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The reign of Queen Victoria, who came to the throne of her ancestors in 1837, was the longest in English history; indeed, it was one of the longest in the history of Europe, whether the ancient nations or the modern be considered.
English reigns remarkable for length are those of Henry VI., 39 years; Henry VIII., 38; Elizabeth, 45; Edward III., 50; Henry III., 56, and George III., 60.
Nor does the long line of Roman Emperors who ruled in Rome supply an instance of such length of regal days in power.
The longest reign was that of Constantine the Great, 31 years; the next longest that of Valentinian III., 30 years, while reigns so celebrated in Roman annals as those of Tiberius, Claudius, Domitian, Trajan, and Diocletian extended over only 23, 13, 15, 19, and 21 years, respectively.
Her life as a Queen was a stormy and eventful one, for those were days when religion and war were natural associates.
Her steadfast devotion to Protestantism cost her much.
William was the father of two daughters, but both died in their infancy.
Other children he had had, but they were illegitimate.
When the Saxon Matilda became the Queen of Henry I., the Saxon and Norman lines were united on the English throne, and it was a daughter of Matilda, married in France, who brought in the Plantagenet line.Victoria's more than half century of reign began when she was a grown-up woman and legally of age. At the time of her death also she was the oldest monarch that ever ruled Great Britain.French history, however, supplies us with a reign considerably longer than hers, that of Louis XIV., who sat on the throne of France from 1643 until 1715, a period of seventy-two years, of which only nine belong to the Regency of Anne of Austria. Neither the Carlovingian, the Hohenstaufen, the Hapsburg, nor the Austrian line affords a single reign that exceeded fifty years in length.The Duke of Kent, when he married her, was a tall and rather stoutish man of fifty-eight.For various reasons, one of them the want of means to live becomingly in England, they made their home in the Castle of Amorbach, in Bavaria, which was part of the inheritance of the Duchess's young son by her first husband.