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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting life
I feel this book suffers from a lack of source material as a great deal is under wraps in the Royal Archive as Louise obviously lived a colourful life for a daughter of Queen Victoria. She made an unfortunate marriage but much to her credit kept everything together. i warmed to her and thought what a tremendous person she obviously was. In places the style becomes very...
Published 4 months ago by crumblie

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too many errors.
Although this book gives extra insights into the Princess than hitherto, the number of errors result in the reader losing confidence in the writer. For example, Prince Philip is NOT the great grandson of the Tsarina, his grandmother was her sister. Also, Prince Arthur was married to Louise, NOT Marie; Princess Alice of Athlone was the daughter of Prince Leopold, not...
Published 3 months ago by Ruthf


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too many errors., 13 Jan 2014
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Although this book gives extra insights into the Princess than hitherto, the number of errors result in the reader losing confidence in the writer. For example, Prince Philip is NOT the great grandson of the Tsarina, his grandmother was her sister. Also, Prince Arthur was married to Louise, NOT Marie; Princess Alice of Athlone was the daughter of Prince Leopold, not Helena and was it the "duke" or "earl" of Somerset involved in the Cleveland Street Scandal ? There are many typographical errors - what happened in the editing. ?

Sorry, but it is not good scholarship. I would like to have learned more about the Princess's reproductive (alleged) makeup, as this could be the key to much of her behaviour and experience. On the plus side, Louise's character does come out.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tantalising glimpses of a secret life, 26 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter (Hardcover)
Warning: this review contains spoilers.

When researching the life of Queen Victoria's sixth child, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, her biographer Lucinda Hawksley found that the Princess' files in the Royal Archives were closed; she was also denied access to the Duke of Argyll's files in Inveraray, Scotland.

Despite these drawbacks, Hawksley has drawn on rumours, hearsay and circumstantial evidence to provide a convincing account of Princess Louise's private life including an illegitimate child, possible lovers and a hastily arranged marriage to the almost certainly homosexual Lord Lorne.

There are good accounts of the Princess's time in Canada when her husband was Governor-General there. She was a talented painter and sculptor and knew many of the leading artists of the day.

Hawksley is good at conveying the interactions between Queen Victoria's children and the various sibling rivalries that existed.

After her husband's death, Princess Louise's life became less interesting and the latter part of the book is a succession of prize givings, hospital visits, tree plantings and charity work.

However, there are two aspects of the book which trouble me. The first is the number of errors that exist.

Hawksley can be casual about dates. On p291 she refers to Edward VII's coronation: "The month of the coronation was, however, a time of great sadness for Louise and her siblings, as they were struggling to cope with the news of Vicky's death just four days previously". The coronation took place on 9 August 1902; Vicky's death had occurred on 5 August 1901.

Facts are tantalisingly withheld. "For Lorne, the death of his mother-in-law [Queen Victoria] gave him licence to publish a book he had been working on for many years: 'The Life of Queen Victoria'....the new British king and the Kaiser of Germany were united - they were both scandalised by the 9th Duke of Argyll's literary endeavours" (p287). We are not told why the contents of the book upset both monarchs.

Hawksley confuses family relationships. "[Beatrice] travelled to South Africa to spend Christmas of 1924 with Helena's daughter Princess Alice...."(p331). Princess Alice was the daughter of Helena's brother Leopold.

Hawksley can be annoyingly vague: "At the start of January 1926, Louise returned to the French Riviera....A newspaper noted that the elderly princess had been working very hard recently, often standing in for the much younger queen" (p332). One assumes that the 'much younger queen' is the UK's Queen Mary, but this point should have been made more explicit (Queen Mary was only nineteen years younger than Princess Louise, anyway).

The second aspect that concerns me is that, despite the commendable use of quotations from newspapers and other sources, not one single reference is cited.

We will not know the truth about Princess Louise until her files are opened. The fact they are closed convinces me that there is something to hide and Hawksley's solutions are plausible.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as its predecessor, 3 Feb 2014
I'm surprised that so few people remember a much better book - Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Unconventional Daughter by Jehanne Wake, which is still available here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Princess-Louise-Victorias-Unconventional-Daughter-ebook/dp/B007GO14W6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1391447574&sr=8-2&keywords=jehanne+wake. It came out in 1988 (when I read it) to some rave reviews, and was a serious, unsensationalised but very readable biography. I believe that Mrs Wake did have access to the royal archives, and the book is extremely well researched.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting life, 1 Dec 2013
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I feel this book suffers from a lack of source material as a great deal is under wraps in the Royal Archive as Louise obviously lived a colourful life for a daughter of Queen Victoria. She made an unfortunate marriage but much to her credit kept everything together. i warmed to her and thought what a tremendous person she obviously was. In places the style becomes very repetitive and we are told the same things over and over again, it needs good editing! Lucinda agonises about the sexual proclivities of the main characters as she hasnt got the material to prove what she is saying. I do recommend it to those interested in the family of Queen Victoria who is revealed as quite a nasty baggage!! This talented and delightful woman needs this biography.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 11 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter (Hardcover)
I must admit that I was really looking forward to reading this but due to lack of source material the content seemed rather lacking. Definitely something just to dip in and out of.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery of Princess Louise, 26 Jan 2014
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enjoyed reading this book on the little known princesss, I would have preferred a more in-depth biography that it has given me a greater insight in this princess and rendered her personality to be human and warm.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Princess Louise: how Quenn Victoria could be undrestandable, 13 April 2014
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This review is from: The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter (Hardcover)
A good piece of investigation.
The book is well written; the information it provides is very complete.
It is an important piece to understand Queen Victoria's family and era.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read on history, 10 April 2014
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This review is from: The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter (Hardcover)
Princess Louise done things different!! She was a woman before her time, a really read on history of the time.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A little padding and a lot of corsetry, 9 April 2014
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I was initially drawn to this exciting sounding book, only to realise that it is based on surmise rather than research, unlike the other book about Louise by Jehanne Wake. Instead of giving up, the author has ploughed on, despite being 'denied' access to Princess'Louise's archives. The USP is that there must be a big secret that has been hushed up if she was not allowed this access.This is possible, but then again, it makes for unsubstantiated surmise.

Big frou frou bows cover big tummies ripe with child; but hinted controversies and assignations cover up lack of positive documentation.

The usual but interesting information about the life of the Royals is included. Poor reviled Bertie, cossetted Beatrice, the Queen's dislike and revulsion for babies, especially if they were not pretty and her rejecting and harsh attitudes are all reflected here. Which is fine if you didn't know that already.
You are probably better off reading a more well documented account. Jehanne Wake's book is older, but she did have access to the archives.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Princess Louise, 29 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter (Hardcover)
Read a review on this book and thought it would be interesting. Can't really get into it as too much detail about facts an figures and people we don't know. will probably finish it but wouldn't recommend it
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The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter
The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Rebellious Daughter by Lucinda Hawksley (Hardcover - 21 Nov 2013)
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