melbourne's support in the House of Commons weakened through the early years of Victoria's reign, and in the 1841 general election the Whigs were defeated.
    More Details Hide Details Peel became prime minister, and the ladies of the bedchamber most associated with the Whigs were replaced. In 1845, Ireland was hit by a potato blight. In the next four years over a million Irish people died and another million emigrated in what became known as the Great Famine. In Ireland, Victoria was labelled "The Famine Queen". She personally donated £2,000 to the British Relief Association, more than any other individual famine relief donor, and also supported the Maynooth Grant to a Roman Catholic seminary in Ireland, despite Protestant opposition. The story that she donated only £5 in aid to the Irish, and on the same day gave the same amount to Battersea Dogs Home, was a myth generated towards the end of the 19th century.
  • 1840
    Her daughter, also named Victoria, was born on 21 November 1840.
    More Details Hide Details The Queen hated being pregnant, viewed breast-feeding with disgust, and thought newborn babies were ugly. Nevertheless, over the following seventeen years, she and Albert had a further eight children: Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (b. 1841), Alice (b. 1843), Alfred (b. 1844), Helena (b. 1846), Louise (b. 1848), Arthur (b. 1850), Leopold (b. 1853) and Beatrice (b. 1857). Victoria's household was largely run by her childhood governess, Baroness Louise Lehzen from Hanover. Lehzen had been a formative influence on Victoria, and had supported her against the Kensington System. Albert, however, thought Lehzen was incompetent, and that her mismanagement threatened his daughter's health. After a furious row between Victoria and Albert over the issue, Lehzen was pensioned off, and Victoria's close relationship with her ended.
    During Victoria's first pregnancy in 1840, in the first few months of the marriage, 18-year-old Edward Oxford attempted to assassinate her while she was riding in a carriage with Prince Albert on her way to visit her mother.
    More Details Hide Details Oxford fired twice, but either both bullets missed or, as he later claimed, the guns had no shot. He was tried for high treason, found not guilty on the grounds of insanity, and committed to an insane asylum indefinitely. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Victoria's popularity soared, mitigating residual discontent over the Hastings affair and the bedchamber crisis.
    After the death of Princess Augusta in 1840, Victoria's mother was given both Clarence and Frogmore Houses.
    More Details Hide Details Through Albert's mediation, relations between mother and daughter slowly improved.
    Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840.
    More Details Hide Details Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father.
  • 1839
    Albert and Victoria felt mutual affection and the Queen proposed to him on 15 October 1839, just five days after he had arrived at Windsor. They were married on 10 February 1840, in the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace, London.
    More Details Hide Details Victoria was besotted. MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert... his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband!... to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life! Albert became an important political adviser as well as the Queen's companion, replacing Lord Melbourne as the dominant, influential figure in the first half of her life. Victoria's mother was evicted from the palace, to Ingestre House in Belgrave Square.
    Victoria continued to praise Albert following his second visit in October 1839.
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    In 1839, Melbourne resigned after Radicals and Tories (both of whom Victoria detested) voted against a bill to suspend the constitution of Jamaica.
    More Details Hide Details The bill removed political power from plantation owners who were resisting measures associated with the abolition of slavery. The Queen commissioned a Tory, Sir Robert Peel, to form a new ministry. At the time, it was customary for the prime minister to appoint members of the Royal Household, who were usually his political allies and their spouses. Many of the Queen's ladies of the bedchamber were wives of Whigs, and Peel expected to replace them with wives of Tories. In what became known as the bedchamber crisis, Victoria, advised by Melbourne, objected to their removal. Peel refused to govern under the restrictions imposed by the Queen, and consequently resigned his commission, allowing Melbourne to return to office. Though queen, as an unmarried young woman Victoria was required by social convention to live with her mother, despite their differences over the Kensington System and her mother's continued reliance on Conroy. Her mother was consigned to a remote apartment in Buckingham Palace, and Victoria often refused to see her. When Victoria complained to Melbourne that her mother's close proximity promised "torment for many years", Melbourne sympathised but said it could be avoided by marriage, which Victoria called a "schocking alternative". She showed interest in Albert's education for the future role he would have to play as her husband, but she resisted attempts to rush her into wedlock.
    At the start of her reign Victoria was popular, but her reputation suffered in an 1839 court intrigue when one of her mother's ladies-in-waiting, Lady Flora Hastings, developed an abdominal growth that was widely rumoured to be an out-of-wedlock pregnancy by Sir John Conroy.
    More Details Hide Details Victoria believed the rumours. She hated Conroy, and despised "that odious Lady Flora", because she had conspired with Conroy and the Duchess of Kent in the Kensington System. At first, Lady Flora refused to submit to a naked medical examination, until in mid-February she eventually agreed, and was found to be a virgin. Conroy, the Hastings family and the opposition Tories organised a press campaign implicating the Queen in the spreading of false rumours about Lady Flora. When Lady Flora died in July, the post-mortem revealed a large tumour on her liver that had distended her abdomen. At public appearances, Victoria was hissed and jeered as "Mrs. Melbourne".
  • 1838
    Her coronation took place on 28 June 1838 at Westminster Abbey.
    More Details Hide Details Over 400,000 visitors came to London for the celebrations. She became the first sovereign to take up residence at Buckingham Palace and inherited the revenues of the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall as well as being granted a civil list allowance of £385,000 per year. Financially prudent, she paid off her father's debts.
  • 1837
    On 20 June 1837, William IV died at the age of 71, and Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom.
    More Details Hide Details In her diary she 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." Official documents prepared on the first day of her reign described her as Alexandrina Victoria, but the first name was withdrawn at her own wish and not used again. Since 1714, Britain had shared a monarch with Hanover in Germany, but under Salic law women were excluded from the Hanoverian succession. While Victoria inherited all the British dominions, Hanover passed instead to her father's younger brother, her unpopular uncle the Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, who became King Ernest Augustus I of Hanover. He was her heir presumptive until she married and had a child.
    Victoria turned 18 on 24 May 1837, and a regency was avoided.
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  • 1836
    Leopold arranged for Victoria's mother to invite her Coburg relatives to visit her in May 1836, with the purpose of introducing Victoria to Albert.
    More Details Hide Details William IV, however, disapproved of any match with the Coburgs, and instead favoured the suit of Prince Alexander of the Netherlands, second son of the Prince of Orange. Victoria was aware of the various matrimonial plans and critically appraised a parade of eligible princes. According to her diary, she enjoyed Albert's company from the beginning. After the visit she wrote, "Albert is extremely handsome; his hair is about the same colour as mine; his eyes are large and blue, and he has a beautiful nose and a very sweet mouth with fine teeth; but the charm of his countenance is his expression, which is most delightful." Alexander, on the other hand, was "very plain". Victoria wrote to her uncle Leopold, whom Victoria considered her "best and kindest adviser", to thank him "for the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give me, in the person of dear Albert... He possesses every quality that could be desired to render me perfectly happy. 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." However at 17, Victoria, though interested in Albert, was not yet ready to marry. The parties did not undertake a formal engagement, but assumed that the match would take place in due time.
    King William distrusted the Duchess's capacity to be regent, and in 1836 declared in her presence that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so that a regency could be avoided.
    More Details Hide Details Victoria later described her childhood as "rather melancholy". Her mother was extremely protective, and Victoria was raised largely isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy, who was rumoured to be the Duchess's lover. The system prevented the princess from meeting people whom her mother and Conroy deemed undesirable (including most of her father's family), and was designed to render her weak and dependent upon them. The Duchess avoided the court because she was scandalised by the presence of King William's bastard children, and perhaps prompted the emergence of Victorian morality by insisting that her daughter avoid any appearance of sexual impropriety. Victoria shared a bedroom with her mother every night, studied with private tutors to a regular timetable, and spent her play-hours with her dolls and her King Charles spaniel, Dash. Her lessons included French, German, Italian, and Latin, but she spoke only English at home.
  • 1835
    At Ramsgate in October 1835, Victoria contracted a severe fever, which Conroy initially dismissed as a childish pretence.
    More Details Hide Details While Victoria was ill, Conroy and the Duchess unsuccessfully badgered her to make Conroy her private secretary. As a teenager, Victoria resisted persistent attempts by her mother and Conroy to appoint him to her staff. Once queen, she banned him from her presence, but he remained in her mother's household. By 1836, the Duchess's brother, Leopold, who had been King of the Belgians since 1831, hoped to marry his niece to his nephew, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Leopold, Victoria's mother, and Albert's father (Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) were siblings.
  • 1830
    In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way.
    More Details Hide Details Similar journeys to other parts of England and Wales were taken in 1832, 1833, 1834 and 1835. To the King's annoyance, Victoria was enthusiastically welcomed in each of the stops. William compared the journeys to royal progresses and was concerned that they portrayed Victoria as his rival rather than his heir presumptive. Victoria disliked the trips; the constant round of public appearances made her tired and ill, and there was little time for her to rest. She objected on the grounds of the King's disapproval, but her mother dismissed his complaints as motivated by jealousy, and forced Victoria to continue the tours.
    The Regency Act 1830 made special provision for the Duchess of Kent to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor.
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    On the death of her uncle George IV in 1830, Victoria became heir presumptive to her next surviving uncle, William IV.
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  • 1820
    Victoria's grandfather and father died in 1820, within a week of each other, and the Duke of York died in 1827.
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    Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
    More Details Hide Details She inherited the throne aged 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments; publicly, she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality.
  • 1819
    Victoria was christened privately by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace.
    More Details Hide Details She was baptised Alexandrina, after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, and Victoria after her mother. Additional names proposed by her parents—Georgina (or Georgiana), Charlotte, and Augusta—were dropped on the instructions of the Duke's elder brother, the Prince Regent (later George IV). At birth, Victoria was fifth in the line of succession after her father and his three older brothers: the Prince Regent, the Duke of York, and the Duke of Clarence (later William IV). The Prince Regent and the Duke of York were estranged from their wives, who were both past child-bearing age, so the two eldest brothers were unlikely to have any further children. The Dukes of Kent and Clarence married on the same day 12 months before Victoria's birth, but both of Clarence's daughters (born in 1819 and 1820 respectively) died as infants.
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