Happy Victoria Day, to all you Canadian readers! As some of you may know, Canada has a deep rooted history with the British monarchy as our country was eventually founded by the British empire (even though this is still a disputable topic!). Even today we recognize Queen Elizabeth as our queen and perhaps some of you even have memorized and sung God Save the Queen on various occasions! So today, we honour Queen Victoria and all the work and achievements she accomplished in her lifetime along with her husband, Prince Albert (Or, you relax and go camping...who am I to judge?). I've always been a bit fascinated with royalty and I take no shame in it! My late grandmother had scrapbooks filled with clippings of queens, kings, princesses and duchesses of all kinds so somehow I feel connected to her even without ever having ever met her. But before I get too sidetracked, I want to talk a bit about a movie we watched this weekend and the woman behind the story.
M and I popped in a movie from the library on Saturday which happened to be The Young Victoria. I've seen this one before, but it only dawned on us halfway through the film that we were watching it on the same weekend that we were meant to honour the figure portrayed on screen! Now this is coming from a true Romantic who likes a girly love story from time to time...but I am in love with this movie. I find it to be incredibly beautiful, heartwarming, lovely and every other word that comes to my head relating to the fulfillment of delight.
Even with all of my love of royalty, I had not read much on the story of Victoria, so I was not aware of the happenings in her life or the love between her and her husband. And if she was indeed how the film portrayed her, she seemed to be a strong and independent woman with incredible determination- a true heroine of our time. And the way this movie portrays her and Prince Albert's love story...oh my heart! Such a romantic story filled with beauty and valour. I have to admit, I have a bit of a crush on Prince Albert, now (sorry, M). I really don't want to spoil too much of the movie for you if you haven't seen it yet, but Prince Albert's love for his lady is accompanied by admiration, respect and strong companionship.
If you are not all that familiar with Queen Victoria, here are a few facts and tidbits about her life so that you may know a bit of why we celebrate her today*:
-Victoria became queen at the age of 18 upon William IV's death in 1837. She reigned for almost 64 years until her death in 1901 and remains the longest reigning British monarch, to date!
-She is associated with Britain's age of industrial expansion and economic progress. She and Prince Albert both also turned more of their attention toward those with less financial means. She was supportive of many charities involving education and hospitals.
-Between 1840 and 1882, she was often threatened with attacks on her life, but she displayed a strong and courageous attitude that widened her popularity in Great Britain.
-Prince Albert took a very active role in progressing arts, science, trade and industry and helped to establish the South Kensington museums complex in London.
-She and Albert had 9 (!!) children together which helped to establish monarchy in multiple surrounding nations.
-Albert died in 1861 at the age of 42. Victoria was so deeply attached to him that she sank into deep depression. He had been not only a devoted husband but a trusted advisor in state affairs. For the rest of her reign she wore only black and had Albert's outfit laid out daily until she died.
-She was buried in the Frogmore Royal Mausoleum in Windsor beside her husband. Her epitaph is inscribed with her own words, "Farewell, best beloved, here at last I shall rest with thee, with thee in Christ I shall rise again". What beautiful and truthful final words!
So take a moment today to think about this figure in history, even if just for a small moment. Her accomplishments helped to develop the country we call home today. She also lived such an honourable life filled with devotion that I now feel inspired to follow.
*all facts adopted from The Official Website of British Monarchy.