Serving Victoria by Kate Hubbard
Life in the Royal Household

74%

5 Critic Reviews

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.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

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Drawing on their letters and diaries—many hitherto unpublished—Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at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 Hubbard

See more books from this Author
Kate Hubbard has been a researcher, teacher, and book reviewer. She currently works as a freelance editor. Serving Victoria is her first book to be published in America.
 
Published April 30, 2013 by Harper. 453 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Serving Victoria
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Lucy Lethbridge on Oct 13 2012

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

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by MOIRA HODGSON on May 17 2013

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

Kirkus

Good
on Jan 17 2013

A touching portrait of Victoria offstage and unguarded.

Read Full Review of Serving Victoria: Life in the... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Carolyn Haley on Apr 30 2013

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

Washington Times

Good
Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Aug 07 2013

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

Reader Rating for Serving Victoria
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 114 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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