Queen Victoria, born in 1819, reigned the United Kingdom and Ireland between 1837 until her death in 1901. Her lengthy reign is known as the Victorian era, marked by industrial, political, and scientific growth within the United Kingdom and the expansion of colonialist power across the globe.
Here are 7 things you may not know about one of Britain’s most powerful monarchs:
1. Her first name was not Victoria
Queen Victoria’s name at birth was Alexandrina Victoria, named after her godfather Tsar Alexander I. She always preferred her second name, or the nickname ‘Drina.
2. She began a popular wedding tradition
In the nineteenth century, it was popular for women to wear wedding dresses of all colors. Queen Victoria opted to emphasize the lace embroidery of her dress and requested it to be white. This white wedding dress was so valuable to Queen Victoria that she actually destroyed the pattern of the dress so that it could not be replicated, according to Vogue.
3. She was 5 feet tall
Standing regal at barely 5 feet, Queen Victoria landed on the smaller side of royalty – four inches shorter than Queen Elizabeth II.
4. She was the first member of the royal family to live at Buckingham Palace
Upon her coronation, Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace, making her the first reigning monarch to live in the Palace. She undertook quite a few much-needed renovations, including the addition of a new wing, transforming the building into the Palace we know today.
5. She had the longest reign of any of her predecessors
Queen Victoria reigned for 63 years and 216 days, making her the longest-reigning monarch of any that came before her. Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch with a longer reign with a whopping 66 years under her belt.
6. She mourned Albert deeply
After her husband Albert’s untimely death in 1861, Queen Victoria mourned for the remaining forty years of her life. She exclusively wore black, neglected her royal duties, and was thusly dubbed the “Widow of Windsor.”
7. She had a hearty and adventurous appetite
Queen Victoria was open to trying new foods and eating abundantly. Curry was served regularly in her kitchen, which helped spread the popularity of Indian food in Britain. She also had quite the sweet tooth: Her wedding cake weighed nearly 300 pounds!