During her sixty-three-year reign, Queen Victoria gathered around herself a household dedicated to her service. For some, royal employment was the defining experience of their lives; for others it came as an unwelcome duty or as a prelude to greater things. Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household, from the governess to the royal children, from her maid of honor to her chaplain and her personal physician.
Drawing on their letters and diaries—many hitherto unpublished—Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at its center. Seen through the eyes of her household as she traveled among Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral, and to the French and Belgian courts, Victoria emerges as more vulnerable, more emotional, more selfish, more comical, than the austere figure depicted in her famous portraits. We see a woman who was prone to fits of giggles, who wept easily and often, who gobbled her food and shrank from confrontation but insisted on controlling the lives of those around her. We witness her extraordinary and debilitating grief at the death of her husband, Albert, and her sympathy toward the tragedies that afflicted her household.
Witty, astute, and moving, Serving Victoria is a perfect foil to the pomp and circumstance—and prudery and conservatism—associated with Victoria's reign, and gives an unforgettable glimpse of what it meant to serve the Queen.
About Kate HubbardSee more books from this Author
Hubbard's book is a fine examination of both the bizarre and the banal in the domestic machinery of Victoria's court.Read Full Review of Serving Victoria: Life in the... | See more reviews from Guardian
Ms. Hubbard has achieved a real feat in writing so compellingly about life in the "airless bell jar," as she describes the court.Read Full Review of Serving Victoria: Life in the... | See more reviews from WSJ online
A touching portrait of Victoria offstage and unguarded.Read Full Review of Serving Victoria: Life in the... | See more reviews from Kirkus
The book’s long, dense paragraphs are broken up periodically by photos and illustrations of the day. More would be welcome, along with a glossary or cast of characters.Read Full Review of Serving Victoria: Life in the... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
One of the most fascinating aspects of “Serving Victoria” is the mirrored portrait it reveals of the queen herself. We see her develop from a teenager to a matriarch, but it is apparent that, at any age, the strength of her personality and her passionate nature were as crucial to her position as her capacity for dominating those around her.Read Full Review of Serving Victoria: Life in the... | See more reviews from Washington Times
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