In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, beating which previous monarch?
And the answer: Queen Victoria.
In 1837, 18-year-old Victoria became queen upon the death of King William IV. She reigned for 63 years and 7 months until her death in 1901 at the age of 81.
Queen Victoria was born in 1819 in London, England. Originally named Alexandrina Victoria, the name "Victoria" would be that immortalized in her title as Queen and come to be associated with an entire era of British history. Born to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Victoria's father passed away when she was just 18 months old. Consequently, Victoria was raised by her mother and her mother's accountant, Jon Conroy. Victoria had little contact with other children in her youth, and spent most of her days with adult tutors or playing with dolls.
When Victoria was born, she was fifth in line for the crown of England. It seemed unlikely that she would ever be Queen, however, after several of her uncles failed to have children, she became heir to the throne of King William IV. In 1837, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom at the age of 18. Since she was still too young to make informed decisions, Queen Victoria relied on Whig Prime Minister Lord Melbourne for much of her early reign. Consequently, the two formed a close relationship, and Lord Melbourne had considerable influence over the political decisions made early in the Victorian Era.
One of the achievements which define the period of her reign was the Great Exhibition of 1851. A massive structure called the Crystal Palace was built in London to house a number of technological exhibits from around the world. Alongside her husband, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria put on the first in a series of World's Fairs, a series of exhibitions highlighting culture and industry, that became hugely popular in the 19th century.
Learn more about Queen Victoria's reign and influence here.