At Kensington Palace in the early hours (4.15 am) of 24 May 1819, Alexandrina Victoria was born to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (the Duchess of Kent), as Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent. Her grandfather was King George III who reigned from 1760 to 1801.
At the time of her birth, the future queen was fifth in line to the throne after King George III’s four elder sons: the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Duke of Clarence, and the Duke of Kent. Her uncles either had no children or children who died in infancy meaning she was the only royal of her generation.
Her birth was celebrated as the United Kingdom saw itself in a succession crisis after Princess Charlotte (daughter to the Prince of Wales and Victoria’s first cousin) died in 1817 in childbirth as the only legitimate grandchild of the King.
Charlotte’s death meant that her uncles knew they had to marry and have children to secure the line of succession. This led to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn marrying the German Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld whose brother had been married to the deceased Princess Charlotte.
Princess Victoria knew tragedy herself as she was a widow with two children, Prince Carl (b. 1804) and Princess Feodora (b. 1807).
The Duke and Duchess of Kent’s new baby daughter was christened in Kensington Palace’s Cupola Room on 24 June 1819 in a private ceremony by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was then that her Christian name of Alexandrina was given with her second name as Victoria. Her first name was in honour of her godfather, Emperor Alexander I of Russia while her second name honoured her mother.
Knowing her essential future role, ‘Drina’ (as she was called by her family before her ascension) was raised in the “Kensington System” in preparation for her one day assuming the throne from her uncle.