England stamp Michel no. 3, issued in 1841. Stamp depicts Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901).

Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, London, on May 24, 1819. She was the only daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III. Her father died shortly after her birth and she became heir to the throne because the three uncles who were ahead of her in succession - George IV, Frederick Duke of York, and William IV - had no legitimate children who survived. On William IV's death in 1837, she became Queen at the age of 18.

Queen Victoria is associated with Britain's great age of industrial expansion, economic progress and, especially, empire. At her death, it was said, Britain had a worldwide empire on which the sun never set. Her marriage to Prince Albert brought nine children between 1840 and 1857. Most of her children married into other Royal families of Europe. Victoria was deeply attached to her husband and she sank into depression after he died, aged 42, in 1861. For the rest of her reign she wore black.

In foreign policy, the Queen's influence during the middle years of her reign was generally used to support peace and reconciliation. In 1864, Victoria pressed her ministers not to intervene in the Prussia-Austria-Denmark war, and her letter to the German Emperor (whose son had married her daughter) in 1875 helped to avert a second Franco-German war. After the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the government of India was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown and in 1877 Victoria became Empress of India. She was always a very strong supporter of Empire.

Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, on January 22, 1901 after a reign which lasted almost 64 years, the longest in British history. She was buried at Windsor beside Prince Albert, in the Frogmore Royal Mausoleum, which she had built for their final resting place.