by David Johnson
The 64-year-long reign of England's longest-ruling monarch, Queen Victoria, has become synonymous with the culmination of Britain's rise to world power and the growing prosperity brought about by the Industrial Revolution. The Victorian age is generally considered to have lasted from her accession to the throne in 1837 to 1900, a year before she died.
Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and they had nine children. These children and grandchildren intermarried widely into various European noble houses, connecting aristocrats across the continent. For example, the protagonists in World War I, included King George V of England, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, all cousins and grandchildren of Victoria.
Today, the British ruling family is connected, either directly or by marriage, to most of the noble houses of Europe, particularly Germany, where the queen has some 400 relatives in the Hohenzollern, Hanover, Brunswick, and Glucksburg families. They are also closely connected to the Swedish, Danish, Belgian, and Norwegian ruling houses. King Harald V of Norway is 58th in line to the British throne. Through Victoria the queen is also a distant cousin of King Juan Carlos of Spain.
While Victoria's reign represented a pinnacle of stability, while she was on the throne the balance of power continued its shift away from the monarch in favor of Parliament.