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Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  422 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
From International New York Times columnist Julia Baird comes a biography of Queen Victoria. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, Victoria: The Queen is a new portrait of the real woman behind the myth—a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience.

When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution wou
Kindle Edition, 752 pages
Published November 22nd 2016 by Random House
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Queen Victoria's story has been well defined in this fascinating, well-rounded and researched biography by Julia Baird. Victoria Regina Imperatrix was the petite queen whose feet did not reach the bottom of the throne on the day of her coronation. Her daughters saw her beautiful smile, her husband enjoyed her strong libido and to her dismay she found herself in a cumbersome pregnant body for eight out of nine years running. Prince Albert was the man of the relationship and Victoria deferred in t ...more
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
4.5 stars.

Things I learnt from this book:
- Queen Victoria was THIRSTY. Like...T.H.I.R.S.T.Y. Homegirl reeeeeeeeally wanted the D. Her main concern when told that she should stop having children was basically "But I can still get laid, right??"
- When Albert died, Queen Victoria had marble replicas of his hands made and kept them by her bed. Read into that what you will.
- Queen Victoria was totally in favour of progression in society, unless it involved women. And yet she was the most powerful w
A big thank you to Random House & NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in return for an honest review!

The publication of a new biography of Queen Victoria is very timely, considering that her record as the longest-reigning British sovereign was broken only last year by her great-great-granddaughter, Elizabeth II. It reflects on Victoria's entire life, highlighting the tumultuous events and debates that preceded her ascension to the throne, her disastrous first year as monarch,
Nicole N.
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

It's no joke that I'm an Anglophile and huge fan of the current royal family. I love reading about royal families because they're quirky and sometimes downright crazy, but I find myself most intrigued by the British royal family, and Queen Victoria is one of my favorite queens to read about.

I've read a handful of small biographies about her life but each time, I learn something about her that I didn't know before and this was no exception. I haven't read all biographies
If anyone bothers to have a look at my book lists you will see i favor history above all other genres - and that Victorian England holds a special appeal in my heart.
Some of you will say - another bio of Queen V?? what more is there to tell? depends on who does the telling/writing, and i have to say i was pleasantly surprised with this one - i got it courtesy of netgalley in exchange for a free review, but i assure you, in no way does it influence my good opinion of it!
Victoria is a wo
Susan Snodgrass
Oct 01, 2016 Susan Snodgrass rated it really liked it
The history of the British monarchy is a particular interest of mine and I have quite a collection of my own of books in this area.

When I saw this one, I knew I wanted to read it. Queen Victoria was a wonderful character in history, with a whole era named for her. Larger than life, she was called the 'grandmother of Europe' because of the marriages of her children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren. Her progeny populated many thrones.

This biography by Julia Baird is impeccably research
Judy Lesley
Jun 22, 2016 Judy Lesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, biography
I received a print ARC of this book through the Amazon Vine Voices program.
I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley and Random House Publishing.

I have read many biographies of the life of Queen Victoria. What sets this one apart from all the others for me is the sense of intimacy Julia Baird has created between the subject and the reader. Some biographers seem to set out to only reveal the best sides of Victoria, some go in the opposite direction and focus on the negative aspects of he
Thank you to the publisher through Goodreads First Reads for the ARC.
A lively written biography of Queen Victoria, which I enjoyed reading. The author does an excellent job of keeping the reader engaged rather than simply stringing along facts. A perfect read for someone who wants to be entertained rather than slugging through a dry history book.
Biblio Files
Jun 29, 2016 Biblio Files rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As long as this book was, at about 500 pages of text and another hundred or so of notes, bibliography, and index, I was sorry to come to the end. It's a comprehensive biography of Queen Victoria, from childhood to her death, told chronologically, encompassing her actions as queen, and her personal life. It sounds completely conventional and yet I enjoyed every page.

Julia Baird, a historian, had access to some previously unexamined documents of Victoria and those around her, so there may be some

I might be a tad obsessed with Queen Victoria.

The Young Victoria is the only movie permanently loaded on my iPad. I happily drink tea from my signature Kensington Palace teacup. I read Victorian era mysteries like an addict so this title was a natural reading choice for me and I am slightly biased toward the topic.

I’ve read three other biographies about Queen Victoria but this one stands out in it’s oft repeated desire to examine Victoria as she truly was---not as her children or he
Aug 01, 2016 Heather rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
This is clearly a very thoroughly researched piece and you can tell the author put in a lot of time and effort into her work. The writing style is clear and easy to read, for the most part. Also, this book does go into more depth about Victoria's life than a lot of others I've read. Can you tell I'm leading up to something bad? Well, it's not really "bad" exactly, but personally it really took me out of the book and really lessened my enjoyment.
Anyway, it almost felt sometimes that this book co
Margaret Fisk
Jan 13, 2017 Margaret Fisk rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

From the forward, I half expected this biography of Queen Victoria to be as heavily biased toward a feminist portrayal as Victoria’s youngest daughter’s “cleansing” of Victoria’s diaries had attempted to portray Queen Victoria as a traditional female. Instead, this is a complex, nuanced book based largely on contemporary accounts including those few of Victoria’s own diaries that still existed outside of the censored ones.

I have a distinct bias when rea

Plot Teaser
Queen Victoria was an unconventional and inspiring female leader in a time when women were still very much relegated to the domestic sphere. During her 81 years of life, Victoria ruled an empire for over 50 years, giving birth to nine children and presiding as one of the pivotal ruling figures of a deeply and rapidly changing world. In this well-researched biography, Julia Baird expertly details the queen’s life, from infancy through each decade
Nov 29, 2016 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
Overall, Victoria: The Queen is very well researched and has a flowing narrative style that makes it easy to engage with. We are treated to Victoria's own life chronologically, from an infant fifth in line to the throne to a passionate teenager thrust into rule, from the swooning love and contentment of her marriage to Albert, to her consuming grief and seclusion after his death, from the Widow of Windsor to her reemergence in politics and foreign policy. Above all, Julia Baird is able to refute ...more
“Sometimes it seemed as if Victoria was a permanent fixture on the landscape of Britain.” I’m starting to feel the same way about this book and the landscape of my book life. I started reading it on December 16 and I’m still at only 59%. Pro tip: If you want additional interesting little tidbits, comb through the notes, which I’ve been doing chapter by chapter. If you want to finish the book anytime soon, skip the notes. It’s worth noting that although the book clocks in at a kitten-squishing 75 ...more
Dec 28, 2016 Allison rated it liked it
Shelves: queen-victoria
I recently finished reading Victoria by Daisy Goodwin, (see review on or Julia Baird’s version, entitled Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire of the several biographies available because other reviewers noted this version’s closer adherence to her life rather than branching out and explaining British politics of the 1800s.

The main issue I had with this book was the organization. The story of Queen Victoria’s life was not always told in a straight line
Anne Morgan
Nov 28, 2016 Anne Morgan rated it really liked it
The newest biography on Queen Victoria, Julia Baird's Victoria is a well researched and well written exploration of one of the most famous women who has ever lived- and who is probably known more by the mythology surrounding her and her reign than the reality.

Through Baird's research, including newly available papers on John Brown (Victoria's servant and close confidante after Albert's death) and from Dr. Reid (Victoria's physician in her final years), we see Victoria in new ways. Baird shows u
Viviane Crystal
Nov 26, 2016 Viviane Crystal rated it it was amazing
Victoria the Queen, from the moment she was born, defied tradition. She lived during an age when women were possessions of their husbands and thought to be dim-witted enough to need a man’s decisions, protection and directions in order to survive, let alone be called successful. But Victoria also grew up to live in an age when warfare took away men and women began to envision a future of meaning and interesting living. So Julia Baird’s biography of this intriguing young woman, devoted wife and l ...more
Jan 04, 2017 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, biography
This was a wonderful biography because while it relies on the royal archives, it doesn't use them as the sole source, and the author refused to kowtow to the official vision of Victoria in the expurgated versions of her diaries. Victoria emerges from these pages as fully human.

Previous biographers picked and chose from the records they were allowed to see to perpetuate the myths of either the ever-grieving widow, the dutiful public servant, or the wife and mother with a middle class mind. She w
Written by a journalist and by using many previously unpublished papers, this new biography of Queen Victoria sheds light on the woman behind the popular image. This means that Baird not only provided straight, known facts, but also provided evidence for or against the many rumors that have been speculated on for over a century. That said, the rumors are not always proven true or tossed out, but the evidence is there for the reader to draw their own conclusions either way.

When she was born in 18
Ali Murphy
Dec 31, 2016 Ali Murphy rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me in a Goodreads email and I purchased and read it on a whim. I like the occasional biography, but it’s not my go to reading set. I am glad I randomly chose this one, because it was very enjoyable. In many ways the book read like fiction, except that is, for the copious notes section. I learned a lot of little factoids about Victorian England that I did not know – the widespread opioid use, even for children, and the fact that women worked in coal mines in those are ...more
Dec 28, 2016 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Fascinating book about a fascinating woman. Hard for any biography to cover a reign that lasted sixty three years, seven months, and two days, especially at a time when there was so much change, without getting to a point where a war is thrown in here, or a prime minister briefly appears there. Frankly, there was too much to absorb. So, instead here are points to think about:

- Victoria's daughter, Princess Beatrice, undertook "one of the greatest acts of historical censorship of the century" by
Nov 21, 2016 Haley rated it really liked it
OOOOOH boy. This book, like Victoria's reign, is long and never ending. Except when it does end, it happens suddenly, without warning, and you're left with half a book left of notes and annexation.

It was interesting reading this so soon after watching The Crown. Obviously two different queens entirely, different time periods, different manners, different ideals. But the same challenges, prejudices, ageism, and misogyny. I could certainly see how the groundwork for Elizabeth's reign was laid by V
Dec 01, 2016 Shoshana rated it really liked it
The fashion of the day is for long biographies, something of which this reviewer greatly approves. Although “Victoria: the Queen” is listed at 720 pages, the actual text of the work occupies slightly less than two-thirds of its length; the rest being notes, acknowledgements, and so forth. Despite its length, this book is missing two hundred pages, it feels edited and cut, especially in the earlier part of the queen’s long and active life. This is unfortunate as so much of who Queen Victoria was ...more
Debbie Krenzer
Nov 20, 2016 Debbie Krenzer rated it it was amazing
After I read Daisy Goodwin's book about Queen Victoria, it only told the very early part of her reign. So when I saw this book offered, I hit the button and requested it as it seemed to tell more about her life and I was intrigued. I didn't think to look at the number of pages.

However, while it is 706 pages long, I do feel as though I have learned a lot about Victoria's reign. I have to say, there were good and bad parts about it. While the early part of her reign was very good for her, the loss
Nov 04, 2016 Nannette rated it it was amazing
I recently reviewed another book on Queen Victoria. It was historical fiction by Daisy Goodwin. In the review I commented that I was left though with a hunger for more. Julia Baird's Victoria: The Queen satisfied that hunger. It was a very readable and enjoyable non-fiction that covers Victoria from birth to death.The book was extremely well researched but the research did not overpower the story at the hands of a very good author.

Victoria was not supposed to be queen. There were several uncles
Debbie Shoulders
Dec 26, 2016 Debbie Shoulders rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I have always loved a good biography. I am indebted to those who spend hours pouring over archives to present a picture of someone to the world. Thank you, Ms. Baird. So many suppositions are made of Queen Victoria, in fact, an era is attributed to her. Serving over sixty years, only her great-granddaughter the present queen of England has surpassed her reigning power.

Baird tries to present an unbiased look into a very complex character. Victoria eagerly assumed power at the age of eighteen des
Virginia McGee Butler
Dec 12, 2016 Virginia McGee Butler rated it really liked it
Victoria the Queen
A trip to England with my sister and her church choir in 2013 that majored on things relating to Queen Victoria and her Albert left me wanting “the rest of the story.” Real life, even for royalty, contains more complications than the tour guides presented. Consequently, I jumped at the offer by Net Galley of an advanced reading copy of Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird.
The book has the ring of authenticity from the beginning as it examines research beyond Victoria’s extensive
Courtney Stuart
Dec 07, 2016 Courtney Stuart rated it really liked it
"When Victoria was born, food was cooked in open fireplaces, horses carried messages, half of the population was illiterate, and a narrow band of property owners were the only ones with political power. By the end of her life in 1901, people travelled by subway, telegraphs shot messages across oceans, education was compulsory and women had some basic rights." - Ch 2

Australian journalist Julia Baird has managed to do something quite remarkable; she has written a history book as compelling as a gr
Amanda  Dana
Oct 30, 2016 Amanda Dana rated it it was amazing
Victoria: The Queen is a journey through the life of one of the greatest rulers of her time, young Victoria. It deals with her difficult childhood, teen years, and goes until the end of her life; making sure to use history as a buffer and explanation for her actions and recourse throughout the book. It's a deep dive into one of the most political and interesting figures of recent history, and to be honest, I didn't finish this sucker. I've read it off and on for about three weeks and I just can' ...more
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Julia Baird is a journalist, broadcaster and author based in Sydney, Australia. She hosts The Drum on ABCTV and writes columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and the International New York Times. Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Guardian, the Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun-Herald, The Monthly and Harper’s Bazaar.
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“Victoria’s head ached under a heavy crown, and her hand throbbed—the ruby coronation ring had been jammed onto the wrong finger; it was later, painfully, removed with ice. Around her stood her older male advisers, in a state of disrepair. Her prime minister was half-stoned with opium and brandy, ostensibly taken to calm his stomach, and he viewed the entire ceremony in a fog. Her archbishop, having failed to rehearse, jumbled his lines. One of her lords tumbled down the steps when he approached to kiss her hand. But Victoria’s composure was impeccable. Her voice was cool, silvery, and steady.” 0 likes
“It has been conservatively estimated that Victoria wrote an average of two and a half thousand words per day during her reign, a total of approximately sixty million words.” 0 likes
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