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4.4 out of 5 stars54
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 July 2004
After reading Jerrold Packard's book about the Queen's daughters, I was glad to be able to buy an updated edition of John Van der Kiste's work about all nine children. Daphne Bennett wrote one with the same title in 1980, but it only covered them until their marriages. This one covers the whole story from the birth of the Princess Royal in 1840 (with a prologue on the early life of Victoria and Albert) to the death of Beatrice in 1944. The spotlight falls individually on each in turn, in a way which I don't think anyone has attempted before. It's good to see the younger siblings getting some attention as well as their better-known elders - there can't be much more to say about the Empress Frederick or Edward VII. It's an entertaining portrait, written with warmth, sympathy, and soundly researched - and a book I for one will certainly treasure on my royalty bookshelves.
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on 29 November 2004
John Van Der Kiste should be congratulated on this thoughtful and well written biography of Victoria and her children.
The book appears to be written emphatically and really conveys the heartbroken Queen Victoria as a deeply sad widow but at the same time sees her as a defiant politician during a turbulent time in history as well as being a proud, loving and protective Mother.
The pace of Van Der Kiste's book is perfect, dealing with each child in turn and allowing the reader to embrace each child's character, life and mainly the relationship with their mother.
A brilliant book that i read within days of buying it.
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VINE VOICEon 24 July 2005
The Victorian era was probably one of the most extraordinary in British History. The country went through enormous changes due to the impact of Industrialisation and Politic and Economic change. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert produced nine children and most of them had an impact not only on British History, but European History as well since many of them married into European Families such as the Hohenzollerns which had such an effect on the growing militarism leading to World War 1 in 1914. It must not be forgotten that Victoria's children were human, and they experienced the triumphs and tragedies which befall so many families. Indeed she outlived at least three of them, Alice, Leopold and Alfred who all died tragically young. And of course, her eldest son Bertie, Prince of Wales, whom she kept frustrated throughout most of his adult life by denying him a more important role in British and European affairs, became acknowledged as the Uncle of Europe and the Peacemaker of Europe. A fascinating volume, not an academic study though, very easy to read which will appeal to many readers who wish to find out more about the Victorian family. Supplemented with many good photographs too.
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on 26 August 2010
Reading this book was my first experience of John Van der Kiste's work, and it goes without saying that I have read most of his other titles since. This book not only tells the story of nine fascinating siblings who went on to conquer their respective parts of the world, but also gives a detailed account of their mother's life as Queen and Empress of an Empire spanning the globe.

I would recommend this detailed and thoughtful biography to anyone- from the experienced historian to someone in need of bedtime reading material! Easy to understand and compelling throughout; whatever your intrest-however slight- should be satisfied with this magnificent multibiography.
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VINE VOICEon 20 July 2005
Over many decades now, the Royal Family have always been put on a pedestal except perhaps during the past 20 years or so when a certain Diana Spencer married into the Royal Family in 1981. Of course, in Queen Victoria's time, media exposure of the sort to which we are acusstomed to nowadays did not exist. So the public came to acknowledge that the Royals, because they were remote figures, were special people with extraordinary talents. We now know of course this was not true. What books like this does though is convey to the reader is that the Royals are human just the same as we are. Of course, they are priviledged, but they are not immune to the ups and downs like so many of us are. In fact, they have the triumphs and tragedies same as we do although in a different manner. This book reveals the very human side of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's nine children, all of whom in more ways than one, had such influence on European History. Who could have known for example that upon Queen Victoria's death in January 1901, that two of her grandsons George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II and a blood relation Tsar Nicholas II would all become embroiled in a terrible European War in 1914? A fascinating book about a fascinating family. Armchair Historians would welcome this without a doubt. Very well researched and an easy to read format makes it a very good buy indeed.
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on 12 April 2010
This was enjoyable and easy to read, but im not sure how much i will remember. Each chapter deals with a time period, covering each child in small sections, I think i would have prefered one chapter per child to get a picture of them without constantly having to remember what they did last. If you are more aquainted with the characters this probably wouldnt be a problem. Also photos of individuals would be better in the text where they appear rather than all grouped together in the middle. The family trees at the back could be better organised. Otherwise it provides a nice perspective on a facsinating period of history.
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on 1 June 2012
This book was easy to read and gave a very informative yet concise look into each life of Victoria & Albert's children. I have searched for and eventually collected individual biographies on all 9 of Victoria's children, the project taking many years to finally achieve. If you don't want to go to so much effort to find detailed in depth information on their lives but are curious to know more about the lives of Victoria's children; this book may very well be for you. Overall the book does give you an informative & interesting insight into all their lives, a highly recommended read for anyone interested in the history of the royal family.
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on 26 June 2012
Van Der Kiste's little book Queen Victoria's children is well worth the read. Each child is not given his or her own chapter, but rather the book follows their lives chronologically and within the context of world affairs. All the children are given their due attention, and the focus is more on their personal lives, rather than their workings on the world stage. Yet, each child is seen through his faults and accomplishments, from birth to death. As I did not know so much about European history at the time, I learned a great deal from this book. I had always understood that Victoria and Albert were the perfect royal marriage, and Van Der Kiste suggests that perhaps Albert was not as in love with her as much as she was with him. Unfortunately, the book does not pay this issue too much attention, as its focus is on the children and not their marriage. However, Queen Victoria's relationship with all her children is analysed in great detail and we see her for both the good and not so good mother that she was. Her role as a mother is also negatively compared to the seemingly more nurturing of the two parents, Prince Albert. This book is great for those just beginning a study of this material and I highly recommend it. It is written well and is a fast read.
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on 23 March 2011
a well written account of the whole victorian era,and edwardian period, explaining the complicated divided loyalties of the 9 children and their heirs,who found themselves married across the empire,and the often heartbreaking events of 1830-1910,when war and other turbulent times put such strain on many in the extended family. disease did not spare them,and several of the royal children suffered with then untreatable illnesses. queen victoria had such strong ties within the family,but she was known to have favourites,and she exerted her influence on them all until the end of her life. this is a very human story, told about people who occupied key positions.each part of the book could well contain much more detail,as the scope is vast, but the focus is kept on the main characters,though at times i needed to re-read names and who was related to whom,the endless titles and people did become confusing.the photos are lovely,would have liked to see more
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on 11 May 2013
I enjoyed reading this book. It is interesting to read more in depth about a family who so influenced Europe and of course are relations of our current royal family. The only thing I found difficult was keeping track of everyone! Especially due to name changes once married or inheriting titles. When reading on the kindle, it's not so easy to flip back and forth as in a normal book but there is a summary of Victoria's children, their titles and their own children which would have helped if I'd known about it! I would recommend this book.
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