Victoria (1837-1901) succeeded her uncle, William IV in 1837, aged eighteen. Her reign would dominate the rest of the century and she would go on to be the longest reigning British monarch. In 1840, Victoria married her first cousin, Albert of Saxe-Coburg Gotha and for the next twenty years they instituted several constitutional changes. Some of these changes - such as the move (in the 1840s and 1850s) to a more constitutional monarchy above party faction - caught the spirit of the age. On 1 May 1838, a people\'s charter was published which constituted six demands: a demand for universal manhood suffrage (but not votes for women); secret ballot; annual parliamentary elections; equal electoral districts; the abolition of the property qualification for MPs; and the payment of MPs (to allow working-class representatives to sit in parliament).A public campaign was mounted to back the charter and over 1,250,000 people signed up to its aspirations.
It was presented to parliament in June 1839 but rejected by a majority of almost five to one. The Chartist Movement continued to agitate and expand and, in 1848 (a year of revolutions across Europe) had over 5,000,000 signatures. This marked the high-water mark of the movement - the petition was again rejected. Although Chartist conferences continued for a further decade, the movement slipped into decline.Ironically, in 1999, all but the annual election of MPs are accepted parts of the British constitution.