QUEEN VICTORIA: Anniversary EditionELIZABETH LONGFORD Book Number: 88115 Product format: Paperback
This anniversary edition of Lady Longford's classic 1964 biography is introduced by Tristram Hunt, who praises Longford for rescuing the whole Victorian era and the monarch in particular from the withering verdicts of the early 20th century. Longford was the first biographer to speak frankly of Victoria's passionate relationship with Prince Albert and her later devotion to the gillie John Brown, though Longford did not believe that Brown and the Queen were secretly married or had a clandestine affair. After Victoria's death her daughter Beatrice savagely edited her mother's journals, particularly the sections relating to Brown, but Longford was able to supply some of the gaps in the story by her discovery of the letters of Sir Henry Ponsonby, Victoria's private secretary, who accompanied the Queen to Balmoral and recounted each day's activities in letters to his wife. Longford narrates the story of the teenage Victoria's fight against Sir John Conroy, her mother's major-domo, who tried unsuccessfully to force her to sign a document making him her private secretary. When she ascended the throne, Victoria's political views were demonstrated in the famous Bedchamber Incident when Peel tried to insist that she replaced her Whig-appointed ladies in waiting with new ones who shared his Conservative political views. Longford's accounts of Victoria's relations with successive prime ministers, including her devotion to Melbourne, her adoration of Disraeli and detestation of Gladstone, is full of subtle psychological awareness. Victoria had extraordinary physical and emotional energy and in 1847 a characteristic entry in her diary recounts her pleasure in sea-bathing when she was at Osborne House. 692pp, paperback, genealogy.
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