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Queen Victoria’s birthplace is now home to William and Kate

Queen Victoria’s birthplace is now home to William and Kate
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Kensington Palace, the current London home of William and Kate – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – was Queen Victoria’s birthplace. Born on May 24, 1819, Victoria spent much of her childhood at Kensington Palace, where she was raised by her widowed mother (Victoria’s father died when she was eight months old) and several royal courtiers.

Read on for some surprising things you probably never knew about Prince William.

Queen Victoria’s first name isn't actually Victoria

Queen Victoria’s first name isn't actually Victoria
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Christened Alexandrina (but called Drina as a child), she started using Victoria – her middle name – when she turned 18, when she ascended to the throne.

Queen Victoria wasn’t supposed to be queen

Queen Victoria wasn’t supposed to be queen
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Can you imagine Prince Harry as king? Back in 1837, the unthinkable became reality for Victoria. At birth, Victoria was fifth in line to the throne, but the deaths of various princes and a lack of male heirs resulted in the young woman capturing the crown.

Read on for royal family scandals that shocked the world.

Queen Victoria proposed to her husband

Queen Victoria proposed to her husband
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At age 16, Victoria met her future husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who was also her first cousin. After four years of friendship and flirtation, Queen Victoria proposed to her prince (actually, she had no choice – according to tradition, a man couldn’t propose to the queen). The smitten young couple married in 1840.

Queen Victoria is the reason wedding dresses are white

Queen Victoria is the reason wedding dresses are white
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The young queen was a wedding trendsetter. In 1840, it wasn’t the norm to see a bride wearing white. The colour was thought to be boring and conservative, but Victoria didn’t care. She chose simplicity over opulence, and her lacy silk-satin grown – crafted from the finest British textiles – gave a much-needed boost to the struggling lace trade. Several years later, a women’s publication stated that white was the ‘most fitting hue’ for brides, and a tradition was born.

Find out why British royals save the top of their wedding cake.

She spent almost two decades pregnant

She spent almost two decades pregnant
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Victoria and Albert’s first child, Princess Victoria, was born nine months after their wedding. But little Vicky wasn’t an only child for long. A year later, she had a baby brother for company, and within 17 years, the royal household boasted nine children: four boys and five girls.

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She mourned her husband for 40 years

She mourned her husband for 40 years
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After 21 years of marriage, Queen Victoria became a widow. In 1861, her beloved Prince Albert died from typhoid. Consumed with grief, Victoria would spend her next 40 years of life wearing only black clothing, and would rarely be seen in public.

Check out these rarely seen photos of royal siblings.

Queen Victoria spoke several languages

Queen Victoria spoke several languages
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If you thought being bilingual made you an overachiever, you’re about to get schooled. Queen Victoria was fluent in no fewer than five languages: English, German, French, Latin, and Italian. She also learned a little Hindustani and Urdu in order to chat with her Indian servants at Windsor Castle (above).

Queen Victoria is the second-longest reigning British monarch

Queen Victoria is the second-longest reigning British monarch
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Queen Victoria ruled for 63 years, and up until September 2015, was the longest reigning British monarch. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, now holds the title.

Read on for some things you probably didn’t know about Queen Elizabeth II.

She survived eight assassination attempts

She survived eight assassination attempts
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Queen Victoria may have been one of the longest reigning monarchs, but she was also one of the luckiest. On at least eight occasions – most of them while riding in her open carriage – would-be assassins tried to kill her. She also had a stalker. A man by the name of Edward Jones broke into the royal residence at Buckingham Palace several times, and was eventually caught – but not before he sat on her throne and stole her underwear.

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