Queen Victoria Few women in history have had the opportunity to rule an entire Empire but Alexandrina Victoria Hanover, did precisely that. Reigning for an astonishing 63 years (from 1837 to 1901), she oversaw an Empire that stretched from India to the Americas, and from Africa to the Far East. So vast was the Empire, that the sun was always overhead on some part of it at any time. This was not a ceremonial role, she ruled with absolute power. She had nine children and 42 grandchildren.