Today marks the 200-year anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth. On the 24th May 1819 the iconic future monarch was born to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Up until 2015, Queen Victoria was our longest serving monarch, having held her title for 63 years. Undoubtedly, she was a highly influential sovereign and her period in ruling inspired a whole era in her name.
At just 18 years old, Victoria was living an extremely repressed and secluded life with her mother, when her uncle’s unexpected passing left her inherent to the throne in 1837. Despite her initial shock, she is said to have taken to the position with dignity and determination and as a result, was initially very popular with the British public.
In 1861 her beloved husband; Prince Albert sadly passed away at only 42 years old. The queen then withdrew into a deep depression and period of mourning. She cancelled all public engagements and the British people grew tiresome of her grief and ever-growing absences, causing a growth in the republican movement. It was not until in 1872, that Victoria came out of seclusion; throwing a grand state occasion to celebrate her son’s health. This act seemingly restored her popularity with most (albeit not all) of the public, even though she continued to mourn Albert’s passing until her own death in 1901.
Despite what the British people thought of her at the time, it is undeniable that Victoria led the United Kingdom through a period of great change. During her reign, there were huge advances across the industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military sectors. The first railways were built, the modern sewage system was developed, and the telephone was created to name just a few.
As one of only a few countries with an ever-present monarchy, we feel it’s important for us look back at our royal history to respect and understand how we’ve got to where we are today.
If you’re interested in having your own piece of history from the Victorian era, the British Bespoke auction next Wednesday (29th May), has some exciting lots available that we urge you to check out. A few of our favourites include;
- This stunning tortoiseshell trinket box depicting Gloucester cathedral:
- A Victorian gold half sovereign dated 1892:
- A Victorian hand embroidered christening robe & bonnet:
To view the full British Bespoke catalogue click here.