“They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”
Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”
In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.
One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….
Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.
I don’t know about you, but my Sunday evenings recently have been taken over by the ITV series of Victoria and I have loved tuning in every week to see how the young Alexandrina transforms from stroppy teenager to Queen Victoria – with the help of her Prime Minister ‘Lord M’ – Rufus Sewell swoon!! – and also the love of Albert, who she didn’t even like after their first meetings! So when I heard about this book I knew it was going to be the perfect read for me and it was!
Daisy Goodwin wrote the TV series and so, this book is the TV show in book form! It tells Victorias’ story up until the proposal from Albert, so we get to see the struggles she has dealing with her new lifestyle, issues with her family and how the people of Britain take to having such a young Queen. It is fascinating historical glimpse into life at the time with lots of lovely history nuggets to enjoy, as well as a more personal story of a young girl becoming a young woman in the public eye.
I found this to be such a fun, easy and interesting read and the perfect antidote to not having the TV show on anymore, and I am really looking forward to the series continuing in book and tv form in the future as we follow her fascinating life story. Highly recommended for all who love a good history and romance story!