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Last Days of Glory: The Death of Queen…

Last Days of Glory: The Death of Queen Victoria

by Tony Rennell

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A surprisingly entertaining book. Surprisingly because Rennell writes quite a dry book, not sensationalising the story of Victoria's death, or attempting to get too personal. Rather, he takes the reader through Victoria's last days, her death and the funeral, relating aspects from the point of view of those close to Victoria and the press. He never directly writes political analysis, but rather hints at it, only occasionally drawing parallels with the modern British monarchy. By taking one small episode - lasting only a year really - Rennell manages to explore various facets of Victorian life and it's legacy.
The most striking point in this book is the fact that no-one seemed prepared for Queen Victoria's death, which is amazing considering the woman was in her eighties! But it also entertainingly covers the small facts - the internal squabbles within the large and extended royal family; the fact the Queen was a bit of a glutton until her final illness; the boy who flicked a match and set fire to a man's hat while the public watched the funeral procession move through London. Rennell manages to steer a course between the academic and the `dumbing down' sometimes prevalent in modern day `popular history'. Rather, he just sticks to the facts and supposes his readers are intelligent enough to understand and interpret them. ( )
1 vote ForrestFamily | Mar 23, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031230286X, Paperback)

Queen Victoria's death in January 1901 shook Britain to its core, and reverberated not just throughout the Commonwealth, but around the world. She was a woman in her eighties, and yet it seems no one could contemplate the end of a reign that had lasted so long. Most could not remember a time when she was not Queen, and the very stability of everyday life seemed to depend on her regency. The anxiety of the government and the royal family about the prospect of the Queen's death was such that the news of her illness was deliberately concealed from the public for more than a week. When it came, people from England to Jamaica wept in the streets, and this grief was surpassed only by fear for the future. "God help us" was the standard reaction from all strata of society.

Last Days of Glory is the definitive account of those last 23 days in January 1901, when Victoria traveled to Osborne House to die. The momentous reaction to the Queen's passing attached to it more significance and a greater sense of change than the turn of the century had carried just a year earlier. Through the prism of those last days Tony Rennell presents us with a series of resonant and absorbing snapshots of a fading Empire at the end of the Victorian Age, and captures a nation coping with change, balancing comfortable nostalgia with the arrival of a new order.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:59 -0400)

Recreates the twenty-three days in January 1901 when Queen Victoria journeyed to Osborne House to meet her fate and succumb to the illness that had plagued her, bringing a dark pall upon Britain and signaling the end of an era.

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