VICTORIA, VICTORIAN

Queen Victoria’s (1819-1901) reign was the longest of any other king or queen of Great Britain. She ascended the throne in 1837 and remained on it sixty-four years, until her death. Her reign was distinguished by achievements in the arts and sciences, and the continuance of the Industrial Revolution, which added to the great prosperity that England enjoyed. During much of this time, Britain’s empire expanded to such an extent that it was rightly said that the sun never set on it.
The premier British award for conspicuous bravery in the presence of the enemy was instituted by Queen Victoria. It is a bronze Maltese cross with the royal crown surmounted by a lion in its center under which is a scroll bearing the words «For Valour». It is called the Victorian Cross.
Queen Victoria gave her name to many landmarks and geographical sites, numerous towns, and a river. Victoria is the capital of both British Columbia and Hong Kong. A low carriage for two with a folding top, low hung so that the queen did not need to walk steps to enter, was named the Victoria in her honor. And so on.
When the queen’s name is converted to its adjectival form — Victorian — its connotation is one of moral rectitude and conservative outlooks, but more aptly stated as prudery and stuffiness. Writers of that period are known as Victorian authors, although many of them don’t fit that description, such as Oscar Wilde. A certain type of furniture, formal in style, popular during her reign, has been aptly named Victorian.