Princess Victoria, Aged Four By Stephen Poyntz Denning (1795–1864) (Dulwich College Picture Gallery) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
To begin with, her first name wasn’t even Victoria. Born in Kensington Palace, London on 24 May 1819, she was christened Alexandrina Victoria in honour of Tsar Alexander of Russia, one of her godparents. In the normal run of things, she should never have inherited the throne at all.
Alexandrina Victoria was the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, who was himself only the fourth son of George III. If any of the king’s elder children had produced a legitimate heir they would have had a better claim to rule, but not one of them did so, so the crown came to Victoria.
It was a considerable surprise to the young heir when she finally realised how close to the throne she was. She immediately burst into tears before promising to be good.