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 17, 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, with 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.
©2009 Gillian Gill; (P)2009 Random House
I really enjoyed this one. Rosalynn Landor is one of my favorite narrators and this title was really worthy of her.
Gillian Gill manages to create a picture of Victoria and Albert that I had never seen. She provides us the portrait of a marriage between two people, not between an icon of queenly dignity and her idolized mate. I actually cried a little when Albert died. That's pretty rare for me with historical non-fiction.
This book gives an accurate view of the ups and downs in the Queen's marriage and an alarming view of the ambition and power the Prince wrested from the Queen. It is possibly a blessing that his life was cut short as he was determined to change England to suit his German ambitions. I was disappointed in Victoria's lack of interest in her position and what a contrast to our present Queen who has been a true monarch with unfailing loyalty and dedication.
This was an intriguing bio of one of the most powerful and influential British queens. I particularly liked how the author treated Albert/Victoria and their relationship. This was a wonderful and entertaining book. I recommend to all.
Gillian Gill's very well written chronicle of the personal, domestic lives of Albert and Victoria, of English society in the mid-19th century, and of European states at the time, had me completely engrossed. The material was delightfully presented and the narrator's voice a perfect match for the text. I learned so much about the period while being so thoroughly entertained.
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