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Twilight of Splendor: The Court of Queen Victoria During Her Diamond Jubilee Year Hardcover – 29 Jun 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (29 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047004439X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470044391
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 967,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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To offer a new approach to Queen Victoria, King (The Court of the Last Tsar) focuses on one important year in her reign–the 1897 Diamond Jubilee. Although he initially establishes context by focusing on the changes that occurred during Victoria′s life, he spends perhaps too much time describing the minutiae of the royal household′s daily workings. Thankfully, humorous anecdotes from primary sources, such as those describing courtiers′ lack of love for Balmoral Castle, the queen′s beloved Scottish home, enlighten the accounting. The queen′s callous treatment of her sons, selfish demands on her daughters, and relationships with servants–not to mention coverage of family scandals and the lives of other royals–does seem inevitably comparable to the present royal family. Photos show the various royal domiciles, as well as family members; a brief appendix names various members of the royal household. For libraries with large English history collections. (Index not seen.) —B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Lib., Sag Harbor, NY ( Library Journal , May 15, 2007) "Greg King leads you on a tour into the heart of history’s last and greatest royal empire." ( Majesty , Volume 28/10)

"Greg King leads you on a tour into the heart of history’s last and greatest royal empire." ( Majesty , Volume 28/10)

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Queen Victoria wore a somber gown of black silk, enlivened with delicate embroidery of sparkling jet and offset by layers of contrasting white lace. On her gray head a veil of Honiton lace, carefully arranged in cascades to frame her wrinkled face and sagging shoulders, was held in place by a small crown of 1,300 diamonds. The faint hint of her favorite orange–scented perfume hovered in the air as her lady in waiting adorned her widow′s weeds with the blue silk moiré sash and diamond star of the Order of the Garter; large diamond drop earrings and a matching collet necklace of twenty–eight immense, gleaming stones; and a diamond–fringe brooch. Her pudgy wrists and fingers glistened with gold and diamond bracelets and an array of precious rings. On the eve of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, the tiny, rotund, seventy–eight–year–old queen was a study in contrasts. And, much like the immense realm that was her domain, she was at the pinnacle of her authority and nearing the end of her days. Twilight of Splendor leads you on an extravagant tour into the heart of history′s last and greatest royal empire: the court of Victoria Regina et Imperatrix—Queen of England and Empress of India. You′ll meet the people, witness the pageantry, and feel the power that circled the globe. Author Greg King takes you exploring through the queen′s elegant residences at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, cruising the English Channel aboard the royal yacht Victoria and Albert II, and tramping the Scottish highlands at her beloved retreat, Balmoral. You′ll also attend the spectacular ceremony in honor of Victoria′s sixtieth year on the throne and marvel at the Empire′s splendid diversity, as represented by her parading armies—scarlet–coated Canadians and turbaned Sikhs, Egyptians in red fezzes, khaki–clad Australians, and galloping Bengal Lancers, their deadly pikes glittering in the sun like the queen′s own jewels. Most compelling of all is Victoria herself. Groomed from infancy to assume the crown and adhere to a strict moral code, she was a proud, forceful, and imperious sovereign who remained personally humble, good–humored, and keenly intelligent. King reveals that Victoria′s dislike of the British nobility led her to market herself quite purposefully to the middle class, even as she suppressed news of scandals involving her children and embarked on enigmatic relationships with the notorious John Brown and her personal servant Abdul Karim.

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VINE VOICEon 10 December 2007
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