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Victoria's Daughters

by Jerrold M. Packard

ISBN 0312244967 / 9780312244965 / 0-312-24496-7
Publisher St. Martin's Griffin
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

Incisive character studies of Queen Victoria's five daughters provide the framework for a lively survey of 19th-century European history. With three brothers securing the English throne, the princesses' royal duty was to further Britain's interests through marriage. Vivacious, intelligent Vicky (1840-1901), the spoiled eldest, had a happy union with Hohenzollern prince Frederick William, though her liberal views were unpopular in Prussia and vehemently resisted by her son Willy, who eventually became the emperor of Germany. Sensitive, altruistic Alice (1843-78); dutiful, dull Lenchen (1846-1923); and shy baby sister Beatrice (1857-1944) all married minor German royalty--though Beatrice, intended to be her domineering mother's spinster companion, didn't marry until she was 28 and continued to live in England at Victoria's beck and call. Centuries-old custom dictated that princesses must not wed subjects, but artistic, rebellious Louise (1848-1939) married a Scottish nobleman anyway and managed to lead a slightly less restricted life than her sisters, particularly as a strong supporter of charitable organizations for women. Jerrold Packard, a veteran historian-biographer with six previous books to his credit, spins an enjoyably old-fashioned narrative emphasizing personal relationships among Europe's royalty and their impact on political developments. --Wendy Smith [via]