On 24 May 1819 a little princess was born at Kensington Palace in London. Her name was Alexandrina Victoria. She was the daughter of the Duke of Kent and his wife, a German Princess. Victoria´s father died when she was a baby. Her childhood was lonely and dull. She had no friends to play with. Her favourite toys were dolls. She rarely went out because her mother was very protective. She grew up with her mother and her strict German governess who Victoria adored.
The young Princess loved animals and had three pets: a dog called Dash, a canary and a parakeet. She had private lessons in many subjects from half past nine in the morning to six in the evening. She loved singing and dancing. At he age of 13 Victoria´s mother decided that Victoria must see Britain and that the British people must see her. The young Princess travelled to Wales, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the south coast. She was welcomed with enthusiasm everywhere.
On Victoria´s seventeenth birthday her German cousin, Prince Albert, came to visit her. Victoria liked him immediately. Her mother thought Prince Albert was the ideal husband and Victoria agreed.
At five in the morning on 20 June 1837 Victoria received the news: King William IV died that night and she was now the Queen. She was only eighteen and knew very little about government or politics. At half pas eleven that morning she went to meet her advisers. She spoke and behaved calmly, and everyone admired her.
The young Queen now lived at Buckingham Palace, away from the strict control of her mother. Victoria enjoyed going to the opera and the ballet, and began horse riding.
In 1839 Victoria´s cousin, Albert, visited her again. This is what she wrote in her diary: ´Albert really is quite charming, and so excessively handsome. My heart is quite going.´ Victoria loved Albert and proposed to him. (Albert could not propose because he was of lower rank.) They were married in 1840. Victoria and Albert loved each other very much. She called him ´an angel´. However, Albert was a foreigner and not everyone liked him.
Albert was intelligent, well-educated and responsible. He was very interested in science, music and the arts. Victoria learned from Albert to be a dedicated monarch. The Queen asked for his help on government affairs and they always worked together.
Adapted from: Clemen, G.D.B.: Great English Monarchs and their Times. Black Cat, Genoa, 2000.
Task 1: Read the text and put down information that you think characterizes young Victoria:
The teacher can list the following adjectives (examples – can be changed) on the board and before the actual task discuss with the pupils what each quality means: Emotional – sensitive – hardworking – sensible – reasonable – level-headed – cautious, modest – sincere – frank – honest etc. Some suggestions of possible answers:
She loved animals and had three pets, her favourite toys were dolls. - She was probably emotional and sensitive. She had private lessons in many subjects. – She was clever and had to work hard. She loved singing and dancing, enjoyed going to the opera and the ballet. – She liked music and theatre. She spoke and behaved calmly when she became the queen. – She was very sensible. Victoria loved Albert very much, learned from him and asked for his help on government. – She was very cautious, level-headed, modest, etc.
Task 2: Make a timeline of Victoria´s life described in the text – important dates and events. Begin with her birth: