Victoria was born at Kensington Palace on 24 May 1819 and was the only daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III. Her father died shortly after her birth and, because her three uncles - George IV, Frederick Duke of York, and William IV – had no surviving legitimate children, she became heir to the throne.
Renowned for her warm-hearted disposition, Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837 aged 18, following the death of her father, William IV. She is most notably associated with Britain’s age of the Empire, as well as the country’s industrial expansion and economic progress.
Victoria’s marriage to beloved husband and close confidant Prince Albert in 1840, resulting in nine children, was said to have played an integral role in constitutionalising the monarchy as it is viewed today, with influence superseding the political power utilised by previous monarchs. The first stamp to feature a portrait of Queen Victoria was the Penny Black, released in 1840.
She is most notably associated with Britain’s age of the Empire, as well as the country’s industrial expansion and economic progress.
Less than a year later, the Penny Black was replaced by the Penny Red due to concerns the colour of the stamp could enable their re-use. The Penny Black revolutionised the British postal system and made it affordable for anyone to send letters safely and securely.
Following the passing of her husband in 1861, Victoria was said to have sunk into depression, rarely appearing in public until after the mid-1860s. Widely criticised for living in seclusion, she returned to performing public duties by opening Parliament in 1866. Victoria’s interest in foreign policy during the middle years of her reign was generally used to support peace and reconciliation and, in 1864, influenced her ministers not to intervene in the Prussia-Denmark war; additionally, her correspondence with the German Emperor aided in averting a second Franco-German conflict.
Following the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Victoria became Empress of India in 1877 and was subsequently recognised as a symbol for the British Empire. Despite maturing in age, Victoria continued to remain active in her duties until her death on 22 January 1901, ending a reign which lasted almost 64 years.