Becoming Queen Victoria

Becoming Queen Victoria

The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch

Book - 2010
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In her lauded biography England's Mistress, Kate Williams painted a vivid and intimate portrait of Emma Hamilton, the lover of English national hero Lord Horatio Nelson. Now, with the same keen insight and gift for telling detail, Williams provides a gripping account of Queen Victoria's rise to the throne and her early years in power--as well as the tragic, little-known story of the princess whose demise made it all possible.
   
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, monarchies across Europe found themselves in crisis. With mad King George III and his delinquent offspring tarnishing the realm, the English pinned their hopes on the only legitimate heir to the throne: the lovely and prudent Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince of Wales and granddaughter of the king. Sadly, those dreams faded when, at age twenty-one, she died after a complicated pregnancy and stillbirth. While a nation grieved, Charlotte's power-hungry uncles plotted quickly to produce a new heir. Only the Duke of Kent proved successful in his endeavor, with the birth of a girl named Victoria.
   
Writing with a combination of novelistic flair and historical precision, Williams reveals an energetic and vibrant woman in the prime of her life, while chronicling the byzantine machinations behind Victoria's struggle to occupy the throne--scheming that continued even after the crown was placed on her head.

Upon hearing of the death of her predecessor, King William IV, Victoria--in her bold first act as queen--banished her overambitious mother from the room, a simple yet resolute move that would set the tone for her reign. The queen clashed constantly not only with her mother and her mother's adviser, the Irish adventurer John Conroy, but with her ministers and even her beloved Prince Albert, all of whom, in one way or another, attempted to seize control from her.

By connecting Charlotte's sad fate to Victoria's majestic rule, Kate Williams lays bare the passions that swirled around the throne--the court secrets, the sexual repression, and the endless intrigue. The result is a grand and satisfying tale of a woman whose destiny began long before she was born and whose legacy lives on.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780345461957
Characteristics: 448 p. ; 25 cm.

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shayshortt
Apr 27, 2017

Royal historian Kate Williams’ portrait of two British princesses has been published under the title Becoming Queen, as well as the somewhat less accurate Becoming Queen Victoria. While it certainly is an account of how Victoria gained the throne, it dedicates a nearly equal measure of attention to Princess Charlotte, daughter of George IV, the woman who would have been queen but for her untimely death in childbirth. By profiling Charlotte and Victoria together, Williams succeeds in highlighting the perils facing a female monarch, particularly in the realms of marriage and family, creating a rather personal history. An alternative history can also easily be imagined, in which Charlotte and Leopold ruled over England together. Instead, Leopold was instrumental in facilitating the marriage of his nephew to the young queen, and the Victorian age was born.

Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2017/04/27/becoming-queen-victoria/

multcolib_susannel Mar 04, 2017

Confused about the complicated blood lines that made it possible for Victoria to become queen of the British Empire at age 18? This compelling story will set you straight!

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lledomik
Aug 27, 2013

A great historical read. It read like a novel. I had never heard of Princess Charotte and how disfunctional Victoria's family really was. I could not put this book down.

debwalker Jun 04, 2012

Queen Victoria's journals now available online. http://www.queenvictoriasjournals.org/home.do

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s
shayshortt
Apr 27, 2017

Royal historian Kate Williams’ portrait of two British princesses has been published under the title Becoming Queen, as well as the somewhat less accurate Becoming Queen Victoria. While it certainly is an account of how Victoria gained the throne, it dedicates a nearly equal measure of attention to Princess Charlotte, daughter of George IV, the woman who would have been queen but for her untimely death in childbirth. The book is divided into two parts, first chronicling the life and death of Princess Charlotte, before moving on to the second part dealing with the childhood and early reign of Queen Victoria. The short interlude between the two sections follows the scramble to secure the succession that took place in the wake of Charlotte’s unexpected death at the age of twenty-one.

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shayshortt
Apr 27, 2017

The newspapers fizzed with gossip about the wayward brothers who succeeded only at plunging the monarchy into disgrace. Through it all, Charlotte was their one hope: the blue-eyed, golden-haired girl who seemed so spirited and innocent. The public took to idealizing her as the perfect princess: sweet, reserved, possessed of a kind heart, and entirely unlike her self-centered father.

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