Alexandrina Victoria was the only child of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (a son of George III) and his wife Princess Victoria. She was born at Kensington Palace on 24th May 1819 and succeeded to the throne in 1837 after the death of William IV. When her husband died in 1861 she was so stricken with grief that she wore mourning for the rest of her life and refused to undertake any public engagements for many years, earning herself the nickname 'The Widow of Windsor'.
During her reign the British Empire reached the height of its prestige and she was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877. She celebrated her Golden Jubilee in the Abbey in 1887 during which she sat in the Coronation Chair. Her Diamond Jubilee was held at St Paul's cathedral.
She married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in the Chapel Royal, St James' Palace on 10th February 1840. They had many children.
Queen Victoria was crowned on 28th June 1838, aged 19. The ceremony took five hours and suffered from a lack of rehearsal. No one except the Queen and Lord John Thynne (Sub-Dean of Westminster acting for the Dean), knew what should be happening. The coronation ring was painfully forced on to her wrong finger and Lord Rolle, an elderly peer, fell down the steps while making his homage to the Queen. A confused bishop wrongly told her the ceremony was over and she then had to come back to her seat to finish the service. In her Journal Victoria recorded the events of the day, calling it 'the proudest of my life'.
The red footstool she used at this ceremony can be seen in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries. Also on view is a "peepshow" of her coronation.
A musical festival to celebrate the coronation was held in the Abbey on 2nd July before the special seating was removed.
She died on 22nd January 1901 at her residence, Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight and was buried beside Albert in the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore in the grounds of Windsor Castle. She was succeeded by her son Edward VII. A memorial service for her was held in the Abbey on 2nd February.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004
Queen Victoria by Richard Holmes, 1897
Queen Victoria, a portrait by Giles St Aubyn, 1991
Frogmore House is open to visitors on certain days in the year
Osborne House is open to visitors (no longer a royal residence)
Music for Queen Victoria's Coronation, 1838 (PDF, 2142KB)
See The Times of 2nd and 3rd July 1838 for the musical festival details
British Royal and State funerals.... by M. Range 2016