Serving Victoria

Serving Victoria

Life in the Royal Household

Book - 2013
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During her sixty-three-year reign, Queen Victoria gathered around herself a household dedicated to her service. For some, royal employment was the defining experience of their lives; for others it came as an unwelcome duty or as a prelude to greater things. Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household, from the governess to the royal children, from her maid of  honor to her chaplain and her personal physician.

Drawing on their letters and diaries--many hitherto unpublished--Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at its center. Seen through the eyes of her household as she traveled among Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral, and to the French and Belgian courts, Victoria emerges as more vulnerable, more emotional, more selfish, more comical, than the austere figure depicted in her famous portraits. We see a woman who was prone to fits of giggles, who wept easily and often, who gobbled her food and shrank from confrontation but insisted on controlling the lives of those around her. We witness her extraordinary and debilitating grief at the death of her husband, Albert, and her sympathy toward the tragedies that afflicted her household.

Witty, astute, and moving, Serving Victoria is a perfect foil to the pomp and circumstance--and prudery and conservatism--associated with Victoria's reign, and gives an unforgettable glimpse of what it meant to serve the Queen.

Publisher: New York :, Harper,, 2013.
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9780062269911
Characteristics: xii, 417 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations, portraits. ;,23 cm.


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Mar 25, 2019

A very informative book that uses various primary resources (diaries, letters, etc) to explores the lives of the people who served Queen Victoria from her early reign to her final years. I enjoyed this history quite a bit, as it gave me a view of this particular queen that I had not seen before in her many biographies that I've read in the past. I very much enjoyed the exploration of how the royal court went from the wasteful, debauched place it had been under Victoria's various uncles to the staid, conservative, and dreadfully dull place it became under Victoria herself. In truth, one even can see the roots of what has become the modern royal court have their beginnings here.

Perhaps my favorite person explored in this book was Sir James Reid, who served as Victoria's physician for many years. He was with her when she died, performed her autopsy, and helped to prepare her for burial (even adding a few touches that Victoria requested but knew that her children would ignore if she left it to them).

Very interesting!

Feb 25, 2016

awesome Book

Jul 18, 2015

Based on letters and diaries, Hubbard describes Court life at Windsor, Balmoral and on the Isle of Wight. Life was boring and banal, becoming more and more middle-class and conservative over time. Unfortunately, the book does not provide much context or situate Victoria as a symbol of Empire.

Jun 18, 2015

Took this book out twice and twice I haven't been able to get though it....not what I thought it would be...not an easy read for me...but I will persevere and take it out a third time to try and complete it!!!

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