The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians Hardcover – 28 Aug 2014
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‘A masterpiece. Beautifully written, impeccably researched, this heartbreaking narrative of family dysfunction and royal sacrifice is an absolute page-turner’ Amanda Foreman, author of ‘Georgiana’
‘Enthralling … you know you are in the hands of a master narrator as well as a profoundly perceptive historian. And like all great historical writing, the book transcends its immediate story – gripping and moving though that is – to be a timeless reflection on the human condition’ Simon Schama
‘Colourful and brilliantly narrated … excellent both in her narrative skill and her scholarship … Hadlow has produced a perceptive, lively and wonderfully enjoyable book’ Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times
‘Fascinating … in this densely detailed yet fast-paced book, as drama follows drama, the interest never flags … Hadlow is adept at the telling phrase and makes splendid use of the period's vivid letters, diaries and memoirs’ Jenny Uglow, Guardian
‘Engrossing … Hadlow, an accomplished storyteller, assembles a picture full of emotional colour and drama which still resonates today’ Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Times
‘Truly engrossing. George III and his relatives give us the ultimate family saga, and it almost defies belief that these events really happened. A real-life period drama to lose yourself in’ Lucy Worsley
‘Brilliantly lays bare the dysfunctional home life of Geroge III’s family’ Sunday Times
‘Hadlow's achievement is to unite in a single volume an overview of one family's squabbling, thwarted good intentions and petty vindictiveness … in readable prose, with a welter of detail Hadlow succeeds in her considerable task … This is a discursive, leisurely account, enlivened by Hadlow's infectious enthusiasm’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Hadlow’s energetic, richly detailed debut combines personal sympathy for her subjects with a shrewd alertness to wider significances’ Independent on Sunday
About the Author
Janice Hadlow is Controller, Special Projects and Seasons at the BBC. In her pervious roles as Controller of BBC2 and BBC4, and Head of History at Channel 4, she has been hugely influential in popularizing history on television. This is her first book.
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We see George III's upbringing and personality given context against that of his father and grandfather, as well as the country's economic state and general morals, and how these factors shaped his own conceptions of what both a ruler and a family should be; we understand the care taken in the marriage selection of Queen Charlotte to this end, and how carefully she in turn endeavoured to uphold her husband's standards; we follow how George's expectations shaped his relationships with his children as they grew into adulthood (with the individual characters and interpersonal relationships of each prince and princess given space to really shine through). All this while keeping track of the additional strains of political pressure, public opinion, war, and the King's own failing physical and mental health.
I honestly cannot recommend this book enough, it's truly a delight to read. I've already found myself dipping back into it.
It is written with such feeling as to draw you so completely into the story that you really feel you are become part of the whole family.
A memorable book, thank you. Janice Hadlow.
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I intend to return to page one and start again