Today, we Canadians celebrate Victoria Day, the annual commemoration of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Victoria Day is a great time to barbecue, drink beer, and set off fireworks, but we spend precious little time commemorating our erstwhile queen on this glorious long weekend. This year, take a moment to reminisce about old Vicky with these 5 things you didn’t know about her…
She Was The Longest Serving British Monarch
Born in 1819, Queen Victoria ruled the United Kingdom from 1837 until her death in 1901, a period known as the Victorian Era. This reign of 63 years and 216 days marks the longest period of rule for any king or queen in the United Kingdom. It also makes her the longest ruling female monarch in all of history. But wait, hot on her trail for both titles is Queen Elizabeth II with an ongoing reign of 62 years and counting.
She Popularized The ‘White Wedding’
It seems like it’s a given that brides these days wear a white gown at their weddings, but that wasn’t always the case. Until Queen Victoria wore a white lace dress at her 1840 wedding to Prince Albert, brides could be found wearing a whole host of colours including red, blue, yellow, or even black. Talk about being a trendsetter…
She Was The ‘Grandmother of Europe’
Queen Victoria was a prolific babymaker – bearing nine children, including the future King Edward VII. Being the well-connected sort that she was, Victoria married off her nine children and dozens of grandchildren into the prominent royal families of Europe. Fast forward a few generations, and the reigning monarchs of the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Spain, as well as the former royal families of Greece and Germany, are descended from Victoria, earning her the title of ‘Grandmother of Europe’.
She Survived Eight Assassination Attempts
Victoria was nothing if not resilient, surviving eight different assassination attempts. One notable attempt in 1882 involved a poet who, offended at the Queen’s refusal of one of his no-doubt masterful works, attempted to shoot her as she rode in her carriage. Note to self: Never piss off a poet.
She Was Rumoured To Have Had An Affair With Her Scottish Manservant
Ah yes… now for the salacious stuff. After the death of Prince Albert in 1861, a grieving Queen Victoria retreated from the public eye to her private estate at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. It was here that she became ever-so close with a Scottish manservant by the name of John Brown. Maybe it was the kilt, or maybe it was his robust sideburns, but the Queen began spending more and more time with her faithful servant – even putting him up in a room adjoining hers. Whether their relationship was physical or purely professional, they were certainly close: Victoria had a statue of Brown erected at Balmoral Castle when he died. She also insisted that upon her death, she be buried with a photograph of him, a lock of his hair, as well as his mother’s ring on her finger. Not bad for a former groundskeeper.
Do you know any other secrets about Queen Victoria? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.