Historical “VICTORIA” stuff

Written by Michael E Dehn

Founder and CEO of Metro Pulse a continually running enterprise since May 1980.

March 31, 2024

7 Facts About the Life and Reign of Queen Victoria

  • QUEEN VICTORIA’S FAMILY

Few royal monarchs hold as much fascination as England’s Queen Victoria. Her lengthy reign and complex legacy left such a lasting mark on Britain and the world that the era still bears her name. At her birth on May 24, 1819, Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent was only fifth in line to the throne. She was never expected to be queen, but fate had other plans for young “Drina.” Victoria ascended the throne on June 20, 1837, less than a month after her 18th birthday, and ruled for more than 63 years — longer than any British monarch except for her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II.

Advertisement

https://e1dfbd007d63b5a917d0c225e3a3ca12.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html

During her rule, the diminutive Queen Victoria developed a reputation as a strong-willed and outspoken sovereign committed to expanding and strengthening the British Empire. She oversaw a time of unprecedented industrial expansion, political reform, and social change in England, but her time on the throne was also marked by aggressive colonization. Britain’s imperial reach nearly doubled during Victoria’s reign, until some 25% of the world’s population owed their allegiance to her. Here are seven fascinating facts about the life of the monarch known as the “grandmother of Europe.”

Photo credit: INTERFOTO/ Alamy Stock Photo

Victoria Was Delivered by a Woman Doctor

At a time when female doctors were rare, Victoria’s mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, chose to have a woman deliver her baby, rather than a male royal doctor. In some historical resources, Charlotte Heidenreich von Siebold is referred to as a midwife or nurse, but she was formally educated in gynecology and obstetrics and received a doctoral degree in obstetrics from the University of Giessen in 1817. Madam Siebold, as she was called, delivered the future queen at Kensington Palace on May 24, 1819. Three months later, on August 26, 1819, von Siebold delivered Victoria’s first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, at Schloss Rosenau castle near Coburg, Germany.

You may also like

Advertisement

Advertisement

Photo credit: Archive Photos via Getty Images

Queen Victoria Was the First Monarch to Rule From Buckingham Palace

What is now Buckingham Palace was simply Buckingham House when King George III bought it in 1761 for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their children. After George IV took the throne in 1820,  he decided to turn the house into a proper palace and hired architect John Nash to oversee the grand, and expensive, project. The work was still not done when the king died in 1830, and he never lived in the home he’d envisioned. Following her accession to the throne in 1837, Queen Victoria became the first sovereign to make the palace her primary residence. During her reign, the queen oversaw additional renovations and updates to Buckingham Palace, including the installation of electricity in the ballroom in 1883. Queen Victoria also holds the distinction of making the first recorded royal appearance on the palace’s balcony. In 1851, she greeted the public during celebrations for the opening of the Great Exhibition, an international event showcasing advancements in technology from around the world.

Advertisement

Related:7 Interesting Facts About Napoleon Bonaparte

Photo credit: Print Collector/ Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Queen Victoria Was a Prolific Writer

Between her diaries and letters, Victoria wrote an estimated 60 million words over her lifetime. Her earliest journal entry, written in 1832 when she was 13, begins, “This book, Mamma gave me, that I might write the journal of my journey to Wales in it.” She continued to document her life for nearly 69 years, writing just 10 days before her death at age 81, “Had a fair night, but was a little wakeful.” At Victoria’s request, her journals were edited after her death by her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, presumably to remove anything inappropriate that would upset the royal family or tarnish the monarch’s legacy. Beatrice spent 30 years transcribing and editing her mother’s journals and destroyed many of the original volumes.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Photo credit: Mayall/ Hulton Royals Collection via Getty Images

Victoria Proposed to Her Husband, Prince Albert

Born three months apart, Victoria and her German cousin Prince Albert first met in 1836 when they were just teenagers. Their families had intended that they would one day marry, but most accounts suggest theirs was also a loving partnership, punctuated by the highs and lows of a long-term marriage. Following their introduction in 1836, the couple didn’t meet again until October 1839, and it was during that visit that they became engaged. Protocol prohibited Albert from asking for the reigning monarch’s hand, so it was up to Victoria to issue the proposal. In her diary, the queen later wrote, “Oh! how I adore and love him, I cannot say!” The couple were rarely together before their February 1840 wedding, but they often wrote to each other. In one letter to his betrothed, Albert wrote (in German), “Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth.”

Advertisement

Related:7 Interesting Facts About Napoleon Bonaparte

Photo credit: Archive Photos via Getty Images

She Popularized the White Wedding Gown

On her wedding day, Victoria wanted to be seen as Prince Albert’s wife rather than the queen of England, so she chose to wear a white gown instead of the red robe of state. Though she wasn’t the first monarch bride to wear white, it wasn’t a traditional choice for a royal wedding gown, or a nonroyal gown, for that matter. Victoria and Albert’s nuptials were highly publicized, and depictions of Victoria’s simple, elegant dress adorned with orange blossoms conjured an image of romantic purity that soon caught on with brides across Europe and the West. Constructed of silk and lace made in Britain — as both a show of patriotism and to boost a declining industry — the gown featured the nipped waist and full skirt that became the classic wedding dress silhouette.  

Advertisement

https://e1dfbd007d63b5a917d0c225e3a3ca12.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html

Advertisement

Photo credit: W. and D. Downey/ Hulton Royals Collection via Getty Images

After Albert’s Death, She Wore Only Black

Though most of Victoria’s clothes were destroyed, portraits, fabric samples, and journal entries tell us that her early years as queen were highlighted by beautiful, colorful fashion. That changed when Prince Albert died in 1861 after a brief illness. The widowed monarch donned the traditional black mourning attire and ordered the royal household to remain in mourning for a year. Victoria, however, continued to wear black long after the traditional period of public mourning. In fact, she dressed in black (often with a white widow’s cap) every day for the rest of her life, until her own death in 1901.

Advertisement

Related:7 Interesting Facts About Napoleon Bonaparte

Photo credit: Bettmann via Getty Images

Victoria’s Descendants Became Monarchs Throughout Europe

After surviving an isolating childhood and the strict set of rules known as the “Kensington System,” Victoria was eager to gain her independence when she ascended the throne at age 18. In fact, one of her first acts as queen was to claim a bedroom separate from her overprotective mother, the Duchess of Kent. Victoria and Albert’s marriage produced nine children in 17 years, and biographies of the queen often mention her distaste for pregnancy and childbirth — what she called the “shadow-side” of marital life. 

Still, Victoria’s reign was defined by her desire to grow and strengthen the British Empire, and she balanced her responsibilities as a mother and sovereign by arranging marriages for her children that would increase British influence and assure strong connections throughout Europe. The first of the dynastic marriages arranged by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was between their eldest daughter, Princess Victoria (Vicky), and the Crown Prince of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm, with the goal of unifying the German states and introducing the liberal political ideals of Great Britain. Victoria’s commitment to creating strong marital alliances throughout Europe continued with her other children and grandchildren; her heirs married into other royal families and ascended thrones in Denmark, Germany, Greece, Norway, Russia, and Spain. Of the roughly 28 monarchies that still exist today, five of them are held by Victoria’s descendants.

More on Famous Figures

AUTHOR KRISTINA WRIGHT

Love it?39

Advertisement

You May Also Like…

SEO “stuff”

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/?mc_cid=8942bee612&mc_eid=dcb5e036d0