Queen Victoria was queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1901—the second longest reign of any other British monarch in history.
She became England’s longest reigning monarch, her offspring governed Europe, she gave her name to an era, but she was only a teenager when she ascended the throne of the world’s mightiest empire.
Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, London, on 24 May 1819. She was the only daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III.
Her father died shortly after her birth and she became heir to the throne because the three uncles who were ahead of her in the succession – George IV, Frederick Duke of York, and William IV – had no legitimate children who survived.
She was Warmhearted and lively, and had a gift for drawing and painting; educated by a governess at home, she was a natural diarist and kept a regular journal throughout her life. On William IV’s death in 1837, she became Queen at the age of 18.
In the early part of her reign, she was influenced by two men: her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, and then her husband, Prince Albert, whom she married in 1840. Both men taught her much about how to be a ruler in a ‘constitutional monarchy’, in which the monarch had very few powers but could use much influence.
Her marriage to Prince Albert produced nine children between 1840 and 1857. Most of her children married into other Royal families of Europe. Victoria was deeply attached to her husband and she sank into depression after he died, aged 42, in 1861.
She had lost a devoted husband and her principal trusted adviser in affairs of state.
For the rest of her reign she wore black.