Queen Victoria

Queen VictoriaQueen Victoria ruled longer than anyone in history, nearly sixty-four years from 1837 to 1901. Those years were appropriately called the Victorian Age, a period in which Great Britain experienced significant changes. These changes occurred in almost every aspect of British life including political institutions and structures, economic and social conditions, trade, science, and technology.

Alexandrina Victoria was born on May 24, 1819. She was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, 4th son of the reigning King George III, and Victoire of Saxe-Coburg, a German princess. A widow, Victoire married Prince Edward with the hopes of giving him a son, but Victoria or "Drina" as she was called was their only child.

Victoria, or "Drina" as she was called, lived a quiet, secluded childhood in Kensington Palace with her mother. German was her first language, though she soon mastered English. As it was never expected that Victoria would one day rule Great Britain, her mother saw that her daughter received a liberal education in music, drawing, natural philosophy, history, Italian and French.

She was described as warmhearted, lively, and occasionally mischievous. There was a natural gracefulness and dignity about her. As a child, she began keeping diaries, a practice which she continued through the years, enabling modern historians to gain a thorough look into her life. Victoria revealed a Lutheran piety, which she had gotten from her mother, and a deep, romantic streak that revolved around her complex, introspective personality.

King George IV died in 1830 with the succession of his brother, William IV, taking the throne. It was at this point that Victorian might play a more important role in British politics than anyone had expected. King William had several children, only one legitimate, a daughter, who died in infancy. When King William passed away in 1837, the eighteen year-old Victoria became heir apparent and was coronated Queen Victoria on June 20, 1837.

Victoria and her motherAlexandrina Victoria was born on May 24, 1819. She was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, son of the reigning King George III, and Victoire of Saxe-Coburg, a German princess. At that time, there appeared little chance that she would ever become a ruling monarch. When her father and grandfather both died in 1820, her uncle George became King George III. He died without any heirs so the next one in line for the British throne was her other uncle, William IV. King William's daughter died in infancy and when he, too, died in 1837, the eighteen-year-old princess became Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland on June 20, 1837. (Victoria and her mother Victoire of Saxe-Coburg)

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