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British history

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

Gillian Gill.
Publisher Ballantine  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.1 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780345520012
Pages/Publication Date 466/2010
Daedalus Item Code 70371
This item is not available.
The most influential marriage of the 19th century and one of history's most enduring love stories, the marriage of Victoria and Albert is often supposed to have begun with the queen inheriting the throne as a naïve teenager, apparently doomed to fail as a monarch and a woman, until she married her German cousin Albert and accepted him as her lord and master. Chronicler Gillian Gill, also the author of Nightingales, reveals instead a strong, feisty queen and a brilliant, fragile prince working together to build a family based on support, trust, and fidelity—qualities neither had seen much of as children. Gill's double portrait shows how Victoria and Albert entered their marriage longing for intimate companionship, yet each was determined to be the ruler. This dynamic would continue through the years—each spouse, headstrong and impassioned, eager to lead the marriage on his or her own terms. For two decades, Victoria and Albert engaged in a very public contest for dominance; against all odds, the marriage succeeded, though it was always a work in progress. Gill posits that the marriage of Victoria and Albert was great not because it was perfect but rather because it was passionate and complicated. Nuanced, surprising, often acerbic—and informed by revealing excerpts from the pair's journals and letters—Gill's portrait of a queen and her prince offers a fascinating modern perspective on a couple who have become a legend.

"According to Gill, the age that has been labeled Victorian was, in its origins, Albertian. Prince Albert was the chaste scion of a family of ambitious, debt-ridden, sexually corrupt misogynists, and his holy war of moral strictness made him appear straitlaced, judgmental and sanctimonious. In marrying Victoria, says Gill, Albert planned to take the reins of British power, though parliamentary rules didn't allow him to be king. Gill paints a portrait of this marriage as a work in progress, in which the balance of power shifted continually between queen and consort, but Victoria's repeated pregnancies caused a dramatic shift in Albert's favor: he joined her meetings with ministers, and met or corresponded with the most powerful men in England and abroad. His great accomplishment was keeping Great Britain out of the American Civil War; he also served a stint as chancellor of Cambridge, bringing the university into the modern world. Despite their constant battle for dominance, Victoria was always madly in love while Albert was pleased to be adored. A lively, perceptive, impressively researched biography of what Gill terms a forerunner of today's power couple."—Publishers Weekly

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