Victoria had become queen in 1837, at the age of 18, at a time when skeptics thought the monarchy itself might be fading away. She restored respect for the throne, and oversaw the growth of the British Empire.
Her 25th anniversary on the throne was never celebrated, as it closely followed the death of her husband, Prince Albert. But her 50th anniversary as queen was celebrated with the Golden Jubilee in June 1887.
The lavish pageantry of the Golden Jubilee may have been surpassed by her Diamond Jubilee, which was celebrated a decade later.
Not everyone joined in the festivities, and there were some eloquent Irish denunciations of Victoria's reign. But her Jubilee celebrations were popular events attended by millions, and featured the type of pageantry the world will likely never see again.
Illustration: Queen Victoria, circa 1897/courtesy New York Public Library Digital Collections
Connect on Facebook: AboutHistory1800s
Follow on Twitter: @History1800s