Victoria of the United Kingdom

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"Since it has pleased Providence to place me in this station, I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duty towards my country."

Victoria of the United Kingdom (Alexandrina Victoria Wettin, née Hanover) (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom from 20 June 1837, and Empress of India from 1876 until her death. Her reign lasted more than sixty-three years, second only to that of Elizabeth II. The reign of Victoria was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire and is called the Victorian Era. Victoria was the last monarch of the House of Hanover; her successor belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.


  • Since it has pleased Providence to place me in this station, I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duty towards my country; I am very young and perhaps in many, though not in all things, inexperienced, but I am sure that very few have more real good will and more real desire to do what is fit and right than I have.
    • Extract from the Queen's Journal, Tuesday, 20th June 1837.
  • Affairs go on, and all will take some shape or other, but it keeps one in hot water all the time.
    • Letter to King of the Belgians, Nuneham, 15th June, 1841 (Note: Nuneham was the house of Edward Vernon Harcourt, Archbishop of York).
  • All marriage is such a lottery -- the happiness is always an exchange -- though it may be a very happy one -- still the poor woman is bodily and morally the husband's slave. That always sticks in my throat. When I think of a merry, happy, and free young girl -- and look at the ailing aching state a young wife is generally doomed to -- which you can't deny is the penalty of marriage.
    • Letter (16 May 1860), published in Dearest Child: Letters Between Queen Victoria and the Princess Royal Previously Unpublished edited by Roger Fulfold (1964), p. 254. Also quoted in the article "Queen Victoria's Not So Victorian Writings" by Heather Palmer (1997).
  • I am most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of "Women's Rights," with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feelings and propriety. Feminists ought to get a good whipping. Were women to "unsex" themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen, and disgusting of beings and would surely perish without male protection.
    • In an 1870 letter, quoted for example in All For Love: Seven Centuries of Illicit Liaison by Val Horsler (2006), p. 104. At the bottom of this page, it is mentioned that the comment was written in a letter to Sir Theodore Martin in reaction to news "that Viscountess Amberley had become president of the Bristol and West of England Women's Suffrage Society and had addressed a ... public meeting on the subject." The author of the page, Helena Wojtczak, says here that while other sources often fail to give the context, she "researched and discovered the source of the quote".
  • It is worth being shot at to see how much one is loved.
    • After being shot at by Roderick Maclean on 2 March 1882, as quoted in Stanley Weintraub, Victoria. Biography of a queen (1987), p. 450.
  • It seems to me a defect in our much famed Constitution, to have to part with an admirable Govt like Ld Salisbury's for no question of any importance or any particular reason, merely on account of the number of votes.
    • Comment made after Salisbury lost power to Gladstone in 1892, quoted in Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion by Helen Rappaport (2003), p. 331.
  • I am too horrified for words at this monstrous horrible sentence against this poor martyr Dreyfus. If only all Europe would express its horror and indignation! I trust there will be a severe retribution.
    • Letter to Lord Salisbury on the Dreyfus affair (9 September 1899), quoted in The Letters of Queen Victoria: A Selection from Her Majesty's Correspondence Between the Years 1837 and 1861, Vol. III 1896–1901, ed. George Earle Buckle (1932), pp. 396-397
  • I sympathise most deeply with your expressions on the horrors of war, than which no one can feel more strongly than I do; and earnestly hope that it may be averted. But I cannot abandon my own subjects who have appealed to me for protection. If President Kruger is reasonable, there will be no war, but the issue is in his hands.
    • Letter to the Queen of the Netherlands shortly before the Second Boer War (September 1899), quoted in The Letters of Queen Victoria: A Selection from Her Majesty's Correspondence Between the Years 1837 and 1861, Vol. III 1896–1901, ed. George Earle Buckle (1932), p. 397
  • We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist.
    • December 1899 letter to Arthur Balfour during the "Black Week" of the Boer War, as quoted in The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993), p. 539.
    • According to Lady Gwendolen Cecil, it was a verbal statement to Mr. Balfour in Windsor Palace, as recorded in her biography of her Father, Life of Robert, marquis of Salisbury, volume 3 (1921), p. 191
  • Queen Victoria on promotion of Lionel Rothschild to peerage: "It is not only the feeling, of which she cannot divest herself, against making a person of the Jewish religion, a Peer; but she cannot think that one who owes his great wealth to contracts with foreign Governments for Loans, or to successful speculation on the Stock Exchange, can fairly claim a British Peerage. However high Sir L. Rothschild may stand personally in public estimation, this seems to her not less a species of gambling because it is on a gigantic scale and far removed from that legitimate trading which she delights to honour, in which men have raised themselves by patient industry and unswerving probity to positions of wealth and influence."
    • Gentile folly: the Rothschilds, by Arnold Leese.

Quotes about Queen Victoria

  • The centerpiece of the Oval Office was the resolute desk. I had chosen the desk because of its historical significance. Its story began in 1852, when Queen Victoria dispatched the HMS Resolute to search for the British explorer John Franklin, who had been lost looking for the Northwest Passage. The Resolute was trapped in ice near the Arctic and abandoned by its crew. In 1855 it was discovered by an American whaling ship, which sailed the Resolute back to Connecticut. The vessel was purchased by the U.S. government, refitted, and returned to England as a goodwill gift to the queen. When the Resolute was decommissioned two decades later, Her Majesty had several ornate desks made out of its timbers, one of which she gave to President Rutherford B. Hayes.
  • The warrior, sage, and poet fill their story
    With all the various honours of mankind ; —
    May thy young reign achieve yet truer glory,
    The pure, enlightened triumphs of the mind !
    Too much in this wide world yet needs redressing ;
    But with thy reign Hope’s loveliest promise came.
    May thy sweet youth be sheltered by the blessing
    A nation breathes upon Victoria’s name!
  • Whether the queen caused the period, or the period creates the queen, she fitted her time perfectly.
  • Another great—far greater—event now occupied the mind of the "man in the street": the illness and subsequent death of Queen Victoria. The "man in the street" certainly took a great interest in that event which filled us and our English friends with sorrow. It was such a great passing away of the most outstanding personality of the past hundred years. The morning that the news appeared in the Paris Daily Mail we were greeted by all our friendly tradespeople with subdued voices and a certain awed expression of face: "Vous savez?" they all said, even before they answered to our "bonjour" "Votre idole est morte". Your idol! That is how they talked of Queen Victoria.
    She was to their minds (more insular than those of our own people) something quite apart. Not altogether real. A fetish that we, the hated English, almost worshipped, and to their credit be it said that with her death, all scurrilous cartoons and postcards disappeared from the kiosks, nor did any derogatory or disrespectful article appear in the Press.
  • Queen Victoria had put an end to the Republican movement in Great Britain and in the Dominions, not by what she had done, but by what she had been, and by what she had refrained from doing. She had won back public respect for the monarchy in her person. And she had disarmed political hostility to the throne by effacing its occupant as a governing power. It was her habit to express to her advisers, often with unnecessary emphasis, her views on all public questions, but she had not insisted on having her way. She had been content with a purely consultative function in relation to Ministers who were in effect chosen for her by Parliament, sometimes much against her own ideas of their fitness.
    • G. M. Trevelyan, British History in the Nineteenth Century (1782–1901) (1922), p. 423
  • She had made the monarchy welcome everywhere, as the representative of the public life of the nation in its non-political aspects. All through her reign, but most of all during its last twenty years, she had appealed to the common human heart of plain people, as a woman who was herself decidedly a "plain person," more apt than the clever, the cultured or the aristocratic of soul to sympathise with the elementary joys and sorrows of her subjects. When she said that she was grieved by some public or private calamity, people knew that her sorrow was sincere, and of the same nature as their own. There was nothing superfine about Queen Victoria in her widowhood. None the less, she made the world recognise in her the symbol of all that was mighty and lasting in the life of England and of the races associated with England in Empire. Because she thus combined the very human and the very high, sentiment about her person became, at the end, akin to the religious. And for an Empire which desired to hold together in brotherhood, but refused to be federated into a single parliamentary Constitution, the only possible unit, in symbolism or in law, was found at last to be the historic Crown of Britain.
    • G. M. Trevelyan, British History in the Nineteenth Century (1782–1901) (1922), pp. 423-424
  • [T]hat monstrous dwarf Queen Victoria.

Quotes addressed to Queen Victoria

  • The names of the little one will be, Philippe Eugène Ferdinand Marie Clement Baudoin (baldwin, a name of the old counts of Flanders) Leopold George. My aunt who is his godmother wished he should be called Philippe, honour of his grandfather, and as Philippe le bon, who was one of the most powerful princes of this country. I gave him the name with pleasure. Eugene is her own name, Ferdinand that of Chartres, Marie is the name of the queen and of princess Marie, Clement of princess Clémentine, Leopold your aunt wished and George honour of St. George of England and of George the IV.

See also