– Queen Victoria was born in 1819, and her father died before she turned one. As a result, she was raised by her mother and her mother’s close advisor, John Conroy. She was diminutive, but quite a handful — and she was considered by those close to her as more of a “Pocket Hercules than a Pocket Venus.”
– In 1835, when Victoria took ill, her mother and Conroy used her illness to try to pressure Victoria into signing papers that would have given Conroy power over Victoria’s affairs. Though she nearly died, she refused to sign the papers. (It is not surprising that Victoria came to despise Conroy, even though some would say that he was her actual father.)
– Due to the deaths of 3 uncles and 5 cousins, she rose to the throne, when she was only 18 years old — in 1837.
– Victoria was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Indeed, she spoke only German until age three. (However, she subsequently studied English, French, Italian, and Latin. And, around the age of 68, she began learning Urdu because she felt a duty to know the language of her subjects in India.)
– She proposed marriage to her first cousin, Prince Albert of Belgium, and they were wed in 1840. Unfortunately, their blissful marriage was cut short in 1861, when Albert died of Typhoid Fever. His untimely death made it easy to shop for Victoria, because she only wore black for the remainder of her 81 years.
-She was the subject of numerous assassination attempts. She reigned during a vast expansion of the British empire, when it became the largest empire in all history. Indeed, during the time of Queen Victoria, the “Sun never set on the British Empire.”
– She has been called the “Grandmother of Europe,” for Victoria and Albert had 9 children and 42 grandchildren, who were to become members of the royal families in Britain, Russia, Norway, Spain, Greece, Germany, and Sweden.
– The “Resolute Desk,” in the oval office, was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford Hayes in 1880.
– Queen Victoria died on 22 Jan 1901, with her beloved white pomeranian, Turi, by her side.
“[She] is one whose extreme obstinacy is constantly at war with her good nature.”
“If my grandmother had been alive, she would never have allowed it.”
—Kaiser Wilhelm II, speaking about WWI