Queen Victoria
Answer to Name This Famous Person Game - January 2014

I was awoke at 6 o'clock by Mamma, who told me that 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 (the Lord Chamberlain) 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. Lord Conyngham knelt down and kissed my hand, at the same time delivering to me the official announcement of the poor King's demise.

– Entry in Queen Victoria’s diary on the death of William IV and her accession at the age of 18, Tuesday, 20 June 1837 at Kensington Palace1 

Sherry Blanton, Ted Carlton of Utah, Teresa Bland, Ruth Weston of www.timewasantiques.net., Florence Anne Berna of Roswell, Ga., Sherron Lawson of Roswell, Ga., Mitch Pettross of Tennessee, Robert Bernier, Peter Pecchia Windsor, S.C., correctly identified her.

Alexandrina Victoria was born on May 24, 1819 to Prince Edward and Princess Victoria (of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in modern-day Germany). Her grandfather, George III, the king during the Revolutionary War, died the year after she was born, and he was succeeded by his oldest son, George IV. Less than a week after George III’s death, Victoria’s father died on Jan. 23, 1820. His three older brothers had also passed away by the time Victoria was 18, and none of them left legitimate heirs. The crown passed to Victoria. Her coronation was held on June 2, 1838, and she ruled until her death on January 22, 1901. She is the longest-ruling British monarch and the longest-ruling female monarch in the world. However, Feb. 3, 2014 will be Queen Elizabeth II’s 62nd anniversary of her accession to the throne so she is within a year of assuming Queen Victoria’s titles.

Less then five feet tall, Queen Victoria once said, “Everybody grows but me.”

Since she had few political powers, Queen Victoria was left with the powers of influence and public opinion in any attempts to sway Parliament or the 20 prime ministers during her reign. Her popularity with the people was good at first, and then it waned at times, such as after the death in 1861 of her beloved husband (and cousin) Prince Albert (also of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha). She mourned him for the rest of her life and wore only black. For several years following his death, Queen Victoria remained secluded in the royal residences, and this caused her popularity with her subjects to fall because they never saw her in public. She did have nine children with Albert before his passing at the age of 42. They were married for 21 years.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, 1848, hand-colored daguerreotype by William Edward Kilburn (1818-91).

“The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.”

Queen Victoria’s popularity increased after she returned to public life and each time after six or eight attempted assassinations. A few of those times, the malefactors did not have pistols loaded with shot, and a couple of the assassins were declared insane. Queen Victoria was only injured in one attempt—a former army officer (later ruled insane) hit her with his cane while she was in her carriage. She suffered a bruised forehead and a crumpled hat on her head. Another would-be assassin was a disgruntled poet who was upset that she did not accept one of his poems.

During Queen Victoria’s reign, there were many successes in science and literature as well as the Industrial Revolution, which greatly prospered the people and the country. There were also many tragic wars and events: the Irish Potato Famine of 1845, in which 1 million people died and another million left the country; the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which resulted in the East India Company relinquishing its holdings in and control over India to the British government; the Crimean War, 1853-1856; the American Civil War, 1861-1865; the Boer Wars, 1880–1881 and 1899–1902; and a few wars in Africa.

Queen Victoria died at the age of 81 on Jan. 20, 1901. At her bedside were her successor son, King Edward VII, and her oldest grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who would lead Germany into World War I against his grandmother’s homeland.

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1 www.royal.gov.uk 

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