The day Victoria became Queen
Victoria was only 18 years old, and had been living at the palace with her mother, the Duchess of Kent in the State Apartments.
She was awoken in the cosy room - now known as Queen Victoria’s Bedroom - on the morning of 20 June, 1837 to be told that her uncle William IV had died, and she would now accede to the throne.
Galloping through the night
Her uncle William IV had died at Windsor Castle in the early hours of the morning.
The Archbishop of Canterbury with the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Conyingham, had galloped through the night to Kensington to bring the news.
Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent, made the party wait until 6am before waking the Princess. Victoria’s own diary recounted what happened next:
‘I went into my sitting room (only in my dressing gown) and alone and saw them. Lord Conyingham then acquainted me that my poor uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning and consequently that I was Queen’.
Poised and confident
Victoria’s governess, Louise Lehzen, stood by with smelling salts just in case, but Victoria remained poised and confident throughout the meeting.
She remain as composed later in the day when she met the Privy Council at the palace, although being so small in stature her chair had to be raised on a dais so that the ministers could see her.