| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
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.
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