Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Victoria R. I --- Namesake of a City

Queen Victoria ruled from 1837 to 1901, the longest reigning monarch in British history. Victoria was the daughter of Edward the duke of Kent and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg. She was born in Kensington Palace in London on 24-May-1819.

In 1837 Queen Victoria took the throne after the death of her uncle William IV. Due to her secluded childhood, she displayed a personality marked by strong prejudices and a willful stubbornness.

On 10-Feb-1840, only three years after taking the throne, Victoria took her first vow and married her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Their relationship was one of great love and admiration. Together they bore nine children - four sons and five daughters: Victoria, Bertie, Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold, and Beatrice.

Albert assisted in her royal duties. He introduced a strict decorum in court and made a point of straitlaced behavior. Albert also gave a more conservative tinge to Victoria’s politics. If Victoria was to insistently interject her opinions and make her views felt in the cabinet, it was only because of Albert’s teachings of hard work.

Reflecting back into her childhood, Victoria was always prone to self pity. On 14-Dec-1861 Albert died from typhoid fever at Windsor Castle. Victoria remained in self-imposed seclusion for ten years. This genuine, but obsessive mourning kept her occupied for the rest of her life and played an important role in the evolution of what would become the Victorian mentality.

After Albert’s death, Queen Victoria’s popularity declined as a result of her mourning and few public appearances. Her popularity was at its lowest by 1870, but it steadily increased thereafter until her death. In 1876 she was crowned empress of India by Disraeli. In 1887 Victoria’s golden jubilee was a grand national celebration. In the month of June, Victoria’s sixtieth year on the throne had come. Her diamond jubilee in 1897 was as extravagant as her golden jubilee in 1887.

Queen Victoria died on 22-Jan-1901. She died after a brief illness and a rather long failure of her powers. Her eldest son
Edward VII became king. The majority of her subjects had not known a time when Queen Victoria had not been reigning over them. The idea of losing her became a scarcely possible thought.

Queen Victoria, Widow of Windsor, mother of the Empire, reigned for sixty-four years.

Written by Grade 10 students: A+

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