Queen Victoria

Portrait of Queen Victoria

Born: 1819
Died: 1901
Reigned: 1837-1901

  • The only child of Edward, Duke of Kent (died 1820; son of George III) and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld; the last member of the Hanoverian dynasty
  • Born at Kensington Palace, her home until 1837
  • In 1840 married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who died in 1861
  • Gave birth to 9 children – 4 boys, 5 girls – whose progeny led to the Queen being described as ‘the grandmother of Europe’
  • The longest reigning British monarch, reigning for over 63 years during a period of unprecedented change
  • Empress of India from 1877
  • Paid frequent visits to the Continent (especially France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland)
  • Made significant additions to Buckingham Palace
  • Built Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and bought Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, as private residences
  • A prolific amateur artist, receiving instruction in drawing, painting and etching
  • With Prince Albert, acquired an important group of early Italian and German paintings
  • Bought items of historic significance, such as the Darnley Jewel and portrait miniatures
  • Commissioned artists, including Winterhalter and Landseer, to paint portraits and animal paintings
  • Commissioned hundreds of records, painted in watercolour or photographed, of her family, the chief events of her reign, places she had visited and the royal residences
  • Commissioned busts and other sculpture from Chantrey, Theed and Boehm, among others
  • Received gifts of works of art from throughout the Empire
  • Acquired important collection of watercolours of Windsor by the Sandbys
  • Instituted the Victoria Cross (1856) and the Royal Victorian Order (1896)

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