Britain under queen victoria
Victoria was a daughter of the Duke of Kent, one of the sons of George III. She succeeded her uncle, William IV, in 1837 when she was a girl of eighteen. She died in 1901 a fabulous old lady, having celebrated her Jubilee in 1887 and her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. These two Jubilees, marking Victoria’s fiftieth and sixtieth anniversaries on the throne, were celebrated with enormous pomp and ceremony, and represented the British Empire at its height.
Queen Victoria was extremely popular in the opening years of her reign and during her marriage to the Prince Consort, Albert of Saxe-Coburg, a minor German prince. Prince Albert was earnest, conscientious and industrious, but perhaps too German in manner and outlook to please all the British of his day. After the early death of her adored Albert in 1861, Victoria remained in mourn and virtually retired from public life. This led to some unpopularity.
But the two Jubilees, her return to public life, and the great courage of the little old lady brought Victorias reign to a close in a blaze of popularity. She was a clever woman like great Elizabeth I and was limited in her tastes and out! But she had character and a great sense of public duty and responsibility. She was the best possible monarch for the nineteenth-century Britain.
During most of Victoria’s reign, Britain held the position of world leadership now occupied by the United States. Britain, the centre of a vast empire which included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and many parts of Africa and Asia, was in those years the wealthiest, the most industrialized, and the most powerful country in the world.
Her military power didn’t rest on her army, which was smaller than the armies of France and Germany, but on her navy, which was much stronger than any other navy. Though frequently engaged in small colonial wars, Britain kept clear of any major wars on the scale of the American War Between the States or the Franco-Prussian War of 1870—1871. Britain and the rest of the world had changed in many different ways during Victoria’s reign, than it had in the past long centuries.
to succeed smb — сменять кого-то (на троне, на посту)
to celebrate Jubilee — праздновать юбилей
the Diamond Jubilee — бриллиантовый юбилей (60 лет правления страной,государством)
to mark anniversaries — отмечать юбилеи, годовщины
reign —- правление, царствование
the Prince Consort — принц-консорт (титул, данный мужу правящей королевы)
earnest, conscientious and industrious — серьезный, добросовестный, трудолюбивый
in mourning — в горе, в скорби
in a blaze of popularity — в блеске популярности
the wealthiest — самый богатый (превосходная степень сравнения анг прилагательного от wealthy-wealthier-the wealthiest)
navy — военно-морской флот
to keep clear of smth — держаться в стороне от чего-то