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12 Small But Poignant Facts We Just Learned About Queen Victoria

Updated September 4, 2020 7.7k votes 1.4k voters 147.2k views12 items

List RulesVote up the facts and stories that humanize the larger-than-life figure.

Queen Victoria reigns in popular memory as a prudish queen presiding over the stuffy era that bears her name. But a closer look at poignant Queen Victoria facts upends the image of a prim queen to reveal the humanity of one of Britain's best known - and most misunderstood - monarchs.

The girl who would become Queen Victoria was born in 1819 at London's Kensington Palace, where she spent a lonely childhood. But Victoria's world changed in 1837 when the teenage princess became queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1840, Victoria married her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and their relationship ultimately brought Victoria happiness, frustrations, and nine children. Albert's untimely demise in 1861 was a shock that shaped the rest of Victoria's life.

By the time Victoria passed in 1901, she had sat on the throne for 63 years, a period of technological transformation, socioeconomic shifts, and imperial development, which subjugated millions of people and created legacies of inequality across the world.

But behind all of this was Victoria the person. Far from stuffy, prim, and prudish, the real Queen Victoria was a passionate, complex woman who endured personal losses throughout her life. Queen Victoria heartbreaking facts brush away more than a century of mythology and misrepresentation to reveal the touching, human, and intimate side of one of Britain's longest-reigning queens.

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    She Wore A White, Lacy Wedding Dress To Help The Struggling British Lace Industry

    When Victoria married Albert in 1840, white wasn't the signature color of bridal gowns; women wore various colors for their weddings. So when Victoria chose to wear a white dress for her nuptials, she made white a fashionable color for brides.

    Why did Victoria want to wear a white dress? Because a white dress showcased her ensemble's immaculate lacework. Victoria opted to use handmade English lace for her dress to champion British lace artisans who struggled to compete with lace factories and continental lace-makers.

  • 2

    She Loved Dogs As If They Were Her Friends

    Victoria's devotion to dogs began in childhood. Perhaps because she didn't have friends her own age, Victoria "lavished love on [her pets] as she might have done on other friends and siblings," according to biographer Helen Rappaport. In particular, Victoria developed a close bond with Dash, her childhood spaniel. Victoria had other dogs throughout her life, including a long line of collies.

    When her daughter lost a pet, Victoria commiserated, "The loss of a dear, faithful darling dog is that of a devoted friend - almost of a Child!" 

  • Photo: G. Durand / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Her Husband Likely Wrote Music For Her, And They Played Duets

    Music was a love language for Victoria and Albert. They even performed duets together or provided instrumental accompaniment for each other. Felix Mendelssohn was one of their favorite composers, and Victoria claimed that she and Albert "appreciated & admired his wonderfully beautiful compositions."

    As an amateur musician, Albert wrote his own music. It's believed that he even composed songs specifically for Victoria.

  • Photo: Edwin Henry Landsee / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Since She Was Queen, No One Could Propose Marriage To Her - She Proposed To Albert Herself

    As the head of Great Britain, Queen Victoria couldn't sit around and wait for a man to propose to her. She had to do it herself

    Over time, Victoria warmed to her cousin Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. When she finally decided that Albert was the man for her, Victoria proposed to him on October 15, 1839. She recounted the moment in her journal:

    He came to the Closet where I was alone, and after a few minutes I said to him, that I thought he must be aware why I wished them to come here, - and that it would make me too happy if he would consent to what I wished (to marry me); we embraced each other over and over again, and he was so kind, so affectionate... I really felt it was the happiest brightest moment in my life.