Simon Heffer

Regal Difficulties

Victoria: A Life

By

Atlantic Books 656pp £25 order from our bookshop

Queen Victoria can be a distressing figure to anyone who chooses to write the history of her age. As A N Wilson correctly points out towards the end of his book, part of the challenge for her biographers is to write about the person, because apart from being queen she did so little. Indeed, even as queen she did so little. The first third of her reign was largely spent in child-bearing; the next third in prostrate grief after the death of her husband; and in the final third she slowly re-emerged to create the ‘dear old Queen’ of popular legend – the brooding late-Hanoverian image still to be seen on statues and in pictures all over the country and beyond. Wilson says several times in his biography, which is extensively researched, that he finds Victoria ‘loveable’. She could certainly display charm and even, on occasions, wit; she was also susceptible to the normal human emotions in a life that royalty made intensely lonely. Loveable, though, is another matter.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,