Biography of Famous Rulers Queen Victoria of England Part 2

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


Famous and Infamous Rulers in History


In 1830 William IV ascended the throne on the death of his brother. Although William was immensely fond of his young niece, he despised her domineering mother. In 1836 the German princes Albert and Ernest of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha visited England. Victoria's mother hoped to marry her to one of the boys, but the king thought one of the princes of Orange would be far more suitable. He discouraged the stay of Albert and Ernest, but the duchess won out and engineered a three-week visit for the German princes. Victoria's heart did the choosing. While she found the princes of Orange "plain ... dull ... and not at all preposessing," both Albert and Ernest struck her as "extremely merry" and "extremely sensible." Moreover, Albert was also "extremely goodlooking." She soon fell madly in love with her "angel" Albert and proposed to him a year after ascending the throne. Their was a happy marriage, although Victoria detested being pregnant and later confided to her eldest daughter, "I positively think that those ladies who are always enceinte are quite disgusting; it is more like a rabbit or a guinea pig than anything else and really it is not very nice."

Albert had a difficult position as a German prince in Britain. He was a very intelligent and conscientious man, however, and Victoria came to rely more and more on his advice. A philanthropist and good businessman, he was also the architect of Osborne House and planned the enormously successful Great Exhibition of 1851. Albert was raised to the dignity of Prince Consort in 1857, but he remained essentially a reserved and melancholy man who undermined his health through overwork and worry. He was particularly concerned about the morals of Crown Prince Albert, and when he learned of Bertie's affair with an actress he was deeply distressed. His depression was increased by the illness of his son Leopold and the death of his young cousin Pedro V of Portugal. In his despondency he confided to Victoria, "I am sure, if I had a severe illness, I should give up at once." He died of typhoid fever at Windsor Castle on Dec. 14, 1861. He was only 42.

Victoria was shattered. She dressed primarily in black for the rest of her life and always kept a picture of Albert above her pillow. She also maintained his rooms in Windsor Castle as if in anticipation of his return. Each morning she had his clothes laid out for him, and every evening fresh water was placed in his washbasin. Avoiding London, she spent much of her time either at Osborne House or at Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands with her devoted servant and companion, John Brown. Their affection for each other led to a flurry of rumors and accusations. Dr. Michael MacDonald, a Scottish museum curator, contends that they became lovers after Albert's death. He even claims that they were secretly married and that Victoria bore Brown a son, who died a recluse in Paris in the 1950s at the age of 90. Although the story hardly seems likely, it is true that after Victoria's death her papers were stripped of all references to Brown, and that upon ascending the throne Edward VII ordered the destruction of all Brown memorabilia.

The last years of Victoria's reign were bittersweet. Most of her friends, including John Brown, had already died; she had also witnessed the deaths of two of her children, and it looked as if her eldest daughter would reach the grave before her. Still, she gained immense satisfaction as matriarch of her vast brood. At the time of her death, she had 37 great-grandchildren.

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