Her reign was complicated, tumultuous, and anything but typical.
When Alexandrina Victoria became queen on June 20, 1837, her first act was to demand something she'd been denied her entire life: one hour spent alone.
A painting of little Victoria, age 4. Her family doctor, Baron Stockmar, reportedly described her as "plump as a partridge." Image by Stephen Poyntz Denning/Wikimedia Commons.
In her first 18 years, Victoria spent every waking minute in the company of her mother and uncle, preparing for the eventual day where she would don a crown and become the ruler of the British Empire. When that day arrived, she became only the fourth woman in history to take on the role. Despite her youth and inexperience, this determined woman changed the world — and how it viewed the British monarchy — forever.