Her death in childbirth-the result of medical incompetence-was followed by an unseemly scramble to produce a substitute heir. Queen Victoria was the product.
This is the tragic story of the doomed romance between Charlotte, heir to the English throne, and Leopold, the first King of the Belgians.
©2009 James Chambers; (P)2009 Oakhill Publishing Ltd
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I always enjoy reading Royal Biographies and the story of Charlotte and Leopold is yet another engaging chapter in a long long long line of interesting stories.
The more I read, the more the links come together and I can better understand how all the players interconnect. I knew Leopold was Queen Victoria's uncle, but I was never sure just how she was related to Charlotte. I knew Charlotte was a popular Princess, but I never knew why.
I first read this book back in 2012, yet I feel like I got more out of it this time. Now, I plan to reread "Henrietta Howard: King's Mistress, Queen's Servant" by Tracy Borman in the same hope of feeling like I learned something new.
"Interesting and engaging but..."
I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it. A very interesting subject presented in a very readable ('listenable'?) narrative.
Jilly Bond's reading is generally very good but I do wish that she had dropped the exagerated characterisation of Princess Charlotte earlier in the book. Yes, Charlotte had a lisp but for the majority of the reading she was given a voice very like Violet Elizabeth of the 'Just William' stories!
I would also have liked a couple more dates here and there. I'm sure that had I had the print version before me I would have been flicking back to check the chronology on a couple of occasions.
Having said that, neither of these small points detract from what is a fascinating story of a queen that never was and her husband who might never have been king.
"Vivid and lively biography"
Poor Charlotte had one of the most deprived upbringings with a despotic, mean-spirited father who made sure she was prevented from seeing her mother - (Caroline of Brunswick) so that no true bond was formed between them. He kept her a virtual prisoner probably in the hope one day of getting rid of her mother and thus gaining his freedom to marry a more suitable wife who might give him a son as an heir. When Charlotte does finally find a happy release in a marriage where she was not expecting a great love but to her surprise does indeed find it, she loses her life in after childbirth. The stupid and senseless treatments of the physician Richard Crofts may very well have contributed to the disaster but this was the fate of many women up to recent times so it is hard to judge. During her short life Charlotte will amaze you with her lively spirits and the author has really managed to bring her to life and lending heavily from her own words without this being intrusive or artificial. The narrator does a reasonable job perhaps overdoing the lisp of Charlotte but not to the point of spoiling my enjoyment of this wonderful character. This biography has made me eager to find out more about the period and especially to read something about the tyrannical George IV. The descriptions of Charlotte's mother at the start of the book when she first meets her future husband where mutual dislike is perhaps the mildest one can express their reactions to each other and later on when Caroline is described as an old woman - wearing a dress cut low in front to the middle of her stomach and low at the back which the person commenting describes as 'disgusting' - are hilarious. There is much of the gothic novel too in the way Charlotte is surrounded by the spies of the Prince of Wales and how she tries to circumvent their ever watchful eyes. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
"a very good history of the times"
I have not read the print version, as I have sight problems.but really enjoyed this audio book
other history audio books, of which I have many. I really like this insight into what life was
like for for people of long ago. what happened to them, and why, charlotte and leopold was a very intersesting story and one I will listen to again. in my opinion, if you like this genre its a must listen.
everything, and her many different voices for the characters. a good all round performance
the first people's princess
what else is there to say! a really enjoyable listen.
"A totally engaging and heart rendering story"
I loved this book. I soon found my self totally enamoured with the young Charlotte and interested to see how her life would pan out. So much so that I don't mind saying I was in floods of tears at the end!
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