Prince Albert and Queen Victoria saw dynastic marriages between their children and European royalty as a safeguard against war, and as a way of creating a balance of power, in Europe, as well as spreading British values across the continent. There is no doubt that Queen Victoria felt that, through her grandchildren, she could shape the political landscape of Europe.
She does sometimes quote from other research , or authors, and I was not impressed by her taking one small piece of information from Patricia Cornwall; whose odd ranting about Jack the Ripper leads to any research she comes across being biased to concur with her bizarre theories and so is suspect in my eyes That aside, the majority of the research comes from sources which are obviously directly from Victoria herself and makes the book, which could be all too familiar, come alive. Queen Victoria comes across as a figure who is feared, and respected, in her family; the central character in a spider web which spreads across Europe.
Her letters are manipulative, she is often insensitive and she is extremely demanding. She correctly sensed danger for her favourite grand-daughter in Russia, and was also well aware of the dangers that being royal meant. Her ability to deal with Kaiser Wilhelm was not passed on by her son, who disliked the Kaiser, and, by her death, Europe was changing. Anarchy, revolution and war were in the air and Europe was on the brink of danger. Overall, this is a very interesting read. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
View all 3 comments. Sep 10, Nate rated it it was ok Shelves: What it actually chronicles is the relationships between the future crowned heads of Europe and Queen Victoria's grandchildren, with Victoria being mentioned regularly but having little actual influence over their choices. The majority of relationships talked abou 2. The majority of relationships talked about in this book, including Marie and Ferdinand of Romania, Ena and Alfonso of Spain, and Eddy and Helene, had little to do with Queen Victoria except tangentially as a doting grandmother.
The actual matches she did make, such as Victoria Melita and Ernest of Hesse, were barely mentioned except in he space of a few pages chronicling them getting together, unlike other relationships that got analysed till death of the participants. The relationships that got explored after the marriage, like Emperor Nicholas and Alexandra, had nothing to do with Queen Victoria. For some of them, she wasn't even alive from the get go Ena and Alfonso. The book is an obvious example of marketing that doesn't match the interior.
Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe
This book was more about the relationships that the grandchildren had rather than about the setting up of them by Queen Victoria and how that affected their marriage. The book also tried to delve into some heavy politics on its many tangents, particularly as done by the Kaiser, which also doesn't fit in the scope of this book and felt like a case of trying to seem ultra-important, which it didn't need to do.
It would have been fine as a book that simply focused on the personal romantic relationships of her grandchildren without needing to dive into the muddy, irrelevant waters of pre-World War I politics in order to make it important. Nothing was wrong with the research, premise, or writing of this book, the book's problems were all caused by the author's not knowing what type of book to write or what to focus on.
A digital copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Jun 10, Suzannah rated it it was amazing Shelves: I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a nonfiction book most of the history I read these days is at a more academic level than this book. This book was absolutely gripping.
Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking
Though written for a popular audience, the author shows impressive research on her subject, drawing from unpublished royal archives. And it's extremely well written.
Cadbury understands the art of telling history with the verve and craft of a good novelist. Knowing that half these people will come to stic I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a nonfiction book most of the history I read these days is at a more academic level than this book. Knowing that half these people will come to sticky ends but constantly kept guessing as to how, you'll find it hard to put down.
Basically, this is the story of the planned, unplanned, or abortive matrimonial alliances made by Queen Victoria's grandchildren between the s and s among the royal houses of Europe. As young newlyweds, Victoria and Albert had formed a vision to bring peace and representative parliamentarian government to Europe. Albert himself prepared his smart and dutiful eldest daughter Vicky for this task, only to die before seeing the fruits of his labour. I didn't know that after Albert's death, Victoria exerted all her considerable power and influence over her children, grandchildren, and in-laws to bring about his dream of a peaceful Europe.
I knew that the plan failed, but I didn't know how. This book is the story of what happened, and it's marvellous. Forbidden love, rumours, deaths, scandals, shocking revelations - admittedly, this book treads the fine line that divides history from soap opera.
Nevertheless, it's impossible not to conclude that the marriages of Victoria's children and grandchildren had a profound effect on European politics in the lead up to WWI. The book ends with an account of how the gilded edifice of European empire came tumbling down in war. Victoria and Albert dreamed of spreading constitutional monarchy across Europe in order to achieve world peace, yet when Charles of Denmark and his wife Maud one of Victoria's granddaughters were invited to become the first monarchs of independent Norway in , and refused their family's urging to pounce on the throne long enough to hold a plebiscite to ensure they were actually wanted, English nobles scoffed that it was "too horrible for an English princess to sit upon a Revolutionary Throne.
Judgement could not be escaped.
But why was it that people like Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsarina Alexandra became blinded to the point of insanity? Recommended for anyone who likes reading about doomed love affairs, fancy weddings, and bloodshed. Aug 28, Jill Hutchinson rated it liked it Shelves: This book is a fairly interesting read but it didn't particularly appeal to me.
Maybe I have read too much about Queen Victoria and there was really nothing new. She was the "Grandmother of Europe" and intended to put her children and grandchildren on as many thrones as possible. She succeeded in seven instances It was inbreeding gone wild and the gene of hemophilia, passed throu This book is a fairly interesting read but it didn't particularly appeal to me. It was inbreeding gone wild and the gene of hemophilia, passed through the Queen, affected several of her descendants, including one of her own sons.
The right marriages were political in nature and the Queen knew how to manipulate her kin onto the right throne. However, it was at the wrong time as WWI loomed and changed the environment of Europe and the world forever.
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Only the UK, Norway, and Spain retain any form of monarchy in modern times. There were many editing errors in this book, usually concerning dates which often appeared as , , etc. This became irritating after the third or fourth time it appeared. If you are new to the royal marriages during Queen Victoria's reign, this book provide a good overview Nov 26, Jill Meyer rated it it was amazing.
Queen Victoria - Britain's second-longest reigning monarch - died on January 22, She'd been a widow since December, and had worn widows-weeds ever since, mourning her beloved husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Gotha. They had had nine children. At the time of her death, Victoria had 20 some-odd grandchildren. It was these children and grandchildren whose marriages with other members of European royalty Victoria plotted as almost her legacy. She and Prince Albert had seen their children as Queen Victoria - Britain's second-longest reigning monarch - died on January 22, She and Prince Albert had seen their children as marrying into the other Protestant royal houses and bringing along their shared sense of liberal rule.
In some marriages they succeeded, in others they failed. Victoria's grandchildren - often first cousins - were then married off to each other. Historian Deborah Cadbury explains Victoria's chess board and chess pieces in her new book, "Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe". Cadbury does an excellent job in picking several children and grandchildren to follow through the diplomatic and personal paths to love and marriage.
Some paths were more difficult than others and some marriages turned out better than others.
About Queen Victoria's Matchmaking
But that is the way it is in most families, isn't it? Victoria, though, was playing for the future of Europe and personal happiness might not have always taken first place in her consideration of which cousin would go with which cousin. Victoria was marrying off first and second cousins to each other and wasn't concerned - or knowledgeable - about the genetic dangers of kissing cousins going further than kissing. A side concern of Victoria's was the growing acts of anarchist terrorism in Europe.
Russia, in particular, was the scene of several horrific political assassinations and Victoria worried about her favorite granddaughter, Alix of Hesse daughter of her late daughter, Alice and her choice of Nicholas of Russia as her husband. She also oversaw the marriage of her heir Bertie's first son and then second son when the first died at a young age to May of Teck.
Now, that was a long, double courtship! Deborah Cadbury's book is very readable. She's an easy writer and doesn't waste a sentence. The reason I mention that is because I had started her previous book, "Princes at War", but didn't finish it. I may go back and try again. In any case, she does a great job laying out the complicated chessboard of British royal marriages.
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Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe by Deborah Cadbury
Nov 09, Jeanette rated it liked it. This is better than 3 stars- 3. Although I'm not quite sure that this is titled correctly or at least as accurately as it could have been titled. Because this is more about Queen Victoria's children and grandchildren and their own choices and departures just as much as being about the matchmaking tendency that they experienced with their elders and especially with their Matriarch Queen Grandmother.
With a huge side category of the position and oversee that Queen Victoria and This is better than 3 stars- 3. But I don't feel like she actually had dibs on picking much in exact dictated matches as this title presupposes she did. Or leads you to believe that she did for the ones which did develop. Her disapproval was vast and known- but making a match a "sure thing" was really not how she operated. Quite differently than in much earlier centuries, when it was a given, the monarch decided, and you just obeyed by duty and oath to marry who was chosen for you.