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Queen Victoria and the British Empire By Cas Morris.

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1 Queen Victoria and the British Empire By Cas Morris

2 Victoria Victoria was the only child of the Duke of Kent, William IV’s brother William had no heirs so upon his death the throne passed to his niece. She was only 18 Received the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain at 5:00 AM in her nightgown

3 The Queen’s Politics Victoria was a devoted whig Had an infatuation for her Prime Minister Lord Melbourne who helped her adjust to her new position and gave her guidance Caused a scandal when Lord Melbourne resigned and the conservative’s came to power as she refused to trade her whig ladies-in-waiting for conservative ones as was the tradition. Referred to as the “Bedchamber Crisis”

4 Marriage to Prince Albert Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840 They were incredibly taken with each other and in her journal she describes their wedding night saying they slept little and describing a scene in which Albert put on her stockings for her and she watched him shave They had nine children together the first within a few months of marrying

5 Political Climate During Victoria’s Reign Unemployment was high and poverty common The hungry 40’s There was anger over the Corn Laws, eventually repealed in 1846 The Whigs were losing sway and the Torries were gaining momentum. Despite this and some early shakiness, such as the Bedchamber Crisis, Victoria’s monarchy was very popular

6 The Great Exhibition Held in 1851 Organized by Prince Albert A building was constructed in Hyde Park to house the exhibition called the “The Crystal Palace” Put on to show off the variety and superiority of British manufactured goods Albert hoped it would be the first of many such gatherings

7 Excerpts from Victoria’s Journal on the Exhibition This day is one of the greatest and most glorious days of our lives, with which, to my pride and joy the name of my dearly beloved Albert is forever associated! It is a day which makes my heart swell with thankfulness. The Green Park and Hyde Park were one mass of densely crowded human beings, in the highest good humour and most enthusiastic. I never saw Hyde Park look as it did, being filled with crowds as far as the eye could reach. A little rain fell, just as we started; but before we neared the Crystal Palace, the sun shone and gleamed upon the gigantic edifice, upon which the flags of every nation were flying (“Historical speeches and writings, Victoria” the British Monarchy Website, accessed March 21, 2015,

8 Women’s rights The women’s movement began gaining traction in Victoria’s reign During this time was published, “The Subjection of Women”. Written by John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet Taylor Mill the book argued for equality of the sexes. The suffragette movement also began taking off in this period. Victoria herself was not fond of the movement claiming that it was an affront to the natural order.

9 Acquisition of India After rebellion in India in 1857 the East India Company was disbanded. As a result the subcontinent of India was formally added to the British Empire and Victoria became Empress of India Victoria hoped that by passing governance of the region from the Eat India Company to the actual state of Britain peace could be achieved.

10 Death of Albert In December of 1861 Albert died most probably of Typhoid Victoria was stricken with grief. She was in mourning for the remainder of her life and even had a special small crown fashioned that she could wear with her widow’s veil. She fell into seclusion and rarely left Windsor Castle earning her the title the “Widow of Windsor”. While she never shirked her duties her lack of public appearances caused her approval with the people to fall.

11 Excerpt from a Letter from Victoria to Her Uncle King Leopold on Albert’s Death … to be cut off in the prime of life - to see our pure happy, quiet domestic life, which alone enabled me to bear my much disliked position, cut off at forty-two - when I had hoped with such instinctive certainty that God never would part us, and would let us grow old together... - is too awful, too cruel! (“Historical speeches and writings, Victoria” the British Monarchy Website, accessed March 21, 2015,

12 Death Victoria died on January 22 1901 She was laid to rest beside her husband, he tomb decorated with her likeness as she had looked at the time of his death so that it appeared as though no time at all had passed.

13 Legacy By the end of her reign she had become more a figurehead than a truly ruling monarch. The trend of constitutional monarchy that had begun with the Honoverians continued throughout her reign. Victoria had become more of a moral authority than a political setting an example for the country to follow. Because she had children in the royal families of so much of Europe she became known as the Grandmother of Europe. All together she and Albert had 34 grandchildren survive to adulthood. She was succeeded by her son Edward VII

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