Queen Victoria

15/05/2019 11:35  |  The Royal Family

Princess Alexandrina Victoria was born on 24th May 1819 at Kensington Palace to the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and was not expected to inherit the throne. However, following the death of her father, who was the fourth son of King William III and her three elderly, heirless uncles, the Princess became Queen on 20th June 1837, just weeks after her eighteenth birthday.

The following year on 28th June she was crowned in a lavish, five-hour long ceremony held in London’s iconic Westminster Abbey, the location of every Coronation since 1066. Hundreds of thousands of jubilant well-wishers lined the procession route in the hope of glimpsing the new queen. This spectacular event was followed by another on 10th February 1840, when the young Royal married her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace. The pair led a happy life together and had a total of nine children and 42 grandchildren, all of which married Royalty throughout the Continent, earning the Queen the nickname of the ‘Grandmother of Europe’.

Taking its name from the beloved monarch who ruled throughout it all, the Victorian era is famous across the globe as a period of immense social, political, industrial and scientific advancement. It was during this time that the British Empire was at its peak and it is estimated Victoria reigned over 450 million, which at that time was almost a quarter of the world’s population!

In 1887 the entire dominion celebrated their Sovereign’s Golden Jubilee and to mark the occasion a new coinage portrait was commissioned, replacing the ‘Young Head’ effigy which had appeared on the circulating coins for fifty years. Created by sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm, the ‘Jubilee Head’ depicted Her Majesty wearing a small crown perched on top of her mourning veil, which she had worn ever since Albert’s untimely death over 25 years before.

Known as the ‘Old’ or ‘Veiled’ Head by renowned medallist Thomas Brock, another official portrait of the 78 year old was commissioned in 1897 in honour of Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, our first ever monarch to reach this milestone. This was to be her last effigy as she died just four years later on 22nd January 1901. Her incredible 63 year, 7 month and 7 day reign is second only to that of her great great granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II, who has now been on the throne for more than 66 years.

Victorian coins are consistently in demand but as 2019 marks the 200th Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, their sought-after status is higher than ever.

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