Victoria: The Queen
An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
by Julia Baird
Random House Publishing Group - Random House
Pub Date 22 Nov 2016
I recently reviewed another book on Queen Victoria. It was historical fiction by Daisy Goodwin. In the review I commented that I was left though with a hunger for more. Julia Baird's Victoria: The Queen satisfied that hunger. It was a very readable and enjoyable non-fiction that covers Victoria from birth to death.The book was extremely well researched but the research did not overpower the story at the hands of a very good author.
Victoria was not supposed to be queen. There were several uncles and their possible children between her and the throne. By the time she was thirteen though, it was apparent that Victoria was the future queen of England. Until she inherited the throne and became queen, she was tightly controlled by her mother and her mother's Sevengali like employee, Sir John Conroy. They plan to control the throne by controlling Victoria. Best laid plans and all that.
The book details how Victoria asserted her own authority, found her own advisers and eventually chose her own husband. One of the things I learned from the book is that the Victorian values owes more to her husband Prince Albert than to Victoria herself. She was less concerned about the moral fiber of her people than the day to day ruling of her people. Albert was the one who had extremely rigid morality.
Ms. Baird also details Victoria's relationship with her children, her prime ministers and her foreign counterparts. As she marries her children off into other European and Russian royalty, she creates a large extended family with it's head sitting on the English throne. I really enjoyed the book. The details I craved after reading the historical fiction book were all found in Victoria: The Queen. It was wonderful to have every part of Victoria's life covered in one book. Before you watch PBS's new mini-series Victoria, read Ms. Baird's Victoria" The Queen so you can separate the fact from the fiction.
I received Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.