6 history articles about the Victorian era

The 64-year reign of Queen Victoria saw society change unlike any other time. From medicine and social reform to colonial expansion, Britain underwent a massive transformation. BBC History Revealed’s Emma Slattery Williams rounds up six articles you need to read about the queen and life under her rule

Charles Dickens used his novels as a platform from which to attack the injustices that he believed blighted 19th-century Britain. (Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images)
1

Queen Victoria and Albert’s relationship

The love story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is a tempestuous romance known the world over. But do you know about any of the men in Victoria’s life before Albert? Author Helen Rappaport explores the suitors who attempted to win the hand of one of Europe’s most eligible women.

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Read more about Queen Victoria’s suitors

 

2

The horrors of Victorian medicine

In the modern age, we are fortunate to have such advances in medicine that surgery no longer carries such high risks as it once did. Anaesthetic was only coming into use during the mid 19th-century and before this people underwent amputations, tumour removals and other hideous procedures with no pain relief. Dr Lindsey Fitzharris takes us through the gruesome world of the Victorian hospital.

Read more about Victorian hospitals

 

3

Queen Victoria’s Indian confidant

Abdul Karim – whose story is told in the 2017 film Victoria and Abdul – was Queen Victoria’s Indian confidant and their friendship sent shockwaves through the royal household. Historian Shrabani Basu explores the fascinating story of this young man who became teacher and confidant to the ageing queen.

Read more about Abdul Karim

Judi Dench and Ali Fazal in Victoria and Abdul. (Image by Movie Stills DB)
‘Victoria and Abdul’ stars Judi Dench as the Queen and Ali Fazal as Abdul, and shone a light on the little-known relationship between Victoria and her Munshi. (Image by Movie Stills DB)

 

4

Charles Dickens: champion of the poor

Victorian writer Charles Dickens highlighted the plights and grim reality of the lives of Britain’s in his novels Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. Rosalind Crone uncovers how Dickens fought for social justice through his words.

Read more about Charles Dickens

 

5

Victoria, the warrior queen

During Victoria’s reign, the British empire underwent a massive period of expansion. This was achieved by a series of wars and conquests and Saul David explains how the young queen navigated these conflicts.

Read more about Queen Victoria’s wars

 

6

Queen Victoria’s children

One fact that almost everyone knowns about Queen Victoria is that she had nine children. As monarch, it was her duty to ensure the future of her dynasty and set an example of the ideal family, but this didn’t mean her family life was all plain sailing. On the outside, the royal family exemplified the epitome of a traditional Victorian family but underneath, there were many tensions. Denys Blakeway explores the often-turbulent relationship Victoria had with her children.

Read more about Queen Victoria’s children

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Emma Slattery Williams is Staff Writer on BBC History Revealed