In memory of Queen Alexandria Victoria 24 May 1819 to 22 January
Victoria was probably the most popular monarch of all time reigning for 64 years and on her
death, at the age of 81 on 22 January 1901, grief outpoured not only in the UK but all over the world including
Guernsey residents had fond memories of the visit of her majesty with Price Albert in September
1846, the first by a reigning British monarch. They arrived in the Royal Yacht and slipped ashore on what is now
known as the Albert Pier. La Petite Marche was renamed Queen's Road and La Pierre Percee, Albert Road, in honour
of the Royal visitors. They drove in open carriage up Victoria Road, along Queen's Road and down Albert Road and
stayed only a few hours. Also to mark her visit, the building of Victoria Tower began in 1848 and the cost of
£1,800 was funded by public subscription. The tower in Monument Gardens (opposite the Island's Fire Station) on
the site of the former L'Hyvreuse Windmill has been restored and is now open to the public. It remains a
significant landmark and a tribute to the stonemasons of that era.
In 1859, the Queen visited Guernsey again and this time included Alderney in her itinerary.
Sadly in 1861, Albert died from Typhoid at the young age of 41 and Queen Victoria went into mourning an then
virtual seclusion for fifteen years. During this time she lost her popularity but the young Edward , Prince of
Wales, helped to regain popularity for the monarchy. He himself nearly died from Typhoid in 1871. In memory of
Prince Albert, a statue of him was erected in 1863 on the pier named after him.
When she became Queen, Victoria ruled 148 million subjects but during her reign, the British
Empire expanded greatly and by her death, her subjects had grown to over 400 million.
On the morning of her death, the Bailiff of Guernsey Sir Godfrey Carey was in London for his
marriage to Eliza and the States meeting scheduled for that day was opened and then immediately suspended as a
mark of respect. The Bailiff was away during the run-up to the funeral on 2nd February 1901 which was
declared a public holiday in Guernsey and the UK. Wreaths were laid at the foot of her statue in Candie Gardens
and on the day of her funeral, church bells throughout the island tolled for most of the day. There was also an
81 minute canon salute in her memory. Even the mourning for Princess Diana in 1997 did not in any way, compare
with the grief felt by the island and the nation on the death of this great Queen.