Farewell our Empress: Shock and grief as Queen Victoria passes away, the abdication of Edward VIII, and the death of Princess Diana... how the Mail has reported on the Royals and society over 125 years

 Just weeks into the dawning of the new century and Britain was a country in grief, her empire in mourning and the world in shock. The death of Queen Victoria, Empress of India, in 1901 after 63 years on the throne – a reign longer than any other previous monarch in history – cast the darkest of shadows.

In the years before the instant gratification of the internet and television, it was the newspapers that brought the sorrowful news to an unbelieving public. And one above all. The Daily Mail leading the way with the boldest and most unforgettable coverage.

All this week, to mark the 125th anniversary of our first edition – which falls today – we are reproducing the epic stories that we have brought so vividly to life over the intervening decades – and treating them as though they were happening today with the look of the modern Daily Mail. From the colouring of old black and white photographs to up-to-date headlines and eye-catching designs, it's the history of our times with a very contemporary makeover.From the very beginning, the Mail quickly set the pace in royal reporting and many of the headlines from our earliest editions could easily have appeared at any time in the past decade – from 'duchess to set fashion lead' to 'corgi bites palace sentry'.

It was the Mail that had the first – and only - interview with the Queen Mother in the wake of her engagement to the Duke of York, later King George VI.

In 1973, we broke new ground with the launch of Nigel Dempster's gossip column, with its focus on the lives of the rich and famous, while our coverage of scandals from Profumo to Lucan was powerful and informative.

Since then, our royal experts have led the way with insightful and informative coverage that has set us apart from our rivals.

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