Queen Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria, 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) reigned over the largest empire the world has ever seen. She was a hugely important figure, causing sweeping changes in the history of many parts of the world, and inspiring her people. She was not simply a prudish old woman with no sense of humour, and in fact probably never said, "We are not amused".note
Her reign was equally momentous, occupying nearly the entire period of the Industrial Revolution, from 1837 to 1901, and being the longest in British history until 9 September 2015, when her great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth II surpassed her.
She married her handsome first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a small principality in what is now Thuringia, Germany, in 1840 and then never stopped breedingfun fact until Albert died of typhoid fever in 1861, only 42, leaving Victoria stricken with grief. She never remarried, and indeed she spent the rest of her reign wearing only mourning colours and only rarely making public appearances and even more rarely living at Buckingham Palace;note this earned her the not-entirely-complimentary nickname "the Widow of Windsor." As a result, republican sentiment in Britain was at its height, to the extent that some felt the monarchy was going to be abolished sooner or later; fortunately (for the monarchy at any rate), the Prince of Wales, and future Edward VII, "Bertie" had a better understanding of public relations and charmed the socks off the whole country, and partied the socks off the whole upper crust.note
Victoria wanted every male British monarch after her to have a double-barrelled regnal name of "Albert [Something]", starting with her son, whom she expected would be known as "Albert Edward". However, "Bertie" decided that he would better honour his father's name if he left it to stand alone, and took the name "Edward VII". Now there is an opposite tradition: Any monarch with the given name "Albert" would not use that name, out of respect for the Prince Consort's singular position—as shown by George VI, whose given name was Albert and who was known publicly as Prince Albert, Duke of York, and privately as Bertie, until he took the throne (at which point his family still called him "Bertie"). However, there is a low-key tradition where each monarch/heir apparent who has a second son gives that son "Albert" as one of his names (if not necessarily his primary given name). note
Though she never stopped mourning for Prince Albert, she did to some extent move on eventually. Though her children and the upper class of Britain largely wished she hadn't, because her close friendship (widely speculated to also be romantic) with her Scottish servant John Brown was widely seen as scandalous. Not only was he a commoner, he was seen as almost a barbarian for his complete lack of concern for their difference in social class. Victoria on the other hand seemed to find this refreshing. There were even rumors that she secretly married him, though most historians discount this.note When Brown died in 1883 (at only 56), Victoria proceeded to scandalize the upper class again because her new favorite servant was Mohammed Abdul Karim, an Indian Muslim who taught Victoria the Hindustani languagenote after she was given the rank Empress of India and wished to be able to speak with her new subjects. While there was absolutely no hint of romance by Karim, the simple fact that he was not white and not Christian, as well as genuinely taking advantage of his position and Victoria's age, meant that he was seen as an even more inappropriate friend for the Queen.
She had a famously good working relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (who arranged for her to become Empress of India), and to a lesser extent with his eventual successor as Conservative Party leader, the Marquess of Salisbury. By contrast, she had a famously bad working relationship with Disraeli's (and later Salisbury's) Liberal Party rival William Gladstone, in part because of his manner (she famously complained of him that he spoke to her "as if [she] were a public meeting"), and also because of his support for Irish home rule. The end result was that when Gladstone retired in 1894, she disregarded his advice to appoint Lord Spencernote as his successor and instead appointed The Earl of Rosebery, Gladstone's unpopular foreign secretary, in what many felt was a transparent ploy to help Salisbury return to power. This naturally inflamed those who considered it unacceptable political interference on her part, but if so then it had the desired result — Rosebery's government lasted barely a year, and Salisbury returned as PM following a Landslide Election, with him remaining in the office for the rest of her life (he stood down the year after her death). To put the icing on the cake, she denied Gladstone the earldom traditionally given to retired PMs who did not already have peerages. (As a result, it's pure bad luck that Gladstone didn't get an earldom; the future Edward VII liked and respected Gladstone as much as his mother had hated him, and if Gladstone had lived long enough to see the Prince of Wales become King, it's likely he would have become Earl of Somewhere shortly after the new monarch's accession.)
Victoria was the first monarch to be photographed (the earliest known photo of her dates to c. 1845), and the first to be recorded, though no verifiable audio of her is known to have survived. A popular (and nearly indecipherable) clip circulating the internet which is claimed to be of her speaking in 1888 hasn't actually been proven to be her speaking.
The hemophilia which plagued the royal houses of Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was likely the result of a spontaneous mutation in her genomenote . It was spread by fact that she had so many children, and how they married, giving her the nickname "Grandmother of Europe" (during World War I, the king of the United Kingdom, the German emperor, the tsarina of Russia, the queens of Norway, Spain, Greece, and Romania, and the crown princess of Sweden were all her grandchildren). Two of her daughters were confirmed carriers, and one of her sons suffered the diseasenote . This went on to have major implications. Hemophilia has been associated with Royal Inbreeding, but is not actually a result of it — Victoria's husband Albert being her cousin had nothing to do with it.note
Thanks to Victoria's above status as the grandmother of Europe, World War I features a rather unusual familial aspect; of the superpowers involved, two (the British Empire and the German Empire) were led by her grandchildren, King George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II, while Russia was led by Tsar Nicholas II, who was married to her granddaughter, Alexandra. Further adding to the slightly convoluted network of connections is the fact that all three leaders were equally descended from George II of the United Kingdom, one of Victoria's own ancestors, thus making the three fifth cousins of each other!
Many, many books have been written about her and the era named after her. These tend to be set when they were written, either in Victorian London or in the colonies. Also the default timeframe for Steampunk works.
The Queen has been seen in the following works:
- In Black Butler, main character Ciel Phantomhive directly serves as her "watchdog" as part of his family's role and does what she wants to protect the country, essentially serving as England's black-ops. The manga version has her manservant John Brown follow her around with an Albert hand puppet to calm her down whenever her mourning overtakes her.
- She is a supporting character in Moriarty the Patriot where she orders Mycroft Holmes to retrieve the documents that contained the empire's top secret and in "The Final Problem" arc where she and Sherlock made a deal to lessen the House of Lords' superiority over the House of Commons after the detective accepts her offer to capture the Lord of Crimes, William James Moriarty.
- Queen Mousetoria in The Great Mouse Detective is the mouse counterpart of her.
- Features as the main antagonist in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. She apparently enjoys eating any animal that is considered to be rare in the wild, hates pirates, and at the climax reveals herself as a katana-wielding Acrofatic Dark Action Girl.
- She is featured in the animated prequel of 2004's Van Helsing titled The London Assignment, where she kidnapped by Dr. Henry Jekyll who has a Villainous Crush on her (at least on her younger self) and plans to make her immortal with a youth potion created from the souls of his freshly killed victims. She is rescued by the titular protagonist, for whom she briefly develops some romantic feelings - even kissing him at the end.
- In Australian and Kiwi cinema, Victoria is usually the unseen Big Bad in whose name the Evil Brit colonialist officials oppress the poor Irish settlers and natives. Examples: Mad Dog Morgan, Ned Kelly (1970), Ned Kelly (2003), Utu, and Captain Thunderbolt. There's also Picnic at Hanging Rock where one scene contrasts Mrs. Appleyard's breakdown and a portrait of Queen Victoria glowering stoically from the wall.
- Appears in two Jackie Chan movies - played by Kathy Bates in Around the World in 80 Days (2004), and Gemma Jones in Shanghai Knights.
- The animated sequences of The Charge of the Light Brigade feature satirical representations of her and Prince Albert. Notably, they appear as angels dancing in Heaven to celebrate the British capture of Sevastopol and eat a cake shaped like the Kremlin. It's a strange film.
- A very attractive young Queen Victoria appears in The Greatest Showman, and definitely has a sense of humor. She's played by Scottish actress Gayle Rankin.
- She appears for a few minutes, played by a quietly warmhearted Beryl Mercer, in The Little Princess (1939) with Shirley Temple.
- The 1998 film Mrs Brown starring Dame Judi Dench as the Queen mourning the death of Prince Albert and her friendship/romance with her unconventional Scottish servant John Brown.
- In 2017, Dench reprised the role in Victoria & Abdul, which is about the relationship between Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim.
- The 1950 film The Mudlark is about a street urchin who finds a medallion of Vicki while scavenging. A friend tells him she's "the mother of all England", so he sets out to meet her. She's a Hero's Muse in this, and played by an almost unrecognizable Irene Dunne.
- The 1966 movie The Wrong Box begins showing members of a Tontine dying off one by one over the decades - one by the hand of Queen Victoria, who is knighting him and uses the sword a bit too forcefully. "Oh! ...We are dreadfully sorry."
- The film The Young Victoria is based on, well... a young Victoria. She's played by Emily Blunt.
- The film Dolittle features a young and attractive Victoria (played by Jessie Buckley) falling severely ill and requiring a cure from the fruit of the Eden Tree, which Dr. Dolittle has to obtain himself.
- Queen Victoria is married to Dracula in Anno Dracula, which takes place in a what-if scenario where he survived the events of the novel and proceeded to take power by storming Buckingham Palace and turning Victoria into his vampire bride. She is kept around as Puppet Queen, locked up as a prisoner inside her own palace while Dracula rules England as the tyrannical Prince-Consort. The main protagonist delivers her from her torment by killing her with a silver knife and effectively dissolving Dracula's claim to the throne.
- She appears briefly in a non-speaking role during one of Nate's flashbacks in The Hellequin Chronicles, before he gets involved in the Ripper killings. She's noted as not being particularly well-disposed to Nate, or magical beings in general, because of the way Avalon controlled things behind the scenes ( later books would portray this as more than just understandable resentment), but rather pleased with him because he'd managed to retrieve a treasured memento of her late husband.
- A recurring character in the Flashman series, where she's portrayed as an amiable ditz.
- A child Victoria makes an appearance under the name "Drina" in the Gaslamp Fantasy The Missing Magician. It turns out that as she is of Royal Blood, she is immune to ley line magic.
- Makes the occasional appearance in The Parasol Protectorate.
- She's heavily implied to be a figure in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans." At the end of the story, after the mystery has been resolved, Holmes travels to Windsor and returns with an extremely valuable emerald tie-pin. When Watson inquires as to where he got it, Holmes will say only that it was a gift from "a certain gracious lady." Watson strongly suspects that it was the Queen herself.
- One of The Royal Diaries books is Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia, and is presented as the secret diary of Queen Victoria when she is in her late preteens/early teens, around the time of William IV's accession. (In fact, the wham entry for her is when she realizes she's his successor.)
- Similarly, Jean Plaidy's novel Victoria, Victorious is a fictionalized account of Victoria's life told from the point of view of the adult Queen writing her memoirs.
- Incidentally, in real life Victoria really was an obsessive journal writer, even by the standards of the times. Her daily journals cover a 69-year period and total 121 volumes (that would mean that Victoria wrote about two thousand words a day—i.e., roughly the daily output of a professional author). She even published some of her diaries during her lifetime; Leaves From a Journal of a Life in the Highlands, which was about the royal family's visits to their private Scottish estate of Balmoral, was extremely popular in its day. She was also a diligent correspondent and some books of her letters, such as those exchanged with her eldest daughter after she married the Crown Prince of Prussia, have been published as well.
- Black Elk Speaks: Late in the book, Black Elk and some of his companions meet Queen Victoria. Black Elk describes "Grandmother England" as one of the kindest women he ever met (depressingly, Black Elk notes that she was one of only four kind-hearted white people he ever met in his entire life).
When she came to where we were, her wagon stopped and she stood up. Then all those people stood up and roared and bowed to her; but she bowed to us.
- Vicki and Albert begin to appear in episode 3 of the 1978 ITV miniseries Disraeli: Portrait of a Romantic, played by Rosemary Leach and Jeremy Longhurst. Disraeli is telling his wife that facing the royal couple is like — cutting to our first view of them as Dizzy continues in voiceover — "looking into a double-barreled shotgun."
- Doctor Who: Guest-starred in "Tooth and Claw", played by Pauline Collins, depicted as courteous, stern, fairly good-humoured, and downright formidable. She reveals that after previous assassination attempts, she has taken to carrying a loaded revolver. The leader of the evil Warrior Monks sneers at her when she draws on him, referring to her as "woman." Her response? "The proper form of address is 'Your Majesty'." A running gag in the episode is Rose and the Doctor doing a Side Bet about getting her to say "We are not amused." At the end of the episode, it gains a darker twist, as she knights them... and promptly has "Sir Doctor of TARDIS" and "Dame Rose of the Powell Estate" banished, primarily for treating the whole thing like some sort of game, harshly rebuking them for their glib behaviour while people were dying horribly all around them. In direct response to the events of the episode, she founds the Torchwood Institute. A later episode, "Empress of Mars", includes a portrait of the version of Victoria seen in this episode.
- She continues to appear in the Torchwood audios, this time played by Rowena Cooper, where she is shown getting more directly involved with several of the Institute's cases. While initially portrayed as a badass with a greater sense of humour than on TV she is also shown as more callous. Later episodes bring out even less sympathetic traits, such as her unrepentant complicity in the colonisation of India, through her relationship with Duleep Singh. Then there was the little fact of her hand in creating The Committee of Erebus.
- The series Victoria, which follows her early years on the throne and her May-December relationship with the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne (with whom, it was long rumoured, Victoria was in love), and her romance and marriage to Prince Albert. Initially announced as a miniseries for broadcast in 2016, it was popular enough in its first few episodes that a second series was quickly commissioned for 2017, followed by a third for 2018. Jenna Coleman portrays the queen from the age of 18 onward.
- Victoria and Albert naturally appear in the 1975 ATV miniseries Edward the Seventh (also called Edward the King). Victoria, played by Annette Crosbie in a BAFTA-winning role, appears in 10 of 13 episodes and the first focuses largely on her (the title character being unborn, a baby, or small child for most of it).
- Blackadder's Christmas Carol has a short, chubby, highly-sexed Victoria and a doofus Albert (played by Miriam Margolyes and Jim Broadbent, respectively) singing Christmas carols, exchanging gifts, and just in general being a Happily Married couple celebrating Christmas.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
- The "Wacky Queen" sketch features Queen Victoria acting out silly hijinks from a turn-of-the-century silent film comedy, like getting William Gladstone to squirt himself with a garden hose.
- Another sketch, the "Queen Victoria Handicap", is a horse-racing spoof in which all eight participants are named, and are, Queen Victoria.
- The "Michael Ellis" episode features Queen Victoria, played by Michael Palin, showing up to complain about a Victorian poetry competition which appears to largely consist of poems about ants, abruptly shifting from an English accent to a German one early on in her tirade.
- She was the #18 "Greatest Briton" on One Hundred Greatest Britons.
- Bleak Expectations: Briefly appears at the end of series 3, knighting protagonist Pip Bin for saving Britain from zombies (long story), only to be abducted mid-ceremony by Big Bad Mister Benevolent. Series 4 begins with Pip trying to rescue her, a process that takes years (on account of Pip being an idiot), leaving Britain in disarray, especially at Christmas, when there's an awkward silence when there should be the Queen's Speech. She also gets a mention in the framing sequence, set decades later, having caused a traffic jam getting stuck on Oxford Street.
- Assassin's Creed Syndicate: Appears at the end and in the post-game, sending the Fryes on a few missions, until Evie says that the Assassins cannot condone the Empire, and asks her (to her face no less) if she might give up her imperial desires. The game also notes her dislike of Gladstone.
- She is a playable leader for England in Civilization IV and VI. Her character is fleshed out more in the latter, where her general goal is to have a presence on every continent on the map and so likes civilizations that share continents with her and dislikes those who don't. Her "We are not amused" misquote comes up when you declare war on her — she certainly doesn't look it as she delivers that line.
- In Fallen London, while her actual name never comes up (because speaking it is forbidden), it's clear that the Traitor Empress (or "Her Enduring Majesty" to loyalists) is/was Queen Victoria. She sold London to Alien Space Bats and their Bazaar of the Bizarre in exchange for Prince Albert's (now, similarly, known only as "the Consort") health.
- In Sunless Skies, two sequels later, she's now become Her Renewed Majesty, and revitalized London as a whole into a proper, interstellar empire. She's also become a Time Master thanks to exploiting the failing laws of reality, which has gone to her head a teensy bit...
- The Steampunk visual novel Code:Realize takes place in an alternate version of Victoria's Britain, and Victoria herself plays a key role in the plot, particularly in Victor Frankenstein's route.
- The Great Ace Attorney: She appears in the final case of the second game to strip Mael Strongheart of his position of Lord Chief Justice of England.
- The Queen has appeared in the Horrible Histories franchise.
- She gets two musical numbers in the TV series; one with her butler called "British Things", where she finds out that most of the things from her empire don't originate from the British Isles, and a love duet with her husband called "Vic and Al", where they sing about their passionate devotion to each other.
- She appears on "This Is Your Life" in the audio-book series and reunites with her royal subjects, her dead husband from a video call, and the Grim Reaper. Throughout, she is portrayed as the grumpy stereotype that everyone associates her with, and her catchphrase being "We are not amused".
- She had her own book dedicated to her in the original book series and her own episode in season 6 of the TV series. Both take pains to point out various facts about her beyond the stereotype, such as her actually being a very sensual woman despite the stereotypical prudery of the agenote . Both also claim she did say "We are not amused", but only once in her life, and the story differs between the two versionsnote .