Victoria: The Young Queen

Monica Charlot, Author Blackwell Publishers $36.95 (492p) ISBN 978-0-631-17437-0
Intriguing for its fresh information but often dizzying in its cascade of names and titles, this account of royal relationships in 19th-century Britain and how they produced heirs to the throne and shaped public policy is the first volume in a projected biography. Examining the life of Victoria (1819-1901) until the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861, Charlot credits the young queen with greater political acumen than do many other historians, and she demonstrates that her subjects and members of the court were not nearly so ``Victorian'' in their morals as is commonly believed. Legitimate heirs were scarce, Charlot writes, because so many royal males chose to father children out of wedlock. She avers that Victoria virtually held the empire together during the Crimean War, through mutiny in India and while Albert's popularity plummeted. A history professor at the University of Paris, Charlot garnered much information from letters and memoirs in the Royal Archives, to which she was granted access by Queen Elizabeth. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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