Rationale We were interested in these questions because we decided that by gaining knowledge about the influential monarchs during that time, our understandings of monarchical governments and power distribution in an era of declining respect towards monarchs would improve. At first, we had several monarchs in mind, but eventually, we narrowed our options into the most influential monarch in the Victorian Era, Queen Victoria. As a result, we chose to discuss and focus inquiries about her reign and other related matters. The Real Power
Queen Victoria Known for having the second longest reign of any other monarch in British history, only to be beaten by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria was the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1901. Born Alexandrina Victoria on May 24, 1819, in London, England, she became the heir. This was apparent at the young age of eight months old, since her father had died and her three surviving uncles had no legitimate children. Under Queen Victoria’s reign, Great Britain experienced unprecedented expansion in industry, which included several railways, bridges, and underground sewers being built.
On January 22, 1901, Queen Victoria passed away due to intracerebral hemorrhage. As a result of her long reign and the indelible stamp it placed on the country, life during the 19th century in Britain is referred to the Victorian era, which has become synonymous with Victoria’s ethics and personality. Authority Although Victoria was the Queen of Britain, her actual authority to make decisions for the country was very diminished compared to that of previous monarchs.
This was because the Reform Act of 1832 had already stripped the monarchy of their legislative power, and had given it over to the House of Lords, as well as giving executive power to the House of Commons. So instead of the monarch having most of the authority, the idea of having an elected Prime Minister in charge had already been implemented. All of this, coupled with the fact that the people had been declining in respect for the throne, meant that Queen Victoria had little to no authority over political affairs.
On the other hand, compared to Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria had a significantly larger amount of power. Influence Behind the scenes Despite Victoria’s limited authority, she was not without influence. She wished to be informed of political matters, and worked together with and advised the Prime Ministers during her reign to help the country prosper, notably with the first Prime Minister during her time of rule, Lord Melbourne. She was also able to use various family connections to influence foreign affairs.
Through her children and also by blood, she was related to almost every major or royal household in Europe. Her eldest daughter, Victoria, became a German Empress, and one of her other daughters, Maud or otherwise known as Alice, became the queen of Norway. She used all of her connections to Britain’s advantage during her reign. Royal Rule Dependency Throughout Victoria’s time as the queen of England, her style of ruling shifted, but not by a large degree. Crowned in 1838, and refusing any assistance from her domineering mother, she chose to rule alone.
However, she was still quite dependent on her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, and her uncle, King Leopold of Belgium, especially for advice. However, all this would change once she married Prince Albert. With Prince Albert as her husband, she was heavily reliant on him, as she never did anything without his approval or consent. On the other hand, contrary to what would be expected, they made a myriad of accomplishments together, the most notable one being that they created a newly visible constitutional monarchy.
Unfortunately, after Prince Albert died, she fell into deep depression. Prolonged mournings of Albert’s life had kept her occupied for almost the rest of her life, where she went into a lengthy seclusion and neglected many duties, which resulted in her loss of support. Popularity Victoria’s style of rule ultimately led to her popularity. However, she was not always so favoured throughout her life. At the start of her rule, there were already multiple mixed opinions about her.
To some, having a new monarch was a relief, since the previous throne, King William IV, was despised by almost everyone. On the other hand, others were skeptical to whether a 18 year old could rule such a large country. In addition, the monarchy was already highly criticized when Victoria came to rule, which made gaining support even harder. Fortunately, people began appreciating how intelligent she was and her style of rule, which at the time was relying on the well-educated Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, who served as her tutor in political decision-making.
Furthermore, once she married Prince Albert, even more people approved of her! Shortly after, the couple was favoured by a large majority of the population of England, because of accomplishments they created together. The downfall of Queen Victoria’s popularity occurred after Prince Albert’s death, which damaged the opinions of many, as Victoria had cut off almost all communication with the public. the redemption After Prince Albert’s death, the people of England were positive that their queen would be stuck in an everlasting depression.
However, her royal support skyrocketed when she began making appearances to crowds on the Buckingham Palace balcony, and the carefully orchestrated event, the public thanksgiving service. This event was created after the founding of the French Third Republic, after it had provoked an antimonarchist feeling in Britain. This marked Queen Victoria’s gradual return to public life. Soon after, she had managed increase the prestige of the monarchy by a enormous amount, which led to Britain being established as the most powerful nation. Influence
Lord Melbourne William Lamb, or Lord Melbourne, was born on March 15, 1779, into an aristocratic Whig family. In 1835, he became prime minister, and when the young Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, he assisted Queen Victoria in the early stages of her rule. As the leader of the Whig party with views that were Conservative, Melbourne acted as Victoria’s personal political educator. He helped teach the young queen the intricacies of being a constitutional monarch. While doing so with his advice that was fatherly and kind, he also entertained her with his varied knowledge on many subjects.
Soon, Queen Victoria developed a very intimate relationship with Lord Melbourne and she claimed to love him like a father”. However, the queen’s reliance on him resulted in a political crisis. After a defeat in the House of Commons, Melbourne resigned in 1839. As a result, Sir Robert Peel became Prime Minister, but when Queen Victoria refused to replace the former Queen’s ladies of the bedchamber to be of the same political party as the government, which was Tories instead of Whig, Robert Peel resigned and Melbourne returned to the role of being Prime Minister.
After resigning in 1841, his role as a confidant to the queen was taken by her new husband, Prince Albert, who in addition, steered Victoria to reconciliation with Robert Peel. This led to Melbourne’s decline until his death on November 24, 1848, due to effects of a stroke. the Significant other Born on August 26, 1819, Prince Albert was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld to a family connected to many of Europe’s ruling monarchs. At the age of 20, Prince Albert married Queen Victoria, one of his cousins.
Although initially, Prince Albert was constrained by his position as a consort, which conferred no power or any duties upon him, soon the Queen slowly began depending more and more on his guidance. He eventually became Victoria’s primary advisor and political partner. When Victoria was visibly pregnant and could no longer appear ceremonially during her pregnancy, Albert had assumed her duties. The monarchy had become a shared partnership, and Albert had occasionally wrote memorandas for the queen to copy in her own hand.
This dual monarchy proved most effective when their popularity increased though they were suspected of Russian sympathies during the Crimean War (1853-1856). However, after Albert’s death on December 14, 1861, Queen Victoria plunged into a deep mourning, which affected her life more than any other event that occurred throughout her reigning. Clearly, Prince Albert was the influential person in Queen Victoria’s reign. Sir John Conroy Although not during Queen Victoria’s reign, Sir John Conroy affected Queen Victoria’s life before being queen dramatically by making it considerably worse.
Conroy, a military man who had more success with his social studies than he has ever had of active service, was the comptroller in the Duchess of Kent household. Throughout Victoria’s childhood, Conroy, devoured by ambition, was determined to gain power through the future queen’s affections. As a result, the Kensington System was created. It was an elaborate and strict system of rules aimed to force Victoria to be completely and utterly dependent on her mother, the Duchess of Kent.
Through Sir John’s influence to the Duchess of Kent, he would then gain a large amount of power, and in effect, he would become the King of England. However, because of the oppressive Kensington System, Victoria’s antipathy towards him was already very apparent. Consequently, as soon as Victoria ascended to throne in 1837, she banned Conroy from being in her presence. Conclusion As we researched and gathered more information about our inquiries, we discovered that despite how respectable her position was, Queen Victoria had little to no power in regards to the decision making of England.
However, her influence in political matters was large, as she had a significant amount of voice. Because of this, Queen Victoria’s style of ruling never changed too much, since she did not control much in the first place anyway. Instead, most of it was heavily dependent on who she appointed. The only times Queen Victoria’s style of ruling changed dramatically was because of major events in her life. For example, marrying Prince Albert led to her relying on him for almost everything, and same goes for Lord Melbourne previous to her marriage.
Originally, our findings shocked us, especially because of how diminished her power was. However, after comparing it to modern England, the amount of power she had makes sense. In the Victorian Era, there had already been a significant decline in monarchical power, meaning that Queen Victoria had less power than earlier monarchs. In the periods of time in between the modern day and the Victorian era, the decline in monarchical power continued to decrease, resulting in Queen Elizabeth II, the current queen, having even less power than Queen Victoria.