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Queen Victoria

Important Terms, People, and Events

Plot Overview

Victoria's Childhood

Terms

Conservative -   · The political party which succeeded the Tory party in the mid-nineteenth century. The Conservatives were pro-Empire in their policies and favored slow democratic reforms, if any, in the ruling structure of Britain. They were more pro-business than their Tory predecessors.
High Church -   · A form of liturgy in the Church of England characterized by its many rituals, traditional sacramental practices, and close similarities to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. Raised as a Lutheran, Victoria was not fond of High Church Anglicanism, and preferred the simple worship services of the Scottish Church and other more formally Protesant denominations.
Home Rule -   · Controversial policy idea pushed by some British Liberals and desired by many of the Irish people to grant Ireland its own parliament, rather than have Irish representatives sit in the British Parliament in London. It was rejected consistently by parliaments throughout Victoria's reign.
Liberal -   · The political party which succeeded the Whigs in the mid-nineteenth century. The Liberals continued to champion democratic reform efforts, were less imperialist in their politics than the Conservatives, and tended to be more open to the establishment of labor unions and other organizations that empowered traditionally unrepresented groups in politics.
Prince Consort -   · Title granted to Prince Albert, Victoria's husband, in 1857. It reflected his official position in the Crown government, which was wholly subordinate to the rule of his wife and Queen. Parliament had originally been reluctant to grant him any official title, fearing it would encourage him to behave as a king—a reasonable fear considering Victoria's great personal dependence on her strong-minded husband.
Republican movements -   · Sporadic, non-violent revolutionary efforts in Britain to change the principle of the nations's government from the constitutional "Crown, King (or Queen), and Commons" to that of total popular sovereignty. The republican effort was very strong at the beginning of Victoria's reign as well as in the 1860s, when the Queen hid herself from the public eye in mourning for her late husband, Prince Albert.
Tory -   · Name of the conservative, monarchist political party in Britain in the first part of the nineteenth century. Tories were often opposed to democratic reform efforts in the Parliament, favored protectionist trade policies, and often represented the interests of the traditionalist elements in the Anglican Church and the agricultural aristocracy.
Whig -   · Name of the liberal political party in Britain in the first part of the nineteenth century. Whigs usually favored free trade and were often enthusiastic about democratic reform efforts in the Parliament. They usually represented the merchant and middle-class interests, along with those of a substantial portion of the moneyed aristocracy.

People

Balmoral -  Victoria's home in the Scottish Highlands where her family often went for extended stays. The Queen adored Scottish ways and the romantic beauty of the Highlands, and Balmoral reflected her penchant for a more rustic way of living than most previous British monarchs had ever shown.
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield -  Conservative Prime Minister of Britain in 1868 and again from 1874 to 1980. A staunch imperialist and also notably open to democratic reforms in the government, Disraeli was Victoria's favorite prime minister. He pushed through the bill that made her Empress of India in 1876.
Edward, or Albert Edward, Prince of Wales -  Born in late 1841, the eldest son of Victoria, and heir to the throne. He was crowned King of Great Britain and Ireland in 1901 upon his mother's death. As a young man he continually disappointed his mother's hopes, dropping out of college and showing little talent or judgment. He lived a fast, cosmopolitan life with gamblers, actresses, and similar people who Victoria disdained greatly.
John Brown -  Scottish servant of Victoria's who, in the mid-1860s, also became the Queen's closest friend and confidante. Their relationship sparked many rumors and scandalized many in Britain, though it is unknown whether the relationship was sexual in nature. Brown's death in 1883 affected the Queen deeply, and she mourned him in a manner similar to the way she mourned her late husband, Prince Albert.
Leopold, King of the Belgians -  Uncle and father figure of Queen Victoria, brother of Victoire of Saxe- Coburg. Leopold corresponded regularly with his royal niece, who depended upon his wise counsel in matters of state for many years.
Melbourne, William Lamb, Second Viscount -  Victoria's first Prime Minister, member of the Whig party. Lord Melbourne was the Queen's most important adviser during her first several years on the throne. He was also her political mentor, teaching her many of the ins and outs of royal government while she was young and inexperienced as a ruler.
Osborne House -  Built on the Isle of Wight in 1845, the Queen's favorite retreat home which she called "a place of our own" when writing to Prince Albert. It was modest for a royal residence, reflecting Victoria's taste for simplicity rather than grandeur.
Otto Von Bismarck -  Prussian Chancellor and chief architect of the new, united German Empire constituted in 1870. Bismarck was one of the chief figures in European politics in the nineteenth century. Victoria's relations on the whole with Germany, the land of her mother's and husband's birth, were very friendly.
Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Third Viscount  -  Foreign Secretary of Britain early in Victoria's reign and Whig Prime Minister in the mid-1850s and early 1860s. He was the chief architect of Victorian foreign policy, as well as a firm moderating influence on the liberal politics of his fellow Whigs in Parliament, before his death in 1865 .
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg Gotha -  Husband and Prince Consort of Queen Victoria, and father of her nine children. He was German by birth, a cousin of the Queen's, and married her in 1840. Victoria and Albert were devoted to eachother, and Albert was her most important adviser on all matters until his untimely death at the age of forty-two in 1861. He was remembered especially for organizing the Great Exhibition of 1850.
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent -  Fourth son of King George III of Great Britain and Ireland, father of Queen Victoria. He led a disreputable life before marrying Victoire of Saxe-Coburg in 1818, and died only seven months after the birth of his only daughter, who was destined to be Queen.
Princess Royal Victoria -  Born in late 1840, the firstborn of Victoria's nine children, and future bride of the German Emperor Friedrich III. Pretty, intelligent, and talented, she was very close to her mother and she may have been the Queen's favorite child, often outshining her younger brother Edward.
Sir John Conroy -  Comptroller of Victoire of Saxe-Coburg's household at the palace of Kensington while the future Queen Victoria was growing up. He was alleged to be a lover of Victoire's, though the rumors were never substantiated. he is most known for attempting to make himself young Victoria's regent, or power behind the scenes, during her teen years, involving the household at Kensington in several feuds with that of King William IV's court. Victoria stood fast against his attempts to influence her, and shook off his power quickly upon succession to the throne.
Victoire of Saxe-Coburg -  German princess, widow of Prince Charles Emich of Leiningen, later Duchess of Kent, and mother of Queen Victoria. She married Prince Edward, Duke of Kent in 1818, giving birth to Victoria, her third and last child in May 1819. Her relationship with her royal daughter was rocky; after Victoria's accession to the throne, Victoire exercised little if any influence over the young queen.
Victoria -  Born April 29, 1819, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to her death in 1901. Named Empress of India in 1876, she came to transform the institution of the British monarchy into its modern form, came to be beloved by her people in the later decades of her reign, and was nicknamed the "Grandmother of Europe," in part because her nine children had married into many European royal families.
William Gladstone -  Great Liberal Prime Minister from 1868 to 1874 and again from 1880 to 1885. Very democratic in his politics, he was responsible for the Third Reform Bill and also made many political enemies for supporting Home Rule for Ireland. Victoria disliked him with a passion.

Events

Boer War -  1899–1902 conflict between British forces and descendents of Dutch settlers in the country later known as South Africa. The war was brutal, drawn- out, and opposed by many quarters in Britain and abroad, casting the one great, dark shadow over the otherwise happy end of Victoria's long reign as the British Queen and Empress.
Crimean War -  1853–1856, a war fought by Great Britain and Turkey against Russia, which had aggressively moved in on Turkish lands in the Balkans in 1853. The war was strongly supported and encouraged by the British people, but was noted for its many blunders, including the famous Charge of the Light Brigade, when 600 soldiers charged into sure death after misinterpreting their orders.
Diamond Jubilee -  1897 celebration marking the sixtieth anniversary of Victoria's succession as Queen.
Golden Jubilee -  1887 celebration marking the fiftieth anniversary of Victoria's succession as Queen.
Great Exhibition -  Organized by Prince Albert in 1851, a gathering of thousands of scientists, inventors, and artists from around the globe showcasing the cutting-edge technological advancements of the mid-nineteenth century.
Mutiny -  1857–1858 rebellion by the people of India against the rule of British east India Company. The rebellion was crushed by British troops and marked the transition to direct rule over India by the British government.
Second Reform Bill -  1867 bill introduced by Benjamin Disraeli that expanded the electorate by reducing property requirements for voting. Better-to-do artisand and middle- class people were primarily affected, though the bill was originally intended to affect the greater population of working class people.
Third Reform Bill -  1884 bill passed by Gladstone's parliament which expanded the voting franchise to poorer agricultural workers and laborers in British towns and cities.
Treaty of Berlin -  1878 treaty that avoided another British war with Russia, whose troops had moved in on the Balkan territories of Turkey. The treaty restored Turkish power to the Balkans and also handed Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Austro-Hungarians. Benjamin Disraeli was one of the treaty's main architects.

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