• Imagining History

Who Was Queen Victoria? – An Introduction For Kids


Queen Victoria at her Diamond Jubilee
Queen Victoria at her Diamond Jubilee

I’ve heard of Queen Victoria! She was the Queen of England, right?


Yes. Queen Victoria was Queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1937 until 1901. That’s 64 years on the throne! (Though she wasn’t literally sat on the throne that entire time. Talk about a numb bum!).


I heard that Victoria was the longest-reigning queen of England.


That’s right. Victoria was the longest-reigning British monarch until our current queen (and Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter) Queen Elizabeth II, overtook her and set a new record for the longest British reign. But Victoria still stands strong in second place.


So when did Victoria become queen?


Victoria became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland in June 1837 after her Uncle, King William IV died. She was just 18 years old. Her coronation was at Westminster Abbey a year later.


Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their 9 children
Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their 9 children

Whoa, Queen at only 18 years old! What was Victoria’s childhood like?


Victoria had a very strict childhood. She had no brothers or sisters and wasn’t allowed to invite any friends around to play with. This made her very lonely.


Victoria was very clever and was given a good education. She enjoyed learning languages, including German, French, Italian and Latin.


Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children gathered around a Christmas Tree
Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children gathered around a Christmas Tree

Did Victoria have any children of her own?


So. Many. Children!


During their marriage, Victoria and Albert had nine children; Victoria, Edward, Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold and Beatrice. As they grew up, these nine children gave Victoria a whopping 42 grandchildren!


Could you tell me about Victoria’s marriage to Albert, please?


Sure thing. Especially as you asked so nicely.


Victoria first met her husband, Prince Albert, when she was just 17 and it was love at first sight. Victoria had to propose to Albert because he wasn’t allowed to propose to the Queen. They got married in February 1840.


Sadly, Prince Albert died when the Queen was just 42 years old and Victoria was devastated. She spent the rest of her life in mourning and wore black every day. For almost a decade after his death, Victoria withdrew from her duties and was very rarely seen out in public.


Queen Victoria in mourning for her husband at Balmoral Castle, Scotland.
Queen Victoria in mourning for her husband at Balmoral Castle, Scotland.

Is it true Victoria and Albert were obsessed with Christmas?


Victoria and Albert are well known for establishing many of our modern-day Christmas traditions celebrated in Britain. Such as decorating Christmas Trees, eating turkey, Christmas Pudding, sending Christmas cards and more.


Map of the British Empire during Queen Victoria's reign in 1898.
Map of the British Empire during Queen Victoria's reign in 1898.

Did Victoria have a good reign as queen?


The years of Queen Victoria’s rule are known as the Victorian Era. It was filled with great developments in science, technology, industry, education and daily life. The era was filled with new inventions, such as steam-powered factory machines, steam-powered trains, railroads, photography and more.


During her reign, the British Empire grew to be the largest empire the world had ever seen. It covered a fifth of the globe and included over a quarter of the world’s population, some 400 million people! The empire included Australia, New Zealand, Canada and parts of South Africa and Egypt. In 1867, Victoria even became the Empress of India.


Edward Oxford tries to assassinate Queen Victoria
Edward Oxford tries to assassinate Queen Victoria

Impress us! What’s the most shocking thing about Victoria’s life?


Here's a shocker: there were 7 different occasions where somebody tried to murder Queen Victoria (8 if you count the man who tried to kill her twice)! Luckily, she survived them all. Phew!


And when did Victoria’s reign end?


Victoria’s reign ended with her death in 1901 at 81 years old. She was buried with Prince Albert at Windsor Castle.