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Victorian matchmaking

Anarchy, revolution and war were in the air and Europe was on the brink of danger. Overall, this is a very interesting read. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review. View all 3 comments. Sep 10, Nate rated it it was ok Shelves: What it actually chronicles is the relationships between the future crowned heads of Europe and Queen Victoria's grandchildren, with Victoria being mentioned regularly but having little actual influence over their choices.

The majority of relationships talked abou 2. The majority of relationships talked about in this book, including Marie and Ferdinand of Romania, Ena and Alfonso of Spain, and Eddy and Helene, had little to do with Queen Victoria except tangentially as a doting grandmother. The actual matches she did make, such as Victoria Melita and Ernest of Hesse, were barely mentioned except in he space of a few pages chronicling them getting together, unlike other relationships that got analysed till death of the participants.

The relationships that got explored after the marriage, like Emperor Nicholas and Alexandra, had nothing to do with Queen Victoria. For some of them, she wasn't even alive from the get go Ena and Alfonso. The book is an obvious example of marketing that doesn't match the interior.

This book was more about the relationships that the grandchildren had rather than about the setting up of them by Queen Victoria and how that affected their marriage. The book also tried to delve into some heavy politics on its many tangents, particularly as done by the Kaiser, which also doesn't fit in the scope of this book and felt like a case of trying to seem ultra-important, which it didn't need to do. It would have been fine as a book that simply focused on the personal romantic relationships of her grandchildren without needing to dive into the muddy, irrelevant waters of pre-World War I politics in order to make it important.

Nothing was wrong with the research, premise, or writing of this book, the book's problems were all caused by the author's not knowing what type of book to write or what to focus on. A digital copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Jun 10, Suzannah rated it it was amazing Shelves: I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a nonfiction book most of the history I read these days is at a more academic level than this book. This book was absolutely gripping. Though written for a popular audience, the author shows impressive research on her subject, drawing from unpublished royal archives.

And it's extremely well written. Cadbury understands the art of telling history with the verve and craft of a good novelist. Knowing that half these people will come to stic I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a nonfiction book most of the history I read these days is at a more academic level than this book. Knowing that half these people will come to sticky ends but constantly kept guessing as to how, you'll find it hard to put down.

Basically, this is the story of the planned, unplanned, or abortive matrimonial alliances made by Queen Victoria's grandchildren between the s and s among the royal houses of Europe. As young newlyweds, Victoria and Albert had formed a vision to bring peace and representative parliamentarian government to Europe. Albert himself prepared his smart and dutiful eldest daughter Vicky for this task, only to die before seeing the fruits of his labour. I didn't know that after Albert's death, Victoria exerted all her considerable power and influence over her children, grandchildren, and in-laws to bring about his dream of a peaceful Europe.

I knew that the plan failed, but I didn't know how. This book is the story of what happened, and it's marvellous. Forbidden love, rumours, deaths, scandals, shocking revelations - admittedly, this book treads the fine line that divides history from soap opera. Nevertheless, it's impossible not to conclude that the marriages of Victoria's children and grandchildren had a profound effect on European politics in the lead up to WWI. The book ends with an account of how the gilded edifice of European empire came tumbling down in war.

Victoria and Albert dreamed of spreading constitutional monarchy across Europe in order to achieve world peace, yet when Charles of Denmark and his wife Maud one of Victoria's granddaughters were invited to become the first monarchs of independent Norway in , and refused their family's urging to pounce on the throne long enough to hold a plebiscite to ensure they were actually wanted, English nobles scoffed that it was "too horrible for an English princess to sit upon a Revolutionary Throne. Judgement could not be escaped. But why was it that people like Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsarina Alexandra became blinded to the point of insanity?

Recommended for anyone who likes reading about doomed love affairs, fancy weddings, and bloodshed.

Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe

Aug 28, Jill Hutchinson rated it liked it Shelves: This book is a fairly interesting read but it didn't particularly appeal to me. Maybe I have read too much about Queen Victoria and there was really nothing new. She was the "Grandmother of Europe" and intended to put her children and grandchildren on as many thrones as possible. She succeeded in seven instances It was inbreeding gone wild and the gene of hemophilia, passed throu This book is a fairly interesting read but it didn't particularly appeal to me.

It was inbreeding gone wild and the gene of hemophilia, passed through the Queen, affected several of her descendants, including one of her own sons. The right marriages were political in nature and the Queen knew how to manipulate her kin onto the right throne. However, it was at the wrong time as WWI loomed and changed the environment of Europe and the world forever.

Only the UK, Norway, and Spain retain any form of monarchy in modern times. There were many editing errors in this book, usually concerning dates which often appeared as , , etc. This became irritating after the third or fourth time it appeared. If you are new to the royal marriages during Queen Victoria's reign, this book provide a good overview Nov 26, Jill Meyer rated it it was amazing. Queen Victoria - Britain's second-longest reigning monarch - died on January 22, She'd been a widow since December, and had worn widows-weeds ever since, mourning her beloved husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Gotha.

They had had nine children. At the time of her death, Victoria had 20 some-odd grandchildren. It was these children and grandchildren whose marriages with other members of European royalty Victoria plotted as almost her legacy. She and Prince Albert had seen their children as Queen Victoria - Britain's second-longest reigning monarch - died on January 22, She and Prince Albert had seen their children as marrying into the other Protestant royal houses and bringing along their shared sense of liberal rule.

In some marriages they succeeded, in others they failed. Victoria's grandchildren - often first cousins - were then married off to each other. Historian Deborah Cadbury explains Victoria's chess board and chess pieces in her new book, "Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe". Cadbury does an excellent job in picking several children and grandchildren to follow through the diplomatic and personal paths to love and marriage.

Some paths were more difficult than others and some marriages turned out better than others. But that is the way it is in most families, isn't it? Victoria, though, was playing for the future of Europe and personal happiness might not have always taken first place in her consideration of which cousin would go with which cousin. Victoria was marrying off first and second cousins to each other and wasn't concerned - or knowledgeable - about the genetic dangers of kissing cousins going further than kissing.

A side concern of Victoria's was the growing acts of anarchist terrorism in Europe. Russia, in particular, was the scene of several horrific political assassinations and Victoria worried about her favorite granddaughter, Alix of Hesse daughter of her late daughter, Alice and her choice of Nicholas of Russia as her husband. She also oversaw the marriage of her heir Bertie's first son and then second son when the first died at a young age to May of Teck.

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Now, that was a long, double courtship! Deborah Cadbury's book is very readable. She's an easy writer and doesn't waste a sentence. The reason I mention that is because I had started her previous book, "Princes at War", but didn't finish it. I may go back and try again.

In any case, she does a great job laying out the complicated chessboard of British royal marriages. View all 17 comments.


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  • Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking?

Nov 09, Jeanette rated it liked it. This is better than 3 stars- 3.


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Although I'm not quite sure that this is titled correctly or at least as accurately as it could have been titled. Because this is more about Queen Victoria's children and grandchildren and their own choices and departures just as much as being about the matchmaking tendency that they experienced with their elders and especially with their Matriarch Queen Grandmother. With a huge side category of the position and oversee that Queen Victoria and This is better than 3 stars- 3. But I don't feel like she actually had dibs on picking much in exact dictated matches as this title presupposes she did.

Or leads you to believe that she did for the ones which did develop. Her disapproval was vast and known- but making a match a "sure thing" was really not how she operated. Quite differently than in much earlier centuries, when it was a given, the monarch decided, and you just obeyed by duty and oath to marry who was chosen for you. But it was 5 star in telling the recorded and unrecorded hearsay of witness and family positions both physical and mental of many of her nearly 3 dozen grandchildren and their possible mates. And that was shocking, IMHO. Physical safety and personal marriage choice such a small group of choices by royal blood requirement being available being truly negative particulars, especially for the female offspring.

The males seem to have more choices- more European princesses available at young ages of easier compliance? Her dislike for children and the more usual emotional distance from the majority of her own offspring, with just a few exceptions. She had great dislikes, and basically from the get-go saw all children, grand-children as secondary to her own roles and especially her own marriage.

Before Allbert's early death, she saw the time he spent with the children as "not hers". I think it is ironic that she was considered the great Mother Monarch with her bonnet, instead of a crown. So extremely sad that she foresaw the dangers of Russia and especially of her female children or grandchildren choosing Russian consorts.

And the tale of what happened to her own Sergei, she never forgot that. Actually I appreciated the pages of historical photos and especially all the anarchist attempts drawings of the 's and 's as much as I was embedded in Victoria's opinions. So many bombs and so many terrorist shots. Just a last thought- I hated all the nicknames that they evolved. You would think with all the choices that they would come up with more than a few different names in each generation.

And the most shocking observation. They looked like twins. If you saw them side by side in those pictures, I doubt unless they opened their mouths and spoke you could tell them apart. And so many sick and early deaths! Mar 09, Jess rated it really liked it Shelves: I find Deborah Cadbury to be such a readable writer, that even reading about some of the more well trod territory was really enjoyable.

I'd forgotten some of the proposed matches in her and she actually made me interested in Eddy, who I'd almost skimmed past frankly, because he ended up dead so early. It's striking to think how differently world history would have played out if, for instance, he'd lived and Alix of Hesse had agreed to marry him. Would we still be dealing with hemophilia in the B I find Deborah Cadbury to be such a readable writer, that even reading about some of the more well trod territory was really enjoyable.

Would we still be dealing with hemophilia in the British royal family? It's interesting to think about. I also feel so much worse for Marie of Romania now and I definitely need to find a biography of her finally. Nov 13, Nicole Burrell rated it really liked it Shelves: I remember my mom telling me that, when she was a teenager, her mom [aka my grandma] would approach lifeguards on the beach and brazenly introduce them to her daughters. At its I remember my mom telling me that, when she was a teenager, her mom [aka my grandma] would approach lifeguards on the beach and brazenly introduce them to her daughters.

At its root was a desire to honor the vision of her beloved husband, Prince Albert, to bring unity in Europe through a network of marriages that would tie different countries and empires to each other. However noble the plan was, as the years passed and Queen Victoria found herself a widow destined to execute the plan on her own, things got more and more complicated This book succeeds in showing the overarching dynamics playing out in Europe at this time, as well as the intimate inner workings of a family that spread itself from England to Germany, Greece, Russia and numerous other countries.

Each story, each individual member of the family, is more fascinating than the last. Seeing their love stories play out is more gripping still. Cadbury tells a story that I knew very little of. So many of the names that star in this book were mere footnotes in my knowledge of history until I read this book.

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Within a few chapters, I found myself anxious to learn the fates of the colorful characters that made up one of the most intriguing families you will ever encounter. Because you always have to root for grandma. Jul 20, Anna Mussmann rated it really liked it. Britain's Prince Albert believed his children could usher Europe into an age of peace and political liberalization by carrying British values into other royal families via the pathway of marriage. After Albert's death, Queen Victoria attempted to carry on Albert's vision by helping pair off her children and grandchildren and she had dozens of them!

Unfortunately, social revolution and World War I got in the way of what might theoretically have been a success story. Although seven of the Queen Britain's Prince Albert believed his children could usher Europe into an age of peace and political liberalization by carrying British values into other royal families via the pathway of marriage. Although seven of the Queen's grandchildren were crowned, only three kept their thrones. Cadbury uses this matchmaking as a frame through which readers can see the end of one era and the tumultuous, violent beginning of another.

For me, the book was quite a page-turner. The author was able to access a rich wealth of primary sources mostly letters between Queen Victoria and her offspring and provides a truly intimate look at a family that ranged across Europe. I was particularly interesting in observing the way nationalism changed the lives of royalty.

Admittedly, some readers may find the back-and-forth between a controlling grandmother and her daughters and granddaughters a bit claustrophobic. This isn't necessarily a problem but may mean that not every statement is accurate. Overall, a highly readable book. Mar 22, Christine rated it liked it. The soap opera that was the royal family at the turn of the 19th century will fascinate devoted Anglophiles. Queen Victoria's children and grandchildren were on the thrones or heirs to the thrones of most of the European countries - and this was no accident!

Cadbury reveals the scheming grandmother behind many royal marriages and the effects those marriages had on European and world politics. The long-reigning queen of England firmly believed that a network of marriage alliances by the "royal mo The soap opera that was the royal family at the turn of the 19th century will fascinate devoted Anglophiles. The long-reigning queen of England firmly believed that a network of marriage alliances by the "royal mob" would keep the peace over most of the world.

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In the end, it proved to be a narrow vision as these royal couples had direct involvement with the start of WWI and the Bolshevik revolution. While it can be hard to keep all the Victorias and Alberts straight and follow the convoluted royal lineage, Cadbury does an admirable job of succinctly presenting her case using available historical documents. Sep 22, Edith rated it liked it. And even when they were, their unions did not necessarily bring about peace and liberal democracy.

The first half of the book is moderately interesting, but the second is a rather dreary rehearsal of the events leading up to WWI, when, you m Poor Queen Victoria: The first half of the book is moderately interesting, but the second is a rather dreary rehearsal of the events leading up to WWI, when, you may remember, Queen Victoria had already been dead for a dozen or so years. What a different queen of England Missy would have been! Cadbury is an adequate writer, and her abundant quotes from the letters of different royal personages—particularly those of Queen Victoria to and from her daughter Vicky, Empress of Germany—greatly enliven the book.

But what a very strange world these exalted creatures lived in! This is excellent, Deborah Cadbury is excellent. This was also low key about one of my favourite things: What if Eddy had lived? What if Frederich was Kaiser longer? What if Ella didn't marry Serge? What if Alix didn't marry Nicholas? What if George married Missy? Aug 06, Sarah Elizabeth rated it liked it Shelves: I enjoyed this look at the role Queen Victoria played in the marriages of her seven crowned grandchildren.

I always enjoy books about Queen Victoria and her descendants and the incredible role the family played in the politics of Europe. However, I did not feel like I learned anything new in this book. The skin would start to fall apart, and putrid pus would eject from the spreading apertures, causing a stench so obnoxious that those nearby would be instantly repelled.

Treatment was harsh — full removal of the lower jaw and a lifetime of soft foods, or else you could expect horrendous brain damage, excruciating pain, swift organ failure and obviously, death. As per enlightened company policy, discovery of the symptoms led to mandatory tooth pulling — refusal resulted in dismissal. From the Journal Freedom in One pregnant women refused, fearing miscarriage from the shock. She was instantly turned adrift. Disfigurement was standard, social exclusion common, with the foul-smelling odor and gradually failing mental faculties resulted in exile of the victim from urban areas to peripheral shanty towns, not unlike leper colonies of old.

Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking – Historia Magazine

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