Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch (Google eBook)

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Random House Publishing Group, Aug 10, 2010 - History - 448 pages
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In her lauded biography England’s Mistress, Kate Williams painted a vivid and intimate portrait of Emma Hamilton, the lover of English national hero Lord Horatio Nelson. Now, with the same keen insight and gift for telling detail, Williams provides a gripping account of Queen Victoria’s rise to the throne and her early years in power—as well as the tragic, little-known story of the princess whose demise made it all possible.
   
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, monarchies across Europe found themselves in crisis. With mad King George III and his delinquent offspring tarnishing the realm, the English pinned their hopes on the only legitimate heir to the throne: the lovely and prudent Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince of Wales and granddaughter of the king. Sadly, those dreams faded when, at age twenty-one, she died after a complicated pregnancy and stillbirth. While a nation grieved, Charlotte’s power-hungry uncles plotted quickly to produce a new heir. Only the Duke of Kent proved successful in his endeavor, with the birth of a girl named Victoria.
   
Writing with a combination of novelistic flair and historical precision, Williams reveals an energetic and vibrant woman in the prime of her life, while chronicling the byzantine machinations behind Victoria’s struggle to occupy the throne—scheming that continued even after the crown was placed on her head.

Upon hearing of the death of her predecessor, King William IV, Victoria—in her bold first act as queen—banished her overambitious mother from the room, a simple yet resolute move that would set the tone for her reign. The queen clashed constantly not only with her mother and her mother’s adviser, the Irish adventurer John Conroy, but with her ministers and even her beloved Prince Albert, all of whom, in one way or another, attempted to seize control from her.

By connecting Charlotte’s sad fate to Victoria’s majestic rule, Kate Williams lays bare the passions that swirled around the throne—the court secrets, the sexual repression, and the endless intrigue. The result is a grand and satisfying tale of a woman whose destiny began long before she was born and whose legacy lives on.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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Contents

Prologue
5
The Dregs ofTheir Dull Race
14
The Most Distressing Feelings qf1I Heart
20
in Immense Girl
26
Fleas Are the Only Enemies HRH Has
33
Sex Lies and Scandals
52
Thinlzing that She Has a FV1ll qf Her Own
78
The Soldiers Will Be Ordered Out
94
Charlotte the Qteen?
221
The Qteen Does Nothing but E tnhroider Flowers
226
3 How Vet Old
242
Itctoria on Tour
249
Victoria s IVh1n1s
254
Crowds ofPrinces
260
I Cannot Expect to Live Very Long
269
It May All Be Over at Any Moment
278

is Plump as a Partridge
152
Alexandrina Victoria
159
Little Victoria
161
An Idol in Kensirlgtorz Palace 171
178
Imperial Robes
183
Living in a Very Simple Manner
191
I Was Greatly Pleased
199
Educating a Princess
204
Siclzly Uncle King
213
Scandal
314
Passing like a Dream
332
Zn Everlasting Impression
347
Monsters
353
An Immense Multitude
369
Notes 377
375
Bibliography
428
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Kate Williams is the author of England’s Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton and has published widely in books and journals. Williams fell in love with the eighteenth century while an undergraduate at Oxford. She has an M.A. from Queen Mary, University of London, and a D.Phil. in history from Oxford. A lecturer and TV consultant, she has hosted two television historical documentaries and appears regularly on BBC and Channel 4.


From the Hardcover edition.

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