Today on September 22, 1896, Queen Victoria became the longest reigning British monarch (at that point in history).
Victoria was the Queen of the United Kingdom from June 20, 1837, until her death in 1901. She ascended to the throne at the young age of 18 and ruled for over 63 years. In 1876, she also adopted the title, Empress of India. Her long reign is known as the Victorian Era and was a period marked by industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change as well as the greatest expansion of the British Empire.
The UK had already long established a constitutional monarchy, which effectively eliminated all direct powers of the sovereign. Behind the scenes, Victoria was known for trying to influence certain government policies and ministerial appointments. In the public eye, she became an icon of morality, stability and leadership.
Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert. The royal couple would produce nine children who all married into other royal or noble families — making Victoria the “Grandmother of Europe.” Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of massive public celebration.