Victoria (Australia)


b. 24 May 1819, London
d. 22 Jan 1901, Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Title: By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith
Term: 20 Jun 1837 - 28 Apr 1876
Chronology: 20 Jun 1837, succeeded her uncle, William IV
  28 Jun 1838, crowned, Westminster Abbey
Title: By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India
Term: 28 Apr 1876 - 22 Jan 1901
  28 Apr 1876, royal style changed according to the Proclamation, respecting the Alteration of Her Majesty's Style and Titles (declared in London on 1 May 1876; proclaimed in Delhi on 1 Jan 1877)
  1 Jan 1901, assumed the functions of Head of State for Australia upon coming into force of An Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia (assented to 9 Jul 1900, effective 1 Jan 1901 as provided by a royal proclamation of 17 Sep 1900) [1]
  22 Jan 1901, died
Names/titles: Private name: Alexandrina Victoria

Alexandrina Victoria was the daughter of Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, fourth son of King George III. As her father died on 23 Jan 1820, she became third in the line of succession to the throne after the Duke of York (died 5 Jan 1827) and the Duke of Clarence (later William IV), whose own legitimate children died in infancy. She succeeded to her uncle, William IV, in 1837 as Queen Victoria at the age of 18. Because of the existence in Hanover of the Salic law, the crowns of Great Britain and Hanover became separated, the latter passing to William IV's eldest surviving brother, Ernest Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland. During the early years of her reign, Victoria was heavily influenced by her Whig prime minister, Lord Melbourne, and publicly supported the Whig party. In the course of the Bedchamber Crisis (1839), Victoria refused to allow Tory leader Sir Robert Peel to change the ladies-in-waiting of her court, most of whom were members of the Whig families. Peel then felt unable to form a government, and Melbourne continued as prime minister. On 10 Feb 1840 Victoria married her first cousin, Albert Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who became her most trusted adviser. The General Election of June 1841 resulted in a majority of Tory party members in the Commons and Victoria was compelled to accept Peel as prime minister. In 1846 the Liberal government of Lord John Russell took over the administration, but in the next decade with the two-party tradition in temporary disarray, the influence of the monarchy on the formation of ministries reached a 19th-century highpoint. The coalition government of 1852, led by the Earl of Aberdeen, was the last to be brought into existence by royal initiative, but royal support could not sustain this coalition when it was accused of incompetence during the Crimean War (1853-1856) against Russia. Under the wartime leadership of Viscount Palmerston, the war came to a successful conclusion. Victoria enthusiastically supported the war and instituted the Victoria Cross as the highest British award for wartime valor. The Palmerston government launched an invasion of China in cooperation with France in 1856, and, having suppressed the Sepoy Rebellion against the colonial authorities in India (1857), transferred responsibility for that colony from the British East India Company to the British crown (1 Nov 1858). Created the Prince Consort (26 Jun 1857), Victoria's husband, Albert, died of typhoid on 14 Dec 1861. The queen retreated into seclusion and avoided public occasions for several years. In the course of the later 1870s and the 1880s, Victoria gradually returned to the public arena. After supporting the Whigs for years, she turned to the Conservative party, whose leader, Benjamin Disraeli, competed with the Liberals led by William Gladstone. In 1876, when Parliament passed Royal Titles Act creating Victoria Empress of India, she showed her gratitude to Disraeli by opening Parliament in person and by raising him to the earldom. However, the queen was forced to cooperate with the Liberals dominating in the House of Commons in the 1880's. She gave the Royal Assent to the Representation of the People Act (6 Dec 1884), which granted the right to vote to all male householders in the counties, effectively extending the vote to most working men. In 1887 the queen's Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne, was celebrated with great enthusiasm. During the last 15 years of her reign, the Conservatives dominated Britain's government. The queen strongly supported the British involvement in the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902), but she died before it was concluded. Biography source: [2]

[1] Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. No. 1. Tuesday, 1 January. 1901.
[2] Handbook of British Chronology (1986)
Last updated on: 24 May 2010 22:26:59