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

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  7,190 ratings  ·  932 reviews
Alternate cover edition of ASIN B00RKO3UMY

The extraordinary story of the world's most influential, intriguing and surprising ruler, Queen Victoria.

When Alexandrina Victoria was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 20 June 1837, she was 18 years old and barely five feet tall. Her subjects were fascinated and intrigued; some felt sorry for her.
Kindle Edition, 752 pages
Published November 22nd 2016 by Random House
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  7,190 ratings  ·  932 reviews

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Start your review of Victoria The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
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
Sean Gibson
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Queen Victoria was a zombie warlord who ruled Great Britain for more than 1,000 years and whose favorite beverage was Coke Slurpees.

There are those who will suggest, perhaps even insist, that the foregoing is not a factual statement. In fact, they may even label it impossible, or at least absurd. To those smug individuals, however, I would pose this unanswerable question: do YOU know what was in the countless letters Victoria received and sent that her family and biographers destroyed in an atte
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Matt by: BAM The Bibliomaniac
Shelves: audiobook, buddy-read
As Canada prepares to celebrate its 150th birthday, I felt it high time to look back and explore the life and times of our first monarch, Queen Victoria. Much of the country was either shaped or influenced by this British monarch, whose reign was only recently surpassed by Queen Elizabeth II. Julia Baird offers a thorough and thought-provoking biography of Victoria, exploring and dispelling many of the key events and stories that history have attributed to this 19th century wonder. Baird's prese ...more
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
Ashley DiNorcia
For me it's usually a gamble with long, historical biographies on whether or not they'll be dense and dull. Victoria: The Queen was definitely the opposite. Baird wrote an engaging, well researched and well rounded account of the woman who shaped an era. It's a shame that Victoria's journals and letters were censored so heavily, but I think Baird did an excellent job of uncovering the truth where she could, and making (clearly noted) educated speculation based on the information she had.

I highl
This book covers Victoria's entire life from childhood to death, revealing both personal details about her personality, her life and her family as well as her influence on British and international politics and history. There is a large amount of British history detailed. One might not guess this from the book's title.

I particularly appreciate the simplicity and clarity by which, with just a minimum of detail, international and national controversies are summarized. Then, knowing the background
April (Aprilius Maximus)
✧・゚: ✧・゚: 3 . 5 s t a r s :・゚✧:・゚✧

okay but a woman who is against women's rights?????????? makes no sense????????
Book Riot Community
It’s not often I’m able to read a nonfiction book in one sitting, much less a historical biography, but that’s just what happened with Julia Baird’s new biography of Queen Victoria. Baird writes beautifully, crafting a careful narrative around Britain’s second-longest reigning monarch. Her research is thorough, and she really provides the reader with a sense of what Victoria the woman and Victoria the queen were like. But most of all, this book is compulsively readable. Don’t let the 500+ pages ...more
Nov 29, 2016 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
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, the
Steven Z.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The current airing of PBS’ Masterpiece Theater of VICTORIA and its popularity has created great interest in the British monarch who ruled her kingdom and the world’s largest empire between her accession to the throne in 1837 and her death in 1901. The program is written by Daisy Goodwin who has recently published her novel VICTORIA a fictional account of the early years of Victoria’s reign. For a full and intimate biography Julia Baird has filled that void with VICTORIA: THE QUEEN which is an in ...more
"Victoria's story is one of unmatched prestige and immense privilege, of defiance and crumbling, of meddling and mettle, of devotion and overwhelming grief and then, finally, a powerful resilience that defined the tiny woman at the heart of an empire. It is a surprising story of strength. What we have truly forgotten today is that Victoria is the woman under whose auspices the modern world was made."

There are not enough stars . . . FIVE is simply not enough. This is a biographical/history tome
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Julia Baird undertook an enormous task in researching and writing this extensive and highly detailed biography of England's second-longest ruling monarch. Queen Victoria's long reign was just eclipsed last year by her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II.

Baird masterfully mixes stories of Queen Victoria's family life, relationships, political ambitions, failures, and triumphs. We learn the details of how Britain's system of government works, as the author explains how the Queen negotiat
I have yet to read another biography on Queen Victoria but this one is really satisfying. A tad bit longer than my taste but it was really comprehensive as it also told the story of the Victorian age, not just the namesake. The only William Gladstone I know was the magician in the Bartimaeus trilogy (hehe) so I am glad for the opportunity of reading about the real chap, the Grand Old Man in British politics. There were a lot of political debacles, changes in prime ministers and cabinets, politic ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Very good biography of Queen Victoria. Informative, well written narrative.

For the most part even handed I thought.

Michael Livingston
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Maybe 3.5

To be honest, I'd never have picked up a ~800 page bio of Queen Victoria if it hadn't made the Stella Prize longlist. Am I glad that I did? I'm not sure. It's eminently readable and meticulously researched, but I think my enthusiasm for the royals is so lacking that even the perfect bio was going to leave me a bit cold.

I learned a lot that I didn't know - especially what an awful person Albert was - but I still felt like I came away a bit lacking in a real understanding of the person V
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Few would have bet Victoria would become queen of the British Isles.’

Sub-titled an intimate biography of the woman who ruled an empire, this book seeks to portray the person of Victoria behind the myth that has arisen since her death. Myth? Many of Queen Victoria’s papers were destroyed or censored after her death, to preserve a particular image of her. In preparing this biography, Ms Baird has had access to previously unpublished papers. In a general note, at the end of the book Ms Baird state
Jamie Collins
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another biography of Queen Victoria. It’s very good, but can there be anything new to say?

This book has the agenda of dispelling the “myth” that Victoria “stopped ruling when Albert died, and that she had abdicated almost all of her authority and power to her clever husband when he was alive.” The author asserts that “Queen Victoria was a decisive ruler who complained of the weight of her work while simultaneously bossing prime ministers about daily, if not hourly.”

Most biographies focus on her
Ghost of the Library
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
Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books)
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 biographi
Judy Lesley
Jun 22, 2016 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
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
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
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is worthy of the life that gave the name to an Era. One that covered nearly an entire century.

What a superb depth to every age and condition. And the woman too, quite as much as The Queen.

Others have said it well. But I had to add that I loved the colored portrait plates and many pages of photographs. And the quotes and the conversational witness or letter segments too. Well done!

So many assumptions about this life, this era, this marriage, this European aftereffects in politics and in mona
Carolyn Harris
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
An engaging biography of Queen Victoria, which captures her personality and wide range of interests. Baird places Victoria in the context of her times, highlighting the social issues and changing attitudes toward women over the course of the 19th century. As a female Head of State, Victoria inspired other women interested in achieving a greater role in public life, even though she was personally opposed to women's suffrage and women joining a number of the professions. This focus on Victoria's i ...more
Whenever I read stuff about Queen Victoria, I am mostly reminded about how much I loathe Prince Albert. This is a man who essentially gaslit his wife into believing she was incompetent. Sure, he was a good pseudo king (besides the prudery, etc.), but instead of building his wife up and helping her be a better monarch, he just patted her on the head and went there there, women are stupid.

Albert sucks.

Regarding the rest of it, though, this is definitely a more complete picture of Victoria than I f
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entirely readable. I dipped into this one because of the BBC series which I admit with only the slightest sheepishness because it really doesn't matter where you get your appetite for knowledge. Well, that's not entirely true but it's the sort of saying that will be great as a meme with the text superimposed over the hazy image of a beautiful woman sipping from a porcelain tea cup and looking dreamily out the panes of a rain flecked café window. The saying invites more questions than it could ev ...more
Book received from NetGalley

This was a wonderful book about a very well-known, Queen of Britain. Victoria was a unique monarch who had quite a bit of tragedy in her life. Since she was so well-known it is difficult to find a biography with any new information on her. This one did have a bit, which is the main reason I gave it 4 stars. It is a wonderful read and I would have liked it even without the new material. It's very well written and researched, with a few items that could be considered sp
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it
It's a very good and detailed biography which accentuates the vulnerability of a woman beneath the strength she showed to the world. I most enjoyed reading about her relationships with her family and the other people in her life. As with any biography of a monarch, there's a lot of politics, which I never fully understand. Therefore I got a bit bored with the complicated relationships between countries and the wars that ensued. Mostly though it centered on her "feelings" about these situations a ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The depth of research, the intuitive understanding of Victoria, the style of writing all charm. So worth a re-read.
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Victoria: The Queen” is Julia Baird’s popular 2016 biography of the seemingly indomitable Queen Victoria. Baird is an Australian journalist, broadcaster and author. She is a former deputy editor of Newsweek and co-hosts a current affairs show on ABC TV (Australia).

Queen Victoria seems to be the perfect biographical subject…but also an extremely challenging one. Charged with leading the British empire from the age of eighteen, she was a liberated, independ
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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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69 likes · 32 comments
“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.” 7 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.” 7 likes
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