Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.
I’ve been working on a new project, and part of it involved some research on Queen Victoria. I ended up writing a little blurb about her from some of my research.
In the spirit of steampunk and all things Victorian Era, I thought I’d share it with everyone. After all, she is the namesake of the Victorian Era, isn’t she? Enjoy!
May 24, 1819 – January 22, 1901
Christened as Alexandrina Victoria, she was raised by her protective mother, the German-born Duchess of Kent. They lived in dilapidated Kensington Palace with other impoverished nobles after the sudden death of her father Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, from pneumonia on January 23, 1820. She was fifth in line for the British throne, but declared the heiress presumptive as the others in the line of succession were aged and did not expect to outlive her.
Victoria’s childhood was isolated from other children and from her father’s family, largely due to her mother’s insistence on propriety at all times. She had private tutors, and her lessons included French, German, Italian, and Latin. What little free time she enjoyed was spent playing with dolls and her King Charles spaniel, Dash. Beginning in 1832 and lasting until her death, Victoria kept a detailed journal, averaging 2500 words per day.
She became Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on June 20, 1837 at the age of 18 after the death of King William IV and moved into Buckingham Palace.
She married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her first cousin through her mother, in 1840. They had nine children during the next 21 years. After Albert’s death in 1861 from typhoid fever, Victoria went into deep mourning, avoided public appearances, and wore black for the remainder of her life. She was nicknamed “the Widow of Windsor” and rarely visited London in her later years, preferring to stay in her royal residences, Windsor Castle, Osborne House, and Balmoral Castle.
Several assassination attempts were made on Victoria’s life. In one instance on May 29, 1842, when riding in a carriage in London, John Francis aimed a pistol at the queen, but the gun did not fire. He escaped, and plans were made to draw him out. The following day, Victoria and a large escort rode the same route. They hoped to give Francis an opportunity to take aim and apprehend him. Francis took the shot, but did not escape a second time. He was apprehended by plain-clothed policemen and convicted of high treason for attempted regicide.
Despite having limited political power, Victoria became a national icon, and she is associated with high standards of personal morality and family values. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were occasions for national celebration. She was also nicknamed “the Grandmother of Europe” due to the widespread influence of her nine children and surviving 34 grandchildren when they married into royal and noble houses throughout Europe.
During her reign of 63 years, the longest of any female monarch in history, Victoria oversaw a time of peace and prosperity as well as significant expansion of the British Empire. It was also a time of great technological, cultural, and scientific change, which often clashed with the widespread cultivation of dignity and restraint that Victoria embodied.
Sources: primarily from Wikipedia