Wednesday, 18 March 2009

'The Widow of Windsor'.


'The Widow of Windsor' by Jean Plaidy.


This novel continues the life of Queen Victoria , following the death of Prince Albert. December 14th 1861 was the date of Albert's death and Victoria mourned him dearly from then onwards. Her many children were some comfort but her eldest son, Bertie continued to be a trial. His gambling and womanising were a constant worry for the queen. Hoping to end his socialising Victoria encouraged him to marry. A Danish princess, Alexandra , was chosen and the couple seemed very much in love. However it was not long till Bertie's lifestyle intruded into his marriage, but Alexandra(Alix) proved a loving and faithful wife and she bore him six children.
The Queen's other adult children were all settling into married life in various countries;Victoria the eldest marrying the Frederick of Prussia, Alice marrying Louis 1V of Hesse, Alfred married Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, Helena - Christian of Schleswig and Arthur Married Louise of Prussia.
So most of the queen's family were spread far and wide, Leopold, Louise and Beatrice(Baby) were closer. Victoria herself was Empress of India and as such Queen of the largest empire in the world and therefore the reigning monarch of a quarter of the world's population.
As the family was spread across Europe they were effected by the conflicts arising at this time.

'The news grew worse. The Prussians were invading Schleswig-Holstein. Vicky's(eldest child)husband had left Berlin to join the forces which were fighting against Alix's father.'
The Queen was concerned about the situation, but refused to return to London from Balmoral. Here in Scotland her favourite servant John Brown had risen in popularity in the Queen's eyes and she felt she could not survive without him. This friendship did not impress her children particularly Bertie. After much persuasion she returned to London.
The book continues with the appearance of well known politicians, namely Palmerston, Gladstone and Disraeli. The Queen did appear to take a more active role although she never completely recovered from the Prince's death.
Bertie's life continued on the same course, with horses, women and scandal .

'Bertie stared down at the paper in his hand. He could not believe it. This simply could not happen to him!How dared they order him to appear in court!How dared they presume...how dared they suggest...!'

This seemed to be a foretaste of the Edwardian years.
Victoria's health was failing, she had reigned for 64 years , a colourful time not only had she seen great changes in Europe she had lost some of her favourite children, and encountered numerous would-be assassins. But in her last few days she pondered all the more about her 'Beloved Being', her Prince Albert. On 22nd January 1901 Queen Victoria died.

'We have lost our beloved Mother', was the cry. 'The Queen is dead. Nothing will ever be the same again.'

Another excellent book from Jean Plaidy. A good history lesson, I learnt much and found it fascinating how her family influenced so many European Royal houses.

4 comments:

JoAnn said...

Glad to hear you are continuing to enjoy Jean Plaidy. I looked up some of her books on amazon today. She's quite a prolific writer!

Arleigh said...

Sounds like another great Plaidy novel! I have read of Queen Victoria's Scotman, John Brown.

I answered your question about Defenders of the Faith here:

http://royal-intrigue.net/jean-plaidy-titles/

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

I love, love, love Plaidy! I have yet to read this series yet, but it's my life's goal to collect all of her novels...I even started a spreadsheet (yes, I am that nerdy!).

Really great review!

Jenny Girl said...

I tried to get the first Victoria book from the library yesterday, but I don't think they carry it. What a coincidence!
Excellent review.