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Publisher's Summary

A captivating exploration of the role in which Queen Victoria exerted the most international power and influence: as a matchmaking grandmother. 

As her reign approached its sixth decade, Queen Victoria's grandchildren numbered over 30, and to maintain and increase British royal power, she was determined to maneuver them into a series of dynastic marriages with the royal houses of Europe.  

Yet for all their apparent obedience, her grandchildren often had plans of their own, fueled by strong wills and romantic hearts. Victoria's matchmaking plans were further complicated by the tumultuous international upheavals of the time: revolution and war were in the air, and kings and queens, princes and princesses were vulnerable targets.  

Queen Victoria's Matchmaking travels through the glittering, decadent palaces of Europe from London to Saint Petersburg, weaving in scandals, political machinations, and family tensions to enthralling effect. It is at once an intimate portrait of a royal family and an examination of the conflict caused by the marriages the Queen arranged. At the heart of it all is Victoria herself: doting grandmother one moment, determined Queen Empress the next.

©2017 Deborah Cadbury (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"[An] absorbing book... The fall of the Romanovs occupies the superb last pages of Cadbury's book... Dynastic mergers, we may deduce from Deborah Cadbury's account, offer no defence against the whims of history. This catastrophe-laced slice of royal history offers a ripping read." (Miranda Seymour, The Observer)

"A rich history of Queen Victoria's canny use of political power." (Bookpage)

"Engrossing...Cadbury engagingly presents [Queen Victoria] as a mesmerising Mrs Bennet, summoning her children and then her grandchildren to Balmoral. ..The stories of [Queen Victoria's] descendants are mesmerising and often stranger than fiction...From the pen of a writer of skill and style, this surprising narrative leaves you wanting more." (Paula Byrne, The Times)

What listeners say about Queen Victoria's Matchmaking

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Beautifully written and narrated

Loved the peek into the last, especially the letters to and from the Queen and her family members

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A surprisingly thorough and interesting read

To be honest, I went into this book - having read several books related to the period in general, and biographies of several of the people involved in particular - not expecting a whole lot. Given the topic, I expected more interfering, old-biddy grandmama, and no serious scholarship about the political situation in the generations leading up to the First World War. I was pleasantly surprised! While there was a bit of interfering old-biddy (because let's be honest, that is well documented), there was also some really good perspectives of the complex family and political relationships that were occurring, and some quite humanizing details as well.

A note on the audiobook version - while really well done, many of the people discussed in this book were named Victoria, Margaret, Mary, Elizabeth, Albert, etc., and while there is a good effort to keep them all sorted, it could be confusing at times to keep track of who exactly was being referred to.

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Much more serious than you might think

I bought this expecting a light entertaining listen but I got much more than I anticipated. Well written and researched. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. There was much more to Victoria’s matchmaking than just a meddling granny. I loved how it was wrapped up at the end. Much to consider.

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Extremely interesting and full of new tidbits

• When it came to the Royals I knew well, I was riveted to learn new details about them.

• When it came to the Royals I knew a little, I feel like I learned more about them and the book held my interest.

• When it came to the Royals I knew nothing about, I was completely lost!

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Never Let Your Grandmother Decide on Your Partner

I think Cadbury's book is a wonderful example of Victoria's propensity to cause disaster through marriage. Most of the marriages she tried to arrange turned out to be miserable or were ultimately unsuccessful due to their not achieving their goals. It also shows how controlling she was in her later years, especially after her children married and left (she almost ruined the chances of her youngest daughter's marrying because she expected Beatrice to stay with her forever).

Vicky's marriage to the Prussian prince Fritz is a good example of a failed scheme; they were supposed to become rulers of a liberal kingdom but that didn't come off as planned when Fritz's father turned out to be non-liberal and Fritz died early in life, leaving their megalomaniac and resentful son to become Emperor of Germany. Victoria's scheme for her favorite granddaughter Alexandra marry her grandson (and heir to the throne) Eddy failed when she and her sister married into the Russian royal family (which Victoria tried to prevent), as did her attempt to match him with Mary of Teck when he died prematurely. But probably the worst marriage she arranged was the one between Princess Victoria "Ducky" Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Ernest, Grand Duke of Hesse, who hated each other and eventually separated. The one marriage that seemed to have been successful that Victoria arranged was Mary of Teck's marriage to George V after Eddy's death; though the pair weren't fond of each other, they did make a successful partnership that sustained England during WWI.

It can be hard to unravel how everyone in the British and European royal families were related because of Victoria's matchmaking schemes touched nearly every royal family. But this book encapsulates how while Victoria was a powerful ruler of an empire, her matchmaking was wanting. All together a fascinating listen.

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Wonderful!

Very well written and very well performed!! I’m off to learn more! Thanks so much for all the hard work and research done by so many!!

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  • michael Billington
  • 10-08-20

The grandmother of Europe in word and deeds

This is an elegantly written account of Queen Victoria and her role as royal matchmaker. The author wisely focuses on only some of the Queens grandchildren, to include them all would require a book the size of war and peace, and this allows of a nice mixture of personal and political. Some of the figures and their stories were known to me notably Alix and Nicky the doomed last imperial couple of Russia. Others were not and I found myself learning a lot and being entertained also. Enjoyed the narration also, would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in not on Queen Victoria but the last years of the pan European monarchies.

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  • KrissyJazz
  • 11-03-20

Step Into The Edwardian Time

this book is great for you to underatand the times in which Victorias grandchildren lived in. tho they tried to live up to the values of there Grandmother Queen they were still pulled into the radical social changes of the time, and either survived or suffered for it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-21-20

Victoria....when displeased, bring out that ink and pen

Loved it, she was into everything. Woould have loved to read everything thrown out. Just so much manipulation playing havoc with the world’s culture, politics, society and ultimately life. Definitely worth a listen.