Victoria: The Queen
Rating: 3 / 5
There are many biographies of Queen Victoria—a fascinating but enigmatic character. Julia Baird approaches Victoria particularly as a powerful woman in an age of male dominance, praising her work ethic and vast experience and stressing her competence as queen, even without her husband Albert’s help. Baird cites a formidable number of references and has clearly worked hard but has some inaccuracies, notably regarding the family of Victoria’s eldest daughter Vicky.
The most striking omission in the book, however, is any discussion of Victoria’s religion. This was important to her personally, but also politically, as their different approaches to worship exacerbated her difficulties with Prime Minister Gladstone.
Victoria chose her chaplains carefully and her faith influenced her relationships with her children, particularly as she counselled them against doubting the goodness of God. Omitting this side of the great queen diminishes the overall strength of a solid biography.