Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter” as Want to Read:
The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  482 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
The secrets of Queen Victoria's sixth child, Princess Louise, may be destined to remain hidden forever. What was so dangerous about this artistic, tempestuous royal that her life has been documented more by rumour and gossip than hard facts? When Lucinda Hawksley started to investigate, often thwarted by inexplicable secrecy, she discovered a fascinating woman, modern befo ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 21st 2013 by Chatto & Windus
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mystery of Princess Louise, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Johannes A lot but it's very well written, you won't find yourself bored, quite the opposite.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Of all of Queen Victoria’s nine children, Princess Louise was perhaps the most un-Victorian, making her a very interesting royal to read about. Louise painted and sculpted, hung around with pre-Raphaelites, and was a member of the Aesthetic movement. She also embraced exercise, admired unconventional women like novelist George Eliot, supported women’s rights when even her libertine brother Bertie believed females should be compliant and submissive, refused to marry a foreign prince, almost certa ...more
It appears that the efforts to keep Princess Louise a mystery have worked. Take a look at the descriptive entry that begins the Goodreads page for Victoria's Daughters . Her name is omitted from the introductory sentence and in what it says about her in summary is not exactly so.

Lucinda Hawskley did her best to get access to the princess’s records. They are closed at British government sources as well as at private collections. Even the files of her tutors have been taken into royal collections
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like many, I find myself intrigued by royalty. Any royalty, really - but particularly in England, So the premise of this book, about a daughter of Queen Victoria who seems to have been somewhat erased from history, was definitely of interest. Knowing how the royals are covered these days, and how prominent a position they often play, I was curious how a Princess could just...disappear.

Lucinda Hawksley has done a great job of attempting to explain that very thing. Princess Louise appears to be o
Biblio Files
The mystery of Princess Louise is that the Royal Archives and other usual repositories of letters, diaries, and other documents, have locked up the papers of Louise. Normally papers of this sort are available for biographers and scholars to examine on request, so why the big secrecy? Not to be thwarted, biographer Lucinda Hawksley has found letters and diaries of Louise's correspondents, interviews with some who knew her, and news accounts of Louise's public appearances, piecing together a remar ...more
Rebecca Huston
Finally, getting the review up for this one! A very interesting, and so far4 for me, the best book of the recent batch about Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. I like how that the author focused on Louise's artistic abilities and patronage, and not quite so much on the various rumours about an illegitimate child, various lovers, and the other sorts of tabloid fodder. It's very readable, well-researched and interesting right up to the end. Four stars overall, and a recommendation ...more
Lucy Traves
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Very well written and interesting, but rather too much speculation for my taste. It annoyed me that events that the author made educated, and not unreasonable, guesses about were stated as facts later in the book.
Stephanie Graham Pina
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lucinda Hawksley, undeterred by lack of access to certain archives, has written a riveting account of Princess Louise. Known as Queen Victoria’s rebellious daughter, Louise was forward-thinking, artistic and outspoken. Ahead of her time, Princess Louise proves herself to be a strong and independent woman in spite of her royal constraints.

“She is very indiscreet, and from that making mischief constantly”–Queen Victoria describing Princess Louise

Louise was an unusual princess. Inspired by and invo
Jaclyn Horton
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Princess Louise was the sixth of Queen Victoria's nine children and, as it turns out, a rather interesting person. Lucinda Hawksley does a lovely job of taking readers through the life of the Princess, from her stifling childhood under the wing of her famously critical mother to her death on the eve on World War II. It talks about the scandals in her life (the rumors of an illegitimate child conceived while still an unmarried teenager, her marria
Tamara Willems
Jan 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Very, very rarely will I quit a book, I find it very hard to do and much prefer to plug ahead and hope for some bit of redemption on the author's part to draw me in. On that note, I just have to say I was rather disappointed by this one. I read a lot of biographies and particularly enjoy ones in this era, however when first I read in the introduction that the author was unable to access much viable information and instead choose to rely on gossip and rumour to base her research on .. I start our ...more
Dana Loo
Biografia molto laboriosa per la Hawksley. Blindati a tutt'oggi gli archivi storici e quindi i documenti che riguardavano la vita privata della Principessa bohémien, l'autrice ha dovuto ricostruire tutto per vie traverse, tramite documenti storici di altri personaggi regali e non, testimonianze di parenti, amici, giornali d'epoca etc...
Ne viene fuori un ritratto abbastanza esauriente ma basato spesso su supposizioni che comunque nn sminuiscono l'interesse intorno a questa figura di donna passion
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Fascinating! What a forward-thinking, modern woman she was, and what great friends she had. I was especially fascinated by the Pre-Raphaelite connections, of course.

The flaws in this book have nothing to do with Hawksley's writing or research - she did a wonderful job with the resources she was allowed to see. Someday, I hope, the archives will be opened, and a more comprehensive biography will be written.
Sep 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: victorians
Intriguing how the Royal Archives remain firmly closed when it comes to Princess Louise.
Hawksley does her best with the lack of material but I feel she sometimes assumes too much and I'm a long way from being convinced that all her theories about Louise are true.
Enjoyable read though.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Before Princess Diana, there was another 'People's Princess', who won the sympathy and affection of people all across the world and is still remembered fondly in a way that few other of Queen Victoria's children are. Princess Louise is by far the most sympathetic of all Victoria's children, if only because she is the most recognisably modern. She was a bridge between the Victorian and modern world, living through the reigns of Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, through the u ...more
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating book about someone I knew virtually nothing about. Princess Louise had a long and interesting life. She was a sculptor and painter who knew many of the artists of her time: the Pre-Raphaelites, Edward Lutyens, James Whistler, and many others. She was accepted not as a royal amateur, but as a genuine artist. Her sculpture of a seated Queen Victoria can still be seen in Kensington Gardens. The few works of hers I saw on the internet looked quite good to me. I'd like to see m ...more
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While touring Stirling Castle a few years ago, I saw a painting of a beautiful young woman and was surprised to learn she was one of the daughters of Queen Victoria. I felt strangely drawn to her and wanted to know more about her. I finally got around to reading this book and became more and more intrigued as I read her story. As compelling as what we know about her is, what we don't know about her seems to drive the story. Why are her files closed? It's 2016 for goodness sakes! IF she had a chi ...more
Laura Lee
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started to say book was three and a half but as I was writing I realized the book was much better than that. I have read this author before and enjoyed her other book very much. She is excellent non fiction author. I think though the way she reads she'd be excellent at fiction as well. Interestingly enough she is the great great great granddaughter of Charles Dickens.
Princess Louise was a very interesting woman. She was a suffragette who had to pretty much hide it because of her mother, she was
Kate Forsyth
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, biography
n recent months, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction books written by the British biographer Lucinda Hawksley, and enjoyed them all. So I was drawn to read this biography of one of Queen Victoria’s daughters as much by the author as by the promise of the blurb: ‘packed with intrigues, scandals and secrets, (this is) a vivid portrait of a royal desperate to escape her inheritance.’

I was not disappointed. Lucinda Hawksley has a knack for bringing stories alive on the page, and Princess Louise
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I didn't know anything about Princess Louise or her connections with the art world, but now I find myself saying to people 'Did you know Queen Victoria's daughter .....' It's amazing that so many archives are missing or closed in relation to Louise, surely it was so long ago and as Hawksley herself admits, so few people have heard of her, that whatever is being hidden will not be the scandle the Royal household expects it to be?
My only problem with the book, as Penny
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had been waiting to read The Mystery of Princess Louise for quite some time- I was never interested enough to pay $40 for the hardcover but luckily I spotted the trade paperback. Hawksley has a fairly rambling tone, it detracts some from a very interesting Louise. Hawksley has organised this as a series of short vignettes; in some ways, it is easier to digest but in others harder to see coherency. She was limited by a lack of available sources, but she doesn't outright acknowledge it. Still, L ...more
Victoria Johnston
This was a really good, really interesting book. I knew absolutely nothing about Princess Louise in advance and the book is very accessible for those who know nothing about her.

It is very well written, and the author explains any theories she may have with the use of supporting evidence and not just conjecture.

Covers a significant period of time and three reigns of British history.Would definitely read more by this author.
Kim hansen
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written bio which explains why princess louise is such a mystery and continues to be as the book explains to readers. I do believe some of the questions that were covered more than likely are true stories.
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Please see my review on my blogsite,
Victoria L.
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a few chapters. It is very good. My schedule has not allowed me time to finish this book.
Brilliantly written about a child of Victoria who always seems to get overlooked. Maybe it's the childlessness. Anyway she was a fascinating character.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Sucked me in from beginning to end.
Sarah u
Of all Queen Victoria's children, Louise was the most extraordinary. She was the first British princess to attend a public school when she began her study at the National Art Training School under the tutelage of Joseph Edgar Boehm (p.100); the first princess to marry a commoner since 1515 when she wed the Marquess of Lorne, John Campbell, the future Duke of Argyll- this after having, apparently, taken a lover or two; and despite loving her mother, was fiercely against her oppression and was det ...more
Irene Gifford
I liked this book mostly because I really enjoyed getting to know Princess Louise and learning about her life. She was really ahead of her time - non-conformist, generous, artistic, single-minded and very independent. I would like to see some of her paintings and sculptures. It does paint a poor picture of Queen Victoria - especially as a mother. You really feel sorry for most of her nine children. She favors the youngest child which does not help her with her other siblings or her own character ...more
Kimberly Krauch
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Fascinating book. I've visited Kensington Palace and have seen the statue of Queen Victoria and have thought what a talented artist the princess was. I'm glad this book has shared all her talents, her loves and her spirit of being a good human who wanted to help others. She had her secrets but who doesn't.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much of Princess Louise's life has been sealed, why? This book makes a good attempt to unravel the secrets of her life. Telling of little know facts about Victoria ( who knew the request for items in her coffin beforfe?)

Louise was a well know artist, & sculpturer. She was friends of many of the artist of her day.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Queen Victoria's Granddaughters 1860-1918
  • Imperial Requiem: Four Royal Women and the Fall of the Age of Empires
  • Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece
  • Charlotte & Leopold: The True Story of The Original People's Princess
  • A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III
  • Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion
  • Queen Victoria's Youngest Son: The Untold Story of Prince Leopold
  • The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince
  • Grandes Horizontales: The Lives and Legends of Four Nineteenth-Century Courtesans
  • Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household
  • A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne Jones, Agnes Poynter, and Louisa Baldwin
  • Edward VII: The Last Victorian King
  • The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas
  • Privilege and Scandal: The Remarkable Life of Harriet Spencer, Sister of Georgiana
  • Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria
  • Dearest Vicky, Darling Fritz
  • Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor
  • Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince
Lucinda Hawksley is a British biographer, author and lecturer. She is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine. Hawksley is an award-winning travel writer.
More about Lucinda Hawksley...

Share This Book