Queen Alexandrina Victoria: Long Live the Queen! Today is the day we lost a beautiful and wonderful queen of England, remembering you after 110 years ago today, may you rest in peace!
Queen Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India.
Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and the King died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
She inherited the throne at the age of 18 after her father's three elder brothers died without surviving legitimate issue. She ascended the throne when the United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the Sovereign held relatively few direct political powers. Privately, she attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon, and was identified with strict standards of personal morality.
Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840. Their 9 children and 26 of their 42 grandchildren married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe".
After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the later half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.
At 63 years and 7 months, her reign as the Queen lasted longer than that of any other British monarch, and is the longest of any female monarch in history. Her reign is known as the Victorian era, and was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military progress within the United Kingdom. Overseas, it was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover; her son and successor King Edward VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Death and successionFollowing a custom she maintained throughout her widowhood, Victoria spent the Christmas of 1900 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Rheumatism in her legs had rendered her lame, and her eyesight was clouded by cataracts.
Through early January, she felt "weak and unwell", and by mid-January she was "drowsy ... dazed, [and] confused". She died from a cerebral haemorrhage on Tuesday 22 January 1901 at half past six in the evening, at the age of 81. Her son, the future King, and her eldest grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II, were at her deathbed. On 25 January, Edward VII, the Kaiser and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, helped lift her into the coffin.
She was dressed in a white dress and her wedding veil. An array of mementos commemorating her extended family, friends and servants were laid in the coffin with her, at her request. One of Albert's dressing gowns was placed by her side, with a plaster cast of his hand, while a lock of Brown's hair, along with a picture of him, were placed in her left hand. Items of jewellery placed on Victoria included the wedding ring of John Brown's mother, given to her by Brown in 1883.
The coffin was draped with the Royal Standard that had been flying at Osborne House; it was later given by Victoria's grandson, George V, to Victoria College at the University of Toronto. Her funeral was held on Saturday 2 February, and after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park. Victoria requested a white funeral instead of the usual black. When she was laid to rest at the mausoleum, it began to snow.
Flags in the United States were lowered to half-mast in her honour by order of President William McKinley, a tribute never before offered to a foreign monarch at the time and one which was repaid by Britain when McKinley was assassinated later that year. Victoria had reigned for a total of 63 years, seven months and two days—the longest of any British monarch—and surpassed her grandfather, George III, as the longest-lived monarch (since surpassed by Elizabeth II) only three days before her death.
Victoria's death brought an end to the rule of the House of Hanover in the United Kingdom. Her husband belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and her son and heir Edward VII was the first British monarch of this new house. Later, in 1917, her grandson King George V changed the house name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the (currently serving) House of Windsor.
Victoria outlived three of her nine children. Alice died in 1878, Leopold in 1884, and Alfred in July 1900, just six months before his mother. Her eldest daughter, Victoria, narrowly outlived her, and died in August 1901. The Queen outlived 11 of her 42 grandchildren (two were stillborn; six died as children, and three as adults).
According to one of her biographers, Giles St Aubyn, Victoria wrote an average of 2500 words a day during her adult life.From July 1832 until just before her death, she kept a detailed journal, which eventually encompassed 122 volumes.After Victoria's death, her youngest daughter Princess Beatrice, was appointed her literary executor. Beatrice transcribed and edited the diaries covering Victoria's accession onwards, and burned the originals in the process.
Despite this destruction, much of the diaries still exist. In addition to Beatrice's edited copy, Lord Esher transcribed the volumes from 1832 to 1861 before Beatrice destroyed them. Part of Victoria's extensive correspondence has been published in volumes edited by A. C. Benson, Hector Bolitho, George Earle Buckle, Lord Esher, Roger Fulford, and Richard Hough among others.
Victoria was physically unprepossessing—she was stout, dowdy and less than five feet tall—but she succeeded in projecting a grand image. She experienced unpopularity during the first years of her widowhood, but was well-liked during the 1880s and 1890s, when she embodied the empire as a benevolent matriarchal figure. Only after the release of her diary and letters did the extent of her political influence become known to the wider public.
Biographies of Victoria written before much of the primary material became available, such as Lytton Strachey's Queen Victoria, are now considered out of date.The biographies written by Elizabeth Longford and Cecil Woodham-Smith, in 1964 and 1972 respectively, are still widely admired. They, and others, conclude that as a person Victoria was emotional, obstinate, honest, and straight-talking.