Happy Victoria Day
Queen Victoria was a remarkable monarch during the development of the British Empire. Her 63 years on the throne saw the development of the Industrial Age and the expansion of the British Empire around the World highlighted with her becoming Empress of India, among her other Royal titles.
It was a remarkable accomplishement of empire building. The small island nation of the United Kingdom managed to control a very large part of the World. As a school child I always remember the World Map with so many countries on red. This was the extent of the Empire and later the Commonwealth of Nations
We may never see such an Empire again.
Those who do not know much about Queen Victoria can blame it on how badly history is taught. She was a World force in the 19th Century not only being the monarch of the greatest Nation and Empire of the time but also so influenced Society the age was named after her, Victoria Era.
Her life is worth learning about. You could start by just reading what Wikipedia has on her. She had a difficult and sheltered and controlled childhood watched over by her German mother, also called Victoria. She was well educated, privately; able to speak several languages. All her life she kept a journal that ran to 122 volumes. You can read part of it in the Internet Archives. She became the Monarch when she was 18. After her uncles had died leaving no male heirs. In reality, she had an arranged marriage to a German first cousin, Albert It turned out to be a great love affair. I love what she wrote of her wedding night,
I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert ... his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! ... to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!
It was a loved that lasted When Albert died she went into seclusion and mourned his death until she died..They had nine children who went on the marry into virtually all the great royal families of Europe giver her great power and influence across the continent. She has been called,"The Grandmother of Europe". She was the last of the Hanover line. Her children, in the lineage of their father, were in the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha line. It always amuses be that the British Royal family are German immigrants. This was awkward in the run up to the First World War so they officially changed their family name to Windsor. You can do this kind of thing when you are a Royal. Like her grandmother Queen Elizabeth II also married her first cousin, Prince Philip who also is a descendant of Queen Victoria. When Prince Charles married Diana he married into a noble family, the Spencers, who had much deeper and nobler English roots than the Royal family. And now we have William, the Duke of Cambridge, married to a commoner, waiting the birth of their first child. If it is a girl she will be first in the line of succession to be the Monarch. Patriarchy has been abandoned. Both Victoria and Elizabeth only became the Monarch because there were no longer any male heirs in front of them. They have both been wonderful Monarchs who have shaped the nature of Monarchy.
Needless to say Queen Victoria was the Queen of Canada once Canada became a county in 1867.
Aboriginal Canadians have a special relationship with the Royal Family While it was George III who recognized the First Nations people's right of ownership to their lands and set up the nation to nation relationship with First Nations people, it is Queen Victoria who is embraced by aboriginal people as the "Great While Mother." It has been to her and her descendants that they have looked to for their protection. It is the Crown in Canada and not the government in power that has a responsibility for aboriginal people. It is the crown which must honour the sacred treaties and to whom First Nations people can turn to when they are distressed. Government has the responsibility for upholding the Crowns obligations. This is the bases of the continual negotiations over land claims and fulfilment's of treaties. First Nations people in Canada are strong supporters of the monarchy. North American Indians, in the United States territories lost their rights established by George III. As a result First Nation's people in Canada are in a stronger position, with more rights, than their American cousins.
I think Victoria Day is a very worth while holiday. It is a good time to reflect on the life and times of Queen Victoria and how they continue to resonate in the nature of our country.