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Queen Victoria

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Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria was born in 1819 and died in 1901. She was queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1837-1901) and empress of India (1876-1901). Queen Victoria was born Alexandrina Victoria on May 24, 1819, in Kensington Palace, London.

Victoria's mother was Victoria Mary Louisa, daughter of the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Her father was Edward Augustus, duke of Kent and Strathern, the fourth son of George III and youngest brother of George IV and William IV; they were kings of Great Britain. Because William IV had no legal children, his niece Victoria became inheritor apparent to the British crown upon his accession in 1830.

On June 20, 1837, with the expiration of William IV, Victoria became queen at the age of 18. Early in her power Victoria developed a serious concern with goings on of state, guided by her first prime minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. Melbourne was the leader of that wing of the Whig Party that later became known as the Liberal Party. He exercised an immovably progressive command on the political thinking of the sovereign.

In 1840, Victoria married her first cousin, Albert, ruler of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, whom she had known for about four years. Although this was a wedlock of state, it was a highly extravagant and prosperous one, and Victoria was devoted to her family responsibilities. The first of their nine children was Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, later queen of Germany. Their first son was Albert Edward, prince of Wales and later monarch of Great Britain as Edward VII. He was born in 1841.

When Prince Albert persuaded her that Liberal policy jeopardized the coming of the Crown, the queen began to lose her eagerness for the party. After 1841, when the Melbourne government fell and Sir Robert Peel became prime minister, Victoria was an enthusiastic supporter of the Conservative Party. Also under Albert's influence, she began to question the tradition that restricted the British ruling to an advisory part.

In 1850, she challenged the command of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, an alien secretary in the Whig government that had been in command since 1846. Her post was that the sovereign should at least be consulted on different policy. Palmerston, independent and self-assertive, disregarded the request. Their conflict reached a crucial period in 1851, when the prime minister, Lord John Russell, who was also unhappy with Palmerston's elective methods, removed him from the foreign office. Their altercations with Palmerston, one of the most liked political leaders in the country, caused Victoria and Albert to lose some of the regard of their subjects. Their popularity dwindled even more in 1854, when they tried to avert the Crimean War. After the war had started, however, they gave it their sincere support.

In 1856, shortly before the end of the war, the queen established the Victoria Cross, the highest British award for wartime courage.

In 1857, Victoria had the title of Prince Associate granted on Albert. Four years later he died, and she remained in implied grieving for much of the rest of her life. She avoided common appearances, letting the prince of Wales accomplish most of the royal ritualistic duties.

In 1861, several prime ministers served during the latter



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