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Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarchby Kate Williams
Synopses & Reviews
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 insightand 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 whosedemise 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 delinquentoffspring 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 ofKent proved successful in his endeavor, with the birth of a girl named Victoria.
Writing with a combination of novelistic flair and historical precision, Williams revealsan 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 wasplaced 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 simpleyet 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 herbeloved 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 laysbare 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 wasborn and whose legacy lives on.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the acclaimed author of "England's Mistress" comes a smart, gripping account of the rise to the throne and the early life of Queen Victoria, and the tragic, little-known story of Princess Charlotte, the queen who never was.
Kate Williams has excelled herself. One is engaged from the very first line. She has perfected the art of historical biography. Her pacy writing is underpinned by the most impeccable scholarship.--Alison Weir, author of Lady in the Tower
The amazing untold story of Victoria before she was queen . . . Kate Williams reveals a passionate young woman beloved of her future subjects but at war with her family.--London Sunday Telegraph
Becoming Queen Victoria showcases an outstanding talent from which we can expect much more. --Spectator
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Kate Williams is the author of England’s Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton and has published widely in books and journals. Williams fell in love with the eighteenth century while an undergraduate at Oxford. She has an M.A. from Queen Mary, University of London, and a D.Phil. in history from Oxford. A lecturer and TV consultant, she has hosted two television historical documentaries and appears regularly on BBC and Channel 4.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: 1796-1817 Charlotte: The Queen Who Never Was — "The Most Distressing Feelings of My Heart" — "I Find Him Very Fat, and Nothing as Handsome as His Portrait" — "An Immense Girl" — "Fleas are the Only Enemies HRH Has" — The Mistress of Montague House — Forming the Character of a Young Princess — Sex, Lies, and Scandals — Prince Regent — The Nunnery --"Thinking that She has a Will of Her Own" — Violent Orange Attacks --The Rising Sun --"The Soldiers Will Be Ordered Out" — A Little Turquoise Heart — The Black Sheep — "Everything I Could Wish & Desire Collected in One" — Mr. and Mrs. Coburg — "Some Strange, Awkward Symptoms" — Interlude 1817-20 Drunken Dukes — "The Dregs of Their Dull Race" — "As Plump as a Partridge" — Alexandrina Victoria — PART TWO: 1820-37 Little Victoria — An Idol in Kensington Palace — "The Nation's Hope" — Imperial Robes — Living in a Very Simple Manner — "I Was Greatly Pleased" — Educating a Princess — Sickly Uncle King — Charlotte the Queen? — "The Queen Does Nothing but Embroider Flowers" — "How Very Old" — "When Nobody Wishes to Change and Nobody Wants to Give In" — Victoria on Tour — Victoria's Whims — Crowds of Princes — "I Cannot Expect to Live Very Long" — "It May All Be Over at Any Moment" — PART THREE: 1837-41 The Young Queen — "Just the Sort of Life I Like" — "He is of the Greatest Use to Me" — Scandal — A Way of Settling It — Passing like a Dream — "Monsters!" — "An Everlasting Impression" — "Children Seem to Literally Be Raining Down from Heaven" — "What a Hard Task It Is for Us Women".
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