Our Island Story - H. E. Marshall

Victoria—The Girl Queen

Many years ago, in a big airy schoolroom, a little girl of eleven sat with her governess. The little girl had many lessons to learn, far more it seemed to her than other little girls of the same age, and sometimes they were terribly dull and uninteresting. But to-day they were not so, for she had found in her history book a page which showed how kings were descended from each other. This was very interesting. The little girl read the page carefully, then, looking up into the face of her governess, she said gravely, 'So I shall be Queen of Britain one day.' Then slipping her hand into that of her governess, 'I will be good,' she added, 'I will be good. I see now why I have to learn so many lessons.'

This little girl was Princess Victoria, the daughter of the Duke of Kent, younger brother of William IV. William IV. had two children, but they died while they were babies. The Princess Victoria's father had died when she was a baby, so she was the heir to the throne.

When William lay still and quiet in the great palace at Windsor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain stepped into a carriage and drove fast to the palace of Kensington, where the Princess lived with her mother. It was five o'clock in the morning when they arrived there. They knocked and hammered for a long time before they could rouse the sleepy porter, but at last they did so and got into the palace. But it seemed as if they were not to see the Princess, and that was what they had come for.

At last, after they had waited for a long time, a lady came to them. 'The Princess is sleeping so peacefully,' she said, 'I cannot wake her.'

We have come to see the Queen  on affairs of state,' said the Archbishop. 'Even her sleep must give way to that.'

The Queen! That was a very different matter.

In a few minutes the new-made Queen came into the room. Her brown hair was hanging over her shoulders, a shawl covered her nightdress, and only slippers were on her little bare feet. She was hardly awake, and she wondered, perhaps, if she might not still be dreaming.

And there, in the early morning sunshine, these two grave gentlemen, the Archbishop and the Lord Chamberlain, knelt to kiss the hand of this girl of eighteen who was their Queen.

Since the time of George I., the kings of Britain had also been kings of Hanover. But in Hanover there was a law that no woman could ascend the throne. Victoria could not be Queen of Hanover, so the crown passed to the Duke of Cumberland, another of the brothers of William IV. The British people were not very sorry to be rid of Hanover, and they were quite glad to be rid of the Duke of Cumberland, for no one loved him.

Not long after Queen Victoria came to the throne she married her cousin, Prince Albert of Coburg Gotha. Very often kings and queens cannot choose whom they will marry as other people can. They have to do as they are advised, and marry for the good of their country and people. But it is pleasant to know that this Queen and Prince really loved each other, and that they were happy together with their children, just like ordinary people.

Britain had been long at peace, and I wish I had no more wars to tell about. But, unfortunately, during the reign of Victoria there were many wars, although wise men did all they could to avoid them, for we see now more and more clearly how cruel and terrible a thing war is.

I cannot tell you about all these wars and their reasons; indeed, I cannot tell you about nearly all the important events which have happened since Victoria began to reign. Things happen and changes come now much more quickly than they used to do, and to tell of all the wonderful events of the nineteenth century would fill a whole book, and much of it would not interest you.


Front Matter

Albion and Brutus
The Coming of the Romans
The Romans Come Again
Caligula Conquers Britain
The Story of Boadicea
The Last of the Romans
The Story of St. Alban
Vortigern and King Constans
Hengist and Horsa
Hengist's Treachery
The Giant's Dance
The Coming of Arthur
Founding of the Round Table
Gregory and the Children
King Alfred Learns to Read
Alfred and the Cowherd
More About Alfred the Great
Ethelred the Unready
Edmund Ironside
Canute and the Waves
Edward the Confessor
Harold Godwin
The Battle of Stamford Bridge
The Battle of Hastings
Hereward the Wake
Death of the King
The Story of William the Red
The Story of the "White Ship"
The Story of King Stephen
Henry II—Gilbert and Rohesia
Thomas a Becket
The Conquest of Ireland
Richard Coeur de Lion
How Blondel Found the King
The Story of Prince Arthur
The Great Charter
Henry III and Hubert de Burgh
Simon de Montfort
The Poisoned Dagger
The War of Chalons
The Lawgiver
The Hammer of the Scots
King Robert the Bruce
The Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Sluys
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Battle of Poitiers
Wat Tyler's Rebellion
How Richard Lost His Throne
The Battle of Shrewsbury
Prince Hal Sent to Prison
The Battle of Agincourt
The Maid of Orleans
Red Rose and White
Margaret and the Robbers
The Story of the Kingmaker
A King Who Wasn't Crowned
Two Princes in the Tower
The Make-Believe Prince
Another Make-Believe Prince
The Field of the Cloth of Gold
Defender of the Faith
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
The Story of a Boy King
The Story of Lady Jane Grey
Elizabeth a Prisoner
A Candle Lit in England
Elizabeth Becomes Queen
A Most Unhappy Queen
Saved from the Spaniards
Sir Walter Raleigh
The Queen's Favourite
The Story of Guy Fawkes
The Story of the Mayflower
A Blow for Freedom
King and Parliament Quarrel
The King Brought to Death
The Adventures of a Prince
The Lord Protector
How Death Plagued London
How London was Burned
The Fiery Cross
The Story of King Monmouth
The Story of the Seven Bishops
William the Deliverer
William III and Mary II
A Sad Day in a Highland Glen
How the Union Jack was Made
Earl of Mar's Hunting Party
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Flora MacDonald
The Black Hole of Calcutta
How Canada Was Won
How America Was Lost
A Story of a Spinning Wheel
Every Man Will Do His Duty
The Battle of Waterloo
The First Gentleman in Europe
Two Peaceful Victories
The Girl Queen
When Bread was Dear
Victorian Age: Peace
Victorian Age: War
The Land of Snow
The Siege of Delhi
The Pipes at Lucknow
Under the Southern Cross
From Cannibal to Christian
Boer and Briton
List of Kings