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Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Irelandmarker from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India of the British Raj from 1 May 1876, until her death. Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7 months, longer than that of any other British monarch before or since, and her reign is the longest of any female monarch in history. The time of her reign is known as the Victorian era, a period of industrial, political, scientific and military progress within the United Kingdommarker.

Victoria ascended the throne at a time when the United Kingdommarker was already an established constitutional monarchy in which the king or queen held few political powers and exercised influence by the prime minister's advice; but she still served as a very important symbolic figure of her time. Victoria's reign was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. During this period it reached its zenith, and became the foremost global power of the time.

Of mostly German descent, Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and 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 and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". 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.

Heiress to the throne

Victoria was born in Kensington Palacemarker in 1819. At the time of her birth, her grandfather, George III, was on the throne, but his three eldest sons, the Prince Regent (later George IV), the Duke of York, and the Duke of Clarence (later William IV), had no surviving legitimate children. The princess was christened privately by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palacemarker. Her godparents were Emperor Alexander I of Russia, the future King George IV of the United Kingdom (her uncle), Queen Charlotte of Württemberg (her aunt, whose sister The Princess Augusta Sophia stood in proxy) and Duchess Augusta of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield (her maternal grandmother, for whom Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the infant princess' aunt, stood proxy). The princess was named Alexandrina, after Emperor Alexander I of Russia, and Victoria after her mother.

The young Princess Victoria, as the only legitimate child of the fourth son of George III, the Duke of Kent, who died in 1820, became heiress presumptive after the death of George IV in 1830. 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, if she acceded to the throne while still a minor. 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.

Victoria later described her childhood as "rather melancholy."[7743] Victoria's mother was extremely protective of the princess, who was raised in near isolation under the so called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by The Duchess and her comptroller and supposed lover, Sir John Conroy, to prevent the princess from ever meeting people they deemed undesirable and to render her weak and utterly dependent upon them.She was not allowed to interact with other children. Her main companion was her King Charles spaniel, Dash, and she was required to share a bedroom with her mother every night until she became queen. As a teenager, Victoria resisted their threats and rejected their attempts to make Conroy her personal secretary. Once queen, she immediately banned Conroy from her quarters (though she could not remove him from her mother's household) and consigned her mother to a distant corner of the palace, often refusing to see her.

The Duchess was scandalized by her brothers-in-law's numerous mistresses and bastard children, and the widespread public contempt for the royal family that resulted; she taught her daughter that she must avoid any hint of sexual impropriety, which has been proposed as having prompted the emergence of Victorian morality.

Victoria's governess, Baroness Lehzen from Hanover, was a formative influence for Victoria and continued to run Victoria's household after she ascended to the throne. Victoria's close relationship with Baroness Lehzen came to an end some time after the queen married Prince Albert, who found Lehzen incompetent for her authority in the household to the point of threatening the safety and health of their first child.

Victoria was taught only German until she was three years old. She was subsequently taught French and English as well, and became virtually trilingual. Her mother spoke German with her. Her command of English, although good, was not perfect.

Early reign

Accession



On 24 May 1837 Victoria turned 18, and a second British Regency was avoided. On 20 June 1837, William IV died from heart failure at the age of 71, and Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom. 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) 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…" All the official documents (proclamation, oaths of allegiance, etc) prepared on the first day of her reign described her as Queen Alexandrina Victoria but at her first Privy Council meeting she signed the register as Victoria; thus, although she was supposed to reign as Alexandrina Victoria, the first name was withdrawn at her own wish. Her coronation took place on 28 June 1838, and she became the first monarch to take up residence at Buckingham Palacemarker.

Under Salic law, however, no woman could be monarch 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.

Queen Victoria and her eldest daughter, 1844.
This is the first photograph ever taken of Queen Victoria


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 Commonsmarker that would have suspended the Constitution of Jamaicamarker.

Victoria's principal advisor was her uncle King Leopold I of Belgium (her mother's brother, and the widower of Victoria's cousin, Princess Charlotte).

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 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. 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

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1854
Princess Victoria first met her future husband, her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, when she was just seventeen in 1836. Some authors have written that she initially found Albert to be rather dull.. However she instead enjoyed his 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." She also wrote to her maternal uncle Leopold I of Belgium 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." Prince Albert's father was one of her mother's brothers, Ernest, who approved the match. However at seventeen, the Princess Victoria, though interested in Albert, was not yet ready to marry.

Victoria came to the throne aged just eighteen on 20 June 1837. Though queen, as an unmarried young woman Victoria was nonetheless required to live with her mother, with whom she was quite angry over the Kensington system. Victoria gave her mother a remote apartment in Buckingham Palacemarker and usually refused to meet her. Lord Melbourne advised Victoria to marry in order to be free of her mother. Her letters of the time show interest in Albert's education for the future role he would have to play as her husband, although she resisted attempts to rush her into marriage.

Though initially quite popular, Victoria's reputation suffered somewhat in an 1839 court intrigue when one of her mother's ladies-in-waiting, Lady Flora Hastings, developed an abdominal tumour that resulted in her death in July 1839. Hastings at first refused to submit to a physical examination by a doctor, and her abdominal growth was widely rumored to be an out-of-wedlock pregnancy by Sir John Conroy, who was long rumoured to be the lover of Victoria's mother. Victoria hated Conroy for his role in constructing the Kensington System that had rendered her childhood so unhappy, and believed the rumours. Hastings eventually submitted to an examination and was found to have a terminal tumour. When she died several months later, Conroy and Hastings' brother organized a press campaign accusing the Queen of spreading false and disgraceful insults about Lady Hastings.

Victoria's continued to praise Albert following his second visit in October 1839 after she had become Queen, when she wrote 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." Albert and Victoria felt mutual affection and the Queen proposed to Albert just 5 days after he had arrived at Windsor on 15 October 1839.

The Queen and Prince Albert were married on 10 February 1840, in the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palacemarker, London. 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. Victoria's mother was evicted from the palace, and Victoria rarely visited her.

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. Oxford fired twice, but both bullets missed. He was tried for high treason, but was acquitted on the grounds of insanity. The first of the royal couple's nine children, named Victoria, was born on 21 November 1840.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in Court dress.
Further attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria occurred between May and July 1842. First, on 29 May at St. James's Parkmarker, 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. 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. Bean was thus sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment; however, neither he, nor any person who violated the act in the future, was flogged.

During the same summer as these two assassination attempts, Victoria made her first journey by train, travelling from Slough railway stationmarker (near Windsor Castlemarker) to Bishop's Bridge, near Paddingtonmarker (in London), on 13 June 1842 in the 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 , fearing the train would derail.

Early Victorian politics and further assassination attempts

A young Queen Victoria


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, Londonmarker. Hamilton was charged under the 1842 act; he pleaded guilty and received the maximum sentence of seven years of penal transportation.

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.

Ireland

The young Queen Victoria fell in love with Irelandmarker, choosing to holiday in Killarneymarker in Kerrymarker. Her love of the country 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 a million Irish people and saw the emigration of another million. In response to what came to be called the Great Famine (An Gorta Mór, Irish for "The Great Famine"), the Queen personally donated £2,000 sterling to the Irish people. However, when Sultan Abdülmecid I of the Ottoman Empire declared that he would send £10,000 in aid, Queen Victoria requested that the Sultan send only £1,000, because she had sent only £2,000. The Sultan sent the £1,000 but also secretly sent three ships full of food. British courts tried to block the ships, but the food arrived at Drogheda harbour and was left there by Ottoman sailors.

Additionally, 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. However Victoria was a strong supporter of the Irish; she supported the Maynooth Grant and made a point, on visiting Ireland, of visiting the seminary.

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 many Irish nationalists at party meetings to finish by singing "God Save the Queen". Her personal donation of money was not backed up by any ground movement to deal with the famine, and she became known in Ireland as "The Famine Queen", and was much vilified then, as now.In 1853 she visited the Great Industrial Exhibition which was the biggest international event held to date in Ireland. Over one million attended and Victoria knighted the architect of the exhibition, John Benson.


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 the unionmarker.

The Queen 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.

India

After the Mughal Emperor was deposed by the British East India Company, and after the company itself was dissolved, the title "Empress of India" was taken by Victoria from 1 May 1876, and proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1877. The title was created nineteen years after the formal incorporation into the British Empire of Britain's possessions and protectorates on the Indian subcontinent. Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is usually credited with creating the title for her. Victoria began learning Hindi and Punjabi in 1867.

Widowhood

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 in March of that year. 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 Castlemarker in Scotland, Osborne House on the Isle of Wightmarker and Windsor Castlemarker.

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. 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.

Later years

Golden Jubilee and an assassination attempt

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 Abbeymarker 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 25 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 Cathedralmarker. 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-Thamesmarker in the shape of a Victoria Cross. The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War, and its modern Commonwealth variants remain to this day the highest British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Commonwealth award for bravery.

Death and succession

Following a custom she maintained throughout her widowhood, Victoria spent the Christmas of 1900 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wightmarker. She died there from declining health on Tuesday 22 January 1901 at half past six in the evening, 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, and the coffin was draped with the Royal Standard that had been flying at Osborne House; it was later gifted by Victoria's grandson, George V, to Victoria Collegemarker at the University of Torontomarker. Her funeral was held on Saturday 2 February, and after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleummarker at Windsor Great Parkmarker. 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.


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.

Victoria's death brought an end to the rule of the House of Hanover in the United Kingdommarker. 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).

Legacy

Within Britain

Queen Victoria's reign marked the gradual establishment of a modern constitutional monarchy. A series of legal reforms saw the House of Commonsmarker' power increase, at the expense of the House of Lordsmarker 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.

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. Victoria was the first known carrier of haemophilia in the royal line. Since no haemophiliacs were among her known ancestors, hers was either an instance of spontaneous mutation, which occurs at a rate of about one in 25000 to one in 100000 per generation, or was actually illegitimate, her father an unidentified haemophiliac male rather than the Duke of Kent. Spontaneous mutations account for about 33% of all haemophilia A and 20% of all haemophilia B cases. Geneticists 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.

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).

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.

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. 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.

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.

Victoria and Albert had 42 grandchildren and their current descendants number into the hundreds. As of 2009, the European monarchs and former monarchs descended from Victoria are: Queen Elizabeth II (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 are also descendants.



Several places in the world have been named after Victoria, including two Australian States (Victoriamarker and Queenslandmarker), the capitals of British Columbia (Victoriamarker), and Saskatchewan (Reginamarker), the capital of the Seychellesmarker, Africa's largest lakemarker, and Victoria Fallsmarker.

Victoriamarker, or Città Vittoria, is the capital of Gozo, an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Seamarker. Victoria is the name given in 1887 by the British government on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, at the request of the Bishop of Maltamarker, Mons. Sir Pietro Pace. However Gozitans still often refer to it by its old name, Rabat.



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 Edinburghmarker and Dundeemarker, where it is also a public holiday.

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 Memorialmarker 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 Coastmarker, Ghanamarker, 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 Adelaidemarker, capital city of the Australian state of South Australiamarker; in Queen's Square in Brisbanemarker, capital city of the Australian state of Queensland; and in the Domain Gardens in Melbournemarker, the capital of the Australian State of Victoria. In Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales, there is one statue (re-sited from the forecourt of the Irish Parliament building in Dublin) dominating the southern entrance to the Queen Victoria Buildingmarker that was named in her honour in 1898. Another Sydney statue of Queen Victoria stands in the forecourt of the Federal Court of Australia building on Macquarie Street, looking across the road to a statue of her husband, inscribed "Albert the Good". In Perthmarker, capital city of Western Australianmarker a marble statue stands in King's Park overlooking the city surrounded by canon used at the Battle of Waterloo. 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. 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 Parliamentmarker, and her statue is in the Parliamentary library as well as on the grounds.

In Hong Kongmarker, a statue of Queen Victoria is located on the east side of Victoria Parkmarker in Causeway Baymarker, Hong Kong Island. The statue once sat in Statue Square in Centralmarker but was removed and sent to Tokyo to be destroyed at the time of Japanese occupation of the territory, during World War ll. With Japan's defeat and subsequent retreat in 1945, The United Kingdom recovered Hong Kong, and the statue was retrieved and placed in the park. There is also a Queen Victoria Statue in the heart of Vallettamarker, Maltamarker's capital.In Pietermaritzburg, capital of the South African provice of KwaZulu Natal, formerly the British colony of Natal before formation of the Union of South Africa, there is a statue of Victoria in front of the provincial legislature building, the former parliament building of the colony of Natal.

Queen Victoria invited Martha Ann Ricks, on behalf of Liberianmarker Ambassador Edward Wilmot 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 Liberiamarker to England to personally 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 Expositionmarker for display. A mystery remains as to where the Coffee Tree quilt is today. The royal Victoria Teaching Hospital In The Gambia is also named after the Queen.

Titles, styles, coat of arms and cypher

Titles and styles

  • 24 May 1819 – 20 June 1837: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent
  • 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901: Her Majesty The Queen
  • 1 May 1876 – 22 January 1901: Her Imperial Majesty The Queen-Empress


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.

At the end of her reign, the Queen's full style and title were:

Coat of arms



As Victoria could not succeed to the throne of Hanover, the royal arms since 1837 have no longer carried Hanoverian symbols but just four quarters representing England, Scotland and Ireland. Victoria's successors, including the present Queen, have all borne the same arms.

Outside Scotland, the shield of Victoria's coat of arms—also used on her Royal Standard—was:
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).



[In heraldic blazon, Or is gold (or yellow), Gules is red, Azure is blue, and Argent is silver (or white).]

Within Scotland, the first and fourth quarters were taken by the Scottish lion, and the second by the English lions. The Lion and the Unicorn who supported the shield also differed between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

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.

Ancestors and descendants

Ancestry of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Both Victoria and Albert were grandchildren of Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, whose son Duke Ernest was Prince Albert's father and whose daughter Princess Victoria was Queen Victoria's mother.








Marriage of Victoria and Albert

Queen Victoria (who had ascended to the throne on 20 June 1837 and been crowned on 28 June 1838) was married to Prince Albert on 10 February 1840 by William Howley, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in the Chapel Royal of St James's Palacemarker in Westminstermarker (London). (Albert died fourteen-and-a-half years before Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India on 1 May 1876.)

Picture Name Birth Death Marriage and children Whitaker's Almanack, 1900, Facsimile Reprint 1999 (ISBN 0-11-702247-0), page 86
[Alexandrina] Victoria,
Queen of
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
,
later Empress of India

24 May
1819
22 January
1901
Married 10 February 1840;
4 sons, 5 daughters
(including British King Edward VII
and German Empress Victoria);
20 grandsons (of which 2 still-born), 22 granddaughters
(including British King George V,
German Emperor Wilhelm II,
Russian Empress Alexandra, and
the Queens of Norway, Greece, Roumania and Spain.)







Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
(The Prince Consort)
26 August
1819
14 December
1861


Children of Victoria and Albert




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