Friday, May 7, 2010

Queen Victoria's Influence on the World

"Please understand that there is no one depressed in this house; we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist." -- Queen Victoria I of Great Britain

Queen Victoria I reigned for 70 years that were some of the most important in Western history. She ruled during the Industrial Revolution, and saw dozens if not hundreds of scientific innovations come into being. Forward-looking monarch that she was, Queen Victoria took an interest in many of the steam-powered advances that would shunt Europe and the United States into the modern age.

However, it's not her focus on science or the culture of innovation that existed in Great Britain where Queen Victoria's real influence lies. No, it's in her children with Prince Albert -- nine of them to be precise -- who married into some of the most powerful families in Europe and changed the course of world history forever.

Among her children:

Victoria Adelaide Mary, the Princess Royal, born November 21, 1840: The eldest of the nine, the Princess Royal also produced two monarchs herself. Her eight children with Frederick III of Germany included Kaiser Wilhelm II, German Emperor during World War I, and Sophie of Prussia, the Queen of Greece.

Albert Edward, King of England as Edward VII, born November 9, 1841 had six children with Princess Alexandra of Denmark, among them King George V, who reigned during World War I. He was also the uncle, by marriage, of Tsar Nicolas of Russia.

Alice Maud Mary, born April 25, 1843 married Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, and among their seven children was Alexanda, the Tsarina of Russia.

Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, born August 6, 1844 had five children with Marie Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia -- among them was Marie of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who was Queen of Romania from 1914 to 1927.

Arthur William Patrick, born May 1, 1850: Among Arthur's daughters was Crown Princess Margaret of Connaught, who would eventually become Crown Princess of Sweden.

Beatrice Mary Victoria, born April 14, 1857: The youngest of the nine, Beatrice Mary wed Prince Henry of Battenberg, and had four children with him. One of these four was Victoria Eugenie (1887-1969), who was Queen of Spain from 1906 to 1931. The current king of Spain, Juan Carlos, is Victoria Eugenie's grandson.

Think about this -- Queen Victoria's children and grandchildren ruled Germany, Great Britain, Russia, Spain, and Romania when World War I broke out. Imagine, if you will, the sheer amount of letters that flew between Germany, Great Britain, and Russia during the run up to the hostilities in 1914. It's astonishing to consider that one family controlled much of the powerbase in Europe for more than 80 years.

If nothing else, think of the story possibilities this information presents. A family reunion among the royal houses of Romanov, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (now Windsor), Prussia, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (Romania), and Bourbon (Spain) -- the great powers of Europe unified under one roof and talking like a traditional crazy family would. Or at least I think it's fascinating. But then this is me we're talking about, dear readers, and this shouldn't come as a surprise to you.

Oh! Next week is the first full week of my new scheduled posts. Watch this space on Monday for an examination of steam-powered or mechanical technology.


Natalie said...

That is pretty impressive!

Joshua McCune said...

Beatrice is my favorite, just b/c she has the best birthday :)

Matthew Delman said...

Natalie -- I was impressed too. It's like "holy moley this one family had this much power?!"

Bane -- April 14's your birthday isn't it?

L. T. Host said...

How cool! I had no idea. You know I'm a sucker for anything to do with Victoria and that extends to the Romanovs, now I know by blood!

Today I learned...

Joshua McCune said...

Yep, how'd you guess ;)

Matthew Delman said...

L.T. -- Ain't it cool?

Bane -- Because this is you we're talking about of course.