Parents: Edward, duke of Kent, and Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Date of Birth: 24 May 1819
Royal House: Este-Welf
Spouse: Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Reign: 1837 – 1901
Predecessor: William IV
Summary: Victoria was a rather last minute monarch. Her uncles George IV and William IV attempted long and hard to have their own children but both failed to produce a surviving one. Victoria's father, Edward, was the third son of George III and produced a daughter only a year before his death. Victoria's younger uncle, Ernest, was next in line to the throne until she was born, and he never forgave his niece for displacing him. Ernest inherited the Kingdom of Hanover after William IV's death, but the United Kingdom was the prize. Meanwhile, William IV feared a regency led by Victoria's mother and proclaimed publicly that he would live to see Victoria's eighteenth birthday. Victoria was 18 and a month at the time of her accession to the throne.
For the first four years of her reign, Victoria held a modicum of power. She forced the Prime Minister, Robert Peel, to resign in favor of her favorite, William Lamb, Lord Melbourne. After this, the government pressed through legislation that in effect removed all royal authority from government. The monarchy of 1841 remains the monarchy of Britain today. Still, Victoria remained a figurehead of the government and had four assassination attempts during the first fifteen years of her reign. Victoria spent much of her reign in diplomacy. She married Albert, a prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and relative of Leopold of Belgium. She visited France, the first English monarch to do so since 1520. She did so again in 1855. Her marriage to Albert produced nine children, all of whom lived to adulthood and married into the many royal families of Europe. Albert died in 1861 and Victoria largely removed herself from politics, though not entirely. Indeed, between 1877 and 1878, Victoria threatened abdication five times to force the prime minister to declare war against Russia, but he did not. Victoria had regained her popularity lost over the previous two decades, but she had little voice anymore. When she became Empress of India in 1876, it was nothing but a recognition that Britain now ruled India and not the Mughal Empire which had ruled it for the past three centuries. In 1896, Victoria became the longest-ruling monarch in British (English and Scottish) history, and she lived another five years beyond that.
Date of Death: 22 January 1901
Successor: Edward VIII
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