Queen Victoria is one of the nation’s most celebrated monarchs, inheriting the throne at the age of 18 and leading the Commonwealth until her death in 1901. Although she initially struggled to secure the backing of the public, as a result of her avoidance of appearances following the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert, she soon became a national treasure thanks to her impeccable desire to uphold Victorian standards. Her popularity among those in the UK remained, but over in Ireland anger towards the monarch was maintained, particularly as a result of her decisions during the Great Famine.
The Great Famine caused untold misery throughout Ireland, as well as overseas, and saw around one million people perish due to a potato blight.
The horror experienced by those in Ireland lasted between 1845 and 1849, and many have still never forgiven Queen Victoria for the apparent lack of support given during that time, leading to her nickname as The Famine Queen.
According to YouTube channel Grunge, Queen Victoria “made a token gesture of donating £2,000 to aid victims” but it added “this did more harm than good”.
The channel said this year: “As royal protocol dictated that no one could appear more generous than the Queen, when the Sultan of Turkey offered £10,000, he was told to reduce it to below £2,000 so as not to offend Her Majesty.”
Valuations show that in today’s currency £2,000 in the mid-1800s would be around £6.5million.
Historian Christine Kinealy also said that there was “no evidence that Victoria had any real compassion for the Irish people in any way”.
She added: “We know that really she had no interest in Ireland and so to imagine she wanted to do more doesn’t really ring true.
“In her very long reign, she only visited Ireland four times and one of those times was 1849 when the famine was still raging but coming to an end.
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Her reign also saw the establishment of the current royal protocol that a monarch should only retain “the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn” – something the Royal Family maintains to this day.
Before her time as monarch, those on the throne would routinely exert their authority on politics within the country, but she opted to begin placing a better emphasis on morality and family values.
But in Ireland, Ms Kinealy explained that Britain is perceived as “yet to confront its past, and its unpalatable past, and the famine is definitely an unpalatable aspect of that relationship”.
She added: “English and British people, in general, have very little knowledge of Irish history and that’s a real shame because so much of our history is intertwined and that’s really something that should be addressed.”