Queen Victoria, the longest serving monarch in British history, was perhaps also one of the most complex women to have taken a role of leadership. Known for her stringency and conservatism, she ruled as Queen from 1837 to 1901. Having been crowned at the frail age of 18, she was thrown into the world of Royal dominion with its burdens and difficulties. It was her arduous reign that established the famous Victorian Era.
5. There were close to 7 assassination attempts on her life.
That is right. Despite the fact that Queen Victoria was a very popular monarch, 7 different people at some point in her life shot at her during her reign. The most of famous of these of course was John Francis who on May 30th, 1842 decided to cut Victoria’s reign short. The funny thing was that this was his second attempt, as his first had only occurred a day earlier. It was perhaps her very fame and popularity that pushed many to take her life, not solely due to political reasons by sheer insanity.
4. After her husband’s death she became deeply affected and sank into a depression.
The years following her husbands death in the 1860’s she fell into a deep depression and refrained from public view. As a result of her seclusion and at times lack of regard for the public there was a brief surge of republicanism in the UK in the 1860’s, until Victoria returned to the public eye in the 1870’s. The period of her widowhood is perhaps known as the darkest period of her life, not only because she lost her husband, but also her mother with whom she had always wished to share grater affection.
3. She was the main instigator of the First Great Exhibition.
The Great Exhibition, also known as the First World Fair, where the all the new wonders and gadgets of the Victorian era were put on display was heavily supported by Queen Victoria, not only because of her youth and obvious appreciation for the new and innovative, but also because it bolstered her popularity with the masses. Despite this rather bleak view of her the reason behind the Fair, it is important to mention that it was one of the events that mostly defined the Victoria Era- at least the technological development part.
2. She Was The Empress of India.
Very few surprisingly know, despite the fact that this is no real secret and has been public knowledge for over 100 years, that the Queen was proclaimed in 1872 as the Empress of India, as a result of the expansion of the British Empire as well as the East India Company within the Indian sub-continent. In fact it got so far that she began receiving jewels from rich Indian landlords.
1.There is no evidence that she actually said “We Are Not Amused”
Although popular culture has attributed Victoria with saying “We Are Not Amused” there is no really direct evidence that she actually said it. Now, considering her high-brow attitude as well as royal status, I would not be surprised that at one point she used the phrase in her 64 years of rule.
Published in The Art of Polemics, Issue 2, on Sept 9th, 2014.