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The young Queen Victoria succumbs to the worldly charms of Lord Melbourne, prime minister and husband of Lady Caroline Lamb, and finds herself surrounded by palace intrigue.
Modern Library’s 100th best non-fiction book of all time, and John F. Kennedy’s favourite book. A masterful biography of the life of Lord Melbourne – Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister and devoted mentor, and one of England’s most controversial statesmen – whose turbulent marriage to Lady Caroline Lamb was one of the greatest scandals of the era. A charming, curious and altogether idiosyncratic figure, Melbourne is the perfect subject for a biography and David Cecil – with his elegant, thoughtful style and perfect scholarship – was his ideal biographer. The resulting work is a true classic of the genre and remains the most important and comprehensive account of Britain’s most beguiling and individual Prime Minister. This volume contains the entirety of David Cecil's two seminal biographies of Lord Melbourne - The Young Melbourne and Lord M - in one definitive book. “A superb work of art” – Harold Nicholson “A historian of the heart” – L. P. Hartley
In 1901, two literary gentlemen were appointed a novel task: to preserve the memory of Queen Victoria in her own words. By the time they were finished, 460 volumes of the Queen’s correspondence had become just three; their decisions — and distortions — would influence perceptions of Victoria for generations to come. The editors chosen for the task were deeply eccentric and complicated men. Baron Esher was the consummate royal confidant who hid his obsession with Eton boys and incestuous relationship with his youngest son behind a persona of charm and discretion. Arthur Benson, an ex-Etonian master and closeted homosexual, struggled to fit in with the blue-blooded clubs and codes of the court while fighting bouts of severe depression. Together with King Edward VII they would decide how Victoria was to be remembered — avoiding scandal, protecting the new king, promoting their own preconceptions about Victoria and her court, obscuring her role as a mother, and propping up the politics of the day. Based on unprecedented access to the original archives, this is a fascinating piece of historical detective work.
“[A] shimmering and rather wonderful biography.” —The Guardian (London) When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she had ruled for nearly sixty-four years. She was the mother of nine and grandmother of forty-two and the matriarch of royal Europe through her children’s marriages. To many, Queen Victoria is a ruler shrouded in myth and mystique, an aging, stiff widow paraded as the figurehead to an all-male imperial enterprise. But in truth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch was one of the most passionate, expressive, humorous, and unconventional women who ever lived, and the story of her life continues to fascinate. A. N. Wilson’s exhaustively researched and definitive biography includes a wealth of new material from previously unseen sources to show us Queen Victoria as she’s never been seen before. Wilson explores the curious set of circumstances that led to Victoria’s coronation, her strange and isolated childhood, her passionate marriage to Prince Albert and his pivotal influence even after death, and her widowhood and subsequent intimate friendship with her Highland servant John Brown, all set against the backdrop of this momentous epoch in Britain’s history—and the world’s. Born at the very moment of the expansion of British political and commercial power across the globe, Victoria went on to chart a unique course for her country even as she became the matriarch of nearly every great dynasty of Europe. Her destiny was thus interwoven with those of millions of people—not just in Europe but in the ever-expanding empire that Britain was becoming throughout the nineteenth century. The famed queen had a face that adorned postage stamps, banners, statues, and busts all over the known world. Wilson’s Victoria is a towering achievement, a masterpiece of biography by a writer at the height of his powers. *Read the book, then watch the PBS series "Victoria," starring Jenna Coleman (Dr. Who), Rufus Sewell (Pillars of the Earth), Dame Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones), and Tom Hughes (About Time).*

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