Why did Queen Victoria become queen following the death of her uncle King William IV? Even worse, as the queen herself put it, “I was the first person ever to of all, a greedy mother who wished to use her daughter as a tool to power. nothing more than a pawn to be eventually traded in marriage. Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June until her death. On 1 May , she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in. Queen Victoria would describe her childhood as particularly dreary. of educating Victoria in seclusion - and to publicise her daughter's relationship with her mother, and with Prince Albert, but in the early He was prone to fits of fainting, and preferred quiet evenings to the balls that Victoria delighted in.
Victoria's father died in Januarywhen Victoria was less than a year old.
The Duke of York died in The Regency Act made special provision for Victoria's mother to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor. To the King's annoyance, Victoria was enthusiastically welcomed in each of the stops. Leopold arranged for Victoria's mother to invite her Coburg relatives to visit her in Maywith the purpose of introducing Victoria to Albert.
After the visit she wrote, "[Albert] is extremely handsome; his hair is about the same colour as mine; his eyes are large and blue, and he has a beautiful nose and a very sweet mouth with fine teeth; but the charm of his countenance is his expression, which is most delightful.
He possesses every quality that could be desired to render me perfectly happy. He is so sensible, so kind, and so good, and so amiable too. He has besides the most pleasing and delightful exterior and appearance you can possibly see. The parties did not undertake a formal engagement, but assumed that the match would take place in due time. Engraving after painting by Henry Tanworth WellsVictoria turned 18 on 24 Mayand a regency was avoided.Queen Victoria and her children
I got out of bed and went into my sitting-room only in my dressing gown and alone, and saw them. Lord Conyngham then acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning, and consequently that I am Queen. While Victoria inherited all the British Dominionsher father's younger brother, her unpopular uncle the Duke of Cumberlandbecame King of Hanover. He was her heir presumptive while she was childless.
Queen Victoria's wedding night: 'I never, never spent such an evening'
The Prime Minister at once became a powerful influence on the politically inexperienced Queen, who relied on him for advice. Overvisitors came to London for the celebrations. Financially prudent, she paid off her father's debts. The bill removed political power from plantation owners who were resisting measures associated with the abolition of slavery.
At the time, it was customary for the prime minister to appoint members of the Royal Householdwho were usually his political allies and their spouses. Many of the Queen's ladies of the bedchamber were wives of Whigs, and Peel expected to replace them with wives of Tories.
In what became known as the bedchamber crisisVictoria, advised by Melbourne, objected to their removal. Peel refused to govern under the restrictions imposed by the Queen, and consequently resigned his commission, allowing Melbourne to return to office. Her gloves were stitched in London and made of English kid leather. Victoria had commissioned a huge swath of handmade Honiton lace for her dress in an attempt to revive the flagging lace industry machine-made copies had been harming the trade.
She stood in front of her mirror and stared at her reflection disbelievingly. On her head she wore a simple wreath of orange blossoms and myrtle. In portraits she looks young and pale, hovering between anxious and dreamy.
The queen had asked that no one else wear white to the wedding. Some have wrongly interpreted her choice of colour as a signal of sexual purity — as historian Agnes Strickland later gushed, she had chosen to dress "not as a queen in her glittering trappings, but in spotless white, like a pure virgin, to meet her bridegroom".
Victoria had chosen to wear white mostly because it was the perfect colour to highlight the delicate lace — it was not then a conventional colour for brides. Before bleaching techniques were mastered, white was a rare and expensive colour, more a symbol of wealth than purity.
Victoria was not the first to wear it, but she made it popular by example. Lace-makers across England were thrilled by the sudden surge in the popularity of their handiwork. As Victoria made her way to her golden carriage, the crowd clamoured.
She kept her eyes down, and "a hurried glance around, and a slight inclination of the head, was all the acknowledgment returned".
The torrents of rain and violent winds deterred "vast numbers" of wellwishers, but the public anticipation could not be dampened. There are few things as certain to knit British hearts as a royal wedding, and London had been thrumming with excitement for weeks. The controversial weekly newspaper of the time, The Satirist, complained: Nothing is heard or thought of but doves and Cupids, triumphal arches and white favours, and last, but not least, variegated lamps and general illuminations.
BBC - History - Victoria as a Girl: The Patient Rebel
Still, after a year of hissing, name-calling and savaging by the press, it seemed as if London was once more in love with their queen. A small number were obsessed. Victoria had a clutch of farcical, fixated stalkers, some of whom grew quite distressed by the upcoming nuptials.
The wedding excitement was so ubiquitous that Charles Dickens joked with his friends that he, too, was a victim of it. In a letter to the eccentric poet Walter Savage Landor, he wrote: The police stood in stiff rows along the muddy route from the palace to the chapel, pushing back rowdy onlookers.
Queen Victoria - Wikipedia
Burglars began creeping through the alleys and backyards of London, taking advantage of the fact that the bobbies would be distracted for a day. Meanwhile, along the route from the palace to the chapel, tree branches were collapsing under the weight of the people clinging to them. When Victoria arrived at St James's crimson and gold Chapel Royal, she went to her waiting train-bearers, all in white dresses of her design.
She gave each of them a small turquoise brooch in the shape of an eagle, as a symbol of courage and strength. Albert waited at the altar, looking dashing in a bright red, tightly fitted uniform decorated with the collar and star of the Order of the Garter, the highest order of chivalry in Britain, with his blue eyes fixed on his solemn little bride as she approached. Florence Nightingale, who, like most, thought Albert a "remarkably agreeable-looking youth", reported that a Mrs Lefevre, who stood close to Victoria during the ceremony, said she was "perfectly composed and spoke distinctly and well but that every orange flower in her head was quivering and she was very pale and her eyes red as if she had not slept.
But she signed her name like a lion and was so anxious that PA should appear to advantage that she touched his elbow whenever he was going to do wrong, showed him where to sign his name and put him right when he set the ring on the wrong finger.
After the marriage she cleared up and looked quite happy. After the ceremony, the newlyweds snatched half an hour together in Victoria's room before facing the crowds at the wedding banquet. Victoria placed a ring on Albert's finger as he said there should never be any secrets between them.
She wrote in her journal 23 years later, "There never was. The feast was a frenzy of nodding, curtsying, beaming and hand-shaking. The couple finally left at four in the afternoon, trotting off in simple fashion as the sun started to poke fingers through the clouds, with three coaches accompanying them and people cheering and running alongside.
As the sun singed the clouds red before sinking into black, the bride marvelled that it was just "I and Albert alone, which was SO delightful". This would be a refrain throughout her marriage: After a three-hour journey, the exhausted couple arrived at Windsor Castle. Victoria had a headache; she changed and lay on the couch, mentally scrolling through images of her chaotic day. Albert played the piano as she rested. It was so much quieter than London; what a relief.
- Victoria as a Girl: The Patient Rebel
- Queen Victoria: The real story of her 'domestic bliss'
She thought back on the past few hours: The happy moment when Albert placed a ring on her finger and it was done. The rippling, jostling ocean of faces lining the route to the chapel; and at the palace, the thick heat of goodwill, the deafening applause, the sight of elegant Albert in his uniform. What she liked about it most of all, though, was that as they stood before the archbishop, they were called simply Victoria and Albert.
For the rest of her life, she thought with a swelling joy, she would just be Victoria to her Albert. She wasn't a queen or ruler, but simply a wife and lover. She rolled onto her side and looked at her husband as his fingers glided along the piano keys, playing one of his own compositions. Albert looked up and came over to her, kissing her. She lay by his side, in his arms, and on his chest, smiling in the darkness as he whispered to her.
Victoria woke the next morning after a night of little sleep. She lay still, staring at Albert's face in the early light, marvelling at him and his pale throat, which she had seen only glimpses of before.
He was "beautiful, angelic". She was sated and thrilled with an intimacy her mind had strained to imagine. Luckily for her, the mortifying tradition of the court coming to peer at the royal couple when they first climbed into the same bed had gone out of fashion with George III. She was also lucky in that Albert seems to have been a competent, tender lover. Victoria's wedding night was the closest thing she had known to bliss. Her elation was palpable in her journal entry: He clasped me in his arms, and we kissed each other again and again!
His beauty, his sweetness and gentleness, — really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! This was the happiest day of my life! Over breakfast, Victoria gazed at him, again noticing how he had no neckcloth on under his black velvet jacket and was "more beautiful than it is possible for me to say". The next day, she was cooing in otherworldly tones: I feel a purer more unearthly feel than I ever did. He slid into bed next to her, kissing her over and over; they fell asleep with arms entwined.
After Lord Melbourne remarked that she looked "very well", she replied that Albert's "kindness and affection" were "beyond everything". Historians have long acknowledged that Victoria had a high libido — some have implied she was some kind of sexual predator who devoured a tolerant, but exhausted husband. She was undoubtedly extremely passionate, the fact of which clashes with the strong associations Victoria often carries of dour old age and puritanical condemnation.
Given how fraught sex was at the time for women — with limited access to contraception and abortion, and no pain relief for childbirth — Victoria's unbridled and unabashed physical enjoyment of her husband is remarkable. In the 19th century, it was assumed that women with strong libidos were pathological: Women were dubbed "nymphomaniacs" for dreaming, thinking about or having what was considered to be an excessive amount of sex.
Some were given clitoridectomies or had leeches placed on their perineum. Others were told to abstain from meat and brandy, use hair pillows, douche with borax, have cold enemas, or adhere to strict vegetable diets. For many married women, sex was a chore, not something to be enjoyed.
Given the ignorance surrounding women's bodies, Victoria's delight in sexual pleasure was genuinely countercultural. Albert did not record his views on sex, but it is clear that he satisfied his wife. And he certainly admired her, writing to his brother Ernest approvingly about her oft-praised bosom. Just a few months after his wedding he told him, somewhat defensively, that Victoria had "changed much to her advantage" and had looked lovely at the previous night's dinner: It was genuine, devoted and fruitful.
Together, they ushered in an era when the monarchy would shift from direct power to indirect influence, and from being the fruit of the aristocracy to becoming the symbol of the middle class.
They restored and raised the stature of the monarchy, preserving it from the revolutions that toppled the aristocracies and royal families in Europe during the same years that Victoria and Albert were widely feted in Britain.
Albert would grow to surpass his wife, for a short time, in influence, but not in longevity, stamina or sheer will. Albert would soar; Victoria would endure. In giving Albert free rein to work alongside her as she carried nine children, Victoria was soon to discover that the clever, intellectually restless Albert was a great asset. She spent roughly 80 months pregnant in the s and s — more than six years in total — and even longer recovering from childbirth.