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Victoria, Queen of England

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Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain, Ireland and India from her ascendance to the throne at age 18 in 1837 until her death in 1901. 

With a 63 years and 7 month reign, she is the longest reigning British monarch of all time, and the longest reigning female monarch in all of history.

She was considered so popular and influential that the years of her reign have been called "the Victorian Era."







Full Name Alexandrina Victoria
Who Queen of England
Birth Date May 24, 1819
Death Date January 22, 1901
Country England
Born London, England, UK
Died East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK
Cause of Death cerebral hemorrhage
Education private tutors
Father Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
Mother Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Spouse Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Siblings

Feodora of Leiningen

Carl, 3rd Prince of Leiningen

Children

Victoria of the United Kingdom, Queen of Prussia

Edward VII of the United Kingdom

Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse

Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Helena of the United Kingdom

Louise, Duchess of Argyll

Arthur, Duke of Connaught

Leopold, Duke of Albany

Beatrice of the United Kingdom

Connections

Victoria was the granddaughter of George III of England. For more family members, please see above.

Charles Manners-Sutton christened Victoria in a private ceremony in 1819.

Alexander I of Russia was Victoria's godparent, and in his honor, the name "Alexandrina" was added to her name. This, however, was removed after she turned 18, at her request.

Victoria's uncle William IV of the United Kingdom was very involved in her childhood, and ruled as king for a large part of it. At this time, Victoria had already been named the next heir to the throne, and William was an elderly man. William distrusted Victoria's mother, the Duchess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and was strongly opposed to her ruling as regent in the event that he died before Victoria's 18th birthday, a fact that he voiced unflinchingly in front of them both. In the end, he died just under a month after Victoria turned 18, denying the Duchess her regency.

During childhood, Victoria's life was rigidly controlled by a complex system of restrictive rules set in place by her mother and John Conroy, a man rumored to be her mother's lover. Named the "Kensington System," it prohibited many daily activities and prevented Victoria from seeing or speaking to anyone other than her mother or Conroy himself. The only children her own age that Victoria was permitted to interact with were Conroy's daughters, who Victoria reported to be as unpleasant as their father. Victoria fiercely hated Conroy, who despised and mocked her. He sought to get rid of her beloved governess, Louise Lehzen. His hope was, apparently, that William IV would die while Victoria was still a child, leaving her mother as regent and, effectively, him as king in all but name. He was confident about his tight-fisted control over the household. As time passed and it became evident that a regency was unlikely, Conroy and the Duchess put together a new conspiracy, spreading rumors that Victoria was weak-minded, foolish, and frivolous, doing everything they could to give the public a picture of a silly little girl. They even went so far as to lie and say that Victoria wished there to be a regency until the age of 21. Meanwhile, their restrictions tightened, and Victoria was not allowed out in public, or to be alone with anyone, even her governess Lehzen. When Victoria fell gravely ill with typhoid fever in 1835, Conroy and the Duchess exploited her weakened state and put forward an image to the public that Victoria was weak and sickly. They attempted to have her sign documents handing the regency to them until she was 21 while she delirious. After her sickness passed, Victoria emerged hardened and furious, and once she took the throne shortly afterward, she exiled Conroy and her mother to distant houses. They were not allowed at court, and Conroy's numerous requests for an Irish peerage were declined.

Louise Lehzen was Victoria's governess as a child, her beloved companion as a young lady, one of her closest personal advisors as a young queen, and later governess of Victoria's children. Lehzen was fiercely loyal to Victoria and, during childhood, supported her against the rigid system set in place by her mother and Conroy. However, later in life, Lehzen was dismissed due to Albert's growing disliking for her. He called her "incompetant" and was of the opinion that she was unfit to govern their children. Lehzen was given a pension and gently told to retire, and her close relationship with the Queen ended.

Flora Hastings was a lady-in-waiting to Victoria when she was young and still under the control of her mother and John Conroy. Hastings was one of the few people approved by Conroy, whom Victoria was allowed to interact with. Hastings greatly disliked Victoria's devoted governess, Louise Lehzen, and in turn, Victoria hated Hastings. After Victoria's ascension to the throne in 1838, Hastings was kept away from court and from Victoria. When Hastings died a year later, in 1839, there was a scandal based on the fact that her stomach cancer - the cause of her death - had been put forward as an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Though Victoria's royal physician had merely suggested this as a probable option after Hastings refused a full examination, the blame was put on Victoria for spreading the rumor, and the media made much of the two young women's hatred toward each other.

The two young men put forward as potential matches for Victoria were Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Alexander of the Netherlands. Though Alexander was more highly favored as the better match, Victoria was drawn to Albert from the start, and described Alexander as "very plain."

On the night that Victoria was announced queen, she was awoken in the middle of the night by William Howley, who gave her the news.

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, was the British Prime Minister at the time of Victoria's ascension to the throne, and the two worked closely together. Victoria relied upon him for political advice. Melbourne was said to be "passionately fond" of her, treating her much like a daughter, and Melbourne became a prominent father figure in Victoria's life.

Victoria worked closely with Robert Peel, who was Prime Minister of Britain from 1834 - 1835, and again in 1841 - 1846.

The lace on Victoria's wedding gown was designed by William Dyce. Her wedding dress helped to popularize Devon lacemaking.

Edward Oxford attempted to assassinate Victoria in 1840. At the time, she was pregnant and riding in a carriage with Albert. The young Oxford fired twice, but Victoria was unharmed. He was tried for high treason, but acquitted on the basis of insanity.

Victoria worked closely with John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, who was Prime Minister of Britain twice in the mid 1800's.

Victoria and Albert stayed with her friend Louis Philippe I twice, in 1843 and 1845. She was the first English or British monarch to visit a French monarch since 1520, and when Philippe visited Victoria in 1844, he became the first French monarch to visit an English one in all of history. When his life was endangered in the revolutions of 1848, Philippe fled to England, where Victoria offered him protection.

Victoria did not get along very well with Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, who served as Prime Minister twice during her reign. He often made political decisions without consulting Victoria, even before he took office as Prime Minister. While serving as a Foreign Secretary under John Russell, Victoria was infuriated by his sending official dispatches to foreign rulers without letter her or even Russell know. She encouraged Russell more than once to fire him. After Temple publically announced that Britain endorsed Napoleon III, he was finally fired.

Napoleon III was a friend and close political ally of Victoria's. He visited her in 1855, and later in the year, Victoria and Albert visited him in Paris as well.

Sir William Jenner, 1st Baronet was the personal physician to Victoria from the 1860's to 1890. He was the one to diagnose Albert with typhoid fever in 1861, and give Victoria the crippling news that he had died.

After Albert's death in 1861, and during her following life-long self imposed isolation in Windsor Castle, Victoria relied heavily on her most trusted servant, John Brown. She awarded him two medals and commissioned a portrait of him, and sketched him herself, imagining him as a young boy. Victoria's children and governmental officials resented her relationship with Brown, and rumors began to swirl that the two were involved in a romantic relationship or even a secret marriage, which is still the subject of much speculation today. The two slept in adjoinging bedrooms, unheard of for servants of that time. On his deathbed in 1872, Norman Macleod reportedly confessed that he had secretly married Victoria and Brown, though by the time this confession was brought to light in the diary of Lewis Harcourt, the admittance had passed through four people on the basis of hearsay. After Brown's death in 1883, Victoria herself wrote "life for the second time is become most trying and sad to bear deprived of all she so needs..." Many believe that this comparison of Brown's death to Albert's proves that he was more than just a servant to her. She had a life-size statue of him built at Balmoral Castle, and began to write a biography about him, but later destroyed the manuscript under advisement of her secretary. When she died in 1901, she requested to be buried with a lock of Brown's hair, his photograph (which she was buried holding in her left hand, discreetly covered in flowers to hide it from the public's view), and a ring given to her by Brown, which had formerly been his mother's. Many believe that this ring was their wedding band.

Norman Macleod was a personal chaplain to Victoria, and supposedly claimed on his deathbed to have secretly married her to her servant John Brown.

After the death of her beloved servant John Brown, Victoria took on another servant with whom she also heavily relied upon as both a servant and companion. This time, he was Abdul Karim. The public highly disapproved of Karim, even more than they had of Brown, as he was Indian, a Muslim, and was highly suspected of exploiting the queen. He began teaching her to speak Hindustani, to the appalled concern of her relations. Evidence was put forward that he was a spy, but Victoria dismissed any and all wrongs suspected of her new companion. He remained her caretaker until her death, after which he returned to India with a substantial pension.

When Benjamin Disraeli became Prime Minister in 1868, Victoria was charmed by him, and came to adore him and respect him highly. Disraeli was fond of flattering the Queen, at one point referring to her as a fellow author, which she took as a high compliment. When Disraeli died in 1881, Victoria wrote that she was "blinded by fast falling tears," and personally erected a monument tablet at his grave.

Victoria was anything but charmed by Disraeli's successor, Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, who took over the post in late 1868. She complained that he spoke to her as though she was "a public meeting rather than a woman." When he was forced to resign from a second term in 1885, Victoria was "pleased." She called his government "the worst I have ever had," and called him "half crazy" and "a ridiculous old man."

John Lister performed a minor surgery on Victoria in 1871 when he lanced and removed an abscess on her arm.

Victoria worked closely with Robert Gascoyne Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury. He was Prime Minister multiple times during the later decades of her reign.


Places

London, England, UK - Born here, 1819. Lived here, most of her life.

Ramsgate, Kent, England, UK - Fell ill here, 1835.

Eu, France - Visited here, 1843 and 1845.

Staffa, Scotland, UK - Visited here, 1847.

Dunkirk, France - Visited here, 1855.

Paris, France - Visited here, 1855.

Versailles, France - Visited here, 1855.

Dublin, Ireland - Visited here, 1861.

Killarney, Ireland - Visited here, 1861.

Berkshire, England, UK - Lived here, 1860's - 1901.

Biarritz, France - Visited here, 1889.

East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK - Died here, 1901.

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