She lived for 81 years and reigned for 63 of them. Who is she? Queen Victoria of course! Despite her dour image, Queen Victoria was far from gloomy. In fact, many describe the her reign as one of the most transformational in history! The 'Victorian era' saw Britain change in ways many never imagined. So, what did happen during Queen Victoria's time in charge and what fun facts can we learn about her today?
Changes for Children
When Queen V was born, children in Britain had to go to work! Children as young at 5 were sent down mines, up chimneys and under dangerous spinning machines in the cotton mills. Queen Victoria knew this wasn't safe or fair, so she set about making changes (as all good Queens do!) By the time she finished her reign as Queen, all children had to attend school up to the age of 13. Going to school was a new idea and wasn't for everyone, and many children (and their parents) tried to stay at home. To try and persuade pupils to attend, special medals with Queen Victoria's face on were awarded to those who went often.
Prince Albert - her true love
In 1840, Queen Victoria married her cousin (yes, cousin!), Albert. They were incredibly close and had a brilliant bond and marriage. They had an impressive 9 children (5 girls, 4 boys), and they went on to have children of their own, making Queen Victoria a grandmother to a whopping 37 grandchildren!
Did you know, after Prince Albert sent decorated trees to local schools, Christmas trees became common in many houses in Britain for the first time. An engraved picture of the Queen, Prince Albert and some of their children decorating a Christmas tree was seen by people all over. When Prince Albert died in 1861, the Queen was devastated. She spent the next 40 years of her life wearing black - a symbol of her sadness.
Here's a selection of facts you may (or may not) have known about the Victorian leader!
She was tiny! At just 5 feet tall, she would have been far shorter than most other women and considerably shorter than most men. It didn't stop her though, she was a determined woman and powerful leader.
Not only was she small, in her later years she was rather wide! A pair of her very large bloomers (knickers) were sold in an auction in 2009.
Although most people loved her, some didn't - Queen Victoria was nearly killed 6 times. Most of these attempts to kill the Queen happened when she was riding in her carriage. Luckily, none were successful and after every near death experience, the rest of the British public loved her even more!
By the end of her time as Queen, Victoria was in charge of 1/4 of the people on the planet. How? Because of The British Empire. The British Empire meant that not only was Queen Victoria in charge of her own country, she also set the rules for many other people, in places she had never even been! Today, many people think it's unfair that a Queen in a country far away could be in charge of people and places she had never seen, back then, it was normal. Do you think it's fair?
Are you learning about Queen Victoria? Why not book a live, virtual visit from the lady herself(!). She will share more stories about her time as Queen and you'll even be able to ask her your own questions!