In 1901, two literary gentlemen were appointed a novel task: to preserve the memory of Queen Victoria in her own words. By the time they were finished, 460 volumes of the Queen’s correspondence had become just three; their decisions and distortions would influence perceptions of Victoria for generations to come. The editors chosen for the task were deeply eccentric and complicated men. Baron Esher was the consummate royal confidant who hid his obsession with Eton boys and incestuous relationship with his youngest son behind a persona of charm and discretion. Arthur Benson, an ex-Etonian master and closeted homosexual, struggled to fit in with the blue-blooded clubs and codes of the court while fighting bouts of severe depression. Together with King Edward VII they would decide how Victoria was to be remembered avoiding scandal, protecting the new king, promoting their own preconceptions about Victoria and her court, obscuring her role as a mother, and propping up the politics of the day. Based on unprecedented access to the original archives, this is a fascinating piece of historical detective work.
'Original and important, this book represents a major contribution to our understanding of the modern British monarchy.' -- Sir David Cannadine 'Hats off to Yvonne Ward... who has exposed the gentlemanly networks that tried to hide the truth about Queen Victoria'.' -- Robert Lacey 'A revelation... Yvonne Ward gives us a completely new perspective on how Queen Victoria's image, following her death, was moulded & manipulated.' -- John Murray, publisher 'Yvonne Ward's groundbreaking book is a gripping read - a fascinating account of how Edwardian courtiers doctored the evidence to create a politically correct image of Queen Victoria.' -- Jane Ridley, author of Bertie: A Life of Edward VII 'Yvonne Ward has done a sterling job of delving into history to find out how the reputation which the queen guarded so fiercely during her lifetime continued to be manipulated and reshaped even after her death - as well as how many myths continue to persist even today.' -- Lucinda Hawksley, author of The Mystery of Princess Louise 'Enlightening... earnest, thorough.' Publishers Weekly 'Rich in intrigue.' -- Kirkus Reviews 'Ward argues convincingly that Esher and Benson's radical pruning of Queen Victoria's early correspondence has had a profound effect on her posthumous reputation... a timeless reminder of how important it is for biographers to find the time, space and will to battle back to the primary sources.' Guardian 'Four stars - Yvonne Ward tells a complicated story clearly and simply, which is the reverse of the normal academic procedure.' Mail on Sunday 'Does a great deal to show the real person behind our received image.' We Love This Book 'Yvonne Ward's exposure of the motives and the men behind this skilful piece of powerfully persuasive and permanent Edwardian political spin is astonishing' The Times 'Fascinating, not only for the intrigue surrounding the editing, but also for the myriad issues on which the author shines a light: from public schools to prime ministers; from Irish Famine to the arcana of court life...a fine piece of research.' Australian Book Review 'Original and engaging' Spectator 'Remarkable and clever' New York Times 'Fascinating' BBC History Magazine 'An unusual and fascinating book... Yvonne Ward has the perceptiveness to present in a new light what at first sight might seem a well-trodden subject, deploying her own knowledge and archival research to make a fascinating read by re-editing the editors' Literary Review 'A fascinating history' Sunday Herald
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st April 2014
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 14.61 x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.39