Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837 aged 18. She is most notably associated with Britain’s age of the Empire, as well as the country’s industrial expansion and economic progress. The worlds first stamp - The Penny Black - featured a portrait of Queen Victoria was released in 1840.
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.
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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.
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.