The Grandmother of Europe
On the day Alexandrina Victoria was born she was only fifth in line to ascend to the throne. Before the age of one she moved up to third in line after the death of her father in January 1820 and her grandfather a week later. She became heir presumptive at the tender age of eleven after the death of her two oldest uncles who had no legitimate surviving children. The Parliament of the United Kingdom passed The Regency Act 1830 that provided regency in case the person next in line to the throne was not yet eighteen. This would mean that should King William IV die before Alexandrina Victoria had come of age, her mother would act as regent.
King William IV distrusted Alexandrina Victoria’s mother and publicly stated that he wanted to live until after her eighteenth birthday. His wish came to fruition… just. He died within a month of Alexandrina Victoria turning eighteen and so it was that she became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 20 June 1837.
Queen Victoria did not get along well with her mother and often refused to see her. However, due to social convention she was obliged to live with her until she was finally married to her first cousin in 1840. She was besotted with Prince Albert and together they had nine children, all of whom married into royal and noble families across the continent, and her forty two grand-children were spread all over Europe.
The “Victorian Era” is how her reign came to be known, and with it being the longest reign than any of her predecessors, marked many changes within the United Kingdom and a great expansion of the British Empire.
The Scottish born and popular British hero in the Victorian Era, David Livingstone, discovered the Victoria Falls and named it so in honour of Queen Victoria. Two stunning examples of Victoria Falls stamps can be found here and here.