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Victoria's Daughters

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  2,664 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Five women who shared one of the most extraordinary and privileged sisterhoods of all time...

Vicky, Alice, Helena, Louise, and Beatrice were historically unique sisters, born to a sovereign who ruled over a quarter of the earth's people and who gave her name to an era: Queen Victoria. Two of these princesses would themselves produce children of immense consequence. All fiv
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 23rd 1999 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 15th 1998)
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A hugely informative and entertaining book about Queen Victoria and Prince Consort Albert's five daughters (four sons also lived to maturity), who among them gave birth to a future kaiser (Wilhelm II), tsarina (Alexandra, she of the untimely end on 1918), and queen (Victoria Eugenia of Spain), as well as numerous princes, princesses, and other royalty. Without being racy or "as torn from the pages of "People" magazine, I found this to be a real page-turner. More photographs of the family plus so ...more
Queen Victoria's eldest daughter was born 17 years before the youngest. Her daughters had drastically different relationships with their parents: their mother alternated between codependency and harsh dislike for each of them. Their father lavished attention on some and gave almost none to others: Vicky was her father's star pupil, and recieved his training before she married into the Prussian royal family, while Beatrice was only four when her father died. Vicky was an intellectual, Alice had a ...more
I've never found the Victorian monarchs quite so interesting as their Tudor ancestors and I wondered if this book would hold my attention. No worries; though the Victorian princesses often lead uneventful (sometimes stultifyingly boring) lives and they weren't particularly important as historical/dynastic figures, Packard was able to maintain my interest in them and I got a good sense of the personality of each one. It was not easy being a child of Queen Victoria, who comes off as a neurotic and ...more
Another serendipitous find at the SPCA thrift store.

Probably just me, but I found it difficult to remember who was who in the sweep-of-history sections of this book. All those people with the same names, and then there were all those nicknames, too.
However, I cheerfully wallowed in the startling-behaviors-of-the-ruling-class sections, emitting startled shrieks of laughter each time I encountered a fresh example of entitlement and social power.
Reading this in October inspired me to think that if
This book was really great. I love the Victorian Age, especially learning about Victoria's family. This book obviously leads you through the lives of Victoria's five daughters, which was exciting for me, because except for Wikipedia, I really didn't know much about them. From each of their births, to their marriages, childrens' births and marriages, and their deaths, this book covers it all. Now I kind of wish that I can find a similar book about Victoria's sons, excluding Bertie, of which a lot ...more
You mustn’t think that I did not like this book because it took me over half a year to read it! It took that long because it was on my Ipod so I would only read a few paragraphs at a time. Nevertheless, I loved it; every time I picked it up I was interested. It’s the PERFECT biography book for me, or in this case the biography of 5 people. FULL of interesting information and never once did I start fading out because it was too dreary or just a bunch of dry names and dates… of course, I am willin ...more
This is a very poorly written book. The author jumps from one topic to the next, without any description as to how they link together. He is also consistently vague on details. It might have been better if there were a section on each daughter, without trying to blend them all together.

Packard is also incredibly subjective in his writing. There were moments where I was in shock at the vehemence of his dislike for certain personages; the negative bias he feels towards most of the cast of charact
Gina Basham
An enjoyable read about Queen Victoria`s daughters. There was a lot of interesting references and correspondence but the author did take some liberties with his conjecture. I found the book very difficult to follow as the time frames and characters jumped back and forth. Further, it was confusing to keep track of the characters as the author used nicknames, titles or given names interchangeably. That's a lot of characters, titles, given names, geography and time frames to keep track of. Lastly, ...more
Not riveting material, and I don't understand where the comments regarding the relative attractiveness of each daughter was coming from. Who decided that Lenchen is plain, for instance? Why is it necessary to comment repeatedly on how "matronly" Beatrice was? It made me wonder as I was reading it -- was this written by a man? Yes? well, there goes his credibility. If the opinion was based off of popular accounts, that's one thing, but it seemed more personal and intrusive than that.

He did do a
So far this is for sure the most foreboding biography I've ever read. Every incident is a harbinger of later doom and gloom. Every character trait is deterministic of future disastrous consequences. I mean, good lord, I get it, royal lives weren't a walk in the park and half of these people basically caused WWI with poor mothering but seriously there must've been some happy moments, right?

ETA: Nope. No happy moments. Seriously the most psychologically causal history book I've ever read. I'm not
I discovered Jerrold Packard’s book, Queen Victoria’s Daughters, at a library book sale and couldn’t pass it up. Five of Victoria and Albert’s children were girls, and she doted on several of them, particularly her eldest and possibly brightest child, Vicky. By contrast, she never warmed to her oldest son, Bertie, even though he was destined to be King Edward VII. Cozy domestic life is associated with the Victorian era, but the Queen wasn’t a terribly involved or nurturing mother. Later, when he ...more
As a sequel read to "We Two" this was a marvelous reading experience. We saw in We Two how Victoria steadily became subsumed by Albert and how she became the Victoria of the Victorian era. How she acceded to the misogyny and chauvinism of the German Albert and became the wife.

This books carries on from Albert's death and limns the cult of Albert that Victoria created and how it almost damaged the monarchy's me created a rather dismal court of mourning. How Albert's prudishness was adopted to a s
Interesting if you like history, but not so well-written. Author seems to make lots of unsupported assertions, and there's a lot of "so and so, second cousin of Baroness etc., who was also the son of prince blah". Hard to follow how everyone is related, but that may be more the fault of the royal families of Europe than of the author!
This was an entertaining book. Although none of Victoria's children led particularly happy lives, they did live in interesting times. If that is indeed a curse then the stories herein do little to disprove it. Victoria was a horrible parent and while Albert was much better, he still tended to view children, daughters especially, as instruments of policy and foreign relations. And he died before he could have much effect on any child save Victoria, the eldest and possibly brightest. She married t ...more
This book was one of the best I've ever read. I purchased it with the intent of learning more about Queen Victoria's children. I wasn't disappointed. The book covered their lives in depth, from birth to death. The author covers a massive amount of personal history in a brilliant and interesting manner. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much European history I learned simply from reading about these five extraordinary women. By learning about this family, who was connected in some wa ...more
I thought it was good fun. Queen Victoria might not have been a model mother (especially by contemporary standards) but she was wicked good at marrying off members of her family. I was fascinated by her devotion to (obsession with?) her husband.
An engaging tour through the lives of Queen Victoria's five daughters (Vicky, Alice, Helena, Louise, and Beatrice) from birth to death that I found entertaining, if a bit chatty. I came away from the book with a deeper understanding of the British royal family and the outline of their lives - which were often quite dull. The author bizarrely inserts his own views throughout - on everything from governance decisions to the physical attractiveness of the people he wrote about - but by the end I re ...more
“Victoria’s Daughters” sheds light on one of the most prodigious dynasties in memory, and it focuses on a side of the story you don’t often hear about—that of the Queen’s five daughters. Interesting subject matter; for while these women did not rule in their own right, they did assert a great influence on history. By marrying into royal houses across Europe, spawning children who would go on to rule, or otherwise occupying places of confidence, these women had significant, if not obvious, sway o ...more
Sarah Beth
After thoroughly enjoying We Two, the joint biography of Victoria and her husband Albert by Gillian Gill, I was very curious to learn more about the couple's large family. Although Victoria and Albert had nine children in total, Packard's book focuses on the lives of Queen Victoria's five daughters: Vicky, Alice, Helena (known as Lenchen), Louise, and Beatrice. Although none of her children are as well known today as Queen Victoria herself, they did give her forty grandchildren, whose descendant ...more
Queen Victoria and her dearly loved Prince Albert produced eight children, five of whom were daughters. This tells the story of Victoria (Vicki), Alice, Helena (Lenchen), Louise, and Beatrice. Her daughters married into the royalty of Europe. Queen Victoria was mother and grandmother to Princes, Princesses, Dukes and Duchesses, Emperors and Empresses, Kings and Queens and the Tsarina of Russia. The stories of each of her daughters and the lives they lived was fascinating and sad at the same time ...more
I had just watched the film "The Young Victoria" when I discovered "Victoria's Daughters" at a neighborhood garage sale. Jerrold M. Packard's biography of the British Queen's family turned out to be very readable given that she had nine children. Though it ostensibly concentrates on the girls of the Royal Family, you can't really tell this tale without devoting space to the sons and everyone's spouses and children. Then there are assorted royals, politicians and court personalities across Europe ...more
Quinby6696 Frank
A real treat for any history buff! Queen Victoria was a force majeure and her 5 daughters had a huge impact on European history. Vicky, the oldest, married Fritz, the Crown Prince of Prussia, and her son became the infamous Kaiser Wilhelm II - who led Europe to disaster in the First World War. Fritz and Vicky opposed the militaristic inclinations of both Fritz' father and Count Otto Von Bismarck to no avail. Victoria's second daughter Alice married into the royal house of Hesse-Darmstadt and was ...more
Five daughters of Queen Victoria - all privileged princesses who didn't stand a chance of having any kind of "normal" life. Marriages for political alliances, a devoted Queen for a mother, and a crazy family dynamic simply because there were 9 children, four of whom were boys AND a jillion other relatives, etc. I will read other biographies about the Queen and her daughters simply because I thought this author MAY have been critical to the EXTREME. (I'll let you know after the next book AND afte ...more
Last year I read the mesmerizing "Born to Rule" about Queen Victoria's granddaughters who became ruling monarchs. That wonderful book, led me to this one.

The book begins, as expected, with the royal childhoods. The Queen would never have her staff spare the rod, nor would she take pains to spare the child any humiliation. She calls them ugly and dumb, and they know where they stand. (No wonder they had so much grief when their father died!)

Victoria's views were transplanted to Germany by her eld
This begins and ends with the youngest daughter, Beatrice--her funeral in 1945 and her later burial on the Isle of Wight (postponed due to the Second World War).

Included are views of different places, including:
a) views of the Prussian Court, where military prowess is everything and women are seen as decorative status-symbols. This is the environment that would shape the last Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and his siblings (Vicky's children).

b) views of the Russian Court, where status and rank were everyth
Excellent history source for sorting out the complexity of emerging European countries at end of 19th century. After the experience of this book, I'm really anti-royalty, and especially anti-Victoria. If/when I re-read it, I will note events on a time-line and keep track of new vocabulary words. Also, would like more info about author (Jerrold Packard) but apparently he is a very private person (living in Portland OR).
Malcolm Ewing
A serviceable account of the five very different daughters of Queen Victoria, each of whom had very different lives, and might be better served by individual biographies (many of which exist, except for the neglected Princess Helena, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein).

Packard's style is a bit breezy and colloquial at times. He also repeats himself quite a bit, and there is virtually no sourcing whatsoever of his many statements of "fact" or consensus opinion. So this is less an academic
I love British history especially surrounding the royal family. It is interesting to discover the relationships that Queen Victoria had with her children. I knew that in this era, higher class people let the servants, teachers and staff raise the children but I was surprised at how little input Queen Victoria actual did have. According to the author, most of the decision making on education was done by Prince Albert. I am also discovering how controlling and manipulative Queen Victoria was. It w ...more
Meg O'ryan
I knew a fair amount of the detail in the beginning chapters, as I have previous read biographies of the two elder daughters, so this book really comes into its own where it tells the stories of the younger three. I found the sections about Princess Christian and the Duchess of Argyll most interesting; Princess Beatrice's parts less so, but that's probably more due to the fact Princess Beatrice's life revolved around her mother in a singularly different way to those of her siblings.

Worth a read
Mostly, this book accidentally made it clear that these women were representative of their class and had rather dull, immensely privileged lives. Yes, they and their children often had tragic lives, often from the hemophilia that seemed to have been introduced into the family by Victoria. This led to the one salacious comment that the author made: a definite question of just who Victoria's father may have been, because of the hemophilia which had never been seen in the royal family before. Howev ...more
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“The princess wrote to her mother of her feelings about these activities: “ … if one never sees poverty and always lives in that cold circle of Court people, one’s good feelings dry up, and I feel the want of going about and doing the little good that is in my power.” She added that “I am sure you will understand this.” 0 likes
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