Biography of Famous Rulers Queen Victoria of England Part 1

About the famous English Queen Victoria, biography and history of the ruler.

THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY

Famous and Infamous Rulers in History

QUEEN VICTORIA

Vital Statistics: Victoria's ascension to the British throne in 1837 marked the end of the 123-year Hanoverian (German)/British joint monarchy because of the House of Hanover's law against a woman becoming its ruler. Her sex, though, did not prevent her from becoming one of the most colorful and controversial monarchs of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Dominions beyond the seas.

Victoria was born in Kensington Palace in London on May 24, 1819, and began her reign in 1837, when she was just over 18 years of age. In 1840 she married her first cousin, Albert, and they had nine children. Albert died in 1861, and Victoria went into a period of seclusion that did not end fully until the 1880s. She died at her favorite home, Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, on Jan. 22, 1901. She was 81 years old and had been sovereign for nearly 64 years.

Victoria cannot be considered beautiful, but she was attractive in her own way. Called "the little queen," she stood about 5 ft. She had bright blue eyes and long brown hair. However, she had a large, puffy face and a mouth that was amiable only when she smiled. Her appeal lay in her immense intelligence and her iron will, plus her sophistication and wit.

Personal Life: Queen Victoria was a product of politics. In 1817 Princess Charlotte, granddaughter of George III, died while delivering a stillborn son. Charlotte was the only child of the prince regent, who was to become George IV. Pressure mounted on the remaining sons of George III to produce an heir, and in 1818 his fourth son, the 50-year-old Duke of Kent, reluctantly gave up his mistress of 27 years to marry Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widow 18 years his junior. When the duchess became pregnant, they returned to England from her home in Coburg, Germany, to ensure that the child would be born on British soil.

Victoria had an unhappy childhood. Her father died from pneumonia when she was eight months old, and her mother raised her in Kensington Palace with the help of a governess, Baroness Lehzen, who became Victoria's lifelong friend. However, the comptroller of the household was Sir John Conroy, an ambitious, arrogant Irishman determined to be the power behind the throne when Victoria became queen. Hoping to make the child a weak and dependent person, Conroy devised the "Kensington system." Following this program, Victoria slept in her mother's bedroom, had to have someone hold her hand whenever she descended the stairs, and never held a conversation with anyone unless a third person was present. Victoria also had to endure long journeys with her mother and Conroy, tours of the British Isles calculated to ensure her popularity. These trips tired the child immensely and often made her ill.

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