Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire

January 24, 2020 - Comment

The true story for fans of the PBS Masterpiece series Victoria, this page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen—a Victoria for our times. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning new portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience. NAMED

The true story for fans of the PBS Masterpiece series Victoria, this page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen—a Victoria for our times. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning new portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
THE NEW YORK TIMES • ESQUIRE • THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY

“Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird’s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)

When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe’s monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public’s expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.

Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother’s meddling and an adviser’s bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security—queen of a quarter of the world’s population at the height of the British Empire’s reach.

Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria’s relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Skip the Masterpiece Theater version, and read this instead I knew very little about Queen Victoria, being more of a Tudor history buff. But in advance of the Masterpiece Theater version that was to be aired in the states early this year, I decided to purchase this highly-rated biography and read ahead. The book was so well written and compelling that I only watched the first episode before just giving up and concentrating on the book. Baird does an exemplary job weaving in the historical context and the complicated and entangled monarchical history…

Anonymous says:

Excellent biography of Victoria 4.5 stars At 496 pages, not including nearly 120 pages of end notes and a 25 page bibliography which includes several unpublished primary and contemporary sources, Julia Baird’s “Victoria: The Queen” is an interesting and entertaining read. Baird, an Australian journalist, author, and historian, presents a well researched look at England’s second longest reigning monarch.Taking the reader from Victoria’s birth as the heir presumptive to the British throne, to her death at age 81,…

Anonymous says:

Does an excellent job of introducing us not just to Queen Victoria, but to Victoria herself For as much as we think we understand a historical figure like Queen Victoria, there’s always that little morsel to be found that opens our eyes and makes us wonder once more. Author Julia Baird does an excellent job of introducing us not just to Queen Victoria, but to Victoria herself, with all her faults and feats.My knowledge of Victoria was always basic — longest reigning monarch (until the current Queen of England changed that), petite, married to a man she adored, had nine…

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