Sarah Bradford

Cousins in Arms

The Imperial Tea Party: Family, Politics and Betrayal – The Ill-fated British and Russian Royal Alliance

By

Short Books 288pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Frances Welch has a sharp eye for a quote. ‘Man’s sensitivity to little things and insensitivity to the greatest are the signs of a strange disorder’ (Pascal), printed on the opening pages of her book, might have been written with Tsar Nicholas II in mind. Nicholas seems to have had little grasp of the major issues of the day and his diaries, as quoted in this book, are curiously childish, concentrating mainly on the weather. Granny – Queen Victoria – largely failed in her attempts to school him in political and international affairs, describing him, not unfairly, as ‘very simple and unaffected’. He in return compared her to ‘a round ball with wobbly legs’. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,
    • 'The day produced countless stories of chance, of people taking one route or another without realising that the dec… ,