Victoria Day: The Holiday Becoming Lost in Time

Victoria Day celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday. This year it will be on May 21st. There will be people who don’t know who Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) is. Maybe they know her for the century she influenced with Victorian fashion and protocol. They aren’t likely to know much about Queen Victoria herself. Some won’t even know who that fat woman in the old photograph is – her tragedy, her triumphs, her life as a young woman, a monarch, a wife, a Mother and then an old woman. It’s sad to see someone who was given a day of the year to be celebrated, now become forgotten gradually.

1835, Self Portrait by Queen Victoria

Victoria was –

  • Born in Kensington Palace, in London, May 24, 1819.
  • She was baptized Alexandrina, after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, and Victoria after her mother.
  • Became Queen of an empire at 18.
  • Popular respect for the Crown was at a low point at her coronation, but the modest and straightforward young Queen won the hearts of her subjects. She wished to be informed of political matters, although she had no direct input in policy decisions.
  • Privately, she attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon, and was identified with strict standards of personal morality.
  • The longest reigning British monarch and the longest reign of any female in history, 1837 until 1901.
  • Married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840.
  • The Mother of nine children – four sons and five daughters: Victoria, Bertie, Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold, and Beatrice.
  • Widowed in 1861.
  • After Albert’s death she became withdrawn  and unpopular until reappearing in the 1870’s.
  • Had her Golden Jubilee in 1887 and her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
  • Died in 1901 (January 22) at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
  • Her reign brought a revolution in British government, huge industrial expansion and the growth of a worldwide empire (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and large parts of Africa.).
  • The national pride connected with the name of Victoria – the term Victorian England, for example, stemmed from the Queen’s ethics and personal tastes, which generally reflected those of the middle class.

The Official Website of the British Monarchy – Queen Victoria

Wikipedia – Queen Victoria 

BBC History – Victoria

Victorian Station – Queen Victoria

PBS: Queen Victoria’s Empire

What holiday is being swept into the past in your own country? What do you know about the background, history and the reason for the original holiday? How does knowing more change your feelings about the day?

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