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We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers,…
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We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals

by Gillian Gill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Veryyyy in depth - lovely to read. A gift from my friend Caroline - thanks! ( )
1 vote AmberTheHuman | Aug 30, 2013 |
Somewhat dense at times but still a very interesting read. very well researched ( )
1 vote knittinkitties | Jun 11, 2013 |
also check out bio of Florence Nightingale
1 vote | lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
This is truly one of the best non fiction books I've ever read. Granted, I'm particularly infatuated with the Victorian era, but I was pleasantly surprised in this to find it both accessible and concise. Much background history is discussed, which might ordinarily bog down the narrative, but in this case it is all presented in the clearest and most insightful of ways. That Victoria was fated for the throne is perhaps evidenced by the complexity of circumstances that surround her history and upbringing. Her influence was magnificent, and is still felt today. I'm grateful for this re-examination of the couple and what they did for England and the Western world. The last several decades have judged them unduly harshly, in my opinion. It's a pleasant read throughout. I read it slowly, since there was so much information to digest, but it was certainly no difficult book to read, and even managed to evoke a little of the flavour of the era. I'm glad I found this book. I found it both informative and inspiring. ( )
  vrchristensen | Oct 12, 2011 |
If you are looking for a credible biography of Victoria and Albert, this probably won't satisfy you. It is written in an easy-flowing, engaging style, but makes assertions that are not backed up. There are detailed notes, but no references in the text to point you to them. Perhaps the author's degree in literature led her to value a story that flowed over a properly documented text.

I was reading this for a book club and had to finish it. Therefore, I decided to relax about the lack of academic rigour and read this as a story based (largely, I hope) on fact rather than a true biography. That helped me enjoy the book, and I learned about aspects of Victorian society I wasn't previously aware of.

It is a compelling tale of a marriage and the challenges of balancing being Queen of England with being a dutiful, obedient wife and a mother to nine children. Albert, too, struggles with his non-traditional role of being head of the household but not the head of state.

It's also a harrowing tale of child rearing in Victorian royal families -- it's amazing people like Victoria and her son Bertie were able to accomplish what they did given how they were raised.

Bottom line: recommended for people who have a general interest in Victorian times or the life of royals, but not for those with a deeper interest in history or biography. ( )
  LynnB | Oct 4, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
In We Two, Gillian Gill describes Victoria and Albert's tempestuous yet successful marriage, and the real story behind the powerful couple whom she describes as rulers, partners and rivals.
added by bongiovi | editNPR (Jan 20, 2010)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gillian Gillprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bachman, Barbara M.Book Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fyfe, LisaJacket Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
A cat may look at a king

--OLD ENGLISH PROVERB
Dedication
For Rose
WHO LIVES ON IN MY DREAMS

and For All My Grandchildren
First words
Prelude to a Marriage
Windsor Castle, October 10, 1839

All afternoon Queen Victoria has been expecting the arrival of her cousin Albert, and she was getting edgier by the minute. Louis XIV had never had to wait, yet here she was, monarch to an empire that put the Sun King's France to shame, cooling her heels until some third-rank German princes arrived and she could go in for dinner. As all the courts of Europe knew, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, dutifully chaperoned by his elder brother, Ernest, was coming to Windsor so that the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland could look him over and decide if she wanted to marry him. How dare that youn man be late?
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Contents:
Charlotte and Leopold

Wanted, an heir to the throne, preferably male

The wife takes the child

That dismal existence

The Kensington system

Fighting back

Victoria, virgin queen

The Coburg legacy

A dynastic marriage

The paradise of our childhood

Training for the big race

Victoria plans her marriage

Bearing the fruits of desire

Whigs and Tories

Dearest diary

Albert takes charge

The court of St. Albert's

Finding friends

A home of our own

The greatest show on earth

Lord Palmerston says no

Blue blood and red

French interlude

The Prussian alliance

Father and son

Problems in a marriage

"I do not cling to life as you do"

Mourning a prince.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345520017, Paperback)

Book Description
It was the most influential marriage of the nineteenth century--and one of history’s most enduring love stories. Traditional biographies tell us that Queen Victoria inherited the throne as a naïve teenager, when the British Empire was at the height of its power, and seemed doomed to find failure as a monarch and misery as a woman until she married her German cousin Albert and accepted him as her lord and master. Now renowned chronicler Gillian Gill turns this familiar story on its head, revealing a strong, feisty queen and a brilliant, fragile prince working together to build a family based on support, trust, and fidelity, qualities neither had seen much of as children. The love affair that emerges is far more captivating, complex, and relevant than that depicted in any previous account.

The epic relationship began poorly. The cousins first met as teenagers for a few brief, awkward, chaperoned weeks in 1836. At seventeen, charming rather than beautiful, Victoria already “showed signs of wanting her own way.” Albert, the boy who had been groomed for her since birth, was chubby, self-absorbed, and showed no interest in girls, let alone this princess. So when they met again in 1839 as queen and presumed prince-consort-to-be, neither had particularly high hopes. But the queen was delighted to discover a grown man, refined, accomplished, and whiskered. “Albert is beautiful!” Victoria wrote, and she proposed just three days later.

As Gill reveals, Victoria and Albert entered their marriage longing for intimate companionship, yet each was determined to be the ruler. This dynamic would continue through the years--each spouse, headstrong and impassioned, eager to lead the marriage on his or her own terms. For two decades, Victoria and Albert engaged in a very public contest for dominance. Against all odds, the marriage succeeded, but it was always a work in progress. And in the end, it was Albert’s early death that set the Queen free to create the myth of her marriage as a peaceful idyll and her husband as Galahad, pure and perfect.

As Gill shows, the marriage of Victoria and Albert was great not because it was perfect but because it was passionate and complicated. Wonderfully nuanced, surprising, often acerbic--and informed by revealing excerpts from the pair’s journals and letters--We Two is a revolutionary portrait of a queen and her prince, a fascinating modern perspective on a couple who have become a legend.

Amazon Exclusive: An Essay by Gillian Gill

When I was growing up in South Wales, the part of Great Britain best known for coal mines, people like me did not write about royalty. We left that to “nobs” like Countess Longford (alias Elizabeth Longford) who were actually invited to coronations or to people like Cecil Woodham-Smith whose double-barrelled surname and weird given name proclaimed her membership of the elite public (i.e. private) school set. My family was the kind that lined the route on a rare royal visit to our provincial city, waving tiny union jacks.

Until my teens, my sister Rose and I were reared jointly by our mother and her mother. Mummy and Nana lived together all their lives, quarreled every day, but shared a passion for the British royal family. In our house, the pantheon of royals was worshipped with more fervor and regularity than we mustered at the plain little branch of the Church of Wales just around the corner. The royals were glamour and romance, items severely rationed in post-war Britain.

1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, was a banner year for our family. My mother bought a television set and invited her humbler relatives over to squint at the magnificent event on our twelve inch, black and white set. There followed a street party and my grandmother, who had once apprenticed as a milliner, contrived marvelous costumes for Rose and me. I was actually queen for the day with a long white dress, purple robe, and crown, orb, and scepter.

But once my father retired from the Merchant Navy and took his place in the family, his carefully informed left-wing politics took hold of me and my grandmother’s reverence for the royal family began to seem silly and ignorant. When I was about seventeen, I made some flip remark about the abdication of King Edward VIII which so infuriated Nana that she slapped my face. At the time I was shocked and wholly at a loss. Now I think I understand. A handsome and engaging young king had once come to South Wales and spoken movingly of the plight of the miners. Women of my grandmother’s generation had never forgotten it. Like the rest of the general public in Britain, she had been carefully shielded by the press from any knowledge of Edward VIII’s prenuptial dalliances and fascist opinions.

By 1965 I was a graduate of Cambridge University, the first of my family to attend university and a budding academic. When it was announced that the Queen Mother would come to New Hall, my Cambridge college, to open the new buildings, I was blasé to the point of disdain. But when I found myself curtseying and carefully shaking the tips of Her Majesty’s gloved fingers, I was swept away by the mystique of royalty. How delightful the Queen was in person and how proud my grandmother would be when she saw the photo of me with the Queen Mum.

All of which is to explain why my book about Queen Victoria is prefaced by the old English saying: “A cat may look at a king.” --Gillian Gill

(Photo © Linda Crosskey)

A Look Inside We Two

Click on thumbnails for larger images

Gillian Gill (in white dress) greeting the Queen Mother at Cambridge University in 1964. Gillian Gill and her sister Rose at home in Cardiff, Wales, dressed up to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Gillian Gill in front of the statue of Queen Victoria statue outside Kensington Palace, London.


(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:48 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Gillian Gill offers a revolutionary portrait of a queen and her prince, revealing at once both an intimate but far-from-idyllic relationship that succeeded against all odds as the strong, feisty queen and the brilliant, fragile prince worked together to build a family based on support, trust, and fidelity.… (more)

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