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Queen Victoria

British Monarch An Era Was Named For

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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

© 2009 Jupiterimages, used with permission
Queen Victoria, about 1875

Queen Victoria, about 1875

© Clipart.com

Queen Victoria Facts:

Known for: Longest-ruling monarch of Great Britain, ruled during a time of economic and imperial expansion. Gave her name to the Victorian Era.
Occupation: Queen of Great Britain
Dates: May 24, 1819 - January 22, 1901
Also known as: Alexandrina Victoria, Victoria Alexandrina

Queen Victoria Biography:

Alexandrina Victoria was the only child of the fourth son of King George III: Edward, duke of Kent. Her mother was Victoria Maria Louisa of Saxe-Coburg, sister of King Leopold of the Belgians.

Victoria became heiress-apparent of the British crown on the death of her uncle George IV, and when her uncle William IV died childless in 1837, she became Queen of Great Britain. She was crowned the next year.

Queen Victoria tested the limits of her royal powers when the government of Lord Melbourne, the Whig who had been her mentor, fell the next year. She refused to follow precedent and dismiss her ladies of the bedchamber so that the Tory government could replace them. Her refusal brought back the Whigs until 1841.

She'd met her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, when they were both seventeen. When they were twenty, he returned to England, and Victoria, in love with him, proposed marriage. They were married on February 10, 1840.

Their first child, a daughter, was born in November 1840, and the Prince of Wales, Edward, in 1841. Three more sons and four more daughters followed.

Victoria had traditional views on the role of the wife and mother, and though she was Queen and Albert was Prince Consort, he shared government responsibilities at least equally. His death in 1861 devastated her; her prolonged mourning lost her much popularity.

Eventually coming out of seclusion, she maintained an active role in government until her death in 1901. Her reign, the longest of any British monarch, was marked by waxing and waning popularity -- and suspicions that she preferred the Germans a bit too much always diminished her popularity somewhat. By the time she had assumed the throne, the British monarchy was more figurehead and influence than it was a direct power in the government, and her long reign did little to change that.

During her lifetime she published her Letters, Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands and More Leaves.

The marriage of her daughters into other royal families, and the likelihood that her children bore a mutant gene for hemophilia, both affected the following generations of European history.

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