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Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria by George Hayter

Born a Princess

Princess Victoria Alexandria was born on May 24, 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. Her father was Edward, the Duke of Kent and her mother was Princess Victoria of Germany.

Victoria lived the life of a young royal and her mother was very protective. She had little contact with other children spending most of her days with adult tutors and playing with dolls when she was young. As she grew older she enjoyed painting, drawing, and writing in her diary.

Heir to the Crown

When Victoria was born, she was fifth in line for the crown of the United Kingdom. It seemed unlikely that she would ever be queen. However, after several of her uncles failed to have children, she became heir to the throne of the current king, William IV.

Becoming Queen

When King William IV died in 1837, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom at the age of eighteen. Her official coronation took place on June 28, 1838. Victoria was determined to be a good queen and to restore the faith of the people of the United Kingdom in the monarchy. One of the first things she did was to pay off her father's debts. The people liked her from the start.

Victoria didn't know a lot about how to govern, however, she made a good friend and tutor in the Prime Minister at the time, Lord Melbourne. Melbourne advised Victoria on political issues and had considerable influence over her at the start of her reign.

Marrying a Prince

On October 10, 1839 a German Prince named Albert came to visit the royal court. Victoria immediately fell in love. Five days later, they were engaged to be married. Victoria enjoyed married life. She and Albert had 9 children over the next several years. Albert also became her confidant and helped her in navigating the politics of the United Kingdom.

The Victorian Era

The time of Victoria's reign was a period of prosperity and peace for the United Kingdom. It was a time of industrial expansion and the building of railroads. One of the achievements of the time was the Great Exhibition of 1851. A huge building called the Crystal Palace was built in London that housed a number of technological exhibits from around the world. Prince Albert took part in the planning and it was a huge success.

Albert's Death

On December 14, 1861 Albert passed away from typhoid fever. Victoria went into a deep depression and withdrew from all politics. There was one point at which many people questioned her ability to rule. Eventually Victoria recovered and began to take a strong interest in the British Empire and its colonies. She took particular interest in India and gained the title Empress of India.

Grandmother of Europe

Victoria's nine children were married off to royalty throughout much of Europe. She is often called the Grandmother of Europe because so many of Europe's monarchs are her relatives. Her first son, Edward, became king after her and married a princess from Denmark. Her daughter Victoria, the Princess Royal, married the Emperor of Germany. Other children married royals from other areas of Europe including Russia. She had thirty-seven great-grandchildren at the time of her death on January 22, 1901.

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