Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey

Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey

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Queen Victoria

by Lytton Strachey

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Queen Victoria, born Alexandrina Victoria (1819 - 1901) ruled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 until her death. At the age of 18 she inherited the throne, ruling for 63 years, longer than any other British monarch - the longest reign of any female monarch in history. She is remembered for her strict and stodgy moral standards, not to mention having an era named after her. Lytton Strachey (1880 - 1832) is remembered not only for his brilliant biography of Queen Victoria, but for changing the nature of biography all together. His new school approach incorporated psychological insight and a touching sympathy, coupled with a detached irreverence for his subject. Until this time, biographies - especially of dead monarchs - were dull, drawn-out eulogies with very little artistic flair.
The young Victoria, whose uncles had been scandalous louts, was reared under the tutelage of a strict governess, and she carried her propriety with her throughout her long reign. Shortly before becoming Queen she fell in love with her first Cousin, Prince Albert, an intelligent and sensitive man who was in love with the arts. They were married, and she was blissfully happy - Albert, however, was miserable. England, after decades of political intrigue, war, and excessive spending, had grown weary of its monarchy, but Victoria wasn't derailed. She carried on, relying on Albert more and more, as his behind-the-scenes political power began to grow. Queen Victoria remained happy until 1861, when her beloved husband died, a tragedy which cast her into a prolonged mourning. It wasn't until Disraeli became Prime Minister and began to dote on her that she was revived. She would be named “Empress of India" (despite never having gone there), would survive seven failed assassination attempts, preside over the height of British innovation and Empire, and help restore the beleaguered image of the monarchy. She would commemorate Albert, turning his room into a shrine, and love him until the end. A Queen, yes, but a woman, a mother, and wife as well. At its center, Strachey's brilliant and moving biography is not only the portrait of England's most eternal queen, but a tender love story as well