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Paperback Victoria's Daughters Book

ISBN: 0312244967

ISBN13: 9780312244965

Victoria's Daughters

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Five women who shared one of the most extraordinary and privileged sisterhoods of all time... Vicky, Alice, Helena, Louise, 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 face the social restrictions and familial machinations borne by ninetheenth-century...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Loved It!

I'm an avid reader of royal biographies. I prefer learning about how people lived the personal side of their lives. Of course, all of these people (given their positions) had some role in politics of the time. I never paid much attention to that aspect and only now realize what a mistake that was. This book is wonderful simply for it's attention to royal women (some who are often overlooked by other authors) and especially for it's coverage of the family dynamics. But, I also appreciated the way the author described each family member's involvement in wide-reaching European politics. This information is so well weaved into the "story" of their lives, that I was not at all put-off (bored) by it as I usually am. I was quite surprised to finally understand the unification of Germany, the role of landgraves and all those little principalities, and the formation of Canada. Granted, a book of this scope can only touch the surface of these issues. Still, I found it entertaining and elightening.

a fantastic way to learn more about history

This was a fantastic way to learn more about the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. I have to admit that although I have a master's degree in history, my major focus has always been ancient history, particularly ancient Near Eastern history (I was one of those people who felt that "modern history" meant everything after 1200 BC.--yes, BC.). Only just lately have I begun to follow up intriguing trails through other periods. Some time ago, I began to realize that one could really gain incredible insight into the events of an era by studying peripherals: the history of countries peripheral to the main stage, side issues like trade, crafts, and long distance contacts, and the women and others behind the main historical figures, etc. Jerrold Packard's book Victoria's Daughters seemed to be just the book I needed to learn about a period in time about which I knew next to nothing, the late 19th Century.At first it seemed as though the book would be more about Queen Victoria herself than about her daughters. As I read on, though, I realized that the oddity of Victoria's succession to the throne had much to do with the lives of her daughters, as did her early life and her own upbringing. Furthermore, it is against her long life and protracted reign that not only the events in her daughters' lives were measured and chronicled but those of most of the lives of the world's population. There was a reason that most of the 19th Century was labeled "the Victorian era!" In the past I had given very little thought about the connections that existed throughout European history or about what actually brought about the events that occurred during the turn of the century. I knew of course that the Tsarina of Russia was "Victoria's granddaughter" and a "Prussian princess," but I hardly gave thought to what that really meant. Nicholas and Alexandra were charismatic historical figures in their own right. They were a fairy tale couple, much in love, with a cozy little family living the life of a Russian folktale, and their poetic tale came to a tragic but colorful and certainly very memorable finish. End of story, or so it seemed to me. One knows about World War I, I suppose, and all the people that died in trenches of disease and exposure and mustard gas and enemy fire. One has heard of Bismark and Wilhelm II and Lord Mountbattan, but they're all just interesting names, names one memorizes to answer our world history tests, right? Not when one reads Mr. Packard's story of the children of Queen Victoria.Each of the daughters, Victoria, Alice, Helena, Louise, and Beatrice had a unique relationship with their mother. Because of whom and what she was, Victoria's was not a particularly warm and maternal presence in their lives. When she was a presence at all, she was distant, self-centered, imperious, and controlling. Unfortunately some of this early relationship translated into problems with parent-child interactions when the girls had children of thei

One Mother, Five Daughters, One Enduring Legacy

Vicky, Alice, Lenchen, Louise and Beatrice were the mothers of the royal dynasties throughout Europe, making their mother Victoria the doyenne of the continent's royal courts. Among the notable offspring were Vicky's son Kaiser Wilhem II, Alice's daughter Tsarina Alexandra, Vicky's daughter Queen Sophie of Greece and Beatrice's daughter Queen Ena of Spain. While Victoria's sons belonged to Great Britain, her daughters were a way for Victoria and Albert to spread their influence over the continent.I questioned why the author restricted his scope to just the daughters, but this made more sense with an explanation of Prince Albert's dreams for a more liberal Europe through the marriage of his daughters into ruling families. These plans were altered with his untimely death and Victoria needed to find another companion and private secretary, a role she demanded her daughters play.There is a confusing layout to the narrative. The book is arranged chronologically and the author tries to tell each daughter's story individually, but the lives of the daughters overlap. There will be a long section detailing Vicky's life for about a decade, including a visit from her sister Alice, then in the next section he moved back by a decade and starts describing Alice's life for the same time period, including a visit to her sister Vicky, and at the end there's a description of what Victoria did in the same time period. Despite all the backtracking, the final product is a complete account of the lives and relationships of the daughters.One thing that surprised me was a generally positive portrayal of Bertie, the eldest brother who eventually became Edward VII. We all know him as the philanderer whose affairs were widely known. But within the framework of his family, Bertie emerges as a family peacemaker and diplomat in adulthood who helps reconcile Victoria and the siblings during family squabbles.Overall, this book was very enjoyable and easy to read and it's sparked an interest in the Victorian age. I'm eager to read more about Victoria's sons and their children.

A gem of a book that transports the reader back in time!

As a passionate "devourer" of all books pertaining to European history, I had very high expectations of this work before actually picking it up. Was I ever surprised! Not only did it meet my expectations, but surpassed them by far! Thoroughly researched, Packard offers for the most part, a sympathetic view of his subjects; however, he does balance things out by touching on their less stellar qualities, as well. I became more emotionally caught up with each of Victoria's daughters, in turn, as well as with Victoria herself, than I ever thought I possibly could, since I usually tend to view Britain's royal family with a critical eye. Packard really made me feel with the family's triumphs and tragedies and I came away from this reading experience with a greater appreciation of just how much more difficult life was in the 19th century than it is today. Packard also illustrated that even royalty is not immune to life's disappointments. For instance, while I tended to be impatient with eldest daughter, Vicky's, lack of understanding about Prussian life and customs, and her arrogance in thinking that the British way could quite easily be forced down the throats of Europe's other countries, I did pity her frustration at the disintegrated relationship with primarily her 2 eldest children. Many of the dysfunctions that existed in Victoria's immediate family have managed to stay with the family through the present generation, which explains a lot about the present-day group. I highly recommend this book for afficianados of European history. The moment you crack the cover, you won't be able to put it down until you read the very last word!


Mr. Packard does a tremendous job. He is able to convey the princess' personalities, relationships with their parents and brothers, as well as each other. It was an extremely easy book to read. Great for history buffs! I highly recommend it.
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