Victoria reigned for more than 60 years, longer than any other British monarch. Her reign was a period of significant social, economic and technological change, which saw the expansion of Britain's industrial power and of the British empire.20 June 1837 - 22 January 1901.
Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert.
In 1837 most people lived in villages and worked on the land; by 1901, most lived in towns and worked in offices, shops and factories.
Read more about the Victorian life in Britain
Victoria becomes Queen at the age of 18 after the death of her uncle, William IV.
Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist' is published
1 August: Slavery is abolished in the British empire
17 September: London-Birmingham line opens.
10 January: The first postage stamps (Penny Post) comes into use
June: Vaccination for the poor is introduced
June: Income tax is introduced for the first time during peacetime
|Mines Act ends child labour|
1845 - 1849
|Ireland suffers the Great Potato Famine when entire crops of potatoes, the staple Irish food, are ruined. The famine was a consequence of the appearance of blight, the potato fungus. About 800,000 people died as a result of the famine. A large number of people migrated to Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia.|
|The first post boxes were built|
|1 May: The Great Exhibition opens|
Census showed just over half of Britain's population (of 20 million) lived in towns
The Crimean War was fought between the Russians and an alliance of the British, French and Turks who feared Russian expansion in the Balkans.
|A cholera epidemic led to demands for a clean water supply and proper sewage systems in the big cities|
|Britain defeats Russia in the Crimean War|
|The Indian Mutiny|
|India came under direct British government control when the remaining authority of the East India Company was dissolved.|
Charles Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species' is published
|The first public flushing toilet opens|
|14 December: Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, dies aged 42|
Albert's premature death from typhoid plunged Victoria into a long period of mourning and withdrawal from public life.
|The first London trams|
|London Underground opens|
The foundation of the Football Association
|Alice in Wonderland|
|Joseph Lister discovers disinfectant|
|The last public hanging|
|The first Sainsbury's shop open in Dury Lane, London|
|Education Act means school for everyone|
|Queen Victoria opens the Albert Hall|
18 July: Voting by secret ballot is introduced
1 May: Victoria is declared empress of India
| Alexander Bell invented the telephone|
Primary education was made compulsory
|The first public electric lighting in London|
2 August: Education becomes compulsory for children under ten
17 January: Sir William Armstrong's home at Cragside in Rothbury (Northumberland) becomes the first to use electric light.
|First electric railway|
|The invention of the gramophone|
|Free education for every child|
|Population of Britain 40 million|
22 January: Victoria dies and is succeeded by Edward VII
|Click here for Information on the Victorian|
Victoria’s mum and her mum’s friend, John Conroy, came up with a list of very strict rules that Victoria had to follow as she grew up. This was called the Kensington System (after Kensington Palace, where they lived). It included things like having Victoria watched all the time, even when she was sleeping – she had to share a room with her mum and wasn’t allowed to have her own room. She couldn’t walk down the stairs without someone holding her hand, and she didn’t really play with other children. This was all done so Victoria would learn to depend on her mum and John Conroy, and maybe give them important roles after she became queen. But, it all went wrong – after Victoria became queen, she sent John Conroy away and gave her mum rooms that were far away from hers at Buckingham palace, so they hardly saw each other.
During Victoria’s life, there were seven times when someone tried to kill her! She survived all of them.
Victoria met Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg Gotha when she was 17. She was a few months older than Albert, and he was her cousin. They became friends and fell in love. After Victoria became queen, she decided to propose to Albert in October 1839 because she was worried that he wouldn’t know if it was proper to propose to a queen. They were married on 10 February 1840. Prince Albert wasn’t allowed to take the title of King, but Victoria involved him in the decisions she had to make. They even shared the same office, each with their own desk.
Eight of Victoria and Albert’s nine children went on to marry into other royal families around Europe. Because of this, Victoria is sometimes called the ‘grandmother of Europe’! By 1901, Victoria had 42 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren. One of her great-great-grandchildren is Queen Elizabeth II!
Victoria and Albert enjoyed celebrating Christmas very much. Prince Albert was from Germany, and carried on holding some of the Christmas traditions he was used to. These included having Christmas trees – before this time, people in Britain would have just hung a bit of holly or mistletoe rather than bring a whole tree inside and decorate it. Queen Victoria sent Christmas cards, and people began doing the same. Victoria and Albert also had a special red and gold sleigh that Albert would drive around in the snow.
Prince Albert was very involved in organising the Great Exhibition in 1851. He was interested in all the latest things to do with the arts and sciences, and celebrating the many discoveries and inventions of the Victorian era.
Prince Albert died in 1961 of typhoid fever. He was just 42, and Queen Victoria was very sad. She wore black clothes for the rest of her life to show that she was in mourning for his death. She didn’t really go out in public until quite a few years after he died. When she died in 1901, she had some of Albert’s things put in her coffin – his dressing gown, and a plaster cast of his hand.
Prince Albert Saxe-Coburg Gotha (1819-1861) – Born in Germany, Albert was Queen Victorian’s husband, and Prince Consort of Britain. He died of typhoid in 1861, and Victoria wore black mourning clothes for the rest of her life.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) – Prime Minister in 1868 and again from 1874-1880; Queen Victoria liked Disraeli very much, and the two were good friends
John Brown (1826-1883) – a servant of Queen Victoria’s at Balmoral Castle in Scotland; he and Victoria were very good friends, and he helped Victoria through the time when she was sad about the death of Prince Albert
Baroness Lehzen (1784-1870) – Victoria’s governess from Germany, who was both her teacher and advisor