The Reign of Queen Victoria by Hector Bolitho

I enjoyed this biography of Queen Victoria but I am only giving it three stars because I found the writing a bit old-fashioned and wordy. However, I certainly prefer Bolitho to many modern historians.  Some of them are almost unreadable, and they also rely heavily on gossip and get their facts wrong.  Unfortunately, I think that they are just trying to be salacious. For example, I have read at least two books about Elizabeth 1 that strongly imply that she had a child with Thomas Seymour, and there is very little evidence for this 'old wive's tale'!

Bolitho studies Queen Victoria's life and her relationship with Prince Albert in depth in this book.  He provides lots of interesting anecdotes about this formidable woman.  For example, when she learned the piano, she closed the lid when her music teacher used the word 'must', assured him that there was no such word, and walked away!  In spite of this, she was a wonderful pianist. She also once said that 'expediency is a word I neither wish to hear again nor to understand.' (I hope to use that quotation in future!)

However, she was very indulgent with her servants.  When she was Queen, a man who tended the lamps fell because he was so drunk and dropped a lighted lamp.  When the Master of the Household sent her a written report, she just wrote 'Poor Man' in the margin!

The tale of her marriage with Prince Albert is a bit sad.  Before she married him, she loved to dance and have a good time.  But Albert was very 'strait-laced' and insisted on respectability.  He was also a bit of an autocrat and, of course, there wasn't much time for the Queen to enjoy life when she was constantly pregnant.

Anyone interested in royal history will like this book.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


Popular Posts