A period of sentiment and
when Queen Victoria came to the throne. She was one of the greatest rulers in English History! She was queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and empress of India. And, The Victorian Era,
named for her, included the years from1837 to 1901 (63 years), so it included the greater part of the l800’s. She actually had the longest reign of any British monarch...
Her Noteworthy Character...
She had become queen at a time when the common people neither liked nor respected the “throne”. But, by being above reproach, she was successful in raising the “throne” to a position of respect and veneration. She too, was a product of a new social order and became a model of virtue. The word Victorian has become a synonymous for virtue, modesty and respectability because of Queen Victoria. Personal enhancements, such as elegant style of dress, jewelry,
fabriques, home decor, accessories, handwriting and much more has been attributed to & appreciated by many who have come to know what is called lovingly, “Victoriana”.
Her Early Years...
Victoria was born at Kensington Palace on May 24, 1819. She was the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, and Maria Louisa, Her father died before Victoria was one year old, and she was carefully raised by her mother, actually having little contact with the outside world.
Her induction as Queen...
Victoria’s uncle, William 1V died on June 20th 1837, and Victoria immediately took the throne as queen. She was crowned on June 28th, 1838 at Westminster Abbey, when she was only 18 years of age. Lord Melbourne, her first Prime Minister, educated Victoria in government, politics and art of living.
In February of 1840, and as queen, she married her mother’s nephew, Prince Albert of
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. She had a splendid marriage, and until his death in 1861, he was the focal point in her life. She bore him nine children as well, four sons and five daughters. History reports that Victoria never recovered from the grief of loosing Albert. Unfortunately, she withdrew from social activities and wore mourning clothes for over 10 years. Thereafter, she avoided London, and lived at Osborne on the Isle of Wright, and in
(While he was living, Prince Albert had maintained a difficult position ---that of Victoria’s chief advisor, but he had carried out his duties well. He was a student, philanthropist, and businessman, and the people had respected him. In his personal life, he was conscientious, moralistic and progressive, which carried over into his duties as advisor to the queen. Together, they initiated various reforms and innovations one, of which was the Great Exhibition of 1851, which helped to make the British monarchy popular. It was housed in the Crystal Palace and viewed by proud Victorians as a testimony of their own cultural & technological achievements. One negative aspect of the reign was that during the1845 potato famine, they continued to permit the export of grain and cattle from Ireland to England while over a million Irish peasants starved to death in their native land.)
After the death of Prince Albert, the queen had only one advisor, to whom she showed attention, and that was Benjamin
Disraeli, whom she affectionately called “Dizzy.” He advised her to be crowned “Empress of India”, in 1876, and she , in turn, named him Earl of Beaconsfield.
Events of Her Reign...
Many great events took place during Victoria’s reign. In l837, small rebellions broke out in Canada. With her input, Upper & Lower Canada were united in 1840 and given self-government. Too, Britain fought the Opium War in China (1840), the Crimean War in 1834, the South African War in 1899 and various small wars.
In India in 1857, a mutiny broke out and the following year was changed from the East India Company to governmental control. (Victoria was proclaimed empress in 1877). The British seized control of Egypt, and colonies in British N. America & Australia were federated and became powerful, self-governing states. Britain became a free-trade country. In Ireland, the Anglican Church was disestablished as well. Under her reign, parliament passed acts improving labor, making education compulsory & reforming civil service. The Victorian Age featured tremendous industrial expansion in England & abroad.
In 1887, the people celebrated the golden jubilee of the reign with great rejoicing. Also, 10 years later, in 1897, her diamond jubilee was celebrated as a “great festival of the empire”. In an immense royal procession, they went to Saint Paul’s Cathedral and great crowds greeted the queen.
Queen Victoria died at her winter home at Osborne, on the Isle of Wright on January 22, 1901, a respected woman and queen, having reigned for almost 64 years.