From June 20, 1837, to January 22, 1901, Queen Victoria reigned as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. She holds the record for the longest reigning monarch in England, the United Kingdom, and Scotland. Her reign as Queen of the United Kingdom is known as the Victorian Era, since her strict and severe morality, as well as her desire to see the United Kingdom advance and become dominant and powerful on the world stage, helped define the period! Almost every sector of life in the United Kingdom expanded dramatically under her reign, whether it was technological, communication, or industrial. Underground railroads, which have become an important feature of the British transportation system, had their origins in the Victorian era. Similarly, many of the bridges, roads, and train lines that exist today were built during her reign. Aside from industrial and technological achievements, she worked to change the face of the United Kingdom by eradicating poverty and reducing social inequality. During her reign, the literacy rate increased dramatically.
Childhood and Adolescence
On May 24, 1819, at Kensington Palace in London, Queen Victoria was crowned. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, her father, was the fourth son of George III, the reigning King of the United Kingdom. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was her mother.
The Archbishop of Canterbury baptised her at Kensington Palace’s Cupola Room. After her father and uncles, she was baptized Alexandrina Victoria, and she was the fifth in line of succession.
She was the next likely heiress to Duke of Clarence, popularly known as William IV, after her grandfather and father died in 1820. Because she was a minor, King William assumed care for her until she reached the age of eighteen.
She was raised in a safe environment with rigorous regulations and rituals as a child. Her mother prevented her from socializing with strangers. She stayed depressed and melancholy as a result of this.
Private tutors taught her several courses and languages, including French, Italian, German, and Latin, at her residence. She spent her free time with her dolls and her spaniel, Dash.
Sir John Conroy, her mother and comptroller, began forcing her to go on tours across the country, staying at towns and country residences, beginning in 1830. Her disdain for these journeys was palpable.
Reign of Queen Victoria
She became the lawful and legal heir to the throne after her uncle, King William IV, died. The Queen of the United Kingdom was chosen for her. In 1837, she lost her first name and became known as Queen Victoria.
She was barred from Hanoverian succession, which shared a monarch with Britain, by the Salic Code in effect at the time. As a result, she inherited everything but Hanover, which went to the Duke of Cumberland, who was the next in line to the throne until she married and had her own family.
She became the first sovereign to take up residence in Buckingham Palace after the formal coronation on June 28, 1838. She relied on Whig Prime Minister Lord Melbourne for everything because she was inexperienced and too young to make crucial decisions. A father-daughter relationship existed between the two.
She was beloved at the start of her reign, but her reputation suffered after she made accusations and harsh statements against Lady Flora (one of her mother’s ladies-in-waiting) and Sir John Conroy in 1839. Lord Melbourne resigned as Premier as a result of the outrage. He regained his position in the weeks that followed.
Lord Melbourne took a back place after her marriage to Albert in 1840, as Albert quickly filled his shoes and became her principal political counsel. His power over her was undeniable, as he was determined to handle all of her problems, whether they were political or personal.
Several assassination attempts were made against Elizabeth throughout her reign, the first by John Francis, who attempted to kill her twice, and then by John William Bean, William Hamilton, and Robert Pate.
During her reign, 1845 was a difficult year for her since the country was hit by the Great Famine. The sad event, dubbed sarcastically “The Famine Queen,” resulted in millions of deaths and emigration. As a result, Peel resigned from his position in 1846 and was succeeded by Lord John Russell.
She attempted to restore relations with France throughout her rule. She planned for visits from the British royal family and the House of Orleans for the same reason. She was also the first British monarch to pay a visit to a French ruler. In 1849, she even paid a visit to Ireland.
Russell’s ministry, unlike Melbourne’s and Peel’s, did not win the Queen’s support or favor. As a result, in 1852, he was succeeded by Lord Derby. The latter’s administration did not last long, and Lord Aberdeen was appointed to the position in early 1855. Because of Lord Aberdeen’s poor management, his government fell apart, and Palmerston became Prime Minister. Meanwhile, Napoleon III had become one of Britain’s most trusted allies. In April 1855, he paid a visit to the country.
The attempted assassination of Napoleon III strained the British-French friendship. Lord Derby was restored as Prime Minister in an attempt to resurrect the government. Due to the poor status of the Royal Navy in comparison to their French counterparts, the latter was replaced by Palmerston once more.
Her husband’s death prompted her to enter a period of self-imposed solitude during which she refused to take up the monarchy’s responsibilities. She even stopped appearing in public, despite her uncle Leopold’s advice to the contrary.
Many people held the position of Prime Minister in the years after, including Russel, Derby, Benjamin Disraeli, and William Ewart Gladstone. The republican movement grew as a result of her isolation.
In the years that followed, she attempted a number of things to increase her visibility and reclaim her popularity with the general public. She was crowned Empress of India in 1876, under the leadership of Benjamin Disreali.
Golden jubilee celebrations commemorated the end of Britain’s 50-year rule in 1887. Meanwhile, during the 1892 elections, Gladstone was re-elected as Prime Minister. Lord Rosebery and afterwards Lord Salisbury took his place after he retired two years later.
The date September 23, 1896, marked a watershed point in British royal history, as she surpassed her grandfather to become the country’s longest-reigning queen. The festivities coincided with her Diamond Jubilee. An open-air ceremony was held outside St Paul’s Cathedral following a lengthy procession.
Personal & Family Life
Her maternal uncle Leopold presented her with a marriage proposal in the form of his nephew Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1836. At the same time, King William received a proposal from Prince Alexander of the Netherlands. Prince Albert captivated her from the first meeting and piqued her curiosity in him. She wasn’t ready for marriage, so no formal engagement announcement could be made, but it was expected.
Albert and she had a loving and friendly friendship that only grew stronger with time. As a result, she proposed to him during his second visit in October 1839. On February 10, 1840, in the Chapel Royal of St. James’s Palace in London, the two walked down the aisle.
On November 21, 1840, the royal couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Victoria. They had eight more children, Albert Edward (Prince of Wales), Alice, Alfred, Helena, Arthur, Leopold, and Beatrice, despite her dislike of children and pregnancy.
Albert had been sick since the early 1860s, with a persistent stomach issue that progressively became worse. He was diagnosed with typhoid illness and died on December 14, 1861. She was so overcome with grief that she refused to wear anything but black, earning her the moniker “Widow of Windsor.”
She tumbled down the stairs in 1883, and her rheumatism made things worse. For the rest of her life, she was crippled. She began to acquire cataracts in the year 1900. On January 22, 1901, she passed away.
Her funeral was held in Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel on February 2. She was lay in state for nearly two days before being interred in the Frogmore Mausoleum in Windsor Great Park alongside Prince Albert. King Edward VII was her successor.
People all throughout the world were saddened by her demise. To honor her efforts and reign, a number of monuments have been built, as well as a number of localities bearing her name.
This outstanding British monarch reigned for 63 years and 7 months, the longest reign of any British monarch and the longest reign of a female monarch history.
Throughout the 1860s, there were rumors of a romantic relationship between the Queen and John Brown, a Scottish manservant. Mrs. Brown, a 1997 film, was based on the narrative of the Queen’s relationship with John Brown.