The Legacy of Queen Victoria: The British Empire, Colonization, Workhouses and Poverty
Queen Victoria was the longest reigning British Monarch; she reigned for 64 years.
The reign of Queen Victoria was during England's most glorious days. Britain had an empire. It was the days of colonization and although sometimes detrimental to the colonies, it was profitable for Britain in terms of expansion, political clout and economics.
Despite the fact that Queen Victoria deeply loved Ireland she was also known as the famine Queen due to her reign during the Irish potato famine. It was rumoured that she gave a small some of money from her personal funds to aid the Irish, but it was also defended that it was England in the first place who caused the famine.
Even the social problems at home in England were troublesome. The Queen ignored the social problems of her day and basked in the glory of the prim and proper Victorian middle class mores. Meanwhile, the needs of the men, women, and children who struggled in life, working slave hours in factories, or selling apples on the street in the bitter cold winter prevailed.
The classic author of the period, Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist, and exposed the exploitation of the poor and disadvantaged. His many works was a social commentary.
The workhouses and debtors prisons were overcrowded, orphanages were abusive, and the age of industrialization brought many rural people into the big dirty crowded English cities to look for work. The sweat shop conditions were the fate of the lucky, debtor prisons and workhouses were the faith of those who were not so lucky.
The spirit of the British people lived on in spite of the hardships as clearly portrayed again by Charles Dickens in his classic, A Christmas Carol.
Queen Victoria was big on Christmas celebrations and our Christian tradition today is handed down by Queen Victoria's generation. She gave us the Christmas tree, and the distribution of Christmas cards to celebrate the holiday season.
The Victorian era brought in strong family values for the middle class, but tended to create a larger gap between the middle class and the poor, who could not live up to the middle class ideals of the day.
Queen Victoria's reign ushered in the modern monarchy. It is during this reign and onward that the monarchy becomes more of a nostalgic symbolic presence than a royal ruling class.
Due to the inbreeding that was so prevalent among the ruling classes in Europe, Queen Victoria actually became the first known royal hemophiliac. Queen Victoria passed the gene onto two of her daughters and her son Prince Leopold. In turn they passed it on to some of their children.
The first British stamp portrays the head of Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria was recently ranked the 18th most famous person in Britain. She is the most commemorated British Monarch worldwide.
Many statues and cities worldwide are named in her honor. Victoria Day is celebrated in Canada, Ireland and Dundee and Edinburgh, Scotland.