Victoria's Daughters

Front Cover
Macmillan, Oct 15, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 370 pages
3 Reviews
The story of five women who shared one of the most extraordinary and privileged sisterhoods of all time.

Vicky, Alice, Helena, and Beatrice were historically unique sisters, born to a sovereign who ruled over a quarter of the earth's people and who gave her name to an era: Queen Victoria. Two of these princesses would themselves produce children of immense consequence. All five would curiously come to share many of the social restrictions and familial machinations borne by nineteenth-century women of less-exulted class.

Victoria and Albert's precocious firstborn child, Vicky, wed a Prussian prince in a political match her high-minded father hoped would bring about a more liberal Anglo-German order. That vision met with disaster when Vicky's son Wilhelm-- to be known as Kaiser Wilhelm-- turned against both England and his mother, keeping her out of the public eye for the rest of her life. Gentle, quiet Alice had a happier marriage, one that produced Alexandra, later to become Tsarina of Russia, and yet another Victoria, whose union with a Battenberg prince was to found the present Mountbatten clan. However, she suffered from melancholia and died at age thirty-five of what appears to have been a deliberate, grief-fueled exposure to the diphtheria germs that had carried away her youngest daughter. Middle child Helena struggled against obesity and drug addition but was to have lasting effect as Albert's literary executor. By contrast, her glittering and at times scandalous sister Louise, the most beautiful of the five siblings, escaped the claustrophobic stodginess of the European royal courts by marrying a handsome Scottish commoner, who became governor general of Canada, and eventually settled into artistic salon life as a respected sculptor. And as the baby of the royal brood of nine, rebelling only briefly to forge a short-lived marriage, Beatrice lived under the thumb of her mother as a kind of personal secretary until the queen's death.

Principally researched at the houses and palaces of its five subjects in London, Scotland, Berlin, Darmstadt, and Ottawa-- and entertainingly written by an experienced biographer whose last book concerned Victoria's final days-- Victoria's Daughters closely examines a generation of royal women who were dominated by their mother, married off as much for political advantage as for love, and finally passed over entirely with the accession of their n0 brother Bertie to the throne. Packard provides valuable insights into their complex, oft-tragic lives as daughters of their time.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing

Queen Victoria's eldest daughter was born 17 years before the youngest. Her daughters had drastically different relationships with their parents: their mother alternated between codependency and harsh ... Read full review

Victorias Daughters

User Review  - barbro -

Lots of interesting details from direct sources of the time. I do agree there should have been more photos and better labeling as the family resemblances are so strong. The information is detailed but ... Read full review


Prologue Windsor Castle
Chapter 1 Foundations
Chapter 2 The Forties
Chapter 3 Marriage
Chapter 4 Death at Windsor
Chapter 5 Settling Daughters
Chapter 6 Marriage and Death
Chapter 7 Tragedy Again and Leavetaking
Chapter 8 Canada and Scandals
Chapter 9 German Horrors
Chapter 10 End of an Era
Chapter 11 After Years

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

Jerrold M. Packard includes among his wide-ranging works Peter's Kingdom, on the history and inner workings of the Vatican; Sons of Heaven, a history of the Japanese imperial family; Neither Friend Nor Foe, the story of the neutral European countries during World War II; and Farewell in Splendor, about the death of Queen Victoria and the passing of her era.

Bibliographic information