The chief curator of England's Historic Royal Palaces offers a look at key moments in the life of one of Great Britain's most iconic monarchs, one who defined an era of social conservatism in the 19th century.
[Lucy Worsley]’s a national treasure. So, can we forgive her for writing this book about Queen Victoria in which she shamelessly quotes everybody else’s books endlessly? I think we can, just. She acknowledges every quote, telling us exactly which page of whose book it came from. And, in conceiving this book, she has had one inspired new idea.
That idea is to take 24 days across Victoria’s life and write a chapter about each one. It’s the Advent-calendar approach to royal biography and makes for a pleasingly unboring book ... You can hear Worsley’s voice clearly as you read ... The glory of this book is in the details, and the specific moments, that Worsley chooses to single out for mention, and in her cheerful voice as she leads us by the hand to the next window of Victoria’s life calendar.
Historian Lucy Worsley manages to offer a fresh look by focusing on 24 days throughout the monarch’s life. By zooming in on key dates to examine Victoria as a queen, wife and mother, the book is simultaneously fast-paced and substantial. Some scholars have tried to reframe Victoria as a feminist, a strong leader decades ahead of her time. But Worsley concludes Victoria was deeply traditional ... Worsley’s portrait of the queen is unflinching ... Yet through Worsley’s clear-eyed and graceful writing, we also see a woman aiming to do right by her subjects and her family, even within the confines of the times.
Historian Worsley...presents a unique account of Queen Victoria ... Fans of biography and history, especially related to British history should find this fascinating reading. Those interested in Queen Victoria will find this to be a wonderful addition to the literature.