The story of the queen who defied convention and defined an era
A passionate princess, an astute and clever queen, and a cunning widow, Victoria played many roles throughout her life. In Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life, Lucy Worsley introduces her as a woman leading a truly extraordinary life in a unique time period. Queen Victoria simultaneously managed to define a socially conservative vision of Victorian womanhood, while also defying its conventions. Beneath her exterior image of traditional daughter, wife, and widow, she was a strong-willed and masterful politician.
Drawing from the vast collection of Victoria’s correspondence and the rich documentation of her life, Worsley recreates twenty-four of the most important days in Victoria's life. Each day gives a glimpse into the identity of this powerful, difficult queen and the contradictions that defined her. Queen Victoria is an intimate introduction to one of Britain’s most iconic rulers as a wife and widow, mother and matriarch, and above all, a woman of her time.
The latest from historian Worsley (Jane Austen at Home) is an insightful, sympathetic, and vividly written examination of the "good woman" who ruled England for 64 years. Worsley argues that the new role Victoria created for the monarchy, one that relied more on influence than power, stemmed from her ability to cultivate the people's respect despite their unease with a woman on the throne, which she did by relying on instinct and emotion to guide her decisions, as her culture expected women to do, rather than the logic and intellect culturally associated with men. When she inherited the throne in 1837, she immediately distanced herself from her controlling mother, choosing her own advisers. Victoria kept the word obey in her 1840 marriage vows to Prince Albert, and she struggled to reconcile her public role as queen with her private one as wife; once she became a mother, she ceded government and family business to Albert. Widowed in 1861, it took a decade and the near death of her eldest son before Victoria adjusted to ruling on her own again, which she did for another 40 years. Worsley's command of the material and elegant writing style make this a must-read for anyone interested in the British monarchy. Illus.