On this date in 1901 Queen Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, aged 81. Victoria was monarch from 1837 until her death. She was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died leaving no legitimate, surviving children. The United Kingdom was already an established a constitutional monarchy, in which the Sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon, and was identified with strict standards of personal morality.
Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history.
She died on Tuesday January 22, 1901 at half past six in the evening, at the age of 81 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Her son and successor King Edward VII, and her eldest grandson, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, were at her deathbed. In 1897, Victoria had written instructions for her funeral, which was to be military as befitting a soldier's daughter and the head of the army, and white instead of black. An array of mementos commemorating her extended family, friends and servants were laid in the coffin with her, at her request. Her funeral was held at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park. As she was laid to rest at the mausoleum, it began to snow.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs. It can be purchased from Amazon at the following links: