Queen Victoria (1819–1901) not only ruled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland but also defined the Victorian Age that was named for her. Today, not much is known about her except to historians. In fact, her popular image is little more than a caricature. She is often seen as a rigidly prim and proper, somewhat cold and distant monarch.
But this image conflicts sharply with her strong passions, which we will reveal to you today. These 10 surprising facts about Queen Victoria show a completely different person from the stern, no-nonsense, straitlaced figure she’s often erroneously believed to have been.
10. She Kept A Detailed Journal
Beginning in 1832 at age 13, the girl who would be crowned Queen Victoria kept a journal. At the time of her death in 1901 at age 81, her entries ran 43,000 pages. In her observations, she shared her thoughts and feelings about subjects as diverse as her prime ministers, her political opinions, and her intimate thoughts about her beloved husband, Prince Albert.
“It was with some emotion that I beheld Albert—who is beautiful,” she gushed in her October 10, 1839, entry. “He clasped me in his arms, and we kissed each other again and again!” She also shared her grief at his passing.
In 1885, she noted the fall of Khartoum and Major-General Charles George Gordon’s undetermined fate. She described her coronation on June 28, 1838, and the emotional ovation she received as she traveled to her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The first book of her multivolume journal was given to her, she recalled, by her mother so that Victoria could record her journey to Wales.
Although Princess Beatrice, Victoria’s daughter and private secretary, destroyed many of the original volumes of her mother’s journals, Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, has made copies of the surviving volumes available online, courtesy of the Royal Archives.