Two days from now, January 22nd, marks the anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria, the longest-reigning monarch (63 years and 7 months) in British history, in 1901. To commemorate this, here are 5 facts about this queen that you may not know:
She proposed to her husband, Prince Albert.
In a time when it was the norm to have the men ‘pop the question’, Queen Victoria was an exception. As she was already queen when the match between her and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was decided on, he couldn’t propose to her, so she had to do it. She wore a white wedding dress, which set the trend for brides worldwide to start wearing white on their wedding day. Contrary to many royal unions of the time, Victoria and Albert’s marriage was a love match and Victoria is famous for maintaining a permanent state of mourning after Albert’s untimely death in 1861 (from typhoid fever).
She was more German than English.
Being the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, who was the fourth son of George III, and Victoria Saxe-Saalfeld-Coburg, Queen Victoria was primarily of German descent. Her first language was German, though she also spoke English, French, Urdu and Hindustani. Her German husband famously introduced the tradition of having a Christmas tree to England and the Royal Family to this day still opens their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, as is the custom in Germany as well.
She wasn’t very fond of babies.
Even though she had 9 children, Queen Victoria wasn’t very keen on the idea of giving birth (well, who can blame her, really?) and didn’t enjoy the company of her children during their infant years. In fact, she was so repulsed by them, she had them live in a different wing of the palace and frequently referred to them as ‘frogs’.
The phrase “We are not amused” is attributed to her.
Although there is no historical evidence she ever said it, many believe that the famous phrase “We are not amused” was first uttered by Queen Victoria. Russell T. Davies incorporated this into the script for the Doctor Who episode ‘Tooth & Claw’, in which the character of Rose Tyler repeatedly tries to get Queen Victoria to say it (and succeeds).
She is still called the ‘Grandmother of Europe’.
Victoria’s 9 children all married into the royal families of Europe (which is why most of them are still related to each other to this day, even though the custom of marrying among themselves has mostly died out) and she’s therefore often called the ‘Grandmother of Europe’. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are actually both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with some of their children