Kim's Reviews > Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria

Born to Rule by Julia P. Gelardi
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's review
Sep 04, 11

bookshelves: victorian, romanov-russia
Read from August 25 to September 04, 2011, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** I loved this book! Gelardi did extremely well in portraying these five remarkable granddaughters of Queen Victoria who became Queen-Consorts of five different countries throughout Europe. I learned quite a bit, as before this I knew next to nothing about four of these five women. Before this book, I'd only ever read anything on Alexandra of Russia.

I was especially intrigued by Queen Marie of Romania. This was a woman who was by turns wild in her youth, but who stepped up and fought tirelessly for her adopted country, only to watch it fall apart in her later years under the auspices of her eldest, irresponsible son. She was just fascinating, and she wrote her own memoirs! I wonder if I could ever find a copy of them to read...

Queens Ena and Sophie had so much sadness in their lives, Ena having to deal with her marriage falling apart over the haemophilia gene that she passed on to her sons and her husband's infidelities and Sophie being maliciously maligned despite her numerous efforts to help the Greek people.

Alexandra, of course, was probably the most tragic of the five, becoming so out of touch with her people despite her fierce devotion to them. I'd read a fair bit about her and her family over the years (who hasn't had some measure of interest in the Romanov legend?), but Gelardi did a great job chronicling their lives. I even teared up a little when she described the deaths of Alexandra and her family, despite having read about them numerous times before.

Maud, I think, kind of stands out from the rest, in that her life was fairly uneventful, despite her unexpectedly becoming Queen of Norway. She didn't suffer the same trials as her cousins, and as a result, it felt like that her part in the book was a bit of an after-thought in comparison to the others.

An excellent read, and I learned quite a bit. I had no idea just how remarkable the lives that these granddaughters of Queen Victoria led.
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