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MONARCHS OF BRITAIN Queen Victoria
The aim of my work is to know more about the history of The United Kingdom. We study English, that’s why we must know a great deal of facts about the countries, its traditions, outstanding people, history in particular. We are sure it will be useful, it will widen our knowledge and help us to understand our own history, our own country. In my opinion, Queen Victoria played a great role in the life of the country. She influenced greatly its development, culture and so on. Introduction
Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. 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.
Birth and family Victoria's father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III and her mother was The Duchess of Kent, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a German princess. They married the Duchess in 1818, and their only child Victoria was born at 4.15 am on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. The Duchess of Kent with her daughter, the future Queen Victoria The Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
Heiress to the throne Victoria later described her childhood as "rather melancholy". Mother protected her extremely, and Victoria was raised largely isolated from other children. In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way. Princess Victoria, aged four. Painting by Stephen Poyntz Denning, 1823
By 1836, the Duchess's brother, Leopold, who had been King of the Belgians since 1831, hoped to marry his niece to his nephew, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Leopold, Victoria's mother, and Albert's father (Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) were siblings. Leopold arranged for Victoria's mother to invite her Coburg relatives to visit her in May 1836, with the purpose of introducing Victoria to Albert. According to her diary, she enjoyed Albert's company from the beginning. However at 17, Victoria, though interested in Albert, was not yet ready to marry. Princess Victoria aged 15 with her spaniel Dash Painting by George Hayter Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Victoria turned 18 on 24 May 1837, and a regency was avoided. On 20 June 1837, William IV died at the age of 71, and Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom am Queen. Coronation Portrait of Queen Victoria by George Hayter Victoria receives the news of her accession from Lord Conyngham (left) and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Early reign
Her coronation took place on 28 June 1838, and she became the first sovereign to take up residence at Buckingham Palace. At the start of her reign Victoria was popular, but her reputation suffered in an 1839 court intrigue when one of her mother's ladies-in-waiting, Lady Flora Hastings, developed an abdominal growth that was widely rumoured to be an out-of-wedlock pregnancy by Sir John Conroy. Victoria believed the rumours. Lady Flora Hastings
Marriage Victoria continued to praise Albert following his second visit in October 1839. They were married on 10 February 1840, in the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace, London. Albert became an important political adviser as well as the Queen's companion, replacing Lord Melbourne as the dominant, influential figure in the first half of her life.
Marriage of Victoria and Albert Painting by George Hayter
Attempts on Victoria's life During Victoria's first pregnancy in 1840, in the first few months of the marriage, 18-year-old Edward Oxford attempted to assassinate her while she was riding in a carriage with Prince Albert on her way to visit her mother. Oxford fired twice, but both bullets missed On 29 May 1842, Victoria was riding in a carriage along The Mall, London, when John Francis aimed a pistol at her but did not fire. On 3 July, two days after Francis's death sentence was commuted to transportation for life, John William Bean also fired a pistol at the Queen, but it was loaded only with paper and tobacco.
In a similar attack in 1849, unemployed Irishman William Hamilton fired a powder-filled pistol at Victoria's carriage as it passed along Constitution Hill, London. In 1850, the Queen did sustain injury when she was assaulted by a possibly insane ex-army officer, Robert Pate. As Victoria was riding in a carriage, Pate struck her with his cane, crushing her bonnet and bruising her face. Both Hamilton and Pate were sentenced to seven years' transportation. On 2 March 1882, Roderick Maclean, a disgruntled poet apparently offended by Victoria's refusal to accept one of his poems, shot at the Queen as her carriage left Windsor railway station. Contemporary lithograph of Edward Oxford attempting to assassinate Victoria, 1840
Widowhood In March 1861, Victoria's mother died, with Victoria at her side. Through reading her mother's papers, Victoria discovered that her mother had loved her deeply; she was heart-broken. To relieve his wife during her intense and deep grief, Albert took on most of her duties, despite being ill himself with chronic stomach trouble. By the beginning of December, Albert was very unwell. He was diagnosed with typhoid fever by William Jenner, and died on 14 December 1861. Victoria was devastated. She entered a state of mourning and wore black for the remainder of her life. She avoided public appearances, and rarely set foot in London in the following years. Her seclusion earned her the name "widow of Windsor". Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1854 Albert in 1860
Victoria's self-imposed isolation from the public diminished the popularity of the monarchy, and encouraged the growth of the republican movement. She did undertake her official government duties, yet chose to remain secluded in her royal residences. In March 1864, a protester stuck a notice on the railings of Buckingham Palace that announced "these commanding premises to be let or sold in consequence of the late occupant's declining business". Her uncle Leopold wrote to her advising her to appear in public. She agreed to visit the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society at Kensington and take a drive through London in an open carriage. Leopold as a Russian general Victoria and Brown at Balmoral, 1863 Photograph by G. W. Wilson
Empress of India After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British East India Company, which had ruled much of India, was dissolved, and Britain's possessions and protectorates on the Indian subcontinent were formally incorporated into the British Empire. Queen Victoria took the title “Empress of India” "New crowns for old ones!" An 1876 Punch cartoon of Disraeli, depicted as Abanazer from the pantomime version of Aladdin, offering Victoria the Crown of India in return for the Royal one
Later years. Golden Jubilee On 17 March 1883, she fell down some stairs at Windsor, which left her lame until July; she never fully recovered and was plagued with rheumatism thereafter. In 1887, the British Empire celebrated Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Victoria marked the fiftieth anniversary of her accession on 20 June with a banquet to which 50 kings and princes were invited. Victorian farthing, 1885 Queen Victoria and the Munshi, Abdul Karim
Diamond Jubilee On 23 September 1896, Victoria surpassed George III as the longest-reigning monarch in English, Scottish, and British history. The Queen requested that any special celebrations be delayed until 1897, to coincide with her Diamond Jubilee, which was made a festival of the British Empire at the suggestion of Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain. Queen Victoria in her Diamond Jubilee photograph (London, 1897)
Death and succession Following a custom she maintained throughout her widowhood, Victoria spent the Christmas of 1900 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Rheumatism in her legs had rendered her lame, and her eyesight was clouded by cataracts. Through early January, she felt "weak and unwell", and by mid-January she was "drowsy ... dazed, [and] confused". She died on Tuesday 22 January 1901 at half past six in the evening, at the age of 81. Her son, the future King Edward VII, and her eldest grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, were at her deathbed. Edward VII Wilhelm II
In 1897, Victoria had written instructions for her funeral, which was to be military as befitting a soldier's daughter and the head of the army, and white instead of black. On 25 January, Edward VII, the Kaiser and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, helped lift her into the coffin. Her funeral was held on Saturday 2 February in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park. As she was laid to rest at the mausoleum, it began to snow.
Queen Victoria & Prince Albert's Mausoleum and the Royal Burial Ground (front)
Legacy Victoria was physically unprepossessing—she was stout, dowdy and no more than five feet tall—but she succeeded in projecting a grand image. She experienced unpopularity during the first years of her widowhood, but was well liked during the 1880s and 1890s, when she embodied the empire as a benevolent matriarchal figure. Victoria's links with Europe's royal families earned her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". Victoria and Albert had 42 grandchildren, of whom 34 survived to adulthood. Elizabeth II
One of Victoria's children, her youngest son, Leopold, was affected by the blood-clotting disease haemophilia B and two of her five daughters, Alice and Beatrice, were carriers. Royal haemophiliacs descended from Victoria included her great-grandsons, Tsarevich Alexei of Russia, Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, and Infante Gonzalo of Spain. Tsarevich Alexei of Russia Alfonso, Prince of Asturias
Around the world, places and memorials are dedicated to her, especially in the Commonwealth nations. Places named after her, include the capital of the Seychelles, Africa's largest lake, Victoria Falls, the capitals of British Columbia (Victoria) and Saskatchewan (Regina), and two Australian states (Victoria and Queensland). The Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace was erected as part of the remodelling of the façade of the Palace a decade after her death.
The long history of The UK is not a set of books on our bookshelf or a string of half-remembered events of the past. The history of Britain is the monarchs of this country and what these persons did for country too. Queen Victoria is not an exception. Her era was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence. The British and the inhabitants of other countries of the Commonwealth of nations would never forget her. And we must know about this great ruler much, because if you study foreign language without knowledge of this language’s country, you can’t know language. Conclusion
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