Synopses & Reviews
As she did in her critically acclaimed The Last Days of the Romanovs, Helen Rappaport brings a compelling documentary feel to the story of this royal marriage and of the queens obsessive love for her husband - a story that began as fairy tale and ended in tragedy.
After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Alberts death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.
Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama--the crucial final months of the princes life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queens retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and - after his death - with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the princes chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.
"In a sad portrayal of Queen Victoria, Rappaport shows her plunged into deep mourning after the death of Prince Albert in 1861 at age 42. The queen avoided public appearances for 10 years, wearing black for the remainder of her life, and building enormously expensive memorials and, says independent historian Rappaport, dangerously diminished the monarchy's popularity and enabled republicanism in the process. Her orgy of grief which Rappaport interprets as indulgent but also a sign of clinical depression came to an end when her heir, the rakish Bertie, almost died of typhoid fever. In their 21-year marriage, Victoria was besotted with Albert, who eclipsed her relationship with her nine children, undermined her self-confidence, and made her totally dependent as he effectively ruled as king. Offering strong circumstantial evidence against the official report that Albert died of typhoid fever, Rappaport (The Last Days of the Romanovs) suggests that an overworked, depressed Albert disliked by a nation he devotedly served and trying to keep Britain from entering the American Civil War on the side of the South died of Crohn's disease complicated by pneumonia. Rappaport offers an absorbing, perceptive, and detailed picture of a constitutional monarchy in crisis. 16 pages of b&w photos. Agent: Charlie Viney, the Vine Agency (U.K.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for The Last Days of the Romanovs:
“As shocking and immediate as a thriller. . . . [A] gripping read.”
—People magazine (3 ½ stars)
“Quite simply, stunning. . . . Chilling and poignant, this is how history books should be written.”
—Alison Weir, author of Henry VIII: The King and His Court
“A Magnificent Obsession will immerse you in history . . . Rappaports book brings alive an almost forgotten time. A must-read if you love British history.”—British Weekly
“A fluid and astute writer, Rappaport delivers a historically discerning portrait of Victoria in the 1860s.” —Booklist
“Rappaport offers an absorbing, perceptive, and detailed picture of a constitutional monarchy in crisis.” —Publishers Weekly
“An absorbing account of the making of a queen through her awful, protracted grief.”—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for The Last Days of the Romanovs:
“As shocking and immediate as a thriller. . . . [A] gripping read.” —People magazine (3 ½ stars)
“Quite simply, stunning. . . . Chilling and poignant, this is how history books should be written.” —Alison Weir, author of Henry VIII: The King and His Court
About the Author
HELEN RAPPAPORT studied Russian at Leeds University and is a specialist in Russian and nineteenth-century womens history. She lives in Oxford. She is the author of books including The Last Days of the Romanovs and A Magnificent Obsession.