Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and the King died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18 after her father's three elder brothers died without surviving legitimate issue. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the Sovereign held relatively few direct political powers. Privately, she attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon, and was identified with strict standards of personal morality.
She married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their 9 children and 26 of their 34 grandchildren who survived childhood married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.
Her reign of 63 years and 7 months, which is longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history, is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover; her son and successor King Edward VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
|Victoria wearing her small diamond crown|
Photograph by Alexander Bassano, 1882
|Reign||20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901|
|Coronation||28 June 1838|
|Prime Ministers||See list|
|Reign||1 May 1876 – 22 January 1901|
|Imperial Durbar||1 January 1877|
|Consort||Albert, Prince Consort|
|House||House of Hanover|
|Father||Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn|
|Mother||Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld|
|Born||24 May 1819(1819-05-24)|
Kensington Palace, London
|Died||22 January 1901(1901-01-22) (aged 81)|
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
|Burial||4 February 1901|