As anniversaries go, two hundred is quite remarkable.
This week the United Kingdom marks a very special day; the 200th Anniversary of the birth of one of its greatest monarchs, HM Queen Victoria.
Alexandrina Victoria was born at Kensington Palace on the 24th May 1819.
After what can only be described as an unconventional and solitary childhood, Victoria ascended to the throne upon the death of her paternal uncle, King William IV.
Victoria was just 18 years of age.
The new teenage Queen wasted no time in heading to her new ‘office’ and after dispatching her mother to the remotest wing she could possibly find, took up residence at the unfinished Buckingham Palace.
Following her Coronation and ensuing marriage to Prince Albert and with the fortitude that would eventually see her clock up 63 years on the throne, Victoria established her reign.
The ‘Grandmother of Europe’ the ‘Empress of India’ as she would eventually become known as, had arrived.
That’s not to say Victoria wasn’t without her testing times or critics. With cholera, death and assassination attempts, Victoria would emerge ‘victorious’ from the numerous challenges that arose during her time on the throne.
The Victorian era is perhaps attributed to be one of the greatest times for the United Kingdom and much of today’s successes and traditions were birthed during Victoria and Albert’s reign.
In 1829, George Stephenson’s steam locomotive, ‘Rocket’ was unveiled. This feat of engineering became the blueprint for modern design for the next 150 years.
Ada Lovelace, the remarkable mathematician who Prince Albert admired greatly, emerged during Victoria’s early reign due to her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
Ada is considered perhaps to be, the first female computer programmer.
But what do we know about her Prince Charming, Albert?
Albert, a serious, dependable, logical thinker was at the forefront when it came to public health. Working alongside the Royal Society, Albert improved the hygiene and sanitation conditions for not only Buckingham Palace but the City of London as a whole. The Palace became one of the first ‘shop floors’ to provide ‘facilities’ for their staff.
With forward thinking, Albert achieved an even greater height with his vision of a ‘grand exhibition’.
The Grand Exhibition of Works and Industry in 1851 became a huge success and was showcased in a vast, flexible, glass construction that was essentially a conservatory.
Albert named the building Crystal Palace.
Victoria and Albert were at the forefront of change and modernisation, the effects of which the United Kingdom can still feel today.
So, all that remains for us to say is ‘Happy Birthday’ your Majesty!