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Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household
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Published:
HarperCollins 2013
Status:
Available from OverDrive

Description

During her sixty-three-year reign, Queen Victoria gathered around herself a household dedicated to her service. For some, royal employment was the defining experience of their lives; for others it came as an unwelcome duty or as a prelude to greater things. Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household, from the governess to the royal children, from her maid of  honor to her chaplain and her personal physician.

Drawing on their letters and diaries—many hitherto unpublished—Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at its center. Seen through the eyes of her household as she traveled among Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral, and to the French and Belgian courts, Victoria emerges as more vulnerable, more emotional, more selfish, more comical, than the austere figure depicted in her famous portraits. We see a woman who was prone to fits of giggles, who wept easily and often, who gobbled her food and shrank from confrontation but insisted on controlling the lives of those around her. We witness her extraordinary and debilitating grief at the death of her husband, Albert, and her sympathy toward the tragedies that afflicted her household.

Witty, astute, and moving, Serving Victoria is a perfect foil to the pomp and circumstance—and prudery and conservatism—associated with Victoria's reign, and gives an unforgettable glimpse of what it meant to serve the Queen.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/30/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062269935
ASIN:
B009UXFX1Y

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Kate Hubbard. (2013). Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kate Hubbard. 2013. Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kate Hubbard, Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household. HarperCollins, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kate Hubbard. Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household. HarperCollins, 2013.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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During her sixty-three-year reign, Queen Victoria gathered around herself a household dedicated to her service. For some, royal employment was the defining experience of their lives; for others it came as an unwelcome duty or as a prelude to greater things. Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household, from the governess to the royal children, from her maid of  honor to her chaplain and her personal physician.

Drawing on their letters and diaries—many hitherto unpublished—Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at its center. Seen through the eyes of her household as she traveled among Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral, and to the French and Belgian courts, Victoria emerges as more vulnerable, more emotional, more selfish, more comical, than the austere figure depicted in her famous portraits. We see a woman who was prone to fits of giggles, who wept easily and often, who gobbled her food and shrank from confrontation but insisted on controlling the lives of those around her. We witness her extraordinary and debilitating grief at the death of her husband, Albert, and her sympathy toward the tragedies that afflicted her household.

Witty, astute, and moving, Serving Victoria is a perfect foil to the pomp and circumstance—and prudery and conservatism—associated with Victoria's reign, and gives an unforgettable glimpse of what it meant to serve the Queen.

reviews
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        "A vivid, entertaining and often comical portrait....Ms. Hubbard has achieved a real feat in writing so compellingly about life in the 'airless bell jar,' as she describes the court." — Wall Street Journal

        "Entertaining....Hubbard draws on a wealth of correspondence and diaries to weave an amusing 'Upstairs, Upstairs' drama." — The New Yorker

        "The appeal in Hubbard's story is the excitement in an otherwise dull existence. Call it the sensuality of the stiffness....The emotional complexity is as entertaining as (and more astute than) most upstairs-downstairs soaps, even those written by Julian Fellowes." — Daily Beast

        "A testament to Hubbard's talent....Readers interested in the Victorian era and the British royal family will enjoy this well-written and remarkably inte4resting account of the 'woeful dullness' and 'loneliness' of life inside Victoria's court." — Library Journal

        "Kate Hubbard's entertaining book, drawing on the vast pile of correspondence from ladies in waiting, maids of honour and others, paints a picture of court life that is compellingly vivid." — The Observer (London)

        "Well-written....Fascinating....Both eye opening and thoroughly engaging." — Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times (London)

        "Compelling....The rhythm of court life at Windsor or Balmoral is the backdrop to a rich human drama, a story of people existing in uneasy intimacy with the royal family." — Ben Wilson, Daily Telegraph (London)

        "[Hubbard has] plundered a rich vein of fascinating and often new information." — Val Hennessy, Daily Mail (London)

        "A touching portrait of Victoria offstage and unguarded." — Kirkus Reviews

        "Fascinating." — Booklist

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 18, 2013
        Drawing on letters and diaries, Hubbard (Queen Victoria) follows six courtiers who served Queen Victoria during her 63-year reign as they chafe under the constraints of court life, dine and travel with the Queen, and even indulge in the occasional joke at her expense. Kindly Sarah Lyttelton, supervisor of the nursery, witnessed a monarch who compulsively controlled those around her and even saw children as an impediment to her life with Prince Albert. Beautiful, intelligent Charlotte Canning, lady of the bedchamber and an accomplished watercolorist whose work Victoria appropriated for her souvenir albums, found court life a welcome respite from her humiliating marriage. Spirited feminist Mary Ponsonby, maid-of-honor, found the Victorian court to be “ludicrously bourgeois and exceedingly dull,” while her modest husband Henry masterfully played the Queen’s complex and contradictory character to his advantage. Later in life, Victoria was outraged when her easygoing, gregarious doctor, James Reid, decided to marry; and sympathetic chaplain Randall Davidson also angered her when he counseled against publication of her inappropriate memoir of her deceased servant, John Brown. Although hardly controversial, this is an engrossing and fresh view of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and day-to-day life at the Victorian court. 16 pages of illus. and photos. Agent: Georgia Garrett, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (U.K.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 15, 2013

        "Lady of the bedchamber," "Superintendent of the nursery," "Maid-of-Honour," and "Resident Medical Attendant" were some of the positions in Queen Victoria's court household. As impressive as these titles might sound, those ladies and gentlemen of the lesser aristocracy who filled them did so largely out of a sense of duty. Life in the royal household is described as "miserable," made up of "stiff dinners, ditch water and cold bedrooms." One of the queen's doctors became such a "hopeless" alcoholic he was persuaded to resign. A lady of the bedchamber, Lady Jane Ely, desperate to leave after years of devoted service and with her health broken, was roundly told that "Lady Ely's health and well being were of little consequence beside those of the Queen." She could not be spared, though it was "killing her." It is a testament to Hubbard's talent that she manages to convey why Victoria's household remained devoted to a monarch they all recognized as a selfish woman who did very little work. VERDICT Readers interested in the Victorian era and the British royal family will enjoy this well-written and remarkably interesting account of the "woeful dullness" and "loneliness" of life inside Victoria's court.--Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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During her sixty-three-year reign, Queen Victoria gathered around herself a household dedicated to her service. For some, royal employment was the defining experience of their lives; for others it came as an unwelcome duty or as a prelude to greater things. Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household, from the governess to the royal children, from her maid of  honor to her chaplain and her personal physician.

Drawing on their letters and diaries—many hitherto unpublished—Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at its center. Seen through the eyes of her household as she traveled among Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral, and to the French and Belgian courts, Victoria emerges as more vulnerable, more emotional, more selfish, more comical, than the austere figure depicted in her famous portraits. We see a...

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