- History & Culture
How Queen Victoria remade the British monarchy
She took the throne amid calls to replace the royals with a republic. But Queen Victoria held power through ambitious reforms and imperialist policies, and her legacy endures today.
The Famine Queen. The Widow of Windsor. Grandmother of Europe. Queen Vic. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria earned all those nicknames and more—testaments to the enduring influence of her 64-year (1837-1901) reign over the United Kingdom.
During the period now known as the Victorian Era, she oversaw her nation’s industrial, social, and territorial expansion and became known as a trendsetter who made over European attitudes toward the monarchy. An estimated one in four people on Earth were subjects of the British Empire by the end of her rule. But when Victoria took the throne, the British monarchy was deeply unpopular.
Victoria was the product of a succession crisis in England’s royal family that occurred when Princess Charlotte, the presumptive