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Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts,…
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Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria

by Julia P. Gelardi

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The history of five of Queen Victoria's granddaughters. Alexandra, the shy and proud queen of Russia; Marie, the dramatic and empathic queen of Romania; Victoria Eugenie, who introduced hemophilia into the heirs of Spain; Maud, the bourgeoisie queen of Norway; and Sophie, who was so maligned as the sister to the hated Kaiser Wilhelm II that she lost her throne in Greece. The book doesn't have much focus, nor does it have a thesis; it's merely a collection of biographies that wouldn't stand alone on their own. Frustratingly, Gelardi switches from one queen to the next in a matter of paragraphs, making it hard to get a feel for each of their personalities. Still, Gelardi has a clear grasp of history and uses quotes from the queens' correspondence to good effect. I came away with a slightly better understanding of each queen and a much better feel for European history after WWI. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Her subjects are interesting but the author ruins the books with her awful writing. It feels like she lifts things from other books.

Julia Gelardi’s Born to Rule is the powerful epic story of five royal granddaughters of Queen Victoria, who reigned over the end of their empires, the destruction of their families, and the tumult of the twentieth century

Here are the stories of Alexandra, whose faith in Rasputin and tragic end have become the stuff of legend; Marie, the flamboyant and eccentric queen who battled her way through a life of intrigues and was also the mother of two Balkan queens and of the scandalous Carol II of Romania; Victoria Eugenie, Spain’s very English queen who, like Alexandra, introduced hemophilia into her husband’s family---with devastating consequences for her marriage; Maud, King Edward VII’s daughter, who was independent Norway’s reluctant queen; and Sophie, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s much maligned sister, daughter of an emperor and herself the mother of no less than three kings and a queen, who ended her days in bitter exile.

Using never before published letters, memoirs, diplomatic documents, secondary sources, and interviews with descendents of the subjects, Julia Gelardi’s Born to Rule is an astonishing and memorable work of popular history. ( )
  Suzanne_Mitchell | Dec 28, 2013 |
Born to Rule is a biography of the select five granddaughters of Queen Victoria who became royal consorts during the early to mid-twentieth century amidst some of the tumultuous years before, during and after WWI. The five granddaughters it focuses on are Marie of Romania, Sophie of Greece, Alexandra (Alix) of Russia, Maud of Norway and Victoria Eugenie (Ena) of Spain. Instead of begin told as five separate biographies it is told chronologically and the women's lives are told jointly.

I have to admit that my knowledge of this time period and these women was very shaky prior to reading this book. Honestly the only woman I knew a little about is Alix of Russia who goes on to marry Nicholas II and they become the last of the Romanov Dynasty. So I found this book to be highly informative and interesting. It is filled with a lot of excellent detail about the time period and these women. Also, information included is the last years of Queen Victoria's reign.

This book does an excellent job at pointing out the similarities and differences between these women and their lives. Some of them including Sophie of Greece, Alix of Russia and Ena of Spain have very tragic and sad stories and these women who loved their adopted countries so much were never really accepted as part of the culture. We all know the fate of the Romanov's but Ena of Spain and Sophie of Greece also died in exile, without ever really being allowed to live in the countries they helped govern for so many years. Of the five women the only one who is truly admired in her country for the work she did was Maud of Norway who compared to the other women lead an almost fairly normal existence devoid of some of the scandals that rocked the other women. I enjoyed reading about all the women but the author focus a lot of Marie of Romania whose fiery and outgoing personality lead her into some trouble in her life and also helped her to become a very important figure in Romania's politics during the time she ruled.

The only problem I had with this book was that there was a few typos and grammatical errors and probably could have used a better editor but I found that it did not take away from the story of these women and I still found that the pace moved well through time. I also would have loved to have more information about Maud of Norway who unfortunately did not get as much attention as some of the other women. Besides these few things, I thought the book read really well and though I am not considered by an means be an expert on this time period I thought it provided a good look at some of the granddaughters of Queen Victoria who when on to lead marry into royal families. ( )
  Renz0808 | Feb 1, 2011 |
This book follows the intertwining lives and the political environment of the five of Queen Victoria's granddaughters who were reigning consorts: Marie of Romania whose affairs scandalised Europe, Maude who hated Norway and wanted to live in England, Alexandra who was killed along with her family in the Russian revolution and the luckier Sophie of Greece and Victoria Eugenie of Spain both of whom were exiled from the lands they ruled due to political unrest. I had always known how interrelated (and inbred) the European royal families were, however reading this book gave fresh insight into the family quarrels that were inherently political. Even with the best known of these women, Alexandra, Gelardi was able to reveal her life and her motivations beyond the standard reading. (Why is it, I wonder, that no-one writing about the Russian Revolution ever thinks to mention that Nicolas and Alexandra were a love match and courted for years? Ah, of course, that's an unimportant 'feminine' detail, why would we need to know that?) In any case, this book is filled with similarly well researched and documented facts about these women and how their lives impacted European history. Well worth the read. ( )
1 vote veracity | Jun 11, 2008 |
By virtue of having a lot of children and therefore grandchildren, it's no surprise that among the granddaughters of Queen Victoria there were five queens.

Queen Alexandra of Russia's story is well-known for its tragic ending. The others, Queen Maud (Norway), Queen Sophie (Greece), Queen Victoria Eugenie (Spain) and Queen Marie (Romania) are less well-known in America. Aside from Maud whose reign was peaceful, all the others had rather rocky reigns. ( )
  neferset | May 29, 2008 |
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Five of Queen Victoria's granddaughters become Queen consorts in Europe one of whom came to a tragic end.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312324243, Paperback)

Julia Gelardi’s Born to Rule is the powerful epic story of five royal granddaughters of Queen Victoria, who reigned over the end of their empires, the destruction of their families, and the tumult of the twentieth century

Here are the stories of Alexandra, whose faith in Rasputin and tragic end have become the stuff of legend; Marie, the flamboyant and eccentric queen who battled her way through a life of intrigues and was also the mother of two Balkan queens and of the scandalous Carol II of Romania; Victoria Eugenie, Spain’s very English queen who, like Alexandra, introduced hemophilia into her husband’s family---with devastating consequences for her marriage; Maud, King Edward VII’s daughter, who was independent Norway’s reluctant queen; and Sophie, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s much maligned sister, daughter of an emperor and herself the mother of no less than three kings and a queen, who ended her days in bitter exile.

Using never before published letters, memoirs, diplomatic documents, secondary sources, and interviews with descendents of the subjects, Julia Gelardi’s Born to Rule is an astonishing and memorable work of popular history. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:25 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"This book weaves together the powerful and moving stories of the five royal granddaughters of Queen Victoria. These five women were all married to reigning European monarchs during the early part of the twentieth century, and it was their reaction to the First World War that shaped the fate of a continent and the future of the modern world." "Here are the stories of Alexandra, whose enduring love story, controversial faith in Rasputin, and tragic end have become the stuff of legend; Marie, the flamboyant and eccentric queen who battled her way through a life of intrigues and was also the mother of two Balkan queens and of the scandalous Carol II of Romania; Victoria Eugenie, Spain's very English queen who, like Alexandra, introduced hemophilia into her husband's family - with devastating consequences for her marriage; Maud, King Edward VII's daughter, who was independent Norway's reluctant queen; and Sophie, Kaiser Wilhelm II's much-maligned sister, daughter of an emperor, and herself the mother of no fewer than three kings and a queen, who ended her days in bitter exile."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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