At Coronation

Victoria was the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20th June 1837 until her death in 1901. In 1876, the Parliament had approved an additional title, ‘Empress of India’.Until surpassed by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015, she was the longest-serving queen in British Royal history. She was the last monarch of the House of Hanover. It is interesting to note that Queen Victoria Survived Attempted Assassinations on 8 occasions. Queen Victoria’s 63-year reign on the British throne would have been considerably shorter had any one of eight assassination attempts succeeded. She was the only daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Stratham, and the 4th son of King George III.

Prince Edward and another older brother died while his father King George III was still at the throne. George III was succeeded by two of his other sons, George IV and William IV, who both died without surviving legitimate children, leaving the throne to the only legitimate child of the Duke of Kent, Victoria. Victoria’s father died in January 1820, when Victoria was less than a year old victoria had a habit of keeping a diary and that is still popular as many readers.

Victoria turned 18 on 24 May 1837. Less than a month later, on 20 June 1837, William IV died at the age of 71, and Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom. In her diary, she wrote, “I was awoken at 6 o’clock by Mamma, who told me the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here and wished to see me. I got out of bed and went into my sitting-room (only in my dressing gown) and alone, and saw them. Lord Conyngham then informed me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning, and consequently that I am Queen.”Her coronation took place on 28 June 1838 at Westminster Abbey, and she was still unmarried.

Over 400,000 visitors came to London for the celebrations. She became the first sovereign to take up residence at Buckingham Palace. Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert, on 10 February 1840, in London. Victoria was love-struck. She spent the evening after their wedding lying down with a headache, but wrote ecstatically in her diary:I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!!

MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!

Their children married into royal and noble families across the continent, earning Victoria the nickname “the grandmother of Europe”.Her husband Albert died on 14 December 1861. Victoria was devastated. She entered a state of mourning and wore black for the remainder of her life. She avoided public appearances and rarely set foot in London in the following years. Her seclusion earned her the nickname “widow of Windsor”. Her weight increased through comfort eating, which further reinforced her aversion to public appearances. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British East India Company, which had ruled much of India, was dissolved, and Britain’s possessions and protectorates on the Indian subcontinent were formally incorporated into the British Empire.Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli also pushed the Royal Titles Act 1876 through Parliament, so that Victoria took the title “Empress of India” from 1 May 1876. The new title was proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1 January 1877.

Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration. She engaged two Indian Muslims as waiters, one of whom was Abdul Karim. He was soon promoted to “Munshi”: teaching her Urdu (known as Hindustani) and acting as a clerk.

The Royal circle did not like this but queen Victoria dismissed their complaints as racial prejudice. Abdul Karim remained in her service until he returned to India with a pension, on her death. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee procession on 22 June 1897 followed a route six miles long through London and included troops from all over the empire. The procession paused for an open-air service of thanksgiving held outside St Paul’s Cathedral. The celebration was marked by vast crowds of spectators and great outpourings of affection for the 78-year-old Queen. In July 1900, Victoria’s second son Alfred (“Affie”) died. “Oh, God! My poor darling Affie gone too”, she wrote in her journal. “It is a horrible year, nothing but sadness & horrors of one kind & another.”By early January 1901, she felt “weak and unwell”, and by mid-January, she was “drowsy … dazed, and confused”. She died on Tuesday 22 January 1901, at half-past six in the evening, at the age of 81. She was succeeded by her son Edward VII. Victoria wrote an average of 2,500 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. Around the world, places and memorials are dedicated to her, especially in the Commonwealth nations. Places named after her include Africa’s largest lake, Victoria Falls, the capitals of British Columbia (Victoria) and Saskatchewan (Regina), two Australian states (Victoria and Queensland), and the capital of the island nation of Seychelles.

The Victoria Cross was introduced in 1856 to reward acts of valor during the Crimean War, and it remains the highest British, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand award for bravery. Victoria Day is a Canadian statutory holiday and a local public holiday in parts of Scotland celebrated on the last Monday before or on 24 May (Queen Victoria’s birthday). Queen Victoria reigned the largest (British) Empire that the world has ever seen that had at least 400 million people as her subjects.