This is Victoria Day weekend in Canada. We ostensibly celebrate the birth (24 May 1819) of the formidable longest-serving monarch of the British Empire, Alexandrina Victoria. She reigned 63 years and seven months and was a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln. A tiny woman when young, she grew quite rotund in later life. Today, it’s a reason for us to throw off the shackles of ugly winter and embrace the coming summer. Victoria was fifth in the line of succession (her father and his three older brothers came before and there had been few female monarchs). As an only child, she was insulated by an over-protective mother (not allowed out much, got to meet few people and only those her somewhat neurotic parents approved of).…

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