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The British people had little respect for the throne when Victoria became queen. This situation had developed because of irresponsible conduct by the two kings before her, George IV and William IV. But Victoria showed herself to be a hard-working monarch concerned with the welfare of her people, and she gained their affection and admiration.

Victoria was a wise and capable monarch. But Britain's greatness was due chiefly to her able prime ministers, including Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Viscount Palmerston, Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, and the Marquess of Salisbury. Gradually the queen had to accept that the British monarchy would not survive unless its powers were reduced and her ministers in parliament were allowed to rule the nation. Victoria accepted the switch from political ruler to symbolic ruler. For this reason, Britain's monarchy has survived, while the monarchies of most other countries have not.