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Victoria, Queen
Victoria, Queen (1819-1901)

Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and of dependencies overseas (1837-1901) and (from 1876) Empress of India.

The last of the House of Hanover, she was the only child of George III's fourth son, Edward, Duke of Kent. She came to the throne in 1837 on the death of her uncle, William IV. She was guided in the performance of her duties as a monarch by the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne.

Her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840 was to prove a happy one; his early death in 1861 was a blow from which she never fully recovered, and her withdrawal from public life during the early years of her widowhood did not enhance her popularity.

Benjamin Disraeli persuaded her to take her place once more in the life of the nation, but it was largely at her own instigation that she was declared Empress of India by the Royal Titles Act of 1876.

By the 1880s she had won the respect and admiration of her subjects at large. The Golden and Diamond Jubilees were great imperial occasions.

Her death in 1901 marked the end of an era to which she had given her name, the Victorian Age, during which Britain had become the world's leading industrial power at the centre of the British empire.