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We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  8,287 ratings  ·  485 reviews
It was the most influential marriage of the nineteenth century–and one of history’s most enduring love stories. Traditional biographies tell us that Queen Victoria inherited the throne as a naïve teenager, when the British Empire was at the height of its power, and seemed doomed to find failure as a monarch and misery as a woman until she married her German cousin Albert a ...more
Hardcover, 460 pages
Published May 19th 2009 by Ballantine Books
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Jadzia I just read Magnificent Obsessions by Helen Rappaport and they go into her long mourning period. She comes out to the public more in the 1870s as the …moreI just read Magnificent Obsessions by Helen Rappaport and they go into her long mourning period. She comes out to the public more in the 1870s as the public had lost patience with her continual mourning.(less)

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 ·  8,287 ratings  ·  485 reviews

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Any and everybody interested in the Victorian Era should read this book. Actually this time period and all that it stands for should be called the "Albertian Era”! The book explains why. It was so funny. I came to this conclusion and then the author said exactly that. She used the words "Albertian Era"; it is not me that invented the phrase. I feel this is the most important message of the entire book.

People who say they love Victorian literature, they simply have to be interested in the couple
May 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, biography
We Two has one of those tantalizing subtitles that nonfiction loves to plaster on covers: “Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals.” If Victoria and Albert had consciously considered themselves rivals, this concept for the book would have made for an extremely interesting study of two competing partners ruling the most powerful nation of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately for author Gillian Gill, Albert and Victoria seem to have left nothing in the way of their own writing or in others’ ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Jan 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I bought this book somewhat on a whim but also because I thought it might give more insight into the lives of Victoria and Albert. I was not disappointed. This is a dissection of their lives, both personal and "professional" with even a little of their sex life tastefully thrown in. A marriage made in heaven?....probably not........but certainly one that was much happier than that of any other monarchs before or since. The book covers the early life of both individuals which gives the reader a b ...more
Maya Ganguly
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
So, I finished this a few months back and read this in conjunction with another biography on Albert (Stanley Wientrab's Uncrowned King). I found this book more compelling to read, but totally biased against Albert. Gillian Gill makes a lot of conclusions about Albert and his personality that I didn't quite sit well with me, for example, at one point she makes a statement about Albert being antisemitic, but doesn't back this up, and ignores the fact that Prince Albert was supporter/friend of the ...more
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Since she had opted to marry and had chosen Albert of her free will, since custom decreed that a woman must look up to her husband, and since a queen regnant of England could not look up to an ordinary man, then Albert must, ipso facto, be extraordinary. The perfection of the Queen’s husband was an article of faith on which both she and Albert could build a marriage.”

This book was excellent. I picked it up after being captivated by the Masterpiece series “Victoria” on PBS, and I found every bit
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!


I’ll be the first person to say that I don’t like Queen Victoria. She just doesn’t interest me. However, I’ve read a couple books that have finally let me get interested in her in some way. Really, that comes from her and her relationship to her husband, Prince Albert.

To me, it’s not healthy. What they had is pretty terrifying to me.

But, they both didn’t have great upbringings. Queen Victoria definitely was an abused child and Prince Albert didn’t ha
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Excellent double biography of the most important married couple of the 19th century.

Victoria was not a prig - until Albert came along.

Recommended without reservation.

For a further review: .
Suanne Laqueur
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who enjoy this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they will enjoy. I love this sort of thing and I enjoyed it very much.
Jamie Collins
This is an engaging biography of Victoria and Albert which focuses tightly on their personalities and the dynamics of their marriage. It’s an easy read, and very accessible - the author includes only as much historical background as absolutely necessary to make the story coherent, and only discusses other people (such as their children) in the context of their relationship with Victoria and/or Albert.

I have read several books about Victoria and her family and I was very familiar with the basic
Oct 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was another book that I picked up 100% based on the cover. Something about the title in italics and being able to see it across the room. It was purely visual. But after reading the inside cover I was interested enough to check it out. And then after the first few pages I was hooked.

I totally thought this would be another "Seabiscuit" like "Woman and the Sea" was. Like full of drama and intrigue and royal politics. It was less Woman and the Sea and more "A&E Biography". But still it was soo
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Gillian Gill's "We Two" is an excellent history that, yes, sorry for the cliche, reads like fiction. There's a lot of interesting stuff to learn from this book. I had always wondered how princes and princesses from these tiny German duchies ended up marrying into nearly all the royal houses of Europe and the answer is easy--there were a lot of them! Since royals can only marry royals, preunited Germany offered lots of royalty even if they were from teeny debt-ridden countries. Who cared if the p ...more
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I put this biography on hold after watching the movie, Young Victoria. It was a delightful movie and I wanted to get a sense of how real it really was. I found that by doing so, I stumbled upon a delightful biography in its own right. While obviously nonfiction, it flows and captivates as if it were fiction. It feels similar to historical fiction in that these characters connect so many parts of history that I've read or known about from other sources such as the Great Exhibition of 1851 (this w ...more
Merry Farmer
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the one hand, I enjoyed this intimate look into the lives of Victoria & Albert. On the other, I found the author to be horrifically biased against Albert. Her obvious 21st century feminist attitudes repeatedly came out when she made accusations that Albert was self-absorbed, dictatorial at home, and misogynist, then quoted primary sources to back up her claims that painted him as nothing more than your average 19th century husband who thought he knew what was best based on the world he lived ...more
Rebecca Huston
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This time it is a reread, and it is an excellent look at the marriage between Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort, Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The author does digress at times, but the at-times stormy relationship between the two is very well explored, blowing apart the more accepted myths and there's quite a few surprises in store for the reader who perserveres. Five stars from me.

For the longer review, please go here:
Amanda Wiseman
Feb 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF...I felt like the author disliked Albert and was trying to make him look bad. Then it seemed like she didn't like Victoria and was trying to make her look bad too. What made me quit reading this book was after she (the author) tried to prove that Albert must have been gay because he was faithful to his wife and then started complaining about how they had 9 children and how terrible that was. Dissappointing!
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010-reads
We are so utterly amused. This book is just really delightful (there are two colons in the title; how can it go wrong?). For a couple of days I stalked around the house deeply, even maritally, irritated at Prince Albert. Best part: Victoria hates being pregnant but JUST CAN'T STOP boffing the prince.
Saturday's Child
With such tiny print on the pages I would have ordinarily put this one aside for reading at a later date (if at all). I have previously read some books about Queen Victoria as well as watched the television drama series and several documentaries so I felt that I knew her and Prince Albert’s story. As with any non-fiction I learnt some new things from this book, but overall I can say that it just came down to the right timing for me to read it.
Lady Knight
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lady Knight by: The History Chicks (Podcast -- Queen Victoria parts 1 and 2)
I came across this one when The History Chicks (which as a side note is a fantastic podcast... it's pretty much girl talk about the life of a well known historical figure!) did a two-part podcast on Queen Victoria. They highly recommended the book and since I enjoy their podcast so much, I figured I would give it a try. I hate to admit it, but I didn't enjoy this one too much.

I wasn't too keen on how much explanation and emphasis was placed on the fact that Albert really only ever enjoyed male c
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Two reasonably unattractive people come together and try to work both sides of the royal street. Despite all of the "common touch" nonsense Gill drops about their middle class tastes, etc., and Albert's interest in technology, it is also painfully obvious that both of them really believed in the divine right of kings as much as Louis XIV. Gill switches back and forth between their marital battles --- Albert wants more power to run things, sort of the way Prince Charles wants people to listen to ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
A couple things that I never knew, and which academic historians have kept from us all:

*Prince Albert was gay
*Prince Albert was good at sex because he had a lot of male-male sex at university
*Yet at the same time he was a prude BECAUSE he was gay
*He was faithful to his wife because he was gay
*He was okay not to bang his wife after Beatrice because 1) gay and 2) his wife was "ugly" (author's opinion, not Albert's - he bragged to his brother how hot he found his wife in reality)
*Lack of hard evide
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, this book definitely put a damper on my naive idea that Victoria and Albert had this great romantic love story. What I learned is that, although they definitely cared for one another, there was a lot that stood in the way of their being truly happy.
I was disappointed that, while the book is entitled We Two: Victoria and Albert, most of the book seemed to be about Albert and his struggle to be taken seriously as the prince consort. Victoria was a major presence in the beginning and in the
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it

This book is a very good introduction to the lives of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert. It is detailed without being oppressive, entertaining while still being informative, and well-researched in addition to being well-written. Pictures and handy family trees scattered through the chapters help the reader understand Gill's points while the informative end notes are an un-looked for but gratifying treat.

My only criticism is that a double biography such as this often has trouble deci

Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Most of this book was extremely fascinating as Gillian Gill describes the conditions of Victoria's early life, her relationship to her mother, and her family life as an adult. The great romance between Victoria and Albert worked because they both worked at it. All was not sweetness and light in the family home, but when they disagreed or struggled over power, they made sacrifices for the other.

I was unaware how hard Albert struggled to become King in everything but name and how hard he worked t
Alanna Smith
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written, well researched, and fascinating to read. The only reason I didn't give it the full five stars was just because I was slightly sad to see how difficult Victoria and Albert's marriage was (which really isn't the author's fault, but it still left a shadow on my reading!). While their marriage was very happy and successful, both had their fair share of disappointments-- Victoria hated and feared being pregnant, which is pretty awful considering s ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
I think that perhaps I should have read a biography of Victoria by herself before getting into a dual biography of Victoria and Albert. I am much more interested in Victoria; Albert's narcissism and contempt for the female sex was very frustrating, and made more so because Victoria worshiped Albert and joyfully subjugated herself to him. It was hard to reconcile Albert's bad qualities with his love of family, work ethic, and progressive ideals. However, it seems that as long as he was completely ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for those that are fans of the Victorian era. I had to do this one in chunks because it can be very dense, but I was glad that I read it. People usually fawn all over themselves about how in love Victoria and Albert were, how he was satisfied to let her rule while being the perfect royal consort. What you probably don't realize is that the British hated Albert to their bones and while the pair were very much in love, Albert was always uncomfortable with his consort role, and sought t ...more
V.R. Christensen
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is truly one of the best non fiction books I've ever read. Granted, I'm particularly infatuated with the Victorian era, but I was pleasantly surprised in this to find it both accessible and concise. Much background history is discussed, which might ordinarily bog down the narrative, but in this case it is all presented in the clearest and most insightful of ways. That Victoria was fated for the throne is perhaps evidenced by the complexity of circumstances that surround her history and upbr ...more
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great historical exploration of the fascinating relationship between Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort Albert. A must-read for historical readers who like royalty.

Details: Gill explores the long and complex lives of Victoria and Albert. This is a comprehensive review of their relationship starting from their first brief meetings and how their courtship was supported by influential family members. We learn how their marriage altered over time and feel Victoria's sadness when Albert dies.

I just need to give up and admit to myself that this is not an era of British history that I have too much interest in. I found the chapters surrounding Victoria and Albert's childhoods very interesting, but as soon as they marry, the author switches into "chapters by theme" mode, which means keeping anything in your head chronologically is very difficult. Although I enjoyed the chapters on their personal lives, the political chapters I found to be serious snoozefests. Finally, the 3 stars are b ...more
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios, non-fiction
Not an easy or a short read but still a great one if you're patient enough. The book deconstructs the fairytale myth of V&A while still aknowledging the love and complicity that kept them together by telling the story of two human beings whose deeply different backgrounds and mindsets somehow made a functional, if not perfect, relationship. Many aspects of their reign and relationship are thoroughly analyzed and while Gill probably favours Victoria, finding Albert perhaps too ambitious and haugh ...more
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Gillian Gill, who holds a PhD in modern French literature from Cambridge University, has taught at Northeastern, Wellesley, Yale, and Harvard. She is the author of Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale, Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries, and Mary Baker Eddy. She lives in suburban Boston.

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