Queen Victoria – Household Tree, Kids & Sister

Who Was Queen Victoria?

Queen Victoria was monarch of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1901. She became Empress of India in 1877. After Queen Elizabeth II, Victoria is the second longest-serving British monarch.

Victoria’s reign saw great cultural expansion; Advances in industry, science and communication; and the construction of railways and the London Underground.

Early life

Born Alexandrina Victoria on May 24, 1819, Queen Victoria’s father died when she was 8 months old. Her mother became a dominant influence in her life. As a child, she was considered warm and lively.

Raised by a governess in the royal palace, she had a gift for drawing and painting and developed a passion for writing diaries.

Despite her spirited temperament, Victoria was known to be tiny, measuring only 4 feet 11 inches tall. Later in life, her weight increased, with her waist reportedly measuring 50 inches.

Parents and half-sister

Queen Victoria was the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George III. Her mother was Victoria Sachsen-Saalfield-Coburg, sister of Leopold, King of the Belgians.

Queen Victoria also had a half-sister, Princess Feodora, 12 years her senior, from her mother’s first marriage to Emich Carl, Prince of Leiningen. When Princess Feodora was 6 years old, her father died. Her mother married Queen Victoria’s father, the Duke of Kent, and immediately moved from Germany to England for the future Queen’s birth.

Ascent to the throne

At birth, Victoria was fifth in line to the throne. However, following her father’s death in 1820, Victoria became the apparent heir, as her three surviving uncles – who preceded her one after another – did not have legitimate heirs to survive childhood. When King William IV died in June 1837, Victoria became queen at the age of 18.

Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s First Prime Minister

Lord Melbourne was Victoria’s first Prime Minister, serving in 1834 and again from 1835 to 1841. When she first assumed the crown in 1837 at the age of 18, Melbourne helped teach Victoria the intricacies of a constitutional monarch. During the first years of her reign he acted as the queen’s political advisor and confidante.

In 1840, when Britain was waging wars with Afghanistan and China and facing a labor movement, Melbourne helped the Queen work with an uncooperative Conservative government and proposed that her husband Albert should be put in charge of government.


Victoria ascended the throne on June 20, 1837 at the age of 18 and served until her death at the age of 81 on January 22, 1901. Under Victoria’s reign, Britain saw an unprecedented expansion of industry, construction of railways, bridges and underground sewers and electricity distribution networks in much of the empire. Seven assassinations were carried out on Victoria’s life between 1840 and 1882.

There have been advances in science (Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution) and technology (the Telegraph and the popular press) with a great number of inventions; enormous wealth and poverty; Growth of big cities like Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham; increased literacy; and great civic works, often funded by industrial philanthropists.

During the reign of Victoria, Britain expanded and doubled its imperial reach to include Canada, Australia, India and various possessions in Africa and the South Pacific. The Queen was emblematic of that time: an enthusiastic supporter of the British Empire, which stretched across the globe and earned the saying: “The sun never sets on the British Empire”.

At various points in her reign, Victoria exerted some influence on foreign policy, expressing her preference but not pushing beyond the limits of constitutional adequacy. During this time, the British Empire saw few small wars and exercised its authority over foreign possessions.

One of the most important factors that helped Britain avoid European entanglements was the marriage of Victoria’s children: either directly or by marriage, she was related to the royal houses of almost every major European power. Although the English constitution denied her foreign policy powers, she ruled her family with an iron hand that helped keep Britain out of the intrigues of European politics.

The political climate in the British Parliament went through a major change during the reign of Victoria. The Tory Party split, forming the Liberal and Conservative parties, and forming a series of opposing governments. Victoria played a vital role as a mediator between incoming and outgoing prime ministers.

Though she loathed Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone, she found ways to work with him, even during her mourning. She particularly liked Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who linked the monarchy with the expansion of the empire, which helped restore public opinion after Victoria’s long seclusion following the death of her beloved husband Albert.

Victoria continued her duties until her death. Traditionally, she spent Christmas 1900 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, where her health deteriorated so quickly that she could not return to London.

Queen Victoria in February 1892

The Victorian Era

Life in 19th century Britain was known as Victorian England because of Victoria’s long reign and the indelible stamp it and her personality gave the country. Her strict ethics and personality have become synonymous with the era.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

In 1840 Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the son of her mother’s brother. The couple met when Victoria was only 16 years old; her uncle Leopold suggested they marry.

Since Victoria was Queen, Albert could not propose to her. So she proposed to him on October 15, 1839.

The British public did not warm to the German prince at first and he was excluded from any official political position. Their marriage was stormy at times, a conflict of will between two extremely strong personalities.

However, the couple were very fond of each other. Prince Albert became Victoria’s strongest ally, helping her navigate difficult political waters.

After several years of stomach problems, Victoria’s beloved Albert died of typhoid in 1861 at the age of 42. Devastated, Victoria slept with a plaster cast of his hand by her side, and went into 25 years of seclusion. She wore black for the rest of her reign.


Queen Victoria fact card

Queen Victoria’s children

Victoria and Albert had nine children together:

  • Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise (1840-1901) who married the future German Emperor Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia in 1858. When he died three months after acceding to the throne, her eldest son became Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
  • Prince Albert Edward Wettin (1841-1910), who was named King Edward VII to his mother in 1901.
  • Princess Alice Maude Mary (1843-1878), whose daughter Alix married Nicholas II, the last Russian tsar.
  • Prince Alfred Ernest Albert (1844-1900), who married the daughter of the Russian Tsar Alexander II. His eldest daughter Marie married the Crown Prince of Romania.
  • Princess Helena Augusta Victoria (1846-1923)
  • Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939) caused quite a scandal when she married a commoner, John Douglas Sutherland Campbell (later Duke of Argyll).
  • Prince Arthur William Patrick (1850-1942) who married Princess Louise Margarete of Prussia.
  • Prince Leopold George Duncan (1853-1884)
  • Princess Beatrice Mary Victoria (1857-1944)

Relationship with John Brown

John Brown was Victoria’s Scottish servant and one of her closest friends, with some suggestions that the two may have been lovers. Seven years younger than her and many ranks below her, the Queen said Brown was her best friend – an unthinkable relationship at the time. He became known in the royal household as “the Queen’s stallion” and swore his lifelong loyalty to her.

There were rumors that Brown and Victoria were lovers, especially after Albert passed away. Historians have since searched their diaries – edited by their daughter Beatrice – and never found evidence of an affair. But one thing is clear: she loved him. When Brown died suddenly in March 1883, Victoria told his sister-in-law that he was “the best, the truest heart that has ever beat”.

Relationship with Abdul Karim

After Brown’s death in 1883, Victoria’s servant Abdul Karim rose to the Queen’s inner circle and became her closest confidante. Karim was the son of a hospital assistant in northern India and was brought to England in 1887 to serve on the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. He quickly impressed the queen with his cuisine and she asked him to teach her Urdu. Victoria showered Karim with gifts, including a private carriage, titles, and honors. She also commissioned several portraits.

In letters to Karim, the queen described herself as “your loving mother” and “your closest friend”. However, historians don’t believe the two had a physical relationship.

Abdul’s great-grandson Javed Mahmood told The Telegraph in 2010 that they “shared a mother-son relationship. She became indophile in part because of her affection for him. But her family’s prejudices leaked onto Victoria’s employees. “

The close relationship between Victoria and Karim was a scandal for the royal family. After the Queen’s death in 1901, they burned all of the couple’s letters and Victoria’s daughter Beatrice removed all of Karim’s references from the Queen’s diaries. Although the family complied with the Queen’s request that Karim be part of a small group of mourners at her funeral, they later evicted Karim from the house Victoria had given him and sent him back to India.

Karim’s relationship with Victoria was revealed decades later by journalist Shrabani Basu, who visited the Queen’s summer home in 2003 and noticed several paintings and a bust of Karim. Basu researched their relationship and wrote a book, Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Most Confidante.

Death and successor

Victoria died after a long illness on January 22, 1901 at the age of 81. Her son, who later became King Edward VII, and her eldest grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, were both at her bedside.

Prince Albert Edward Wettin, Victoria’s eldest son, succeeded her to the British throne as King Edward VII in 1901.

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