Victoria (United Kingdom)

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Queen Victoria (1882)
Signature of Queen Victoria
Victoria and Prince Consort Albert (Photo by John Jabez Edwin Mayall , March 1861)

Victoria - born Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent - (born May 24, 1819 in Kensington Palace , London , † January 22, 1901 in Osborne House , Isle of Wight ) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1901 , from May 1, 1876, she was the first British monarch to also bear the title of Empress of India . She was the daughter of Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn , and Victoire von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld.

With the accession to the throne of Victoria on June 20, 1837 , the personal union between Great Britain and Hanover , which had existed since 1714, ended due to the Sali law in force in the Kingdom of Hanover , which excluded women from the succession . During the 63-year reign of Victoria, the British Empire reached the height of its political and economic power, the upper and middle classes experienced an unprecedented economic boom ( Victorian era ). Characteristic of her reign, the influence of her husband was Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and their almost complete withdrawal from public life after his death in 1861. A total of Victoria interpreted its role as constitutional monarch very unconventional and quite confident.

With a total reign of 63 years, seven months and two days, Victoria was the longest reigning British monarch before being surpassed by Elizabeth II on September 9, 2015 . Because of her numerous offspring, she was nicknamed "Grandmother of Europe"; she is, for example, both great-great-grandmother of the current Queen Elizabeth II and of her husband, Prince Consort Philip, Duke of Edinburgh .

The death of Victoria ended the rule of the House of Hanover , which passed to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha when their eldest son Edward VII took over the throne (renamed House Windsor in 1917 ).

Life

Family background

Edward Augustus , Victoria's father (painting by William Beechey )

The sudden death of Princess Charlotte Augusta , the only daughter entitled to the throne of Crown Prince George, Prince of Wales , who died for the incapable of reigning King George III. who ruled, sparked a political crisis in Britain. In 1817 the British royal family lacked legitimate descendants to maintain the line of succession to the throne. Of the seven sons of George III. at that time only three were appropriately married. However, the connection between the Prince of Wales and Caroline von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel was considered to have failed, and the marriages of the Duke of York and Albany and the Duke of Cumberland have so far been childless. For the still unmarried sons of the king, the death of the princess was therefore the impetus to look for suitable wives among the Protestant noble houses of Europe in order to father legitimate descendants entitled to the throne.

The ambitious Leopold von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld , for his part, sought a connection between the House of Coburg and the British royal family and in 1814 - even before he had married into the royal family through his marriage to Charlotte Augusta - had his sister Victoire , widowed Princess of Leiningen , with Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn , the fourth-born son of George III. After Charlotte Augusta's death, the marriage plans were forced and the marriage finally arranged ( marriage policy ). Securing the continued existence of the Hanoverian dynasty was not the only reason for the Duke of Kent to marry. Heavily indebted and, due to his choleric and often sadistic leadership style, relieved of his military posts since 1803, he combined the hope of increasing his appanage with a marriage . The dynastic and personal interests thus led to a double wedding on July 11, 1818, in which the Duke of Kent married the Princess of Leiningen and his brother William, Duke of Clarence and Adelheid von Sachsen-Meiningen married.

birth

The Duchess of Kent with her daughter Victoria (painting by Henry Bone)

A few weeks after the wedding, Victoire, now Duchess of Kent, became pregnant. In order to secure the right to the British throne for the unborn child , Edward Augustus and his wife returned to Great Britain from the small German town of Amorbach before the birth . In the presence of high dignitaries, Victoire gave birth to a healthy girl on May 24, 1819 at Kensington Palace . Unusual for the time, the princess was born with the help of the German obstetrician Charlotte von Siebold , vaccinated against smallpox immediately after the birth and breastfed by her mother herself . The father wrote to his mother-in-law in Coburg that the girl was "fat as a partridge" ("plump as a partridge"). The birth was mentioned in the newspapers, but received little public attention.

On June 24, 1819, the princess was baptized in the domed hall of Kensington Palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the royal baptismal font was brought from the Tower of London especially for this ceremony . Due to the naming, there had previously been disagreements between the parents and Prince Regent Georg . The parents had suggested a number of first names common at the time, which the Prince Regent had refused and only allowed the two, rather unusual names Alexandrina (after her godfather Tsar Alexander I ) and Victoria (after her mother). In addition to the Prince Regent and the Russian Tsar, Victoria's paternal aunt was Queen Charlotte Auguste of Württemberg and the maternal grandmother Auguste von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld .

Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent stood behind her three uncles - Prince Regent George (from 1820 King George IV.), The Duke of York and Albany and the Duke of Clarence - as well as her own father initially in fifth position in the line of succession to the British throne. Should legitimate descendants emerge from the marriages of their father's older brothers, they too would have been entitled to the throne before Victoria. From June 1830, however, Victoria was commonly regarded as the first candidate for the British throne ( Heiress Presumptive ).

Education and the Kensington System

John Conroy (painting by HW Pickersgill, 1837)
Victoria with her Spaniel Dash (painting by George Hayter , 1833)

During a stay in Sidmouth , Victoria's father died of complications from pneumonia (January 23, 1820), at which time his daughter was only eight months old. The royal family met the widow with rejection, George IV , the new monarch since January 29, 1820, had always viewed his brother's marriage to Victoire critically and therefore preferred his sister-in-law to return to her German homeland. In view of the horrific debts, the Duchess of Kent had to turn down the inheritance of her late husband and only stayed at Kensington Palace on the advice and with the financial support of her brother Leopold . Due to their isolated position, Victoire came increasingly under the influence of John Conroys , whom her husband had appointed as administrator and who would soon take a dominant position in their household.

Victoria, called "Drina" in family circles, was considered a strong-willed, robust child who occasionally broke out in fits of rage . In 1824 the German Baroness Louise Lehzen became governess of the five-year-old princess and was henceforth responsible for her education. Lehzen became a crucial caregiver for the adolescents, especially as the relationship between Victoria and her mother was increasingly tense. Because of the budget controlled by Conroy, Lehzen was, although insufficiently qualified, responsible for preparing Victoria for her role as future monarch. Victoria later judged Lehzen: "She was an admirable woman, and I adored her, although I was also afraid of her." Victoria enjoyed a superficial education that corresponded to the young noble daughters of her time. From 1829 she was taught by the liberal Anglican clergyman George Davys , later Bishop of Peterborough , who had been appointed official tutor . Their program consisted of five lessons per day, six days a week, with an emphasis on biblical studies , history, geography and language acquisition. Victoria later spoke fluent German and French as well as some Latin and Italian . In everyday dealings with her mother she spoke exclusively in English , as the Duchess considered this to be politically opportune. The pupil's willingness to learn was described as limited. Later on, dancing, painting, riding and piano lessons completed the princess's training program.

Presumably through a book on English history, Victoria learned of her position as a heiress presumptive in March 1829 , whereupon she is said to have said to Lehzen: "I will do my best" ("I will be good"). Some authors refer such statements to the area of ​​legends.

Meanwhile, John Conroy also assessed the possibility of taking over the throne of Victoria as very high if the marriages of their uncles do not result in legitimate descendants. In view of the advanced age and poor health of Wilhelm IV , who had succeeded his brother George IV in 1830, this would presumably take place at a time when Princess Victoria would not have reached the age of majority. In this case, the Duchess of Kent, according to the Regency Act , would exercise the regency in place of her daughter who was still underage , and Conroy would thus indirectly gain political influence. This project presupposed that the Duchess and her daughter should have as little contact as possible with the royal court, which is why Conroy specifically isolated and controlled them in Kensington Palace ( Kensington system ). He persuaded the Duchess that the Duke of Cumberland - the next in line to the throne after Victoria - was after the princess and that an isolated, closed life was necessary. For example, Victoria was forbidden from attending her uncle 's coronation celebrations on September 8, 1831 . Only people selected by Conroy frequented the Duchess household; every daily routine was strictly regulated. Until the day of her own accession to the throne, Victoria had to stay in her mother's bedroom, meetings with other people were only allowed under supervision. She was not even allowed to go down a flight of stairs unaccompanied. Overall, Victoria had little contact with her peers; her few playmates included her half-sister Feodora zu Leiningen , who was twelve years older than her , Conroy's daughter Victoire and, from 1833, the King Charles Spaniel Dash . Throughout her life Victoria was convinced that she had experienced a traumatic and unhappy childhood: "No outlet for my strong feelings and affections, no brothers and sisters with whom I could live (...) no intimate and trusting relationship with my mother," she wrote herself her eldest daughter.

A targeted preparation of Victoria for her role as monarch was deliberately omitted. An exception was her uncle Leopold, who had been King of Belgium as Leopold I since 1831 and resided in distant Brussels . In numerous letters he advised his niece, recommended her books and manuscripts that should prepare her for the assumption of the throne, which is why Victoria thanked him in letters and described him as her "best and kindest advisor".

When it became foreseeable that Victoria would be of legal age at the time of her accession to the throne, Conroy tried to wrest her the admission to appoint him after the change of throne as her private secretary . Despite the enormous pressure that her mother also exerted, as well as a severe illness (presumably typhoid ), 16-year-old Victoria Conroy steadfastly refused to sign his appointment as private secretary in October 1835. Thereupon there was a complete break with her mother and up to the time of the accession to the throne the two hardly exchanged a word with each other. Conroy meanwhile spread rumors that Victoria was too mentally unstable to bear the responsibility of a monarch.

When William IV retired to Windsor Castle due to illness in the spring of 1837 and his life was coming to an end, Victoria's succession to the throne was imminent. During the birthday dinner on the occasion of her 18th birthday and thus of age (May 24th, 1837), the already sick king declared that he was grateful to see this day, because in this way he had succeeded in preventing a reign of completely unsuitable people to have. This public declaration caused a social uproar and led to a rift between the king and his sister-in-law. Leopold therefore sent his confidante Christian von Stockmar to Great Britain, who was to advise and support Victoria in the following months. With Stockmar's support, she managed to fend off the last attempts at influence by John Conroy.

Accession to the throne

Victoria on the morning of June 20, 1837
Victoria in Coronation Regalia and with the Imperial State Crown (painting by George Hayter, 1838)

On the morning of June 20, 1837, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chamberlain went to Kensington Palace and asked for an audience with Victoria. They revealed to the princess that her uncle Wilhelm IV had died that night and that the royal dignity had fallen to her. Victoria noted in her diary:

“I was awakened at 6 o'clock by Mamma who told me the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here wishing to see me. I got out of bed and went into my living room (only in my dressing gown) and received her alone . Lord Conyngham then informed me that my poor uncle, the King, passed away at twelve past two and consequently that I am Queen (I was awoke at 6 o'clock by Mamma, who told me the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here and wished to see me. 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 . "

That same morning Victoria received Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and attended their first Privy Council meeting. She had signed the first state documents as Alexandrina Victoria , after a few days she limited herself to using the ruler's name Victoria . With the change of the throne, the personal union between Great Britain and Hanover , which had existed since 1714, ended , as the Salian law in force in the Kingdom of Hanover precluded female succession. In Hanover, her uncle Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale inherited the throne as Ernst August I and was a pretender to the British throne until the birth of Victoria's first child ( Lord Justices Act 1837 ).

As early as July 1837, Victoria moved her court from Kensington Palace to the converted and expanded Buckingham Palace , which for the first time served as the official main residence of the British monarchy. Victoria used her new position to get rid of the dominant influence of her mother and especially John Conroys. The Duchess of Kent moved to Buckingham Palace with her daughter, but was housed in a wing of the palace that was far away from the Queen's private quarters. At court, she was only given the role that protocol provided for her. Mother and daughter only met on official occasions in the presence of third parties. Conroy received no official position at court; but he remained a member of the household of the Duchess of Kent and did not leave it until 1839. Louise Lehzen, a close confidante of Victoria, was entrusted with the management of the royal household as "Lady Attendant" .

As monarch, Victoria was entitled to the income of the two royal duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall in addition to the annual donation of 385,000  pounds (which corresponds to the current amount of the equivalent of 17.6 million pounds) from the civil list , which enabled her to pay off her father's debts .

The coronation took place on June 28, 1838 at Westminster Abbey . The Parliament had approved 79,000 pounds for the ceremony, more than double what had been William IV. In 1831 is available. On Coronation Day, Victoria was led in the Gold State Coach with a pageant from Buckingham Palace, via Hyde Park , Piccadilly , St. James's Square , Pall Mall , Charing Cross and Whitehall , to Westminster Abbey. After two very unpopular predecessors, the young monarch was greeted with enthusiasm and was considered energetic, humorous and fun-loving by the people. Four hundred thousand visitors are said to have come to London for the coronation celebrations . As Victoria found the Edwardian crown too heavy, the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Howley , crowned it in a five-hour ceremony with the Imperial State Crown made especially for her ( main article: Coronation of British monarchs ). For the first time, the members of the House of Commons also attended the coronation, which underlined the increasing democratization of Great Britain. On the occasion of the event, Victoria remarked in her diary: “I really cannot express how proud I feel to be the queen of such a nation.” (“I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a nation. ")

First years of government

Lord Melbourne

Victoria's first prime minister was Lord Melbourne , who, alongside Leopold, would become the 18-year-old queen's second paternal mentor and advisor. He enjoyed the full confidence of his monarch and since she had initially waived the appointment of a private secretary ( Private Secretary of the Sovereign ), Melbourne also took over this area of ​​responsibility. Victoria and the 58-year-old widower developed a close relationship - in addition to political issues, he also advised her on private and fashionable matters - which is why this intimacy was often interpreted as being in love with Victoria. Melbourne brought her closer to the history of the House of Hanover during audiences that took place almost every day or hours of joint rides, and gave her assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of leading politicians; Skills that were valuable to Victoria in the years that followed. He made it clear to her that as a constitutional monarch she represented the state and was not allowed to express any other opinion in public than her government. Melbourne did not show how much the queen's naivete, political inexperience and ignorance surprised him and tried to fill the gaps in her upbringing and education.

With the support of its prime minister, Victoria's first year in office was successful, but Melbourne's good offices only lasted as long as its government remained stable. After losing the majority of votes in the House of Commons , Lord Melbourne resigned his office as Prime Minister in May 1839 and since neither the Conservative Tories nor the Whigs had a sufficient majority in Parliament, Melbourne hoped for a failure of the new government and subsequent new elections should strengthen his party. The politically inexperienced Victoria was not aware of this plan; she felt the thought of the impending resignation of her Prime Minister and a takeover of the Tories under Robert Peel as a personal and political catastrophe. Peel, who was ready to form a minority government , considered a personal adjustment of the court to the future balance of power to be inevitable and demanded that the queen dismiss some ladies-in-waiting from Whig circles and replace them with women from the Tory environment. Victoria, who regarded her ladies-in-waiting as friends and close companions, the selection of which she saw as a private matter, categorically refused this request, especially since Peel seemed unsympathetic to her ("cold and strange man"). When Peel refused to form a government under these circumstances, Lord Ashley was offered the office of prime minister, but he too refused under these conditions. Eventually the Tories gave back the government mandate and the Whigs under Lord Melbourne stayed in government. The queen celebrated her refusal as a political victory and was convinced that she had defended the dignity of the crown. With her categorical refusal, Victoria moved in this so-called " court lady affair " ("Bedchamber crisis") in a constitutional gray area, which brought her a lot of public criticism.

The ladies-in-waiting affair and Victoria's imprudent behavior in the Flora Hastings affair , in which Flora Hastings, a lady-in-waiting of the Duchess of Kent suffering from a liver tumor , was wrongly suspected of an illegitimate pregnancy, cost the Queen public respect and sympathy. Victoria was no longer considered the innocent queen, but a cold, heartless woman - who, along with her gossipy Whig ladies-in-waiting, had ruined an innocent reputation. In neither of the two affairs had Lord Melbourne reacted as resolutely as might have been expected of him as the adviser and confidante of an inexperienced monarch. Victoria herself judged the behavior in her first political action 60 years later with the sentence: “It was a mistake.” Her rejection of Peel has also been repeatedly assessed by research as an immature decision - a typically emotional act by an inexperienced young woman. In public, there were increasing calls for the queen to marry, as it was hoped that a husband would have a moderating influence on Victoria, who often acted very emotionally.

Marriage to Prince Albert

Victoria and Albert Marriage (painting by George Hayter)

Leopold I and his advisor Baron Stockmar were firmly convinced that a marriage between Victoria and her German cousin Albert von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha could not only serve Coburg's interests but also make the Queen a better ruler and arranged a union between the two . Seventeen-year-old Victoria had already met her future husband in the summer of 1836 during a visit from her maternal uncle, Duke Ernst of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha , and his sons in London. The princess was able to warm to her two cousins ​​and after their departure wrote to Leopold that Albert had all the qualities she wanted. For the first time she felt the prospect of “great happiness”. The letter to her uncle is evidence that Victoria knew that King Leopold saw Albert as the right candidate for her marriage.

On the initiative of Leopold, Prince Albert and Prince Ernst arrived on October 10, 1839 for another visit to the British royal court. Victoria noted in her diary: "I saw Albert with some movement, he is beautiful." Just four days later, she revealed her intentions to marry Prime Minister Melbourne and on October 15 - in accordance with the protocol - asked for Albert's hand. "I'm the happiest person," said Victoria, describing her impressions in her diary. The speed with which Queen Victoria put aside her aversion to marriage and fell in love with Albert also explains his biographer Hans Joachim Netzer with the young queen's need for a supporter and protector, as she felt increasingly insecure in her role as regent Victoria's biographer Carolly Erickson cites this as the main reason. At the same time, she emphasizes a number of similarities: Both were emotionally hurt by an unhappy and loveless childhood, romantically inclined and shared a love of music. While Victoria's diary entries testify to a happy exuberance of emotions, Albert's letters from this period suggest that he saw the future marriage to the British Queen much more soberly. The reactions of the British public to the planned wedding were mostly negative, the German prince from the insignificant Coburg was not considered equal. In Great Britain, mocking verses appeared that the queen had given half a crown to receive a ring. Others alluded to the increasingly plump build of Victoria and assumed Prince Albert, another "lucky Coburger", that he would only take the fat queen because of her even thicker moneybag. British history lacked comparable precedents as to what title the consort of a ruling queen should take, and Prime Minister Melbourne accepted that this decision in Parliament was made to Albert's disadvantage. So this was after the wedding, a simple Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and one was not in the privileged rank Prince Consort ( Prince Consort ) levied. The Parliament, the Prince Leopold in 1816 even as the husband of the heiress presumptive Charlotte Augusta an annual alimony was awarded 50,000 pounds, Albert approved to only 30,000 pounds. Queen Victoria took this affront so personally that she considered not inviting the Duke of Wellington to the wedding.

The wedding preparations led to the first tensions between the bride and groom. Prince Albert wanted at least part of his personal court staff and - trained by the example of King Leopold - to maintain a staff which either consisted equally of supporters of Tories and Whigs or was politically neutral. Victoria appointed all members of his household regardless of the wishes of her future husband and, influenced by Lord Melbourne, chose only Whigs supporters. She appointed George Anson , a confidante of Melbourne, to be private secretary - the most important office in the princely household . The queen's preference for the Whigs' party continued at the wedding ceremony. Only five Tories were invited to attend the wedding ceremony on February 10, 1840 in the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace .

First years of marriage

Victoria in 1843 (painting by Winterhalter)
The royal family (painting by Winterhalter, 1846)

Queen Victoria made a strict distinction between private life and rulership, which is why Albert, who had been prepared for a co-shaping political role and for whom this was a reason for marriage, repeatedly complained that he played no role in political decisions. Albert, who had spent most of his life in close association with his brother, missed his brother's company in London and suffered from his isolated position. The members of the British aristocracy regarded the German prince as too educated and rigid. The scientists, artists and musicians whom he would have liked to have invited to evening events had to stay away from the court at the request of his wife. Victoria was only too aware of her insufficient education and felt that she could not participate in such conversations, which she found incompatible with her role as monarch. She did not share her husband's interest in politics, but claimed the role of ruler for herself. "I don't like him taking on my role in state affairs," she told Prime Minister Melbourne after he had spoken positively about a public appearance by Prince Albert. The politically insignificant Albert looked for fields of activity. He became a member of the Royal Society , studied English law with a London lawyer and assumed the presidency of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery. Albert had the parks of Windsor Castle redesigned, began to build a model agricultural estate and turned the Arabs of the royal riding stables into a small stud .

The largely uninfluential role of the prince changed with the birth of the children. Victoria became pregnant immediately after the wedding and on November 21, 1840, Victoria ("Vicky"), named after her, was born. After the birth Albert took part in the Privy Council for the first time at the invitation of the Prime Minister and became politically active for the first time without the knowledge of the Queen during the second pregnancy that followed.

In view of the financial situation, the political end of the Melbourne era was in sight and a takeover of government by the Tories under Robert Peel was imminent. In order to avoid a situation like the one that had arisen around the court ladies affair in 1839, which had cost Victoria a lot of sympathy, Albert began negotiations with Peel in good time. Through his diplomatic action, he agreed with him that in the event of a change of government, only three of his wife's ladies-in-waiting had to leave the court and be exchanged for supporters of the Tories. Victoria was initially furious about this agreement, but then came to terms with it and would later appreciate Peel very much. Albert's intervention was the first step that politically neutralized the British royal court. Trained by King Leopold and Christian von Stockmar , he was convinced that in a constitutional monarchy in which the prime minister was primarily obliged to parliament, the royal house as an institution had to take precedence over daily political events and party political decisions. When he left on August 30, 1841, Lord Melbourne advised Victoria to seek political advice from her husband; advice to be followed by the queen. At the time of the birth of Albert Edward ("Bertie") on November 9, 1841, her husband was already the most important advisor. He now had access to all the documents presented to the Queen, drafted many of her official letters and influenced her decisions. According to George Anson , Albert "did indeed become, if not in title, Her Majesty's private secretary."

Probably the most serious marital crisis in the relationship eventually led to the withdrawal of Baroness Lehzen from the court: the royal descendants grew up in the nursery run by a governess who was under the influence of Lehzen. At the beginning of her second year, Princess Victoria was ailing and when the parents returned from a trip, they found their daughter pale and emaciated. Victoria lost her composure after a critical remark by her husband and, in a fit of fury, accused him of a number of accusations. Albert then left the nursery without a word and wrote his wife in a letter saying that she could do what she wanted with the daughter. Should the daughter die, she will be responsible. Over the next few days, the couple only dealt with each other in writing. Albert sought advice from Christian von Stockmar; Victoria turned to Baroness Lehzen. Stockmar, whom the Queen valued as a counselor as much as her husband, informed her that he would leave the British court if such scenes were repeated, whereupon she relented in her reply:

"Albert has to tell me what he does not like ... if I am irascible, which I hope no longer happens often, he does not have to believe the stupid things that I say, for example that it is a shame, to have ever married & so on, which I only say when I am not feeling well. "

Through this event Albert was able to make it clear to his wife that Baroness Lehzen was overwhelmed with the tasks entrusted to her, which is why she was advised to withdraw into private life. Provided with an appropriate pension , Lehzen left the court on September 30, 1842 and settled in Bückeburg , Germany, which made Albert's influence on the royal household and finances noticeable.

Overall, the almost twenty-one year relationship between Victoria and Albert was considered very happy. During her marriage, the queen was strongly influenced in all decisions, including political ones, by her husband, who, especially in his later years, was said to have been both king and prime minister. Victoria herself put it in a letter dated June 9, 1858 to her eldest daughter:

“I can never believe or admit that any other person has been fated as blessed as I have been with such a man, such a perfect man. Papa was everything to me, and it still is today. [...] He was everything to me, my father, my protector, my guide, my advisor in all things, I would almost like to say that he was both mother and husband to me at the same time. I don't think anyone has been completely transformed by the influence of their dearest papa as I have been. His attitude towards me is therefore a very unusual one, and when he is not there I feel paralyzed. "

Raising children

Albert and Victoria (photo, 1854)
Osborne House (around 1905)

Victoria, who had given birth to her first five children in six years and who became a mother of nine within 17 years, found each of her pregnancies and births to be torture and unreasonable (“I think more about the fact that at such moments we are like a cow or a bitch; that our poor nature seems so completely animal and banal ”). In order to reduce pain and strain, Victoria had herself anesthetized by the doctor John Snow when her two youngest children were born using chloroform , which was still very controversial at the time . Based on their role model, this new anesthetic technique spread in obstetrics. The queen reacted to pregnancy and childbed with moodiness, states of depression, nervousness and sudden outbursts of temper. Victoria rated the undirected movements of newborns as frog-like and unattractive and, for example, considered it a lack of education if her one-year-old daughter was still sucking on bracelets. Neither Victoria nor Albert had experience in dealing with and raising small children, which is why the pedantic Albert wrote a series of memoranda after the birth of his first daughter, which set out how their upbringing should go. On the occasion of the birth of Crown Prince Albert Eduard (later Eduard VII.), Who ranked above his older sister in the line of succession because of his gender, Christian von Stockmar also wrote a 48-page memorandum in which he wrote down the educational principles of the royal descendants in detail. Princess Victoria began taking French lessons at the age of one and a half, and German language lessons at the age of three. The intelligent and eager to learn princess met the high demands of her parents; her younger brother Albert Eduard, whom they had subjected to a rigorous learning and education program, found it much more difficult to learn.

The parents saw the life of Victoria's father and his brothers as a warning example. Their unrestrained, extravagant lifestyle had cost the British monarchy a lot of prestige, and the marital conflict between George IV and Caroline von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel had even brought the country to the brink of revolution. It was the ambition of both parents not only to let their children grow up into morally stable personalities, but also to prepare them as well as possible for their future tasks. The royal family ( royal family ) became the chief representative of an ideal which was stylized from civil society for strength and virtue source and hotbed of resistance. Albert in particular wanted to keep the children away from the potentially corrupting influence of the court for as long as possible and preferred the quiet country life to the hectic capital, which is why the couple moved the center of their lives from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle. In order to create a protected, private retreat for family life and the growing number of children, they acquired Osborne House, a 400-acre country estate on the Isle of Wight in 1845 . Albert was able to fund the purchase through considerable restrictions on the Queen's private spending and the sale of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton . He then had the building extensively rebuilt and expanded according to his ideas in the Italian style, and the garden was also designed according to his specifications. A wooden house ( Swiss Cottage ) was imported for the children , in which the princes were to learn carpenters and gardeners, and the princesses were to learn housekeeping and cooking. In contrast to the Queen, Albert played a decisive and direct role in their upbringing: he took a large part in her teaching progress, sometimes taught them himself and spent a lot of time with his children to play with them.

Famine in Ireland

See main article: Great Famine in Ireland

Skibbereen by James Mahoney (1847)
Location of Ireland
Queen Victoria in Dublin (Rare archive material from 1900)

Ireland held a special position within the United Kingdom . Although the island had been part of the kingdom with its own representation in parliament since the 16th century, it was actually treated like a colony . The policy of the British landowners , together with the potato rot and poor harvests , led to the great famine from 1845 to 1849 . As a result of this catastrophe, around one million Irish people lost their lives (around twelve percent of the population), and two million people emigrated to North America , Australia or New Zealand .

With his demand for the abolition of the grain tariffs ( Corn Laws ) in order to be able to import cheap grain to Ireland, Prime Minister Peel could not prevail against the big landowners in parliament. He received support from Albert, who, also on behalf of Victoria, wrote a memorandum in which he expressed their dismay and suggested suitable measures to alleviate the need. His demands, such as the opening of the ports, which had been successfully met in other countries affected by the potato rot, were initially not heard. When an even worse potato harvest was foreseen for the year 1846, Peel achieved the abolition of the grain tariffs, whereby he lost the support of his party and was replaced as Prime Minister by the Whig John Russell . Victoria, who was only allowed to express her sympathy for the Irish in private, donated 2000 pounds (not just 5 pounds, as some have claimed) to the British Society for the Relief of Greatest Needs in the Remote Communities of Ireland and Scotland . As an expression of her support for the Irish people, Victoria planned to acquire a country estate in Ireland, but again distanced herself from this project, as this would probably have been interpreted as "Irish land lord behavior". Instead, she decided in 1849 to go on a royal tour of Ireland and the local people showed her enthusiasm and affection during the visit, the departure and re-embarkation took place under "every conceivable sign of affection and respect," said Victoria. Many contemporaries saw this visit as an opportunity for reconciliation, but the monarch missed it. In the years 1853, 1861 and 1900 Victoria made three further visits, but they did not offer the opportunities that would have been possible in 1849. On the contrary, they even made the Irish feel that they had been abandoned by the British government.


Despite these events, Victoria would not have any significant influence on British social policy in the period that followed. On the one hand, because she knew this area was in good hands - Prince Albert was not indifferent to social conflicts because of his Christian beliefs - on the other hand, because this was an area in which she found it difficult to find her way. Wherever she experienced misery in person, she showed herself to be helpful, especially the common people in the Scottish highlands made the burdens of poverty understandable to her. The underprivileged classes below the bourgeoisie , however, remained alien to her. As a widow, Victoria was asked to take social policy measures several times in the 1880s, but this commitment should be understood more as an obligation to her husband than as a personal decision based on innermost conviction.

Fascinated by the Scottish countryside the couple purchased in 1852 Balmoral Castle in County Aberdeenshire . This new acquisition was made possible by an unexpected inheritance: John Camden Neild had bequeathed all his property - his land alone was worth over £ 250,000 - to the Queen, making Balmoral, like Osborne House, private property of the royal family. Balmoral was subsequently rebuilt according to Albert's plans in the baronial style and despite the initially very limited space, Victoria preferred to stay far away in Osborne or Balmoral than in the "dark splendor" of Windsor Castle or the urban atmosphere of Buckingham Palace.

Revolution year 1848 and conflicts with Palmerston

Chartists rally on April 10, 1848 in London / Kennington Common (photography by William Kilburn )

After the first few years of Victoria's reign passed without any significant political unrest, the European revolutionary year 1848 was to have an impact on Great Britain as well. Against the express advice of Prime Minister John Russell , Victoria granted political asylum to the French King Louis-Philippe I, who had been overthrown on February 24, 1848 by the February Revolution , and made Claremont House available to him. In Great Britain itself, speculators had caused enormous financial losses through inflationary railway stocks ( railway crisis ) and the wheat price was at a low. The resulting financial crisis led to unemployment and poverty, which gave new impetus to the Chartist reform movement , which had formed at the beginning of the 19th century. The Chartists had announced a mass meeting in London for April 10, 1848, which is why the royal family was taken to Osborne House as a precaution for safety reasons. Contrary to expectations, the event was non-violent, instead of the target number of 300,000 only 20,000 demonstrators gathered on Kennington Common, Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor brought a petition calling for liberalized civil rights and signed by more than a million people. Although the revolution in Britain had had little impact, Victoria first felt existential fear and saw the Chartists at fault:

“I believe that revolution is always bad for a country and the cause of unspeakable misery for the people. Obedience to the law and to the ruler is obedience to a higher power. "

The socio-politically harsh climate between 1840 and 1850 was certainly also responsible for the fact that five of the seven assassinations , all of which Victoria was supposed to survive without injuries worth mentioning, occurred in this decade. The other two were perpetrated in 1872 and 1882. It was certainly no coincidence that the courts attested all of the defendants “mental disruption” and were careful to exclude political motives. It was not in the interest of the state to see the explosive nature of social conflicts confirmed by conspiracies against the Queen. Of course, it made an impression on the population with what self-restraint - rather unusual for Victoria - she endured these attacks on her life.

Through a policy of "fait accompli" drew Foreign Minister Lord Palmerston , who held the post since 1830 almost without interruption and enjoyed great popularity among the population, increasing disapproval of the Queen up. Instructions to the ambassadors were issued without Victoria's approval, letters to the monarch were opened in the State Department , proposals by the Crown were ignored and ministerial decisions were communicated through the press. Palmerston indicated that the crown did not have to interfere in foreign policy, which was seen by Victoria as an indispensable monarchical prerogative and was increasingly seen as a question of British constitutionalism . When the minister declared the United Kingdom an ally of every liberation movement on the continent in the revolutionary year of 1848 , he also brought the peoples into play as a political power factor. With this liberal foreign policy, he horrified the queen, who, in contrast, viewed the dynastic entanglements of the European dynasties as a means of stabilizing international relations. She asked what effect this would have on Irish emancipation efforts. All attempts by the court to get rid of the unloved foreign minister - Victoria also referred to him as her “pilgrim stone” - failed. When Napoleon III. proclaimed the Second French Empire in Paris on December 2, 1851 after a successful coup d'état , the Queen expected her government to be strictly neutral . Foreign Secretary Palmerston, however, congratulated the French ambassador on the successful overthrow, which made his dismissal on December 22, 1851 inevitable. It was to be the only time the Queen actively secured the dismissal of a minister, and it turned out to be a mere political victory. Victoria's subsequent demand for the government to come up with a program of definitive foreign policy guidelines that any future secretary of state should refer to was rejected by Prime Minister Russell. After the formation of a new government under George Hamilton-Gordon on December 28, 1852, the influential Palmerston joined his cabinet as Minister of the Interior before he took over the office of Prime Minister himself from 1855.

The Crimean War (1853-1856)

Idealized representation of the care of her queen for those returning to the Crimea in the hospitals
Victoria (photo by Roger Fenton , 1854)
Victoria with Albert (1854)

In March 1854, Britain and France joined the Ottoman Empire in the conflict with Russia known as the Crimean War . Through this intervention, the Western powers wanted to counter the Russian expansionist drive on the Balkan Peninsula and on the Bosporus . The Crimean War is seen as the first “modern” and “industrial” conflict, which, due to technical innovations, was characterized by costly material battles and trench wars ( siege of Sevastopol ). The conflict brought the grievances within the British Army to light, in the army camps and especially in the field hospitals catastrophic conditions prevailed, which led to high personnel losses and finally to the resignation of the Aberdeen government in 1855. Overall, the British casualties amounted to 22,000 men, of which around 17,000 died due to inadequate care, disease or epidemics .

In accordance with their understanding of sovereignty , neither Victoria nor Albert were able to exert direct influence on military policy, but the authority of the Crown was great enough that their advice was heeded in the cabinet and partially adopted. The monarch discovered her maternal duty of care for the army, and showed compassion and personal concern for her soldiers by initiating military reform and supporting the renewal of the hospital system. Victoria, who first took part in a maneuver in person in March 1856 , showed keen interest in the military events and wrote with enthusiasm: “How do I regret that I am not a man and am allowed to fight in war. There is no better death for a man than to fall on the battlefield. ”In future she took the view that the troops should remain as far away from the influence of the politicians as possible, but should be in direct contact with the monarch through the commander-in-chief . As an expression of their support, Victoria donated the Victoria Cross on January 29, 1856, a medal to honor soldiers who had shown themselves to be particularly brave in the face of the enemy or excellent performance of duty during the Crimean War. Since its foundation, it can be awarded to any member of the British Armed Forces , regardless of rank. The medals were awarded on June 26, 1856 during a troop parade in London's Hyde Park . After the victory and the conclusion of peace on March 30, 1856 ( Third Peace of Paris ), Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister since 1855, thanked the Queen by saying that the task that he and his colleagues had to accomplish had been made comparatively easy by the "Enlightened ideas that Your Majesty had in all great matters." The relationship between the Crown and Prime Minister had relaxed noticeably, Palmerston's energetic drive towards the end of the Crimean War and Prince Albert's tireless efforts as advisor and organizer had led to mutual rapprochement and appreciation. At the beginning of the war, Palmerston's resignation as home secretary had triggered a sharp press campaign against Albert, possibly initiated by Palmerston himself. Among other things, the radical The Daily News had circulated rumors that the prince - who was still insulted as "German" - and even the queen herself had been imprisoned as a traitor in the Tower of London.

The open hostility in the press had shown Albert's still constitutionally undefined position. Victoria expressly wanted his influence on official business, even if there was no precedent for his position in the British constitution. “I love peace and quiet, I hate politics and turmoil. Women are not made for governing and if we are good women, then we cannot love these male pursuits ”(“ I love peace and quiet, I hate politics and turmoil. We women are not made for governing, and if we are good women “We must dislike these masculine occupations”) is how Victoria described her view of politics. The prince had reformed the organization of the court, the bureaucracy and the finances of the crown. Albert directed and administered the royal household with considerable zeal, acted as confidential advisor and private secretary to his wife. During their pregnancies he had come into direct contact with ministers and government officials. Although his services to Great Britain were undisputed, he only enjoyed public popularity during the first Great World's Fair, which he initiated in 1851. After Parliament Alberts appointment as Prince Consort ( Prince Consort had again rejected), conferred on him Victoria on June 25, 1857 this privileged title itself. Due to a lack of description of the powers of this position, the government provided only officially, the Prince Consort have the right to To support the monarch in an advisory capacity. The extent of this consulting activity was by no means defined.

Widowhood

The mourning Victoria with her son Prince Leopold (1862)
Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore
Victoria around 1870

The death of her 74-year-old mother on March 16, 1861 hit Victoria badly, which is why Prince Albert, who himself suffered from chronic respiratory problems, took over numerous tasks from his wife in the months that followed. Towards the end of 1861 Albert's health deteriorated noticeably before the royal personal physician William Jenner diagnosed typhoid fever on December 9th . Albert was not to recover and died in the presence of Victoria and five of their nine children on December 14, 1861 at 10:50 p.m. at the age of 42 at Windsor Castle. In her diary, Victoria described the scene:

"Two or three long, very calm breaths, his hand squeezed mine and ... everything, everything was over ... I got up, kissed the dear heavenly forehead and cried in bitter pain:" O my love! "Then I fell into silent despair on his knees and couldn't utter a word or cry a tear. "

“I will never forget how beautiful my darling looked when he lay there and the rising sun lit his face. His unusually shiny eyes saw invisible things and didn't notice me anymore. Now there is no one left to call me Victoria . "

Typhoid fever was given as the official cause of death, but more recent speculations assume stomach cancer , kidney failure or Crohn's disease , as Albert had been in poor health since 1859. The death of her husband was a painful stroke of fate for Victoria, which the desperate widow was never to overcome and which plunged her into the greatest personal crisis of her life. A week after Albert's death she wrote to Leopold I:

“The poor, fatherless baby of eight months is now a completely broken and destroyed widow of 42 years! My happy life is over! The world no longer exists for me! If I have to go on living (...), from now on only for our poor, fatherless children, for my unhappy country that has lost everything through its loss, and only to do what I know and feel that it would want ; because he is close to me, his spirit will guide and enlighten me! (...) His great soul now enjoys what is worthy of it. And I don't want to envy him, just pray that my soul will become more perfect in order to be allowed to be with him in eternity; for I sincerely long for this blessed moment. "

Victoria blamed her eldest son for the early death of her "beloved Albert". "Oh! This boy - to my great regret I can or will never be able to look at him without a shiver ("Oh! That boy - much as I pity I never can or shall look at him without a shudder") ", she confided in her diary. The easy-going and dissolute Bertie was involved in an improper love affair with the Irish actress Nellie Clifden , which is why Albert, who was already ill, traveled to Cambridge on November 25, 1861, to speak to the heir to the throne during a long walk in the rain. Victoria wrote: "He was killed by this terrible business" ("He had been killed by that dreadful business"), which is why the relationship with her son was permanently strained. Bertie , whom she accused of indolence and indifference, to make her male support and to let him grow into the role of his father, rejected Victoria all her life.

An incessant phase of mourning began for 42-year-old Victoria, which - even for the circumstances at the time - took on strange forms and ritualized the memory of the deceased as a cult: Albert's death room in Windsor remained unchanged, furnishings and utensils became relics, his sheets and towels were changed regularly, and hot water was provided in his bedroom every evening. As an expression of deep sadness and appreciation for her husband, who died early, Victoria wore widow's costume until the end of her own life. Almost all the photos and paintings show her as a woman in black mourning clothes, with a melancholy or dignified expression on her face. At the express request of the Queen, Albert was not buried in St George's Chapel , but in the Royal Mausoleum of Frogmore in Windsor Park, which Victoria had commissioned especially for both of them and in which she was later laid to rest. Overwhelmed by grief, the once so fun-loving queen initially withdrew completely from the public and tried to avoid Buckingham Palace for her entire life. She went to the seclusion of Balmoral Castle or Osborne House and, much to the chagrin of the politicians who were cited there, the stays during her 40 years of widowhood were firmly integrated into the course of the year. Even during government crises, Victoria could hardly be persuaded to return to London and had to be begged by the members of the government to enable efficient contact. She consistently refused to fulfill her public duties as representative of the monarchy and did not appear again until February 6, 1866 for the opening of parliament in the House of Lords ( State Opening of Parliament ). In her 40 years of widowhood, Victoria only appeared seven times in person (1866, 1867, 1871, 1876, 1877, 1880 and 1886) for the annual opening of parliament, which she disparagingly referred to as the “State Theater” and was otherwise represented by the Lord Chancellor . She was only willing to appear in public for the inauguration of Albert monuments and even traveled to Coburg in 1865.

Even if Victoria continued to carry out her official duties conscientiously, she came under fire from years of public absence and became increasingly unpopular with the people. For many subjects, the "Widow of Windsor" ("Widow of Windsor") became a somewhat strange hermit in widow's dress, a remote figure, awe-inspiring and ruling over a global empire , which at times gave the proponents of a republic great popularity. Constitutional lawyer and newspaper editor Walter Bagehot put it this way: “For reasons that are easy to name, the Queen's long retreat from public life has inflicted almost as much damage on the popularity of the monarchy as the most unworthy of her predecessors did through his viciousness and frivolity ". After her apprenticeship with Lord Melbourne, the journeyman's years with Prince Albert and a transitional phase lasting several years, she now had the confidence to rule as an independent constitutional monarch. Whenever she wanted to assert her political will against the respective prime minister in the following decades, she bluntly threatened to abdicate, not without the hint that this would be easy for her because this crown was a “crown of thorns” for her. In the four decades of her widowhood, she was always able to gain an emotional advantage politically and often assert herself.

With the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial Victoria commissioned the establishment of a national memorial in honor of her husband.

John Brown

Victoria on her horse Fyvie , left John Brown (1863)
Victoria with Brown in front of Osborne House ( Edwin Landseer , 1866)

A significant part of the mental relaxation of the widowed Victoria was attributed to her long-time servant John Brown , who was initially employed as a Scottish hunting assistant to Prince Albert in Balmoral. Since Victoria refused to be accompanied by a stranger's groom , Brown took over this task in the winter of 1864/65 and soon his duties extended beyond leading the horse. The queen liked him as a reliable, discreet servant , she took to her constant companion and 1865. The Queen's Highland Servant ( The Highland servant of the Queen appointed). In a memorandum, she defined its tasks: Brown was responsible for safety on horseback and in the carriages, for her clothes outside and for the dogs. The queen showed her servant great sympathy, among other things because of his open-hearted expressions without regard to rank and status as well as his casual, rustic behavior. He entered Victoria's room without knocking, called her quite simply “Woman” and gave the orders in public, despite being accompanied by a class. In June 1865 the relationship became the subject of widespread gossip. The trigger was a painting by the painter Edwin Landseer , which shows the Queen on horseback, whose reins John Brown is holding. From the working sessions, Landseer reported that the Queen had devoured a certain Scottish servant and did not want to be served by anyone else. In the tabloids, John Brown was the target of cruel jokes, there were rumors that he was Victoria's lover or even secretly married to her, which is why the Queen herself was disparagingly referred to as Mrs. Brown . When Victoria took a trip to Switzerland in 1868 , rumors arose that the then 49-year-old Queen had given birth to her servant there.

Victoria's environment and the family rated Brown's behavior as tactlessness and naughtiness, which is why they tried in vain to get rid of the favorite. Most of all, he was envied for his numerous prerogatives: Brown granted hunting and fishing rights on the royal estates in Scotland, and it was well known that a recommendation from the Highlander for a post or promotion was more beneficial than that of a prince. Victoria also demanded that Brown be treated particularly politely and considerately, which annoyed dignitaries at court.

In 1872 Brown prevented an assassination attempt by the Fenier Arthur O'Connor in front of Buckingham Palace , which gave the Queen another reason to insist on the services of her Highland servant. She donated the gold Victoria Devoted Service Medal for a special act of sacrifice to the monarchy, the first being given to John Brown. He later received a Silver Faithfull Service Medal for ten years of loyal service. Victoria is said to have personally determined the design of both medals. In addition to all these indirect favors, there was also concrete evidence in the form of very personal gifts: In 1869 a volume of poetry in Scottish dialect was dedicated “from his sincere friend VR”, in 1875 he received a gold watch, in 1879 a leather-bound Bible “from his loyal friend VRI ". The Queen also gifted him a house above the Dee where Brown would live after his retirement, and although the Queen rarely attended funerals, she appeared in person at the memorial service for Brown's father. Eventually he was even awarded the title of Esquire . As the years went by, the relationship became less and less the subject of rumors, but Brown's presence was recognized as a sign of attentive care it probably was. Brown himself took on the task of bringing bad news to the Queen, and in 1878, for example, brought her news of the death of her daughter Alice , who had died exactly on Albert's death day. Victoria also sent him to inquire about the sick and dying, which is why his presence could be seen as a sign of Victoria's special and personal sympathy.

After the death of John Brown on March 29, 1883, the Queen wrote in her diary that she was “terribly moved by this loss, which has robbed me of a person who has served me with so much devotion and loyalty and so much for my personal well-being did. With him I am not only losing a servant, but a real friend. "Brown didn't leave her for a day for 18½ years" - Victoria dedicated the second volume of her diary entries to him.

Between Gladstone and Disraeli

Victoria and Benjamin Disraeli
Abdul Karim and Victoria (photo, 1893)
New crowns for old ones! (“New crowns for old ones!”): Prime Minister Disraeli (in the costume of an oriental vendor's tray) wears the
Indian imperial crown instead of her British crown (satirical caricature of Punch 1876).
British Empire around 1898

Under Victoria's reign, ten prime ministers headed the government and their relationship with these statesmen varied greatly. Particular attention was paid to Victoria's personal affection for the conservative Benjamin Disraeli and her aversion to his political rival, the liberal William Gladstone , both of which were formative for British politics in the second half of the 19th century - Disraeli foreign policy, Gladstone domestic policy. From 1868 until Disraeli's death in 1881 they took turns at the head of the government. To Victoria's chagrin, Gladstone's reign (1868 to 1874, 1880 to 1885, 1886, 1892 to 1894) was twice as long as Disraeli's (1868 and 1874 to 1880).

Already during his first term of office (February to December 1868) the charming Disraeli had succeeded in winning over the "fairy queen" ("The Faery"), as he called Victoria. He skillfully exploited her weaknesses, created an atmosphere of familiarity, showed exaggerated respect and thus gave the queen a sense of self-affirmation, which is why his return to the office of prime minister was downright longed for by the monarch after the election victory of the Tories in 1874 . Disraeli gave Victoria the feeling that he was her minister and permanent servant and that the country was run jointly. As a special token of her favor, she allowed him to sit in her presence during the audiences; a privilege she had granted only to Lord Melbourne besides him, and Disraeli became her “Melbourne of old age.” Victoria was particularly taken with his foreign policy, and the imperial self-confidence prevailing in Great Britain at this time made it possible for Disraeli, personal desire to enforce the Queen's parliamentary title after another title. With the establishment of the German Empire in 1871, their eldest daughter Vicky , who was married to the German Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia , became Empress- designate and would have had formal priority over her mother. Hardly anyone in Great Britain saw the titles as not being equivalent, but the class-conscious queen feared for her rank. A change in the British title would not have been enforceable, but since Victoria was considered Empress ( Kaisar-i-Hind ) in India , she endeavored to officially bear this title. The proposal was not new: Disraeli had already pointed out during the Indian uprising of 1857 that it was important to bind all layers of the Indian people more closely to the crown. At the instigation of Disraeli's Parliament adopted the Royal Titles Act , the Victoria on May 1, 1876 in the rank of Empress of India ( Empress of India ) rose. From then on, Victoria signed with the abbreviation VR & I. (Victoria Regina et Imperatrix) , which became a symbol of the heyday of British imperialism . The proclamation in Delhi took place on January 1, 1877 as part of a Delhi Durbar , at which Victoria was represented by the British Viceroy . The appointment as Empress was also the key catalyst for Victoria's return to the public. As a token of gratitude and appreciation, Disraeli was ennobled by the queen and she bestowed on him the hereditary title of Earl of Beaconsfield . After Disraeli's death (1881), Victoria described him as "one of my best, most devoted, and most gracious friends and one of my brightest advisers."

Victoria developed a special interest in India, which she was never to visit in person. She had a durbar grand piano built in Osborne House especially for gifts of homage to Indian princes, she surrounded herself with an Indian bodyguard, invited Indians staying in Great Britain to an annual reception and founded the Order of the Star of India . From 1887 she employed a servant, Abdul Karim , who was promoted by her to "The Queen's Munshi " . Karim gave Victoria language classes in Hindustani and Urdu and taught them Indian customs, in later years the favorite became the "Indian Secretary of the Queen."

In the absence of her own view and experience, Victoria's knowledge of the colonies was limited to official documents and under these conditions it was hardly possible for her to see through the complexity of the problems. The numerous wars - for example the Zulu War (1879) or the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878 to 1880) - that were waged in her rapidly growing empire , Victoria now legitimized, unlike in the past when it came to British issues, with civilizing Sense of mission; she considered them regrettable but necessary, while for civilizational reasons she continued to regard wars in Europe as reprehensible. "Because the local rulers cannot maintain their authority (...) Not to expand our colonial possessions, but to avoid war and bloodshed, we have to do this." Victoria thus justified colonial power politics as politics to prevent war.

In contrast to the eloquent Disraeli, William Gladstone showed no interest in flattering the Queen; rather, the "People's William" was considered sober, matter-of-fact and pedantic. Gladstone endured his monarch's apparent dislike ("I could never have the slightest hint of confidence in Mr. Gladstone after his boisterous, harmful, and dangerous behavior") while being loyal to her - without ever receiving credit - that he was her took active protection from opponents of the monarchy and enforced controversial appanage demands of her children in parliament. Under the impression of the Paris Commune and the continued absence of Victoria from public life, the opponents of the monarchy received a strong influx around 1870/71, which led Gladstone to urge the Queen to return to the public. On the occasion of the Crown Prince's recovery from typhoid fever, Victoria took part in a thanksgiving service in London's St Paul's Cathedral on February 27, 1872 . Her first appearance after nine years outside of the opening of parliament or the inauguration of Albert monuments. Victoria's appearance sparked great enthusiasm among the population and turned into a demonstration of affection for the royal family. “It was a very moving day and several times I had to suppress my tears” (“It was a most affecting day, and many a time I repressed my tears”) the moved queen confided in her diary. Gladstone's priorities were undoubtedly domestic politics, and from 1868 he led the most important reform cabinet of the Victorian era. He abolished official patronage in the civil service in favor of specialist exams, banned the sale of officers' certificates , opened the universities of Oxford and Cambridge to non-Anglican students, extended compulsory schooling up to the age of thirteen and introduced secret voting , which exerted influence on the landowners on the voting behavior of the population dependent on them should be prevented. In particular, defusing the Irish conflict caused Victoria to feel uneasy. Gladstone dissolved the Anglican state church in Ireland, improved the position of the Irish tenants ( Land Act ) and saw above all Irish self-government ( Home Rule ) as inevitable. For Victoria, who, like the majority of the British, actually viewed Ireland as a colony , this practice was shocking and she complained that her government did not have the power to pacify the country. The Queen showed a behavior towards the Prime Minister Gladstone that she should not have allowed herself as a constitutional monarch, in that she very unconventionally tested and occasionally even exceeded the limits of the constitution. She secretly tried to isolate Gladstone from his party, urged subordinate officials to give up their loyal behavior to the government, and colluded with the opposition to the Prime Minister. Gladstone made himself particularly unpopular with Victoria because he hardly supported colonial imperialism and even rejected it out of moral values. Mainly because of his agitation against Disraeli's government from 1876 , but subsequently also his hesitant foreign policy during the Mahdi uprising in Sudan , Gladstone incurred the displeasure of his monarch, who claimed him personally for the military defeat during the siege of Khartoum and the death of the governor general Charles George Gordon was responsible ( see Gordon Relief Expedition ). "The news from Khartoum is appalling, and the thought that earlier action could have prevented all of this and saved many precious lives is too appalling." Victoria found the Crown's humiliation for which Gladstone was indecisive was just as inexcusable like Gladstone the deliberate affront of his sovereign. When the 85-year-old Gladstone announced his departure from Prime Minister in March 1894, Victoria's dislike of him was still so great that she could not find any words for anything more than expressions of general regret during his final audience.

Late years of government

Court portrait of Victoria on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the throne (1887)
Golden Jubilee Procession at Hyde Park Corner

Great Britain was the leading trade, economic and maritime power in the late 19th century and took on the role of a “world policeman.” Foreign policy was characterized by the principles of splendid isolation and the Pax Britannica : other great powers were bound by conflicts in Europe while Great Britain deliberately did not intervene and was able to expand its supremacy by concentrating on trade. In the mid-1870s, Victoria said goodbye to self-chosen seclusion and began to take part in public life again. People no longer saw in her the grieving, withdrawn widow who neglected her public duties as a monarch, but for them Victoria was the mother of the country , to whom they showed respect and affection. It gave the population a sense of continuity and consistency and became a symbol of the British Empire and its achievements. The monarchical traditions, personified by Queen Victoria, gave people support and security in an increasingly complex, changing world. For this purpose and for the self-expression of the Empire, the courtly rituals became more and more pompous, without this having any influence on the modest life of Victoria. The actual power of the crown had diminished considerably under Victoria's reign ( Reform Act 1867 ), but its prestige had grown enormously. The reputation of the monarchy, however, was tied to the person of Victoria and she in turn exuded a political power that should not be underestimated. As consistently as Victoria tried to influence the politics of her country, in particular foreign policy, the social change and the social problems ( see main article: Social question ) left her largely untouched. Victoria gave its epoch its name, but it did not have a decisive influence on it.

Golden Jubilee of the Throne (1887)

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne of the Golden Jubilee (was in 1887 Golden Jubilee ) organized. 50 European monarchs and princes, with the exception of the Russian tsar, and numerous overseas delegations were expected in London for the main festivities, which were scheduled for May and June. In addition to parades, family dinners, official banquets and pageants, a service on June 21, 1887 in Westminster Abbey formed the solemn climax (“My sons, sons-in-law, grandchildren (...) and great-grandchildren came forward, bowed and kissed my hand, and I did kissed everyone; the same ritual then with the daughters, daughters-in-law, granddaughters and great-granddaughters; they curtsied and I hugged them warmly. It was a very moving moment and I saw tears in some eyes ”). With frenetic cheers, Victoria was escorted from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey in an open landau , escorted by Indian cavalrymen . For Victoria herself, the celebrations were overshadowed by concern for her seriously ill son-in-law, Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm. With the marriage of their eldest daughter, Victoria and Albert had once hoped to export British constitutionalism to Prussia and to create a British-Prussian alliance. Victoria was particularly depressed by the prospect that her grandson Prince Wilhelm (the future Wilhelm II), who, in her opinion , had inherited all the unfortunate characteristics of the Hohenzollern family , would apparently face an early assumption of office and a long reign. She doubted Wilhelm's personal maturity and experience for the emperor's office. The thought that he would be supported by her hated Chancellor Otto von Bismarck , whom she had met personally on a private visit to the family in April 1888, did not calm her in any way.

Diamond Jubilee (1897)

Queen Victoria on her 60th anniversary to the throne

On September 23, 1896, Victoria's reign outlasted that of her grandfather Georg III. and she became the longest-ruling monarch in English , Scottish, and British history . In accordance with Victoria's wishes, the celebrations on the occasion of her 60th jubilee on the throne were postponed to 1897. At the suggestion of the Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury and Colonial Minister Joseph Chamberlain , the Diamond Jubilee was hosted as the Festival of the British Empire . To demonstrate the size and power of the Empire, delegations from all colonies were to take part instead of the European monarchs. On the sidelines of the celebrations, the heads of government of the Dominions met for the first time for a conference ( Colonial Conference ).

On June 22, 1897, 78-year-old Victoria paraded in an eight-horse state carriage on an almost ten kilometer route through London, accompanied by troops from all parts of the Empire. An open-air thanksgiving service was held in front of the steps of St Paul's Cathedral , which Victoria had to attend while sitting in her carriage, as she could no longer climb the steps due to her rheumatic disease. Eventually the procession crossed the poorer parts of London, south of the Thames . Victoria thought she was at the height of her popularity. Celebrations took place in the British colonies around the world, with countless fireworks, festive events, parades and church services for weeks.

Despite her advanced age, Queen Victoria continued to work hard and unwilling to let her eldest son take part in the business of state. Bertie was exposed to the persistent criticism of his mother, who repeatedly denied him the ability to fill the office of ruler ("totally, totally unfit for ever becoming king"). In the course of the costly and costly Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902) , the self-confident Victoria repeatedly urged her government to vigorously defend British interests: “Please understand that no one in this House is down; We are not interested in the possibility of defeat; They do not exist. ”(“ Please understand that there is no one depressed in this house; we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist ”).

death

Special edition of St. James's Gazzette

Victoria, who had enjoyed stable health throughout her life, increasingly struggled with age-related physical ailments from the mid-1890s. As a result of falling down a staircase in 1883 and rheumatism in her legs, she found it difficult to walk, which is why she was increasingly dependent on a wheelchair. In addition, cataracts permanently worsened Victoria's eyesight, which made reading and writing more difficult, but her mental vitality remained considerable. Against the background of the death of her son Alfred (in her diary she noted: "Oh, God! My poor darling Affie has also passed away. It's been a terrible year, nothing but sadness & one horror after the other.") And always The Boer War, which was becoming unpopular, first became noticeable in the summer of 1900 - the beginning of a physical decline, which spread over the next few months without being able to be associated with a specific clinical picture. Victoria complained of general weakness, tiredness during the day, loss of appetite and insomnia . As usual, Victoria had spent the Christmas days and the New Year at Osborne House, at the beginning of January 1901 she felt “weak and unwell”, in mid-January she felt “drowsy… dazed and confused” (“drowsy… dazed and confused”) ), which is why her surviving children, with the exception of the seriously ill Vicky, came to Osborne and gathered at her deathbed. On January 22, 1901 around 6:30 p.m. Queen Victoria died at the age of 81 in the arms of her grandson Wilhelm II and her son Albert Eduard.

On January 25, her successor Edward VII , Kaiser Wilhelm II and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught laid her in her coffin. Victoria's personal doctor made sure that a collection of favorite items was placed in the coffin, as she had ordered in a secret instruction. This included an alabaster cast of Albert's hand, photos, and a lock of John Brown's hair. Her wish to be buried in a white dress and with her bridal veil was also granted. On February 2, 1901, Victoria was laid out in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for two days and then buried at Albert's side in the Royal Mausoleum of Frogmore , which she had built for herself and her deceased husband in the Italian Romantic style.

With a reign of 63 years, seven months and two days, Victoria was the longest reigning British monarch before being surpassed by her great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth II on September 9, 2015 . The death of Victoria ended the rule of the House of Hanover , which had existed since 1714 , which passed to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha with the assumption of the throne by their eldest son Edward VII (renamed House Windsor from 1917 ).

progeny

Victoria with her family (1894)

The connection between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha resulted in nine children:

⚭ 1858 Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia ; as Friedrich III. German emperor
  • Albert Eduard ( Bertie ) (born November 9, 1841 - May 6, 1910), Prince of Wales ; as Edward VII King of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India
⚭ 1863 Princess Alexandra of Denmark
  • Alice (April 25, 1843 - December 14, 1878)
⚭ 1862 Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse
⚭ 1874 Grand Duchess Marija Alexandrovna Romanowa of Russia
  • Helena ( Lenchen ) (born May 25, 1846 - June 6, 1923)
⚭ 1866 Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
  • Louise (March 18, 1848 - December 3, 1939)
⚭ 1871 John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll
⚭ 1879 Princess Luise Margarete of Prussia
⚭ 1882 Princess Helene of Waldeck and Pyrmont
  • Beatrice ( Baby ) (April 14, 1857 - October 16, 1944)
⚭ 1885 Prince Heinrich von Battenberg
Victoria after the death of her daughter Alice with her son-in-law, Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and his children (1879)

Victoria was so closely connected with her husband that she was rather indifferent to the children during his lifetime. After Albert's death, the children certainly meant more to her, but there was no sign of intimacy in their daily dealings with them. Her relationship with the heir to the throne, Prince Albert Eduard, was difficult and an ongoing disappointment. She even accused him of his looks (not unlike hers). Many sources claim that the strict upbringing of the heir to the throne severely hampered his development and caused many of his later behaviors. The relationship with the daughters was a lot better, especially in the later years. Victoria made sure that a daughter was always close by as secretary and companion. Helena, Louise and Beatrice took on this task one after the other. She only agreed to Beatrice's marriage on the condition that she should continue to live with her after the wedding.

She was much more loving and indulgent towards her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, for example she looked after the children of her daughter Alice, who died young. However, she often felt overwhelmed by the large number of her descendants and the personal financial burden that many of them represented, as Parliament saw no reason to publicly support descendants who did not succeed to the throne.

Grandmother of Europe

Part of the family tree showing the inheritance of hemophilia among Queen Victoria's descendants (see
pedigree analysis )

Victoria had 40 grandchildren and 88 great-grandchildren. She determined that all of her grandchildren should bear her name or that of Alberts. As a result of their marriages, she has descendants in almost all European monarchies, which is why she was nicknamed the "Grandmother of Europe". For them it was an instrument of peacekeeping to cover the European continent with a dense network of relatives on the princely thrones. How ineffective this form of peacekeeping was was shown in the German-Danish War (1848–1851), the German War (1866) and finally in the First World War (1914–1918), where the fronts ran right through the kinship.

In 2008 the following European monarchs and former monarchs belong to Victoria's descendants: Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, King Harald V of Norway, King Carl XVI. Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Sophia of Spain, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark , the former King of Greece Constantine II and the former King of Romania Michael I. Their descendants also include the heads of the former Rulers of Serbia, Russia, Prussia, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Hanover, Hesse, Baden and France as well as the British Prince Consort Philip, Duke of Edinburgh .

hemophilia

Victoria was the first known to be a carrier ( Konduktorin ) the hereditary disease hemophilia (hemophilia) in the British Royal Family. She passed the disease on to many of her offspring. Among other things, her great-grandson Alexei Nikolajewitsch Romanow , the last Tsarevich , son of her granddaughter Tsarina Alexandra Fjodorovna (née Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt) and her husband Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, suffered from this disease.

gallery

Portraits of the children of Victoria and Albert

Family shots

Title, salutation and coat of arms

  • May 24, 1819 to June 20, 1837: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent
  • June 20, 1837 to May 1, 1876: Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith
  • May 1, 1876 to January 22, 1901: Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India

As the granddaughter of the King of Hanover, Victoria was a Princess of Hanover and Duchess of Braunschweig-Lüneburg . As the wife of Prince Albert, she was also entitled to the title of Princess of Saxony-Coburg and was Duchess of Saxony . With their marriage, Victoria's family name changed formally to Wettin . Historical practice, however, entitles a ruling queen to keep her family name, a tradition that Victoria also followed. Victoria never had a title; the title of Princess of Wales is reserved for the wife of a male heir to the throne.

personality

Victoria (painting by Carl Rudolf Sohn , 1883)
Victoria with her daughter Beatrice (1895)

The diary entry of 16-year-old Victoria “I love doing things. I hate doing nothing ”can be seen as programmatic for their later life. She is said to have a strictly regulated "free time" herself.

Victoria was only considered chatty, lively, and hilarious in close family circles, which made her awe-inspiring appearance with age. But her numerous letters also attest to her sense of humor. So she was amused that Disraeli addressed her with "mistress", which means both "ruler" and "beloved".

Victoria is said to have mostly sought advice from men throughout her life. This may be one reason why she judged the growing propaganda for “women's rights” during her reign as “dangerous, unchristian and unnatural”: The dependence of women on men is based on the fact that the man has no one else to protect . She saw her own position as queen as an "anomaly".

Victoria could not claim the phenotype of royal stature for herself. Her short stature remained the nagging annoyance of her life, her corpulence was fully developed, her face spongy, her gaze in the lens of constant discontent. On the throne sat a middle-class, sedate-looking matron, endowed with enviable robust health.

She was considered sincere to the point of tactlessness. With increasing age, this honesty and openness took on a coat of nonchalance and unpredictability, which may be due to the fact that after Albert's death no one criticized her anymore. Over the years, their stubbornness increased, their reluctance to change their plans, and their inability, contradiction or failure to endure. This was evident in her dealings with politicians as well as in private, where she was mostly guided by their moods and feelings. In many situations she seemed obnoxious because she lacked any understanding or vision, and she was apparently unable to put herself in the shoes of others.

She is said to be increasingly complacency on political issues. Her historical knowledge is considered to be incomplete, but she judged most situations just as astutely as her ministers.

She often judged foreign nations as stereotypically as individuals, the Russians were barbarians in their eyes, and the French people were depraved until the charms of Napoleon III. outweighed the bad opinion of his country. For a long time she had a positive attitude towards Prussia and Germany , later - also through the influence of her eldest daughter Vicky - she rejected Bismarck and sharply criticized her grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II.

The Swedish historian Herbert Tingsten put how she should be assessed as a queen :

“Vitality, sincerity, ambition and impulsiveness were her strong points. Victoria's intelligence is also evident in her lightning-fast and lively expressions of opinion. Almost everything she has written is read with great interest. You are fascinated by the way you express yourself. But she was unable to have astute, logical, and well-thought-out conversations. Victoria's stubbornness, her prejudices clouded her perspective. She would certainly have been a valued and respected personality wherever life would have put her, but she would certainly not have played a significant role in history if she had not been born as Queen of England. "

legacy

George Housman Thomas : Queen Victoria (oil on canvas, c. 1890)

When Queen Victoria died, the people were not unprepared for the news, but after wearing the crown for three generations, Britain was difficult to imagine for many of her subjects without her. "Victorian" was and is a seal of approval for the "good old days". The image of old Victoria overlays her early and middle years of reign, in which the queen was threateningly unpopular at times and the continuity of the monarchy seemed threatened.

The European 19th century was a time of upheaval due to the idea of ​​the nation state, democratic emancipation and colonization. The industrial revolution led to radical changes in economic and social structures. Great Britain survived these processes of change better than most European states because the British aristocracy had understood that a revolution could only be avoided through a fundamental readiness for reform. For example, the position of prime minister took on a new quality. The first servant of the crown, whom the ruler could dismiss at will, first became a leader of the parliamentary majority and finally, at the latest since the 1870s, he was only dependent on the trust of the lower house. The electoral reforms of 1832, 1867 and 1884 changed the potential of the electorate and with it the spectrum of parties. A process began by which the House of Commons evolved into a reflection of the entire will of the people, and the monarchy had to adapt to this development. Great Britain became a constitutional party democracy, which Queen Victoria did not want to admit, but she did not stand in the way of this development.

Throughout her life she tried to keep conflicts between states within bounds through family connections to the courts of Europe. After her death, this regulating authority was missing. Her successor, King Edward VII , brought about a radical departure from the Victorian splendid isolation , the refusal of alliances for the sake of political freedom of action and the Entente cordiale between Great Britain, France and Russia in 1907.

Letters and diaries

Queen Victoria kept a diary from her earliest youth , and letter writing later became her main occupation. The reason for this was probably that she had relatives and friends all over the world and that she often lived outside of London for long periods , mostly in Osborne and Balmoral. Victoria wrote relatively few letters to Prince Albert as they were only separated from each other for a short time. The correspondence with her uncle Leopold and especially with her eldest daughter Vicky was larger. The correspondence with her began when she married Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia in 1858, and the Queen wrote to her at least twice a week. 3777 letters from the Queen to her daughter and around 4000 letters from the daughter to her mother have been preserved and cataloged. There are numerous letters to relatives and leading politicians, some of which were published after her death. The Queen herself published two series of diary entries from her stay in the Scottish Highlands (1865 and 1884). The originals of the diaries - there should have been 121 books - are no longer available. After the death of Victoria, they were partially written off by her daughter Beatrice and then burned. Since May 25, 2012, all diaries received, including their transcriptions, can be viewed online.

Pedigree

Pedigree Queen Victoria
Great-great-grandparents

British Tudor crown
Georg II.
(1683–1760)
⚭ 1705
Caroline von Brandenburg-Ansbach
(1683–1727)

Duke
Friedrich II of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
(1676–1732)
⚭ 1696
Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst
(1679–1740)

Duke
Adolf Friedrich II of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
(1658–1708)
⚭ 1705
Emilie von Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
(1681–1751)

Duke
Ernst Friedrich I of Saxony-Hildburghausen
(1681–1724)
⚭ 1704
Sophia Albertine of Erbach-Erbach
(1683–1742)

Duke
Franz Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
(1697–1764)
⚭ 1723
Anna Sophia of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
(1700–1780)

Duke
Ferdinand Albrecht II of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
(1680–1735)
⚭ 1712
Antoinette Amalie of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
(1696–1762)

Count
Heinrich XXIX. Reuss zu Ebersdorf
(1699–1747)
⚭ 1721
Countess Sophie Theodora zu Castell-Remlingen
(1703–1777)

Count
Georg August zu Erbach-Schönberg
(1691–1758)

Countess
Ferdinande Henriette zu Stolberg-Gedern
(1699–1750)

Great grandparents

Prince
Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover
(1707–1751)
⚭ 1736
Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1719–1772)

Duke
Karl of Mecklenburg
(1708–1752)
⚭ 1735
Elisabeth Albertine of Saxony-Hildburghausen (1713–1761)

Duke
Ernst Friedrich of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
(1724–1800)
⚭ 1749
Sophie Antonia of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1724–1802)

Count
Heinrich XXIV. Reuss zu Ebersdorf
(1724–1779)
⚭ 1754
Karoline Ernestine zu Erbach-Schönberg (1727–1796)

Grandparents

British Tudor crown
George III (1738–1820)
⚭ 1761
Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744–1818)

Duke
Franz von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld (1750–1806)
⚭ 1777
Countess Auguste Reuss zu Ebersdorf (1757–1831)

parents

Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767–1820)
⚭ 1818
Victoire von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld (1786–1861)

British Tudor crown
Victoria (1819-1901)

Naming

Victoria Memorial in Calcutta
Victoria Memorial (right) in front of Buckingham Palace
Victoria Tower
Statue of Victoria in front of Kensington Palace
Lake Victoria in Africa

Selected names that go back to Queen Victoria:

See also

Film adaptations

literature

Gold Sovereign from 1889 with Victoria
  • Julia Baird: Queen Victoria. The bold life of an extraordinary woman . wbg Theiss, Darmstadt 2018, ISBN 978-3-8062-3784-9 .
  • Carolly Erickson: Queen Victoria. A biography . Piper, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-492-23286-8 .
  • Josephine M. Guy: The Victorian age. An anthology of sources and documents . Routledge, London 2002, ISBN 0-415-27114-2 .
  • Sidney Lee : Queen Victoria. A biography . Smith, Elder & Co., London 1902.
  • Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 .
  • Ella Mensch : Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland. A picture of time and life. Represented from written and oral sources . Hermann Seemann Nachf., Berlin 1908.
  • Jane Ridley: Victoria. Queen, Matriarch, Empress (Penguin Monarchs). Allen Lane, London 2015.
  • Kurt Tetzeli from Rosador : Queen Victoria. A biographical reader . Edited by Kurt Tetzeli v. Rosador & Arndt Mersmann. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-423-12846-1 .
  • Heide Schulz: H. C. A. Eichstädts ode to the Royal Wedding 1840. In: Coburger Geschichtsblätter . 20th year 2012, pp. 25–54, ISSN  0947-0336
  • Herbert Tingsten : Queen Victoria and her time. Diederichs, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-424-01360-9 .
  • Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria, the indomitable queen . Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-406-72753-5 . Previous edition titled Queen Victoria, A Biography , 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-58788-7 .
  • Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 .
  • Karl-Heinz Wocker : Queen Victoria. The story of an age . Heyne, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-453-55072-2 .
  • Victoria Zoubkoff : What life gave me - and took away . With an afterword by Horst-Jürgen Winkel. Bouvier, Bonn 2005, ISBN 3-416-03071-0 .

Web links

Commons : Queen Victoria  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Victoria (United Kingdom)  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Marita A. Panzer: England's Queens . Piper, 2006, p. 219.
  2. Tom Levine: The Windsors. Glory and tragedy of an almost normal family. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main and others 2005, ISBN 3-593-37763-2 , p. 21.
  3. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 41.
  4. Anna Kirwan: Victoria. May blossom of Britannia. Scholastic Inc., New York NY 2001, ISBN 0-439-21598-6 , p. 205.
  5. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 48.
  6. Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria: Eine Biographie , CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 3-406-58788-7 , item 194 (e-book)
  7. Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria: Eine Biographie, CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 3-406-58788-7 pos. 194 (e-book)
  8. ^ Jürgen Lotz: Victoria . Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 23.
  9. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 61.
  10. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 61.
  11. Jürgen Lotz: Victoria . Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 27.
  12. Jane Ridley: Victoria - Queen, Matriarch, Empress , Penguin Monarchs, London 2015, ISBN 978-0-14-197718-8 , p. 14.
  13. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 62.
  14. Wilderich Weick: The ducal house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Its history and present position in Europe. C. Macklot, Karlsruhe 1842, p. 263 .
  15. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 55.
  16. a b Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria: A biography . CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 3-406-58788-7 .
  17. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 57.
  18. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 79.
  19. a b Jane Ridley: Victoria - Queen, Matriarch, Empress , Penguin Monarchs, London 2015, ISBN 978-0-14-197718-8 , p. 16.
  20. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 80.
  21. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 80.
  22. Cecil Woodham-Smith: Queen Victoria: Her Life and Times 1819–1861 , London: Hamish Hamilton, ISBN 0-241-02200-2 .
  23. Jane Ridley: Victoria - Queen, Matriarch, Empress , Penguin Monarchs, London 2015, ISBN 978-0141977188 , p. 24.
  24. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 94 f.
  25. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , pp. 103-105.
  26. ^ Herbert Tingsten: Queen Victoria and her time . Diederichs, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-424-01360-9 , p. 60.
  27. Carolly Erickson: Queen Victoria. A biography . Piper, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-492-23286-8 , p. 91.
  28. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 98 f.
  29. Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria: Eine Biographie , CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 3-406-58788-7 , item 528 (e-book)
  30. Jürgen Lotz: Victoria . Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , pp. 40-42.
  31. Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria: Eine Biographie , CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 3-406-58788-7 , item 526 (e-book)
  32. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 112.
  33. ^ Herbert Tingsten: Queen Victoria and her time . Diederichs, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-424-01360-9 , p. 60.
  34. Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria: Eine Biographie , CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 3-406-58788-7 , item 531 (e-book)
  35. Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria: Eine Biographie, CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 3-406-58788-7 , item 629 (e-book)
  36. Carolly Erickson Queen Victoria: A Biography Piper Paperback 2001, ISBN 978-3-492-23286-9 , p. 63.
  37. Carolly Erickson: Queen Victoria. A biography . Piper Taschenbuch 2001, ISBN 978-3-492-23286-9 , p. 65.
  38. Carolly Erickson: Queen Victoria. A biography . Piper Taschenbuch 2001, ISBN 978-3-492-23286-9 , p. 99.
  39. Carolly Erickson: Queen Victoria. A biography . Piper Taschenbuch 2001, ISBN 978-3-492-23286-9 , p. 100.
  40. ^ Hans Joachim Netzer Albert von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha , CH Beck Verlag 1988, ISBN 978-3-406-33000-1 , p. 146.
  41. Carolly Erickson: Queen Victoria: A Biography . Piper Taschenbuch 2001, ISBN 978-3-492-23286-9 , pp. 99-102.
  42. Carolly Erickson: Queen Victoria: A Biography . Piper Taschenbuch 2001, ISBN 978-3-492-23286-9 , pp. 100-102.
  43. Netzer, p. 151.
  44. Carolly Erickson: Queen Victoria: A Biography . Piper Taschenbuch 2001, ISBN 978-3-492-23286-9 , pp. 162 and 1964.
  45. Netzer, p. 161.
  46. Netzer, p. 183.
  47. Netzer, pp. 182 and 186.
  48. ^ Hannah Pakula Victoria, Marion von Schröder Verlag 1999, ISBN 978-3-547-77360-6 , p. 9f.
  49. ^ Hannah Pakula Victoria, Marion von Schröder Verlag 1999, ISBN 978-3-547-77360-6 , p. 9f.
  50. Netzer, p. 190.
  51. ^ Herbert Tingsten: Queen Victoria and her time. Diederichs, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-424-01360-9 , p. 61
  52. ^ Herbert Tingsten: Queen Victoria and her time. Diederichs, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-424-01360-9 , p. 70
  53. Karina Urbach: Queen Victoria: Eine Biographie, CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 3-406-58788-7 , item 629 (e-book)
  54. ^ Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 71
  55. Wolfgang Gubalke, Ruth Kölle: The midwife through the ages. 2nd edition, Elwin Staude Verlag, Hannover 1985, ISBN 3-87777-030-4
  56. ^ Hannah Pakula Victoria , Marion von Schröder Verlag 1999, ISBN 978-3-547-77360-6 , p. 6
  57. ^ Hannah Pakula Victoria , Marion von Schröder Verlag 1999, ISBN 978-3-547-77360-6 , pp. 11-13
  58. ^ Hannah Pakula Victoria , Marion von Schröder Verlag 1999, ISBN 978-3-547-77360-6 , pp. 16-21
  59. Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 70
  60. ^ Hannah Pakula Victoria , Marion von Schröder Verlag 1999, ISBN 978-3-547-77360-6 , p. 20
  61. Jim Donelly; The Irish Famine . On BBC History February 17, 2001.
  62. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria. Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 169 f.
  63. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria. Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 185
  64. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria. Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 186
  65. ^ Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 60 f.
  66. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria. Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , p. 182 f.
  67. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria. Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , pp. 177-179.
  68. Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p.
  69. ^ Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , pp. 76-80
  70. Gerd Fesser, DIE ZEIT, August 7, 2003, No. 33, Crimean War: Europe's first Verdun
  71. ^ German Werth: The Crimean War. The hour of birth of the world power Russia. Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-548-34949-8 , p. 309
  72. ^ Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , pp. 82-87
  73. Jane Ridley: Victoria - Queen, Matriarch, Empress , Penguin Monarchs, London 2015, ISBN 978-0141977188 , p. 45
  74. ^ Stanley Weintraub: Queen Victoria . Benziger Verlag, Solothurn and Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-545-34070-8 , pp. 225 f. And 229.
  75. ^ Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , pp. 82-87.
  76. ^ Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 85.
  77. ^ Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 82.
  78. Jane Ridley: Victoria - Queen, Matriarch, Empress , Penguin Monarchs, London 2015, ISBN 978-0141977188
  79. Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 83.
  80. Jürgen Lotz: Victoria. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-50627-0 , p. 95
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predecessor Office successor
William IV Queen of the United Kingdom
1837–1901
Edward VII
New title created Empress of India
1877–1901
Edward VII