We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, RivalsBy Gillian Gill
I recently finished reading the biography of the Royal couple who helped shape the 19th century in their own image: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. This biography by Gillian Gill is a decent book but overall is lacking. The book, divided into two parts, covers the lives of Victoria and Albert during their youths and then their epic marriage. However, this book is often times lacking the historical feel that one would expect out of a biography. Dr. Gill is not a trained historian as the “about the author” page tells us that she holds a PhD in French Literature from Cambridge. Her training in language is clear as Dr. Gill often uses words that prove her high education; one needs both the Oxford English Dictionary and a dictionary for just about every other language both modern and dead! Overall Dr. Gill presents a chronicle of the lives of England‘s most memorable monarch and consort. She begins each chapter with a general outline and then goes back to fill in the blanks; don’t be surprised if you need a note pad next to you just to keep track of all the names she throws out. Finally, this biography comes off more as a biography of Prince Albert than of Queen Victoria. At best this book makes clear that Victoria was never herself; her being was constantly governed by the men around her whether it was John Conroy, Lord Melbourne, Prince Albert or John Brown. The book spends too much time thinking itself a feminist by admonishing Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for their backwards thinking and then praising Prince Albert and condemning Queen Victoria for the way they lived their lives.
I am a strong advocate for the general public learning more about Queen Victoria, but this book is among the least that I would recommend. Should you choose to start learning about this woman, I encourage that you begin by reading:Queen Victoria (British History in Perspective)by Walter Arnstein.
- Queen Victoria (federalistpublicola.com)
- Lost letter reveals Queen Victoria’s pain after death of Prince Albert (telegraph.co.uk)
- Christmas books! (threebookishgirls.wordpress.com)
- ‘Victoria & Albert: A Love Story’ Hosted by Prince Michael of Kent (royalcorrespondent.com)