A Comparison of Great Women Leaders
Queen Victoria and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher are well known women leaders of England who each in her own manner and in her own generation shaped her country. These women led their countries with conviction. Each lady was dedicated to her position. Even through difficult situations, they were strong and true to their beliefs. Queen Victoria and Prime Minister Thatcher were both forceful women in a time when it was not popular for women to be in control.
The personal lives of Queen Victoria and Margaret Thatcher shaped how they each led her country. Queen Victoria was born Alexandrina Victoria on May 24, 1819. She was the only child of Edward Duke of Kent, son of King George III and Mary Louisa Victoria. Her mother and father named her Victoria, but her uncle George IV insisted she be named Alexandrina after Tsar Alexander II of Russia who was her godfather (Arnstein 1). Victoria had an older half sister, Feodore, who was her mother's child by her first husband Charles of Leiningen (Erickson 10). When Victoria was eight months old, her father Edward, Duke of Kent died. Her mother became involved with Sir John Conroy who had a great deal of influence on her as a child. Sir Conroy controlled her mother's finances throughout Victoria's childhood (Arnstein 1).
Like Queen Victoria, Margaret Thatcher's early years developed her strong character. She was born Margaret Hilda Roberts on October 13, 1925. Margaret Thatcher's parents Alfred and Beatrice ran a grocery store in Grantham and lived above the store (Nardo 7). Growing up, Margaret Thatcher never considered going into politics. During her time period, it was rare for women to do so. The political field was almost completely made up of men. She went to Oxford University and majored in chemistry. While at Oxford she formed a student group called Oxford's Conservative Association. This group studied politics. Eventually, she became president of this group. Here began her love for politics. After college she began attending Tory political meetings (Nardo 78).
Another aspect of these women's personal lives included their families. The family life of Queen Victoria included her husband, Prince Albert, and nine children. Victoria's family was very important to her. When Victoria first met Albert she found him dull. Three years later in 1839 when he visited, she felt differently. She wrote in her journal "Albert is beautiful." Five days later, she proposed marriage (Vallone 5). On February 10, 1840, three years after Victoria took the throne, she married her cousin Albert, Prince of Saxe-Coburg. They both had great love and admiration for one another ("Life" 2). Between 1840 and 1857 Victoria and Albert had nine children. The eldest, Victoria, known as The Princess Royal, was born in 1840, a year from Victoria and Albert's marriage. Their other children were Edward VII (Bertie), born 1841; Alice, born 1843; Alfred, born 1844; Helena, born 1846; Louise, born 1848; Arthur, born 1850; Leopold, born 1853; and Beatrice, born 1857 ("History" 1). Victoria was not at ease with her children as Albert was but loved them nonetheless. She preferred their family gatherings to the state functions of London life (Vallone 5).
Like Victoria, Margaret Thatcher's family was important to her. She met and fell in love with businessman Denis Thatcher at a political meeting. They got married in December 1951 (Nardo 78). Two years later in August 1953, they had twins, Mark and Carol ("Margaret BRB" 2).
Queen Victoria and Margaret Thatcher came to power in different ways. Eighteen-year-old Victoria described her uncle King William IV's death and how she became queen. "20 June 1837. I was awoke at 6 o'clock by mamma, who told me that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Congingham [a high government official] were here and wished to see me. I got out of bed and went into my sitting room (only in my dressing gown), and alone, and saw...
Cited: Erickson, Carolly. Her Little Majesty - The Life of Queen Victoria. New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1997.
"The Life and Times of Queen Victoria." Victoria Station. 1999-2001. 21 January 2005
Nardo, Don. Women Leaders of Nations. San Diego: Lucent Books, Inc., 1999.
"A Short Biography." Margaret Thatcher Biography. 2005. 19 January 2005
Vallone, Lynne. "Victoria." Encyclopedia Britannica. 52. 6 (June 2002): 46. Britannica
"Victoria (r. 1837-1901)." History of the Monarchy. 21 January 2005 .
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