Queen Victoria remains one of the greatest figures in British history, not simply because of the tremendous position which she occupied for so long, but because she was in so many ways herself an extraordinary character.
From the day when as a young girl of eighteen she succeeded to the throne she showed that a constitutional monarch could still have a will of her own and that her words could make statesmen tremble.
In this classic biography Hector Bolitho analyses the phases of the Queen's life; her childhood and upbringing, her all too brief married life with Albert, the years of' retirement behind the great walls of Windsor and the more remote fastnesses of Deeside.
Although Bolitho calls his book ‘The Reign of Queen Victoria’, his work is essentially a record of a remarkable woman and her husband, their personal lives and characters, rather than a political history of her reign.
It describes the childhood and youth of Victoria and Albert in alternate chapters so that the reader can see the two growing up side by side yet independently, and can trace the gradual evolution of their characters in isolation until they come together.
The expansion of the Prince's influence, first over the Queen, then on successive Cabinets and Prime Ministers, and finally on every aspect of the national life, is traced, and the importance of his reforming zeal is clearly brought out, particularly in its lasting influence on Victoria herself, which controlled to the end the more irrational elements of her character.