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Queen Victoria: A Personal History
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Queen Victoria: A Personal History

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  827 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
In this surprising new life of Victoria, Christopher Hibbert, master of the telling anecdote and peerless biographer of England's great leaders, paints a fresh and intimate portrait of the woman who shaped a century. His Victoria is not only the formidable, demanding, capricious queen of popular imagination—she is also often shy, diffident, and vulnerable, prone to gigglin ...more
Paperback, 554 pages
Published November 29th 2001 by Da Capo Press (first published March 1st 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,652)
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I got about half way through the book and only scanned the rest of it. That might have more to do with me than with the author.

Basically this is an unusually readable book about a very unlikable woman. The 19th century was a rotten time to be a child. Victoria's childhood was pretty miserable, but her children's childhood was probably equally miserable.

I found myself cheering for her when she stood up to her mother on the day she became Queen, but it was also obvious from the book that she had
Queen Victoria was, as A.N. Wilson described her, a 'loveable monster', wilful, stubborn, capricious, demanding, but also capable of great charm and insight, compassionate, utterly without prejudice as to class, caste, race or religion but insistent to the nth degree on the minutiae of court protocol and precedent. She was a tremendously contradictory figure, and yet even today her influence lingers on. Modern Britain is still very much Victoria's Britain.

In this engaging biography, Hibbert real
RC  deWinter
Jan 12, 2011 RC deWinter rated it really liked it
I learned a lot and thought Hibbert's account was well-researched and, unlike many scholarly biographies, not dull or too footnote-laden.
Feb 24, 2015 Kimberley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I stopped at chapter 27. In the beginning it was interesting and I understood what was going on but after awhile it just droned on and on and on and I got really bored of it. It is an interesting book but you really have to be committed to finish reading it. I think if there were a few less adjectives and maybe not so many really long and detailed footnotes, it might be a bit shorter.
Nov 11, 2007 Bryan added it
A readable biography on England's unamused queen. The title leads one to long for more salacious details on her sprog-churning conjugal life with Albert and her extra-curricular exploits with John Brown and the Munshi...
Aug 01, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
The best book on Queen Victoria that I have read. It is a very factual account. You will leave this book with a very personal feel of who she was and why she made her choices in her life.
Tony Fitzpatrick
A lovely popular history biography of VRI (as she signed herself) focusing not so much on historical background or analysis, but the day to day life of the Queen, her huge extended family, her Court and its gossip, and her relationship with Prime Ministers and the wider nation. She emerges well from the portrait. Much I already knew, notably her seclusion after the death of the Prince Consort, and her role as the "Grandmother of Europe" - seeding Royal Families across the continent with her 9 ch ...more
Lynne Stringer
This book was the first I'd read about Victoria, and I enjoyed its detail and the way it presented the information. Well done.
Guen Rossi
Jan 03, 2016 Guen Rossi rated it liked it
Extremely researched and interesting, provides detailed insights on both trivial or important matters of this queen's life without indulging to mere gossips. Unfortunately I did not find it a fluent read: the book's structure is supposed to be chronological but the author jumps back and forth in narration, thus causing some confusion for the reader. I also find that several important episodes or characters are neglected and many episodes leave the reader with open questions. I believe this book ...more
Apr 03, 2010 Vickie rated it really liked it
Very well researched. Very informative
H. P. Reed
Jun 03, 2014 H. P. Reed rated it it was amazing
Christopher Hibbert has definite opinions about Queen Victoria's behavior. He also has meticulous documentation to back up those opinions. There's none of those "She must have thought...(or felt or been)" dreary sentences presuming on a mental connection he didn't have to his subject. He presents this woman who, with her husband Prince Albert, put her moral and middle-class stamp on an age, as a very complex and flawed human being. Smothered, isolated and verbally abused as a child, Victoria gre ...more
Aug 15, 2014 Abbey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, favorites
This is a long book about a long life lived under intense scrutiny, even when she withdrew from public view. I especially appreciated the insights into the contradictions of her attitudes, such as being against women's suffrage while being, herself, one of the most powerful women on earth. The inclusion of so many of her own words made her seem accessible as an actual person rather than an historical personage.

I've been fascinated with the Industrial Revolution for a very long time, ever since
Chase Insteadman Mountbatten
The description of the party that managed to reach Britain from Germany on 24 April 1819, just a month before the birth of the baby girl, so that to allow her to be born on British soil and make possible her future accession to the Throne:

"[...] on the twenty-eighth of the month [of March], the Duke's party set off from Amorbach [Germany] for Calais, with several pet dogs and songbirds, in a strange, unwieldly caravan of carriages. The Duke and Duchess led the way in a phaeton, the Duke himself
Nov 07, 2011 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Through letters and diaries, Hibbert takes us through Victoria's life from her birth to the Duke of Kent to her death in 1901. I thought it was easy to read and well-organized and provided insight into what made her tick. She was a contradiction in terms; seeming to have feelings for the lower classes and demanding that servants were respected yet she was also insulated from the bleak realities of life. I think life was very simple for Victoria in that she controlled her self, her feelings and h ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Gerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deligthfully written and constructed, lengthy biography of Victoria.

Christopher Hibbert has that knack fo drawing the reader in at a very early stage (page one!) and keeping the attention with some stylish, informative writing.

This biography is a standard format, ie from cradle to grave, but is formatted with chapters on different aspects of Victoria's life, not neccesarily directly chronologically. But it loses nothing for this because each chapter is so carefully blended with the next that n
Christine Ward
Jan 22, 2013 Christine Ward rated it it was ok
Shelves: new-to-me
Note: This is meant to be a 2 1/2 star rating.

Hibbert's biography of Queen Victoria was a nice, "safe" biography - no real revelations or insights about her life or reign, but a solid, non-controversial summary of her reign. Hibbert doesn't spend much time on the allegation(s) that she and servant John Brown had an affair; he acknowledges that there were rumors to this, but doesn't explore those rumors one way or the other.

In fact, that's pretty much how Hibbert treats all events and aspects of
Aug 29, 2010 Mandy rated it really liked it
While I found this book incredibly interesting as a detailed account of the life of an indomitable Queen in the person of this small, rotund woman, it felt... overly critical to me at times. I would have liked for Hibbert to be more of an impartial storyteller rather than judge-and-jury over Victoria's faults and peculiarities. It also seemed to me that he struggled to completely weave together his multitude of sources into a cohesive picture; and instead of feeling as though this is evidence of ...more
Mar 03, 2011 Dagmar1927 rated it it was amazing
One of the 'Big Three' (or four actually, but that's less historically punnish) biographies of my favourite monarch. I liked this one, as it gave me a deeper insight into the politics and other events of Queen Victoria's reign, which some biographies tend to gloss over.

I think the prose could have been confusing for someone who hadn't spent most of their adolescent life poring over family trees and lines of succession, but that wasn't a problem for me. I would recommend this book to someone int
Mar 18, 2008 Melinda rated it liked it
Two tricks of the bio-book trade-- salacious details and psychological speculation, are eschewed in Hibbert's "Queen Victoria:A Personal History." It's no puff piece, either-- he doesn't spare the reader the colder confines of Victoria's personality (in her dealings with her children) or its blunt force (in matters of world affairs). What Hibbert accomplishes is a portrait not unlike that on the cover of the book: straightforward and no nonsense, betraying nothing that would compromise any shred ...more
Oct 02, 2014 Sheryl rated it really liked it
Very personal, nothing to do with statecraft, policy, but an intriguing portrait of the contemporary of many English women authors, scientists.
Feb 11, 2010 Shawna rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I bought this boook in London on the recommendation of the clerk at Hatchard's Book Shop on Picadilly Street (fun!). I did enjoy this book until about page 400 when it slowed way down and lost my interest. I imagine that had something to do with the Queen getting old and, well, boring. While the author seemed a great admirer of the Queen, I did not find her that estiimable. She was very easily swayed by whomever she found charming, and was a slave to her emotions. She was also an unusual mother. ...more
Judy Tate
Mar 17, 2014 Judy Tate rated it really liked it
Very detailed, with lots of anecdotal information from historic sources. Really lots of fun for history buffs.
Gay Dorsey
Oct 11, 2010 Gay Dorsey rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I got interested in Queen Victoria after seeing "Young Victoria" the movie starring Emily Blunt. The movie ends with Victoria at age 26 & of course there's much more to the story.
Hibbert's book was long, informative, inclusive, a little tedious and plodding, but very interesting. It took me weeks to get through it but I loved learning more about this amazing Queen who ruled England for over 70 years. (Hint: she wasn't as beloved by everyone as I had always thought!) She lived a most interest
Jada Roche
Feb 20, 2013 Jada Roche rated it really liked it
Exceedingly comprehensive. It's not that I didn't enjoy this book-despite it's girth I did. What I didn't like was the fact that I couldn't shake the idea that the author himself was biased against the subject. While I'd like to believe Victoria was just a piece of work, I was never convinced, and found myself looking for the other side of the story a lot. I found this a good solid starting point for the era however, and I am glad I too the time to read it.
Aug 29, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it
I would have liked to see a little more in the way of connection to global events, but that was not the purpose of this book. The book was good, and had a ton of quotes from VR's journals and letters, which I really enjoyed. One thing I noticed is that VR's tone stayed that of an 18-year-old throughout most of her life - using a lot of italics and emphasis in the way that teenagers do.
Oct 25, 2010 Biz rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult
I only read the first bit and then got a little bored... However, as a disclaimer, I generally prefer fiction to non-fiction and also enjoy reading children's and YA fiction over adult fiction. SO, here I was reading adult non-fiction. Definitely a fish out of water. Oh well! The parts I read were certainly interesting. I would have liked to hear more about her younger years.
Nov 17, 2013 Bernou rated it really liked it
Incredibly informative. It's a great starting point for learning more about Queen Victoria, as it covers so many aspects of her life and reign. The only problem I had was that my interest tapered off slightly towards the end, but this I suspect had more to do with me and not with the quality of the book.
Lizzi Crystal
Apr 06, 2009 Lizzi Crystal rated it liked it
I've always been interested in Queen Victoria (and British monarchy in general), and while this book was very detailed, it lacked a certain spark needed to bring the history to life. I enjoyed learning more about Queen Victoria, but am left wanting to know more of the woman as a person rather than a queen.
Mar 30, 2008 Mary rated it it was amazing
Good Book about a very important person in the get this-- VICTORIAN period. Her grief upon Albert's death is interesting to read about as well as her relationships with the different prime ministers who served her. She was on the throne during prime time imperialism.
Sep 16, 2010 Nadine rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-history
Though not strictly in chronological order, this book was very readable. The author takes great pains to give the reader an unbiased looked into her personality (as much as can be gleaned from the many letters and journal entries).
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Mrs. Brown 2 5 May 09, 2015 01:16PM  
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Christopher Hibbert, MC, FRSL, FRGS (5 March 1924 - 21 December 2008) was an English writer, historian and biographer. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of many books, including Disraeli, Edward VII, George IV, The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici, and Cavaliers and Roundheads.

Described by Professor Sir John Plumb as "a writer of the highest ability and in the N
More about Christopher Hibbert...

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