British History 2:
From the French Revolution to World War II
Topic: "Majesties and Royal Highnesses"

by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann

6.3) Answers

  1. "Victoria's father, the fourth son and fifth child of George III, died [in] 1820 - just eight months after Victoria was born. King George III, her grandfather, died six days later on 29 January 1820. At that point, Victoria's uncle, the Prince Regent, inherited the Crown, becoming King George IV. George IV died in 1830 and because the second son of George III, Prince Frederick [...] had died [...] in 1827, George IV was therefore succeeded by another brother. This was the third son of George III, Prince William [...] who reigned as William IV. [...] Although William IV was the father of ten illegitimate children by his mistress [...] he had no surviving legitimate children. As a result, the young Princess Victoria, his niece, became heiress presumptive."
  2. By 1830, the throne had passed to George III's third eldest son, William IV. However William IV had no legitimate children. The heiress presumptive to the throne was his niece, Princess Victoria of Kent, who was only twelve.
    As Victoria's father was dead, the Regency Act placed any potential regency caused by the King's death before Victoria had reached 18, in her mother, The Duchess of Kent. Victoria later became queen aged 18 just as everything was planned by the Regency Act.
  3. On William IV's death:
    Quotes that make Victoria sound rather mature:
    • lines 4-6: "Lord Conyngham acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more and consequently that I am Queen."
    • lines 16-20: "I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duty towards my country; I am very young and perhaps in many, though not in all things, inexperienced, but I am sure, that very few have more real good will and more real desire to do what is fit and right than I have."
    • lines 28-29: "I was not at all nervous and had the satisfaction of hearing that people were satisfied with what I had done and how I had done it."
    Quotes that make Victoria sound rather childlike:
    • lines 2-3: "I got out of bed and went into my sitting-room (only in my dressing-gown), and alone."
    Quotes that make Victoria sound rather mature:
    • lines 31-32: "Got up at 7 feeling strong and well."
    • lines 42-43: "... and I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a Nation."
    • lines 44-46: "The enthusiasm, affection and loyalty was really touching, and I shall ever remember this day as the proudest of my life. I came home at a little after 6, - really not feeling tired."
    Quotes that make Victoria sound rather childlike:
    • none

    As a result: The amount of childlike behaviour that a normal eighteen-year-old woman should have can be found in Victoria's way of writing as well: Of course a young woman that gets to know that she will be queen, ruling over a quarter of the world's population, is allowed to feel a little unsure about her future - that is how her feelings come across in her way of writing at some points at least for us. However, we think that she must have been quite mature, because there are several quotes that show young Victoria's self-assuredness and her self-confidence. She seemed to have known already that she will be a good queen and her diary entry on her coronation shows that the last bits of her probable self-doubts must have gone away. The statement of Lord Melbourne at the end of the extract confirms our point of view, showing that he as Victoria's personal advisor was more than satisfied with Victoria's performance on her coronation day as well: "And you did it beautifully, - every part of it, with so much taste; it's a thing that you can't give a person advice upon; it must be left to a person." (lines 50-52)
  4. The Prime Minister of the Whigs, Lord Melbourne, was an important advisor for young queen Victoria in her first years as queen. He taught her how to behave as the head of a constitutional monarchy. When Victoria married Albert in 1840, he soon took over Lord Melbourne's role of Victoria's advisor and he helped his wife with political and royal decisions.
  5. When Douglas Rae, a Scottish executive film producer began researching for the film "Mrs. Brown", he and his team found some secret 'love letters', written by queen Victoria and John Brown to each other, in an old attic in Scotland, which belongs to one of John Brown's descendants. Rae says that those letters gave him a "useful insight into the queen's relationship". However, the name of the family who own the letters, is still kept secret so that the letters have not been made public yet. Therefore those secret letters don't serve as a real evidence yet. The fact that Victoria's daughters are said to have called John Brown "Mama's lover" of course makes people believe even more in the fact that they must have been lovers. However, there is no clear evidence that proves the idea of a relationship that was simply more than a close friendship yet. Maybe the 'secret love letters' will be published in a few years and then we'll know.
  6. Queen Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1901 and she also was Empress of India from 1876 to 1901. She experienced the longest reign of any British monarch so far with a duration of 63 years, 7 month and 2 days. Her successor was her eldest son King Edward VII, who belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha.
  7. Victoria was called the 'grandmother of Europe', because members of her family (particularly her children) spread all over Europe, getting married to other royal families.