Happy Birthday Queen Victoria! Did You know…?
Today (Friday, May 24) marks the 200th birthday of one of the UK’s longest-serving and most influential monarchs.
We are, of course, talking about Queen Victoria, whose reign began less than a month after she turned 18 (it began on June 20, 1837) and lasted until her death on January 22, 1901 when she was 81.
It would be difficult to chronicle the entirety of Queen Victoria’s reign in one article – she was leader of the country during a time of political, industrial, social and economic change, not just at home but around the globe. During her time as queen, the British Empire also grew dramatically and with it, her reach.
So here’s some things about one of our most influential monarchs that you may not know…
- Queen Victoria was mother to nine children – Victoria, Princess Royal; Edward VII of the United Kingdom; Princess Alice; Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; Princess Helena; Princess Louise; Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn; Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany; and Princess Beatrice.
- By the end of her reign, Victoria’s full style and title were ‘Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India’.
- She was the intended victim of several assassination attempts during her reign, many narrowly missing their intended targets.
- Her favourite pet Pomeranian dog, Turi, was laid on her deathbed, fulfilling one of her final requests.
- Victoria bucked tradition and proposed to her husband, Albert, who was the great love of her life.
- And many of us can thank Victoria for wearing white at our weddings. She shunned the popular trend of the time of wearing bright colours at her ceremony, instead picking white to show off the intricacy of her dress.
- Victoria was the first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace – and her husband Albert bought the Balmoral estate, which remains in the family to this day.
- She was also the first royal to be photographed, and to travel by train.
- When Albert died, Victoria donned black and remained in a state of mourning for the rest of her life.
- Victoria had a gift for drawing and painting and was a dedicated diarist, journaling about her life whenever possible.
For all things English, including the monarchy, subscribe to This England. They even have a feature on Queen Victoria in one of their upcoming issues – so don’t miss it!