Bookish Discussions

Victoria: The Queen


I started my new year off with an “intimate” look into the woman who ruled an empire: Queen Victoria. Julia Baird has written an excellent, truthful and well-researched book on the monarch who was the figurehead of a progressive era and a huge empire in a time where women were often seen and not heard.

*really* enjoyed this look into Queen Victoria – possibly my favourite historical figure of all-time.

All my knowledge of Victoria stems from the ITV show, reading Victorian novels and self-research. I didn’t have a deep understanding of her.  Victoria: The Queen is said to be “the definitive biography” on Victoria, exploring her lonely children to her happy marriage right through to her death. It’s brief, in a sense, the woman reigned for 63 years, but it focused on all the important stuff:

The Kensington System, her cruel uncles, Melbourne, Albert, her nine children, politics, her growing Empire, the many PMs, and so on.

I understand her so much better now.

As with any non-fiction, my interest dipped and peaked. I mean, I was always interested, but I found the chapters on wars (Crimean and Boer, for example) a little dull compared to actually learning about Victoria and her life. That’s what I was there for, wasn’t it? It was good to know the history between these events during her reign, but I enjoyed reading snippets of her letters or learning about her hatred for Gladstone more than the wars.

Victoria: The Queen was an excellent biography on the woman who ruled an empire. A great place to start if you’re looking for a broad view of Victoria. You’ll learn a lot about her life. My favourite part, of course, was the chapters on her and Albert. Their relationship was…unusual. Looks good on the surface, but there were some cracks underneath. I like both figures, individually and together, so I liked learning bits about them that the ITV show doesn’t cover.

I’ll be reading Lucy Worsley’s latest biography on Victoria that looks at her as a daughter, wife, mother and widow. It takes a step back from the politics and looks at a more personal side of the Queen. I’ll update you on my thoughts with that when I’ve finished it.

Do you like Queen Victoria? Have you read any great non-fiction on her? Let me know so I can check it out!

Thanks for reading, Lauren X


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