On this day in 1837 Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne.
She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father’s three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate, surviving children.
The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held relatively little direct political power.
Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon, and was identified with strict standards of personal morality.
Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840.
Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname “the grandmother of Europe”.
After Albert’s death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances.
As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.