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Download We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals epub

by Gillian Gill

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Download We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals epub
ISBN: 0345484053
ISBN13: 978-0345484055
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Historical
Author: Gillian Gill
Language: English
Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition, First Printing edition (May 19, 2009)
Pages: 480 pages
ePUB size: 1143 kb
FB2 size: 1866 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 852
Other Formats: txt rtf lrf lrf

This is the clearest representation of the relationship between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that I have read. It provides slants on their individual quirks and reveals a great deal about how dependent upon her husband the queen was during the years of their marriage. Albert is represented as a man of many talents, but despite that, his perception of himself indicates that he was not as proficient as he regarded himself to be. What we Americans regard to be Victorian traits, according to the author and her well researched material, are more appropriately a reflection of the Prince Consort's values. The most telling feature of the work is how their nine children were far more dependent upon their father for affection and nurturing than their mother who, despite her devotion to her husband, seems to find her children more of an irritation than anything, until they were adults. My next visit to the Victoria and Albert museum will be seen through somewhat different eyes.
One will learn a lot about Victoria the person and monarch and her complicated relationship with Albert, love of her life. Both of their upbringings were peculiar. Their relationship was also unusual. He was a sexist, dominating German who had a low opinion of women in general. But he was married to the richest and most powerful woman in the world.
I thought I was reading a biography about Queen Victoria, but soon came to learn that this book was more about her Prince Consort, Albert. In every sense of the word, when she married Albert he was the person making decisions on behalf of the Queen. She gladly gave him the authority to take over reading her documents and signing them in her behalf with her seal. I had no clue before reading this book, that their relationship was as such. The book quickly ends following his miserable death at the hand of typhoid. Shortly thereafter it alludes that Queen Victoria had a possible lover in John Brown and after his death, with an Indian gentleman. But there's 40 more years of her life after Albert dies, that isn't covered. If you want a full biography on just Queen Victoria. This is not it. This book is more about her Prince Consort.
White gold
It takes a scholar to assess whether this treatment is impermissibly revisionist, but this reading of Queen Victoria is certainly to my liking. Several years ago I read a biography of Empress Frederick based largely on the letters she exchanged with her mother, and I appreciated the portrait it revealed about both of them. Gill' s exploration of the social, cultural and familial pressures that caused this extraordinary woman to be a devoted civil servant, an apparently submissive wife and an imperious ruler at the same time owes a great deal to modern sensibilities, but nevertheless seems authentic. What I thought was particularly striking was her dislike of children and her resentment about her pregnancies. If in fact she was intimate with John Brown as so has been speculated, what a relief menopause must have been. It's too bad Albert died before they could experience that as a couple--though if Gill is right, Albert was relieved when he was no longer burdened with that marital duty.
I enjoyed the book. It was a different take on the Victoria and Albert story. Some of it was far-fetched. The author seems to find it impossible to believe two virgins could have enjoyed a passionate sex life. The idea that it worked because of his homosexual tendencies just seems dim to me. The two of them, based on everything that has ever been published in their own words, clearly did have a wonderful time in bed. Hollywood notions aside, lots of inexperienced couples down through time have enjoyed making love. Doing what comes naturally works; that's why we are all here. Gill does give you a good sense of how Victoria and Albert were very much a product of their time and yet did not fit neatly into expectations. The way they coped with their goals and their obstacles is what makes the pair so interesting.
Gillian Gill's intimate look at the marriage of England's Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg in what is now a united Germany makes for fascinating reading that separates "We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals" from other accounts of the Victorian era. Unlike other histories of monarchical partnerships at a time when many kings and queens still held absolute power, this one focuses as much on the domestic interactions in the royal household as the political maneuvering inherent in any examination of leadership. In the first part of the book, Gill lucidly outlines the complicated aristocratic bloodlines that made Victoria as much a German as a Briton, and how World War I's notorious Kaiser Wilhelm II was a volatile grandson stemming from her union with Prince Albert.
In clear language, Gill explains how Europe's royals were essentially a closely connected network of a few aristocratic families, all jostling for a leading role in European and world affairs. Unlike most European dynasties of the time, though, Queen Victoria's leadership was balanced by the power of Parliament, making her role one of negotiation and compromise with the nation's democratic lawmakers rather than one of iron mandates. How she and Prince Albert navigated that terrain along with the shifts in their personal relationship over time is the strength of this book. Their partnership as well as their rivalries in everything from public policy to child-rearing reveals the stresses and isolation at aristocracy's highest levels as well as the luxuries they enjoyed in their all-to-rare private moments.
The contrast of their lifestyle in the palaces with that of the servants they employed, many of whom, such as the queen's dressers, hardly had any time off for lives of their own, is stark. The book also looks deeply into the family's tragedies, especially Albert's untimely death from typhoid fever and the genetic legacy of hemophilia that ran in the queen's bloodline, affecting the families of other royal houses as well.
In the end, the history is a compassionate look at the responsibilities, hardships, and rare satisfactions of two rulers who were bonded like few others, but greatly competitive as well.
If there is a weakness in the book, it is in the too-brief attention given to Victoria's long reign after Albert's death in the final chapter, which comes across more as an afterword than a satisfying summation of her many remaining years and achievements. Despite this lapse, Gill's research makes this history an essential guide for those wanting to sort out fact from fiction in the popular PBS series on Victoria, which just finished its second season last month.