Victoria the Queen

Victoria the Queen

An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled An Empire

Book - 2016
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The extraordinary story of the world's most influential, intriguing and surprising ruler, Queen Victoria. When Alexandrina Victoria was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 20 June 1837, she was 18 years old and barely five feet tall. Her subjects were fascinated and intrigued; some felt sorry for her. Writer Thomas Carlyle, watching her gilded coach draw away from the coronation, said: 'Poor little Queen, she is at an age at which a girl can hardly be trusted to choose a bonnet for herself; yet a task is laid upon her from which an archangel might shrink.' Queen Victoria is long dead, but in truth she has shaped us from the grave. She was a tiny, powerful woman who reigned for an astonishing 64 years. By the time of her Diamond Jubilee Procession in 1897, she reigned over a fourth of the inhabitable part of the world, had 400 million subjects, and had given birth to nine children. Suffrage, anti-poverty and anti-slavery movements can all be traced to her monumental reign, along with a profound rethinking of family life and the rise of religious doubt. When she died, in 1901, she was the longest reigning monarch in English history. Victoria is truly the woman who made the modern world. A fascinating, provocative and authoritative new biography of Queen Victoria which will make us see her in a new light, from one of Australia's most admired and respected journalists and commentators, Julia Baird.
Publisher: Sydney, N.S.W., HarperCollins Publishers,, 2016.
ISBN: 9780812982282
Characteristics: xlvii, 696 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm.


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Jul 17, 2017

Very enlightening. Much more focused on her private life, but also included many important references to topical events during her reign. Some insight into the privilege and selfishness of rulers of that time, and their almost total lack of sympathy for their subjects as a whole.
While Victoria seemed to be able to relate to suffering on an individual level, she was seemingly oblivious to the suffering of great masses of the populace and was not progressive in terms of reform in any way.
This book also enlightens one as to the true character of her first, and seemingly most beloved Prime Minister. He was extremely self-involved and cared nothing for improving the lot of the people over which he ruled. His influence over the young Victoria cannot be understated, and is to be lamented. If not for Victoria's marriage to Albert, her subjects would have been far worse off, for he was the true progressive in the picture. Unfortunately he was the opposite of her in temperament and stamina. Had he lived, England would have been much better off much sooner.
Most amazing: As a woman and ultimate ruler, Victoria was vehemently against women's suffrage, and repeatedly stated her view that it was improper for women to have a say in government (or much else for that matter). She was not maternal at all, although she had nine children, and if you want to read some sad stories, look to the biographies of her offspring. The most interesting of which is that of her eldest daughter, who was extremely intelligent and very well educated. She would have made a great ruler, but was relegated to a backwater German state where she was disliked and made miserable. Being royal isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

Apr 12, 2017

I've read several books on Victoria and this period in English history. My interest in this book was piqued by the PBS movie by the same name. I enjoyed the personalization of the queen and the people around her.

Feb 18, 2017

This book was thoroughly enjoyable. It begins with a "list of characters" amongst maps and the family tree which suggests a play; and that's the way it was written.

The style keeps the reader interested; plus the extensive background to the age helps understanding of why the characters did what they did.

Making the book interesting was the extensive background provided about the Victorian times.

A recent documentary Queen Victoria's Children paints Victoria in a very dim light regarding her children. However in this book we learn that Victoria was fond of her children but refused to breast feed them as was common for the wealthy classes of the day. Her daughters were different here as well as in many other things including one who became an accomplished sculptor.

Victoria had a strong interest in politics, although when Albert was around this seems to have waned.

Overall an excellent and enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

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Feb 07, 2017

glenneaton thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Victoria grappled with many of the matters women do today - managing uneven relationships, placating resentful spouses, trying to raise decent children, battling bouts of insecurity and depression, spending years recovering from childbirth, yearning for a lost love, sinking into the strength of another when we want to hide from the world, longing to make independent decisions about our own lives and the shape the world we live in..


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