Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Statue of Queen Victoria in Port Elizabeth

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. Parliament voted her the additional title of Empress of India in 1876. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors. 

After Albert’s death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion,  republicanism in the United Kingdom temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.

After commemorating her golden jubilee in 1887, the citizens of Port Elizabeth were resolved to erect a tangible object, not as a political statement but as a demonstration of their loyalty and devotion to the queen. This desire ultimately bore fruit in the form of the statute of a mature Queen Victoria outside the Public Library, welcoming visitors to Port Elizabeth.   

Main picture: This Sicilian marble statue was erected and unveiled in 1903 two years after Queen Victoria’s death.

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