Queen Victoria was the longest ruling monarch of Great Britain and the kingdoms of the British Isles. She was in power as Queen from June 20th 1837 to January 22nd 1901 when she passed away. This length of reign totals an impressive 63 years, 7 months and 2 days which to date has never been exceeded. She ruled during a time when Britain was majorly growing, entering the industrial revolution and had a growing economy and imperial expansion to all corners of the world.
The Birth of Alexandrina Victoria
Alexandrina Victoria was born on May 24th 1819 as the only child of King George III’s fourth son, Edward the Duke of Kent and Victoria Maria Louise of Saxe-Coburg. When her uncle George IV died in 1837 she become heiress-apparent to the crown, leading eventually to her becoming the Queen of England in 1837 when her uncle William IV died leaving no children to take the thrown.
Marriage and Children
Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840 after she proposed marriage to him on his return back to England. They had first met at the tender age of 17 and by the age of 20 they were engaged to be married with the marriage taking place on February 10th 1840. They went on to have nine children together which all married into royal and noble families across the continent earning Queen Victoria the nickname “Grandmother of Europe”. Their first child born in November 1840 was a daughter, followed by the Prince of Wales in 1841 and followed with four daughters and three sons.
Her husband Albert took on many of the government responsibilities in equal measures to allow her time to be a wife and mother, which was very important to her in keeping with her traditional views. When he died in 1861 Queen Victoria was said to be devastated, showing weakness and long lasting mourning towards her husband lost her some popularity amongst the people of Great Britain.
Queen Victoria’s Reign
The Victorian era to which she reigned was an amazing period of evolution through industries, culture, science and politics. Her empire was rapidly expanding around the globe and life for everyone in Britain was really starting to improve and take form. She had become the Empress of India after the Indian Rebellion of 1857 resulted in the British East India Company and Britain’s possessions and protectorates being formally incorporated into the British Empire.
Throughout her time of power she was notably shot at several times in attempted assassinations, which for such a popular monarch was highly incomprehensible at the time. The first time on May 29th when John Francis aimed a pistol towards her carriage along The Mall in London, with the gun not firing. The very next day she drove the same route with a far greater escort and at higher speeds in an amazing attempt to try and lure John Francis back to the scene of the crime for another shot and his capture. The plan worked and he was arrested by undercover police officers and convicted of high treason! There were following attempts made by John William Bean and on a separate occasion Irishman William Hamilton, both had too little charge to cause damage.
Death and Legacy
She maintained a major role in government until her death in 1901, which made her the longest reigning British Monarch of all time. Once she had assumed her throne Britain was different in many ways with the Monarchy now more of a figurehead rather than a directly powering force behind the government. Britain was moving at a rapid pace and into a new exciting era that had been building power throughout the Victorian times.