Queen Victoria fell in love with the Riviera when she discovered it on her first visit to Menton in 1882 and her enchantment with this 'paradise of nature' endured for almost twenty years. Victoria's visits helped to transform the French Riviera by paving the way for other European royalty, the aristocracy and the very rich, who were to turn it into their pleasure garden. Michael Nelson paints a fascinating portrait of Victoria and her dealings with local people of all classes, statesmen and the constant stream of visiting crown heads. In the process we see an unexpected side to Victoria: not the imperious, petulant, mourning widow but rather an exuberant girlish old lady thrilled by her surroundings. Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera is an absorbing and revealing account that makes an important contribution to both our understanding of Victoria's character and personality and our view of the late Victorian period.
As she did in her critically acclaimed The Last Days of the Romanovs, Helen Rappaport brings a compelling documentary feel to the story of this royal marriage and of the queen’s obsessive love for her husband – a story that began as fairy tale and ended in tragedy.
After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert’s death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.
Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama—the crucial final months of the prince’s life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen’s retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the prince’s chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.
An engrossing biography of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter that focuses on her relationship with her willful mother—a powerful and insightful look at two women of significant importance and influence in world history
Beatrice was the last child born to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her father died when she was four and Victoria came to depend on her youngest daughter absolutely, and also demanded from her complete submission. Beatrice succumbed to her mother’s obsessive love, so that by the time she was in her late teens she was her constant companion. Although Victoria tried to prevent Beatrice from even so much as thinking of love, her guard slipped when Beatrice met Prince Henry of Battenberg. Sadly, Beatrice inherited the hemophilia gene from her mother, which she passed on to two of her four sons and which her daughter Victoria Eugenia, in marrying Alfonso XIII of Spain, in turn passed on to the Spanish royal family. This new examination will restore her to her proper prominence—as Queen Victoria’s second consort.
Dead for little more than one hundred years, Queen Victoria has already been the subject of more biographies than any other woman born since 1800. This newest biography from a well known historian is justified and distinguished by the incorporation of recent research on often-neglected aspects of her life and reign, as well as its relative brevity. Including much of Victoria's own writings from journals and letters, Arnstein takes a thorough look at her personal life and religious views, but also investigates her public role such as her involvement with Britain's army, her political initiatives and her connections with Ireland. The author's solid understanding of Victorian society and its relationship to the queen gives this book a solidarity missing in other biographies of the queen. The book provides enough economic, social, cultural and political background knowledge to make this book accessible even to readers unfamiliar with her now distant world.
It was the most influential marriage of the nineteenth century–and one of history’s most enduring love stories. Traditional biographies tell us that Queen Victoria inherited the throne as a naïve teenager, when the British Empire was at the height of its power, and seemed doomed to find failure as a monarch and misery as a woman until she married her German cousin Albert and accepted him as her lord and master. Now renowned chronicler Gillian Gill turns this familiar story on its head, revealing a strong, feisty queen and a brilliant, fragile prince working together to build a family based on support, trust, and fidelity, qualities neither had seen much of as children. The love affair that emerges is far more captivating, complex, and relevant than that depicted in any previous account.
The epic relationship began poorly. The cousins first met as teenagers for a few brief, awkward, chaperoned weeks in 1836. At seventeen, charming rather than beautiful, Victoria already “showed signs of wanting her own way.” Albert, the boy who had been groomed for her since birth, was chubby, self-absorbed, and showed no interest in girls, let alone this princess. So when they met again in 1839 as queen and presumed prince-consort-to-be, neither had particularly high hopes. But the queen was delighted to discover a grown man, refined, accomplished, and whiskered. “Albert is beautiful!” Victoria wrote, and she proposed just three days later.
As Gill reveals, Victoria and Albert entered their marriage longing for intimate companionship, yet each was determined to be the ruler. This dynamic would continue through the years–each spouse, headstrong and impassioned, eager to lead the marriage on his or her own terms. For two decades, Victoria and Albert engaged in a very public contest for dominance. Against all odds, the marriage succeeded, but it was always a work in progress. And in the end, it was Albert’s early death that set the Queen free to create the myth of her marriage as a peaceful idyll and her husband as Galahad, pure and perfect.
As Gill shows, the marriage of Victoria and Albert was great not because it was perfect but because it was passionate and complicated. Wonderfully nuanced, surprising, often acerbic–and informed by revealing excerpts from the pair’s journals and letters–We Two is a revolutionary portrait of a queen and her prince, a fascinating modern perspective on a couple who have become a legend.
Julia Gelardi’s Born to Rule is the powerful epic story of five royal granddaughters of Queen Victoria, who reigned over the end of their empires, the destruction of their families, and the tumult of the twentieth century
Here are the stories of Alexandra, whose faith in Rasputin and tragic end have become the stuff of legend; Marie, the flamboyant and eccentric queen who battled her way through a life of intrigues and was also the mother of two Balkan queens and of the scandalous Carol II of Romania; Victoria Eugenie, Spain’s very English queen who, like Alexandra, introduced hemophilia into her husband’s family—-with devastating consequences for her marriage; Maud, King Edward VII’s daughter, who was independent Norway’s reluctant queen; and Sophie, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s much maligned sister, daughter of an emperor and herself the mother of no less than three kings and a queen, who ended her days in bitter exile.
Using never before published letters, memoirs, diplomatic documents, secondary sources, and interviews with descendents of the subjects, Julia Gelardi’s Born to Rule is an astonishing and memorable work of popular history.
Award-winning author and mountaineer follows in the footsteps of the woman as well as the monarch who came to see the Highlands as her retreat and solace. This historical biography cum guide book has a wealth of new material about "Mrs Brown". From her short walks to her large scale expeditions and her days out on the mountains, her experiences add to any walker's enjoyment of the region. It includes maps, line drawings, and never before seen photographs from the Washington Wilson collection.
"Mein Gott! That is a woman!" exclaimed the Iron Chancellor, Count Bismarck, as he emerged, shaken and mopping his brow, from an interview with Queen Victoria. The unearthing of such lively, telling anecdotes is the special province of Christopher Hibbert, who delights in forcing readers, in the most entertaining way, to radically reassess all their received notions about some of the world's most famous, intriguing historical figures. His biography of Victoria is no exception. We will learn in these pages that not only was she the formidable, demanding, capricious Queen of popular imagination, but she was also often shy and vulnerable, prone to giggling fits and crying jags. Often puritanical and censorious when confronted with her mother's moral lapses, she herself could be passionately sensual, emotional, and deeply sentimental. Ascending to the throne at eighteen, her sixty-four year reign saw thrones fall, empires crumble, new continents explored, and England's rise to global and industrial dominance. Hibbert's account of Victoria's life and times is just as sweeping as he reveals to us the real Victoria in all her complexity: failed mother and imperious monarch, irrepressible woman and icon of a repressive age.
From 1837 to 1901, in Asia, China, Canada, Africa, and elsewhere, military expedition were constantly being undertaken to protect resident Britons or British interests, to extend a frontier, to repel an attack, avenge an insult, or suppress a mutiny or rebellion. Continuous warfare became an accepted way of life in the Victorian era, and in the process the size of the British Empire quadrupled.
But engrossing as these small wars are—and they bristle with bizarre, tragic, and often humorous incident—it is the officers and men who fought them that dominate this book. With their courage, foolhardiness, and eccentricities, they are an unforgettable lot.
During her sixty-three-year reign, Queen Victoria gathered around herself a household dedicated to her service. For some, royal employment was the defining experience of their lives; for others it came as an unwelcome duty or as a prelude to greater things. Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household, from the governess to the royal children, from her maid of ?honor to her chaplain and her personal physician.
Drawing on their letters and diaries—many hitherto unpublished—Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at its center. Seen through the eyes of her household as she traveled among Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral, and to the French and Belgian courts, Victoria emerges as more vulnerable, more emotional, more selfish, more comical, than the austere figure depicted in her famous portraits. We see a woman who was prone to fits of giggles, who wept easily and often, who gobbled her food and shrank from confrontation but insisted on controlling the lives of those around her. We witness her extraordinary and debilitating grief at the death of her husband, Albert, and her sympathy toward the tragedies that afflicted her household.
Witty, astute, and moving, Serving Victoria is a perfect foil to the pomp and circumstance—and prudery and conservatism—associated with Victoria's reign, and gives an unforgettable glimpse of what it meant to serve the Queen.
In her lauded biography England’s Mistress, Kate Williams painted a vivid and intimate portrait of Emma Hamilton, the lover of English national hero Lord Horatio Nelson. Now, with the same keen insight and gift for telling detail, Williams provides a gripping account of Queen Victoria’s rise to the throne and her early years in power—as well as the tragic, little-known story of the princess whose demise made it all possible.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, monarchies across Europe found themselves in crisis. With mad King George III and his delinquent offspring tarnishing the realm, the English pinned their hopes on the only legitimate heir to the throne: the lovely and prudent Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince of Wales and granddaughter of the king. Sadly, those dreams faded when, at age twenty-one, she died after a complicated pregnancy and stillbirth. While a nation grieved, Charlotte’s power-hungry uncles plotted quickly to produce a new heir. Only the Duke of Kent proved successful in his endeavor, with the birth of a girl named Victoria.
Writing with a combination of novelistic flair and historical precision, Williams reveals an energetic and vibrant woman in the prime of her life, while chronicling the byzantine machinations behind Victoria’s struggle to occupy the throne—scheming that continued even after the crown was placed on her head.
Upon hearing of the death of her predecessor, King William IV, Victoria—in her bold first act as queen—banished her overambitious mother from the room, a simple yet resolute move that would set the tone for her reign. The queen clashed constantly not only with her mother and her mother’s adviser, the Irish adventurer John Conroy, but with her ministers and even her beloved Prince Albert, all of whom, in one way or another, attempted to seize control from her.
By connecting Charlotte’s sad fate to Victoria’s majestic rule, Kate Williams lays bare the passions that swirled around the throne—the court secrets, the sexual repression, and the endless intrigue. The result is a grand and satisfying tale of a woman whose destiny began long before she was born and whose legacy lives on.
In this surprising new life of Victoria, Christopher Hibbert, master of the telling anecdote and peerless biographer of England's great leaders, paints a fresh and intimate portrait of the woman who shaped a century. His Victoria is not only the formidable, demanding, capricious queen of popular imagination—she is also often shy, diffident, and vulnerable, prone to giggling fits and crying jags. Often censorious when confronted with her mother's moral lapses, she herself could be passionately sensual, emotional, and deeply sentimental. Ascending to the throne at age eighteen, Victoria ruled for sixty-four years—an astounding length for any world leader. During her reign, she dealt with conflicts ranging from royal quarrels to war in Crimea and rebellion in India. She saw monarchs fall, empires crumble, new continents explored, and England grow into a dominant global and industrial power. This personal history is a compelling look at the complex woman whom, until now, we only thought we knew.