Cambridge Historical Reader: Primary - Cambridge Press

Victoria the Good

This is the story of the royal mother of king Edward VII. Her reign of 63 years was the longest in our history, and in many ways it was one of the best.

Nearly a hundred years have passed since the May morning when little princess Victoria was born. Her father and mother, the duke and duchess of Kent, lived at Kensington palace, in London, which, years before, had been the favourite home of some of our kings.

The duke was very proud and fond of his little daughter. One day he showed her to a friend, and said, "Look at her well, for one day she will be queen of this country."

We are told that he was out walking one day, and was caught in a heavy shower of rain. When he got home, instead of at once changing his wet boots, the duke went up to the nursery of the little princess. He stopped to play with his baby girl, quite forgetting about his wet feet, and thus caught a very bad cold.

Queen Victoria


In the morning, he was very ill and. was forced to remain in bed. He soon grew worse, and in a few days he died, leaving little princess Victoria to the care of her mother.

The duchess of Kent was a wise and good woman, and brought up her little girl in the very best way. She was taught to be truthful and unselfish; to finish one task before she began another; and to try to make others happy. Of course, much of her time was given to study; for her mother knew that, if she lived, she would be queen, and would need to be very wise to rule this great empire well.

This still left the little princess time for play, and she was just as fond of her dolls as any other little girl. Some day, perhaps, you will, visit the old palace at Kensington, where the doll's house and other playthings of princess Victoria may still be seen.

But it was not till she was twelve years old that she herself knew that she would be queen of Great Britain. One day, during her history lesson, a paper was placed in her book, and this made it all quite clear to her.

Then the princess understood why her mother had taken such pains to train her well. Turning to her teacher, she said, with tears in her eyes, "I will be good! I will be good!"

Many older persons would have felt proud and vain on hearing such news as this: but the only thought of Victoria was how to fit herself for the great place she had to fill.

A few years passed away, and, when the princess was just eighteen years old, her uncle, king William IV, died, in 1837. Two great men, the archbishop of Canterbury and the lord chamberlain, at once set out from Windsor castle to bear the news to the princess.

They reached Kensington palace at five o'clock in the morning. They were told that princess Victoria was in such a sweet sleep that she must not be disturbed. They replied, "But we have come to see the queen," and thus it became known that the old king was dead.

In a very short time, the princess came down, and on bended knee the two gentlemen greeted her as queen. Tears filled her eyes—tears for the kind old uncle who was dead, and tears at the thought of the great duties she was now to perform.

About a year afterwards, she was crowned with great pomp and show in Westminster abbey. Two years later, the queen married her cousin, prince Albert, a very handsome and noble man. For more than twenty years he was always at the queen's side, helping her with good advice and loving care.

These were very happy years for queen Victoria. But at length a great sorrow came into her life, for the "Prince Consort," as he was called, was stricken with fever. One dark December day, in 1861, the prince died, to the great grief of the queen and all the nation.

Queen Victoria lived for more than forty years after the death of her husband. During this time, she had many joys and sorrows. Several of her children died; and in the last few years of her reign her heart was filled with sadness owing to the loss of her brave soldiers in Africa.

Still, she had the joy of knowing that this country had grown rich and great under her wise rule. Her noble resolve to be good had helped to make her people good also. In the year 1897, she went in great state to St Paul's, to give thanks to God for her reign of sixty years.

Diamond Jubilee


This was known as the Diamond jubilee, and, from all parts of this great empire, people came to take part in the great event.

In 1901, queen Victoria died—and in every home in Britain great grief was felt at the loss of the "mother, wife and queen" whose long life had been such a fine model for her people.