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Lineage, intelligence and the ability to work are a triad of attributes with which a single person is seldom endowed. Sir Victor Horsley was one thus favored. From his father's side came the blood of musicians and artists, and from his mother's side, not only that of artists but of surgeons as well.
Born on April 14, 1857, he was named after the reigning queen, for she had taken notice of the fact that his birthday corresponded with that of the new princess, Beatrice.
His early years were those of a normal English schoolboy. He was not an exceptional student; he had an interest in many outdoor activities, and his sister remarked of him that he was "in almost perennial hot water." In 1873, at the age of 16, he began to show some evidence of scientific interest and was introduced by a friend to the use of a microscope.