She gave her name to an era—a period of great change in Britain and the world. It is not uncommon for an era to be named after a monarch—but THIS monarch ruled longer than any other British king or queen, and longer than any queen in the world.
Born on this date in 1819, Queen Victoria ruled for more than 63 years!
And during her reign, the British Empire expanded greatly, so that Queen Victoria not only had the title of Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, but she was also Empress of India.
The empire spread all over the world, with dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories administered by the UK. During its heyday, it was often said that “the sun never sets on the British Empire.”
Victoria ruled so long, her empire celebrated her Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of her crowning...and ten years later, the empire celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, her 60th anniversary. This year, Elizabeth II is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee—the only other monarch of the United Kingdom to rule as long. As a matter of fact, Elizabeth II has a chance of passing Victoria as the longest-ruling monarch, if she lives another four years. (She's 86 right now. It definitely could happen!)
It's easy to imagine Queen Victoria as a woman very different than most other women, but she was probably quite an ordinary woman who just happened to be born to power. She ditched her first name, Alexandrina, at age 18 when she was crowned queen; she liked to read, dance, go to the opera and theater, and laugh; she leaned on advisors to help her rule, but she also gave her strong opinions; she fell in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and she eventually married him; she adored her nine children and her 34 grandchildren.
Explore some more...
“Wart Games” has gathered some links and online resources about Queen Victoria.
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