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File:VictoriaJubilee.jpg


Captain Darling: I'm as British as Queen Victoria!"

Captain Blackadder: So your father's German, you're half-German, and you married a German?"

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) 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".

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 to date.

She married her cousin Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel in 1840, leading prank phone callers to ask if their victim had Prince Albert in a can. Albert died of typhoid fever in 1861, still young(ish) and handsome, leaving Victoria stricken with grief. She never remarried.

Many, many books have been written about her and her era. These tend to be set when they were written, either in Victorian London or in the colonies. Also the default timeframe for Steampunk works.


Her Majesty Victoria and her reign involve examples of the following tropes:

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty: The "We are not amused" story is most likely apocryphal. In fact, she wrote constantly in her journal about how much things amused her, and in fact laughed uproariously at most of the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan.
    • The story may have arisen from an incident where a courtier told a filthy joke in front of a number of small children at lunch. Her "we" was meant to encompass the confused and worried girls, who either didn't understand the joke or were upset by it.
    • Lampshaded humorously in the Tooth and Claw episode of Doctor Who, where a running gag was Rose trying to get Her Majesty to say it to win a bet with the Doctor.
    • Also true about the phrase "Lie Back and Think of England." She and Albert loved each other passionately (in both senses of the word) - none of that for them!
      • As the discussion for that trope's page concluded, in order to make the quote more in line with the Victoria's actual conduct, it must be reinterpreted as advice on what to do when not having any sex.
    • A possible example is the claim that she detested a northern city so much that she always had the curtains closed on her train when passing through it--the reason why this is suspicious is that it's claimed by multiple places, including Newcastle and Edinburgh.
      • Again, almost certainly apocryphal - Victoria was too soft-hearted to hold a grudge against an entire city.
  • British Accents: Victoria's was supposedly very heavily German-accented, considering that she was descended mostly from Germans (her family were the royals of Hanover after all!) and preferred to speak that one when she was alone or with her equally German husband.
    • Supposedly, she had a strange Scottish/German hybrid accent, from the influences of her German mother and her Scottish governess.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: This is somewhat what the Crystal Palace was supposed to suggest, though that wasn't its original design (see Dumbass Has a Point).
  • Determinator: See the above caption, spoken during the Second Boer War in 1899. For the record, they won, though she didn't live to see it.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: At first the Queen and Prince couldn't decide on the design for the Great Exhibition Building; brick or stone would be too heavy and costly, and would never get done in time, and wood would still take too long and add fire danger. A public contest was held, and the winning answer (a giant greenhouse, which was easy to assemble quickly, let in sunlight and could be built around the trees in the park) came from a lower-class gardener, who was supposedly quite dull. Later, they wondered how to get the sparrows in the trees from defecating on everyone, and his second ingenious answer got him knighted:

 "How about sparrow hawks?"

    • That's kind of selling the man short; Joseph Paxton, the aforementioned Gardener, was in the employ of the Duke of Devonshire, and had spent 25 years turning the Duke's Estate into the most technologically advanced botanical establishment in the whole of Victorian-era Europe. Also, the Crystal Palace looks like a greenhouse because Paxton was one of the men responsible for creating the modern Greenhouse design.
      • He also spawned the saying "Got a problem? Give it to Paxton!"
      • The relationship between the Duke of Devonshire and Joseph Paxton was much more like that between two business partners rather than nobleman and servant--and indeed, they did launch at least one business venture together.
      • Actually, the sparrowhawks line wasn't even said by Paxton, it was the Duke of Wellington who suggested the idea to the Queen.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Not for her, but her first name was "Alexandrina", which was chosen specifically to upset her uncle (who hated the Russian Tsar Alexander I).
  • Enemy Mine: Historical rivals England and France teamed up, along with the otherwise-hated Ottoman Empire and the came-out-of-nowhere Kingdom of Sardinia (turns out it was a Plan on poor French Emperor Napoleon III by Sardinia's Magnificent Bastard Prime Minister Cavour, but that's another story), to beat up the expansionist Russians and their Bulgarian allies in the Crimean War.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Just that after Albert died, she made a more modest, but still grand, effect.
  • Establishing Character Moment: At her coronation, an elderly Lord tottered when he tried to pay homage to Victoria. She got up from from her throne and helped the old man.
  • Evil Matriarch + Education Mama: Not evil exactly, but her mother was morally dissolute and almost entirely self-centered; she once ordered ships in the harbor to salute to her and not the then-King. The only thing she cared about other than herself was making sure Victoria got to the throne to carry on the legacy.
    • She did hope that Victoria came to the throne before her majority, though, so that a regency could be formed, with her as the regent of course. Some say that she even tried to get a regency established after Victoria turned eighteen.
    • Victoria is said to have believed this herself. She suspected her mother's aide, Sir John Conroy, of attempting to have her declared insane so that her mother could be appointed permanent regent (and him the power behind the regency).
  • The Federation: The British Empire under Victoria is one of the Trope Codifiers. Towards the end of her reign, there was talk of establishing a literal Federation (well, "Imperial Federation") with a central Parliament to set Empire-wide policy; Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Newfoundland (at the time separate from Canada), and of course the United Kingdom would be its initial members. The idea eventually morphed into the Commonwealth of Nations.
    • Her letters also naturally record Young Future Famous People incidents of this type, such as Victoria sending Leopold's young son Leopold junior a steam engine to play with and commenting on his industriousness--Leopold II would later become one of the greatest villains of history due to his actions in the Congo Free State.
  • The Good Chancellor: Benjamin Disraeli.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: Averted; even those who don't like the country's practices have to admit that she did a good job ruling reigning over her own country.
  • Grande Dame: Though she was not actually lacking humour, she is generally portrayed this way in fiction -- not entirely without justification.
  • Happily Married - A rare, straight example for a real-life royal couple. Victoria was so dedicated to her husband (as he was to her) that even after his death she still insisted that the linens and wash basin in his room be changed just as if he were still living in there.
  • Hero's Muse: She was often portrayed this way.
  • The High Queen: Or at least portrayed this way by sympathetic authors.
  • History Marches On: It was once thought that the hemophilia Victorian passed on to one son and (through her carrier daughters) the royal families of Europe was "caused" by inbreeding. This is in itself nonsense, as inbreeding doesn't miraculously cause genetic mutations to happen; it merely concentrates genes (good and bad) and makes it more likely that recessive and polygenic traits will arise. But it's now been found that hemophilia is a sex-linked trait: a man only needs one defective gene (on his X chromosome) to be a hemophiliac. The chance of inheriting a condition caused by a single gene is no higher in inbred conditions than in outbred ones.
  • Honest John's Dealership: On hearing that Prince Albert was deathly ill, a certain London businessman bought up all the black crepe in the city. When it came time to go into mourning with the queen, he made, as it were, a killing.
  • Hot Consort: Prince Albert.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Victoria was 4'11"; Albert was about six feet. The sight of them together was thought to be amusing by the kind of people that that sort of thing amuses.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Oh, she most certainly was. Much of the justification for The Young Victoria.
  • Kissing Cousins: Victoria and her husband Albert were first cousins; Albert's father and Victoria's mother were brother and sister.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Victoria had nine children herself, all of whom survived to adulthood. Considering the intermarriage that took place among European royalty, almost every royal family in Europe is or was somehow related to her. Victoria was also a carrier of the haemophilia gene (or the werewolf gene, if you like) which ended up manifesting itself in one of the children of Tsar Nicholas II, resulting in the influence Rasputin had over the family.
  • Long Runner
  • Lord Error-Prone: the nearly-senile Lord Raglan, and the pugnacious and nearly-idiotic Earl of Cardigan (who invented Raglan sleeves and Cardigan sweaters, by the way), in the Crimean War. Together with a few others (Captain Nolan, the Earl of Lucan), and with Raglan's vague orders, they caused the Charge of the Light Brigade. Raglan repeatedly referred to his enemies as "The French" (in a flashback to the Napoleonic Wars), even though the French were now on his side.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Queen Victoria may have *reigned* over the British Empire, but the real power was in the hands of her prime ministers. That's how a Westminster parliamentary democracy works: the sovereign reigns, but Parliament rules.
  • The Mourning After: She never really did recover from the death of Albert.
  • My Beloved Smother: When the Queen was inconsolable after Prince Albert's death, her youngest daughter Princess Beatrice (then aged five) became her main source of support, and at one point while a child Beatrice declared that she would never marry and stay with her mother to support her -- as time passed, it became clear that Victoria intended to hold Beatrice to this. She continued to live with her mother, and was single well into her twenties, with Victoria doing her best to interfere with a number of possible suitors. When Beatrice announced her intention to marry Prince Henry of Battenberg (who she had met at a wedding), Victoria refused to speak with her for seven months despite them continuing to live in the same house, and finally consented to the marriage only when the couple promised to continue to live with her. Beatrice continued to live with Victoria until the Queen's death in 1901, at which point she spent the next thirty years editing her mother's journals.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: High-profile aversion--due to her being a queen and Albert only being a prince, it was Victoria who had to propose to Albert.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted and played straight. Victoria's mother was also named Victoria. So was her eldest daughter, but was called Vicky for most of her childhood. Victoria and Albert's eldest son was also named Albert, but the British people wouldn't accept such a German name for their future monarch and was always referred to as his middle name, Edward, in the press (which was the name he eventually adopted when he ascended to the throne). Within the family, though, he was always called Bertie.
    • Victoria intended for there to be a Victoria and an Albert in every generation of the senior royal family, whenever possible. The trend died out almost immediately after her death, although some royals still carry one of those names as a middle name (Prince Andrew's middle name is Albert, for instance).
  • Parental Substitute: Arguably her uncle Leopold, King of the Belgians, and her first Prime Minister Viscount Melbourne; Victoria's own father, the Duke of Kent, died when she was an infant.
  • Science Marches On: Many of the "futuristic" ideas of some British authors at the time seem ludicrous and dated now. H. G. Wells got some social changes correct, though, and Jules Verne did basically predict the nuclear submarine.
  • Shoot the Dog: Once literally happened when her cousin Ferdinand accidentally shot Albert's favourite dog Eos.
  • Sugar and Ice: Just read her journal entries on Albert.
  • Trope Maker: Without Prince Albert, we would not have Christmas Tropes, at least in English; when Victoria came to the throne, it was just a minor holiday in England. Albert introduced the concept of the Christmas tree, Christmas cards, Christmas carolling, Christmas lights and the traditional turkey dinner from Germany.
    • Ditto for most Wedding and Engagement Tropes. The huge white dress, huger cake with figurines on top, and other frills we commonly associate with weddings were inspired by Victoria's (and at least one by her eldest daughter's).
  • Team Mom: To the whole Empire.
  • Unexpected Successor: It's not often realized that Victoria was one. As of 1816, George III only had one legitimate grandchild: Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only child of the Prince of Wales. It was fully expected that Charlotte would inherit the throne in the fullness of time, as her parents loathed each other and neither was thought capable of having more children. And then Charlotte died at the age of 21, leaving a huge gap in the line of succession. Cue a mad rush by Charlotte's uncles to dump their long-standing mistresses and woo and wed Protestant princesses who could give them the priceless heir. Even the Prince of Wales, sick, fat, and impotent, attempted to divorce his wife after he succeeded as King George IV. Victoria's father, Edward, Duke of Kent, George III's fifth son, was the oldest to produce a surviving child.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Victoria, Albert, his brother and another girl as teenagers...eventually it worked out.
  • Victorian Britain: The Trope Namer.
  • Victorian London: Also named it.
  • When She Smiles: DAAAWWWW...
  • Widow Woman: After the death of Prince Albert, Victoria always wore mourning clothes, though she did eventually brighten up personally.

The Queen has been seen in the following works:

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