One country. Two Queens. Three centuries.
Queen Elizabeth II is the great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and it appears that while some things run in families, others definitely do not.
Both Queens took the throne at a young age, and both celebrated Diamond Jubilees - something that had never happened in over 1,000 years of monarchy and which is very unlikely to happen again in our lifetimes. But what other similarities and contrasts do their lives contain?
A plethora of prime ministers
Victoria saw ten prime ministers come and go during her reign. And that’s just in the UK. If you include New Zealand, Canada and Australia, the total goes up to 33.
It was Albert that convinced Victoria to rise above politics. Previously she had become very personally involved. In fact, Melbourne remained in office despite defeat, purely due to Victoria’s stubbornness.
The current Queen has already beaten Victoria’s total with 13 UK prime ministers. Or 157 if you count the current commonwealth realms.
From the Empire to the Commonwealth
On 1 January 1877 Victoria became Empress of India. It was just one of the Empire’s countries she was never to visit. By the end of her reign the Empire included Canada, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Africa.
By the end of World War II, Britain’s wealth, power and authority had been seriously impacted. Many countries declared independence but freely joined the Commonwealth.
In contrast to Victoria, The Queen has visited every Commonwealth country.
Two monarchs. One royal family.
Between them they have reigned for over 120 years, witnessed dramatic social, economic and technological changes. Endured war. Found love. And shepherded their country with the same sense of duty and honour.
This iconic design was the inspiration for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Official UK £5 coin released in 2012. The legacy is clear.
Today, The Royal Mint strikes special coins to commemorate great moments in The Queen's reign. Coins for the Diamond Jubilee and the coronation are collected by thousands of people and The Royal Mint's place in British life continues to be as strong as ever.