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Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Season 2 of Victoria is already airing on PBS. I was obsessed with Season 1!

It's amazing to watch her story unfold as we learn what it took to be a ruler of a country as well as a woman in 1857. 

Even Victoria as Queen of England kept having to prove that she could do the job just as well as a man.....or better.

Victoria had THE longest reign as well as redefining the Monarch to what it is today.

Season 2 as well as a long obsession with the Royal Family has made me want to learn more.

Here are some facts about Queen Victoria you may not have known.

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She Was Headstrong

Queen Victoria restored the reputation of a monarchy tarnished by the extravagance of her royal uncles. She also shaped a new role for the Royal Family, reconnecting it with the public through civic duties.

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Was Not First In Line For The Throne

Alexandrina Victoria was born to the Duchess of Kent. Her father was the fourth son of George III and she was fifth in line to the throne.

However, she had three elderly uncles ahead of her in the succession. So when her father died when she was eight months her prospects of becoming queen were good.

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She Had An Unhappy Childhood

The princess spent most of her young life at Kensington Palace. Her father died of pneumonia when she was just 8 months old, and she was raised by her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duchess of Kent. Her widowed mother was lonely and depended utterly on John Conroy – a servant of her former husband who was bent on power.

The pair imposed what became known as the "Kensington System" on Victoria, which prevented her from spending time with other children or even her father's family. She was constantly being watched by adults. In addition Victoria was not permitted any time alone, had to share a room with her mother, and wasn't allowed to walk down the stairs without someone holding her hand. The system was designed by John Conroy, who hoped to manipulate her to gain further power and influence.

The princess found it exhausting and became increasingly stubborn. She started writing a diary.

"The men, women, children, country and houses are all black... I just now see an extraordinary building flaming with fire."
Victoria's first journal entry, a train near Birmingham, 2 August 1832
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Queen At 18

Victoria succeeded her uncle William IV, just weeks after her 18th birthday. Her first request was an hour alone, something denied to her until then.

At the time, the British Empire included Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and India, as well as islands such as Jamaica and Barbados.

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Coronation Chaos

A crowd of 400,000 gathered on the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the Queen on her Coronation Day. She was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

She wore robes of white satin and red velvet. The five-hour ceremony did not run smoothly as the Dean of Westminster, who had presided over previous coronations, was ill. Victoria was handed the orb at the wrong moment and the Archbishop of Canterbury forced a ring on the wrong finger, which took her an hour to remove.

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A White Wedding

Victoria fell in love with her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha when he visited Britain in 1839. As head of state she had to propose to him.

Victoria wore a large white wedding dress and had a tiered wedding cake.

At the time of her wedding, wedding dresses were generally colored, but Queen Victoria decided on white satin in order to best show off the lace that she had chosen (the move was designed to give the lace industry a well-needed boost). Orange flower blossoms (a symbol of fertility) were embroidered on her dress, and her train was 18 feet long.

The young queen also decided that her guests wouldn't be allowed to wear white, and she had the pattern for her dress destroyed so that no one would be able to copy it.

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There Were Several Attempts On Her Life

At least six serious murder attempts were made during her reign (five of them while she was in a carriage). The first one happened in 1840. Queen Victoria was pregnant with her first child, and as she was enjoying a carriage ride in London, 18-year-old Edward Oxford fired two shots — he was accused of high treason but found not guilty by reason of insanity.

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She Had Nine Children

Victoria became pregnant soon after her wedding and gave birth to her daughter Victoria nine months later.

The Queen hated childbirth and suffered postnatal depression. Despite this she had nine children with Albert over 16 years. An astute diplomat, she helped them marry into the royal families of Europe. Victoria carried the haemophilia gene, which affected 10 of her male descendants including the son and heir of Russian Tsar Nicholas II.

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Began The Royals Love Affair With Scotland

Victoria and Albert visited Scotland for the first time. They thought it romantic and wild. The Highlands reminded Albert of his home in Germany.

The couple bought Balmoral in Scotland and Albert supervised the building of a new neo-Gothic castle for the family. It remains a private residence for the Royal Family today. Victoria promoted the monarchy in Scotland through frequent visits. She attended several Highland Games and wrote a bestselling book, Highland Leaves, about her experiences, which boosted tourism to the country.

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Started A New Parliamentary Tradition

The Queen began new royal traditions when she attended the first State Opening of Parliament in the new Palace of Westminster.

The original building had been demolished by fire in 1834. The Queen arrived in the Irish State Coach, which had been built the year before and processed through Parliament before making her speech. The protocols and traditions established then have been followed by every British monarch since.

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Redefined What It Means To Be Queen

Victoria, with the assistance of Albert, created a newly visible constitutional monarchy to stem a growing republican movement in Britain.

Victoria became patron of 150 institutions, including dozens of charities, while Albert supported the development of educational museums. The couple went on civic visits to industrial towns such as Leeds, and attended military reviews to support the armed forces. Together they helped stem criticism that the Royal Family didn't earn its keep.

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Lost The Love Of Her Life

Prince Albert died at the age of 42. The Queen was inconsolable with grief and wore mourning for the rest of her life.

Victoria withdrew from public life after Albert's death, but kept up with her correspondence and continued to give audiences to ministers and official visitors.

She continued to wear black for the rest of her life, slept beside an image of Albert every night, and even had a set of clothes laid out for him each morning until her own death, 40 years later.

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Knew The Importance Of Modernization

During her reign, Queen Victoria saw the world's first steam railway — and was the first monarch to ride a train! It was also during that time that people had their photos taken for the first time, that electricity started to become more common in houses, that the first phone call was made, and that people went for their first car rides.

Victoria knew the importance of progress and authorized railways to be built to boost industry.

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The Longest-Running Monarch

Up until 2015 when Queen Elizabeth broke the record, Queen Victoria had been the longest-reigning British monarch in history, having kept the throne for 63 years and seven months. She died still wearing the crown, age 81.

QUITE IMPRESSIVE!

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