News National On This Day: Queen Victoria was born in Kensington Palace
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On This Day: Queen Victoria was born in Kensington Palace

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Queen Victoria often spoke in German to her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Photo: Getty
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Barely 1.5 metres (five feet) tall and only 18 years old when she assumed the throne, Queen Victoria was one of the youngest and shortest queens in the world.

But big surprises can come in small packages.

Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than any previous monarch.

At birth, in Kensington Palace on this day in 1819, she was originally named Alexandrina Victoria, after her godfather Tsar Alexander I.

But as she got older she preferred to go by her second name, or the nickname ‘Drina.

Queen Victoria defied tradition by proposing to Prince Albert. Photo: Getty

Victoria was fifth in the line of succession for the British crown, behind the four eldest sons of George III, including her three uncles and her father, Edward.

She probably wasn’t expecting to become queen so quickly.

That all changed at 6am on June 20 in 1837, when Victoria was woken from her bed and informed that her uncle, King William IV, had suffered a heart attack and died during the night.

Less than a month after turning 18, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India.

The British monarch survived a number of assassination attempts during her life. Photo: Getty

She died in 1901.

To this day, Canada is the only country in the world to celebrate her birthday every year.

In Canada, the date is a federal public holiday known as Victoria Day.

There is a Victoria Day in Australia, but it’s for a completely different reason.

Instead of celebrating the queen, it’s a localised event marking the founding of the southern state of Victoria (as a separate colony in 1851) and it is celebrated on July 1.