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History Rewind: The Death of William IV and Victoria becomes Queen

Queen Victoria by Franz Xavier Winterhalter (1805-1873).

Queen Victoria by Franz Xavier Winterhalter (1805-1873).

King William IV had one dying wish and that was to see the anniversary of Waterloo on 18 June. Two days later on 20 June 1837, The King died around two in the morning at Windsor Castle.

William IV was 71 when he died. It has been noted that he drank more than a bottle of sherry daily which did not help his health issues.


By living until June 1837 he did reach his second goal of passing the throne on to Princess Victoria of Kent when she turned 18. This was important to His Majesty as he wished to avoid the possible regency of Victoria’s mother, The Duchess of Kent, who William detested.

On 20 June at five in the morning, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain, Francis Conyngham, appeared at the doors of Kensington Palace to let Victoria know she was now Queen. Refusing to wake her, the young Queen finally arrived to meet Conyngham in her slippers and dressing gown.

Queen Victoria would go on to reign for 63 years and 217 days.

Photo credit: BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives via photopin cc

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