Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe

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A captivating exploration of the role in which Queen Victoria exerted the most international power and influence: as a matchmaking grandmother.
As her reign approached its sixth decade, Queen Victoria's grandchildren numbered over thirty, and to maintain and increase British royal power, she was determined to maneuver them into a series of dynastic marriages with the royal houses of Europe.
Yet for all their apparent obedience, her grandchildren often had plans of their own, fueled by strong wills and romantic hearts. Victoria's matchmaking plans were further complicated by the tumultuous international upheavals of the time: revolution and war were in the air, and kings and queens, princes and princesses were vulnerable targets.
Queen Victoria's Matchmaking travels through the glittering, decadent palaces of Europe from London to Saint Petersburg, weaving in scandals, political machinations and family tensions to enthralling effect. It is at once an intimate portrait of a royal family and an examination of the conflict caused by the marriages the Queen arranged. At the heart of it all is Victoria herself: doting grandmother one moment, determined Queen Empress the next.
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About the author

Deborah Cadbury is an award-winning documentary producer for the BBC. Her seven acclaimed books include Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, companion to the BAFTA-nominated BBC series; The Feminization of Nature; The Dinosaur Hunters; The Lost King of France; Space Race; and Chocolate Wars. Before turning to writing full time, she worked for thirty years as a BBC TV producer and executive producer and has won numerous international awards, including an Emmy Award. She lives in London.
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Additional Information

Publisher
PublicAffairs
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Published on
Nov 14, 2017
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781610398473
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Royalty
History / Europe / Great Britain / General
History / Europe / Great Britain / Victorian Era (1837-1901)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The secrets of Queen Victoria's sixth child, Princess Louise, may be destined to remain hidden forever. What was so dangerous about this artistic, tempestuous royal that her life has been documented more by rumor and gossip than hard facts? When Lucinda Hawksley started to investigate, often thwarted by inexplicable secrecy, she discovered a fascinating woman, modern before her time, whose story has been shielded for years from public view.

Louise was a sculptor and painter, friend to the Pre-Raphaelites and a keen member of the Aesthetic movement. The most feisty of the Victorian princesses, she kicked against her mother's controlling nature and remained fiercely loyal to her brothers-especially the sickly Leopold and the much-maligned Bertie. She sought out other unconventional women, including Josephine Butler and George Eliot, and campaigned for education and health reform and for the rights of women. She battled with her indomitable mother for permission to practice the "masculine" art of sculpture and go to art college-and in doing so became the first British princess to attend a public school.

The rumors of Louise's colorful love life persist even today, with hints of love affairs dating as far back as her teenage years, and notable scandals included entanglements with her sculpting tutor Joseph Edgar Boehm and possibly even her sister Princess Beatrice's handsome husband, Liko. True to rebellious form, she refused all royal suitors and became the first member of the royal family, since the sixteenth century, to marry a commoner. She moved with him to Canada when he was appointed Governor-General.

Spirited and lively, Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter is richly packed with arguments, intrigues, scandals, and secrets, and is a vivid portrait of a princess desperate to escape her inheritance.

Royalty, revolution, and scientific mystery---the dramatic true account of the fate of Louis XVII, son of Marie Antoinette, and an extraordinary detective story that spans more than two hundred years.

Louis-Charles, Duc de Normandie, enjoyed a charmed early childhood in the gilded palace of Versailles. At the age of four, he became the dauphin, heir to the most powerful throne in Europe. Yet within five years he was to lose everything. Drawn into the horror of the French Revolution, his family was incarcerated and their fate thrust into the hands of the revolutionaries who wished to destroy the monarchy.

In 1793, when Marie Antoinette was beheaded at the guillotine, she left her adored eight-year-old son imprisoned in the Temple Tower. Far from inheriting a throne, the orphaned boy-king had to endure the hostility and abuse of a nation. Two years later, the revolutionary leaders declared Louis XVII dead. No grave was dug, no monument built to mark his passing.

Immediately, rumors spread that the prince had, in fact, escaped from prison and was still alive. Others believed that he had been murdered, his heart cut out and preserved as a relic. As with the tragedies of England's princes in the Tower and the Romanov archduchess Anastasia, countless "brothers" soon approached Louis-Charles's older sister, Marie-Therese, who survived the revolution. They claimed not only the dauphin's name, but also his inheritance. Several "princes" were plausible, but which, if any, was the real heir to the French throne?
The Lost King of France is a moving and dramatic tale that interweaves a pivotal moment in France's history with a compelling detective story that involves pretenders to the crown, royalist plots and palace intrigue, bizarre legal battles, and modern science. The quest for the truth continued into the twenty-first century, when, thanks to DNA testing, the strange odyssey of a stolen heart found within the royal tombs brought an exciting conclusion to the two-hundred-year-old mystery of the lost king of France.

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.


This book tells the story of four sons of King George V during the period that the monarchy faced the greatest threats to its survival in the modern era – the crisis of the abdication, and the nationwide threat to Britain of the Nazis, inside and out. The threat of world war echoed the war within the royal family. Played out against the cataclysm of the Second World War the princes' actions – for good or ill – became all the more significant and magnified on a world stage. The war served to unleash passions at a time when the very function of royalty as head of the empire was under threat. It served as a crucible that made or destroyed each of the princes. One would die in mysterious circumstances forever mired in conspiracy and scandal; another was destroyed in all but name, a third slipped into comfortable obscurity, and the fourth rose to new heights of achievement redefining the monarchy for the modern age.

The catalyst for the story is one dangerous American woman: Wallis Simpson. The consequences of her actions drive one prince to an early grave and the other to become a living wreck of a man nursing long held grievances. Recently discovered letters show that Wallis herself was caught in a trap of her own making: a life entombed in a gilded cage with a man she could not respect and whom she tried to leave. Everything she wished for, she destroyed. Famously she is said to have been sent 17 carnations by the Nazi Joachim von Ribbentrop, representing their 17 sexual trysts.

George VI's story is also an allegory for a much wider theme. Starting where the film The Kings Speech ends, a revealing transformation in his character takes place. As he steps up with some dread to the role of king that his older brother spurns, his horizons are widened and he falls into the sphere of influence of brilliant leaders such as Winston Churchill. As Hitler stole country after country for the Third Reich, George VI rose to the challenge, to find the very best in himself, and was transformed by the effort. By the end he can stand alone at the helm, without the support of those who helped him on his way Like fables of old, taking on the challenge transforms the quality of the man – but it is also killing him.

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