Queen Victoria Presiding at her First Council, June 20, 1837

Various artists/makers

Not on view

When William IV died, his niece Victoria learned early the next morning that she had become queen. At noon she presided over a meeting of the Accession Council at Kensington Palace, and her calm self-possession was recorded in the diary of attendee Charles Greville. This engraving is based on a commemorative painting by Wilkie (Royal Collection), that portrays thirty-three of the ninety-seven councillors who attended. Leading figures are Lord Melbourne, the Duke of Wellington, and the queen's two uncles, Ernest Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover, and Augustus, Duke of Sussex. To emphasize Victoria's youthful innocence, the artist dressed her in white, although she actually wore black to mourn her uncle. Fox's related engraving was published in 1838, the same year that Wilkie's painting was finished.

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