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11:14am Thursday 21st June 2007 in Hampshire Heritage
These days Queen Victoria is thought as being rather disapproving and withdrawn figure but in her younger days she was known to be warmhearted and lively with a gift for drawing and painting; educated by a governess at home, she was a natural diarist and kept a regular journal throughout her life.
On William IV's death in 1837, she became Queen at the age of 18 and so began the longest reign by a monarch in British history.
Queen Victoria loved the south coast, especially after her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840, when, five years later, they bought Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
As Princess Victoria she had visited Southampton in 1833 to formally open the Royal Pier with its ornate gatehouse which still remains to this day.
Victoria was deeply attached to her husband and she sank into depression after he died, aged 42, in 1861. She had lost a devoted husband and her principal trusted adviser in affairs of state. For the rest of her reign she wore black. Until the late 1860s she rarely appeared in public; although she never neglected her official correspondence, and continued to give audiences to her ministers and official visitors, she was reluctant to resume a full public life.
With time the Queen gradually resumed her public duties and when the Crimean War came to an end she ordered a military hospital to be built in the UK.
Its purpose was to train army nurses and doctors and to treat military patients to ensure their swift return to duty. Netley was chosen as the site because it was near to Southampton so that hospital ships from around the British Empire could safely dock and disembark patients.
The foundation stone, a two tonne Welsh granite stone, was laid by Queen Victoria on May 19 in 1856. The monarch Victoria arrived at Royal Victoria Hospital Netley by Royal Yacht. The Jetty by the hospital was specially built for her visit and a scarlet carpet covered the walkway.
This occasion was marked by the firing of a Royal Salute. Unfortunately one gun fired prematurely and two sailors were killed outright whilst others were injured.
The laying of the foundation stone ceremony still went ahead. Beneath the stone a copper casket containing the plans of the hospital, the first Victoria Cross, a silver Crimea medal with all four campaign bars and a set of British coins.
Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, on January 22, 1901 after a reign which lasted almost 64 years, the longest in British history.
She was buried at Windsor beside Prince Albert, in the Frogmore Royal Mausoleum, which she had built for their final resting place. Above the door are inscribed Victoria's words: "Farewell best beloved, here at last I shall rest with thee, with thee in Christ I shall rise again.'' Name: Queen Victoria Occupation: Longest reigning monarch Date of Birth: May 24, 1819 died: January 22, 1901 Local Link: Resident of Isle of Wight