10 things you might not know about Queen Victoria

On the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, here are some facts you might not know about the long-reigning monarch.

1. Her name was actually Alexandrina Victoria and her childhood nickname was Drina, but she ruled as Victoria, which she is said to have preferred.

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2. When it looked likely she would become the heiress presumptive, her childhood became governed by a series of strict rules called the Kensington System.

3. She was kept under constant surveillance and isolated from the company of other children at the instruction of her mother the Duchess of Kent and her father’s former equerry John Conroy.

4. Victoria was forbidden from taking part in the scandalous new dance called the waltz. She would never waltz until married to Prince Albert.

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5. She wed her first cousin Albert at the age of 20 after falling deeply in love with him.

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6. The couple had nine children but Victoria was not a doting mother and thought it was her duty to be “severe”. She loathed being pregnant.

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7. In 1857, Queen Victoria was so shocked by Michelangelo’s nude statue of David that a fig leaf was made and used to cover up the sculpture.

8. She insisted on having all windows open, even in winter.

The Queen Victoria Memorial
The Queen Victoria Memorial

9. There were eight assassination attempts on Queen Victoria’s life.

10. When she died in 1901 at the age of 81 after a period of ill health, no proper plans were in place for her funeral. The complex arrangements – including transporting Victoria’s body across the Solent from the Isle of Wight and a military procession through London – had to be organised from scratch in 10 days.