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A captivating exploration of the role in which Queen Victoria exerted the most international power and influence: as a matchmaking grandmother.
As her reign approached its sixth decade, Queen Victoria's grandchildren numbered over thirty, and to maintain and increase British royal power, she was determined to maneuver them into a series of dynastic marriages with the royal houses of Europe.
Yet for all their apparent obedience, her grandchildren often had plans of their own, fueled by strong wills and romantic hearts. Victoria's matchmaking plans were further complicated by the tumultuous international upheavals of the time: revolution and war were in the air, and kings and queens, princes and princesses were vulnerable targets.
Queen Victoria's Matchmaking travels through the glittering, decadent palaces of Europe from London to Saint Petersburg, weaving in scandals, political machinations and family tensions to enthralling effect. It is at once an intimate portrait of a royal family and an examination of the conflict caused by the marriages the Queen arranged. At the heart of it all is Victoria herself: doting grandmother one moment, determined Queen Empress the next.
About the Author
Deborah Cadbury is the author of eight acclaimed books, including Chocolate Wars; The Dinosaur Hunters; The Lost King of France; Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, for which her accompanying BBC series received a BAFTA nomination; and Princes at War. As a BBC TV producer and executive producer, she has won numerous international awards, including an Emmy. She lives in London.
Wonderfully compelling and packed with new material - a gripping story beautifully told.
In this enjoyable story for fans of royal machinations, Cadbury ably shows not just the successes, but also the damage inflicted by Victoria's single-mindedness. An instructive European history that effectively shows 'the influence of [Victoria's] matchmaking on the remarkable rise of the royal dynasty'.
[An] absorbing book... The fall of the Romanovs occupies the superb last pages of Cadbury's book... Dynastic mergers, we may deduce from Deborah Cadbury's account, offer no defence against the whims of history. This catastrophe-laced slice of royal history offers a ripping read.
—Miranda Seymour, The Observer
Engrossing...Cadbury engagingly presents [Queen Victoria] as a mesmerising Mrs Bennet, summoning her children and then her grandchildren to Balmoral. ..The stories of [Queen Victoria's] descendants are mesmerising and often stranger than fiction...From the pen of a writer of skill and style, this surprising narrative leaves you wanting more.
—Paula Byrne, The Times
Cadbury's account of Victoria's attempts to bend her unruly grandchildren to her matrimonial will is the stuff of melodrama...covered with verve and insight by Deborah Cadbury in her new history.
—Daisy Goodwin, The Sunday Times
Deborah Cadbury is an adroit story teller. Her lively colourfully written book...begins in the 1880s and ends in the toppling thrones of the First World War, a panoramic family saga, its players by turns pragmatic and romantic, wilful, dutiful, misguided and, occasionally tragic
—Matthew Dennison, The Daily Telegraph
A rich history of Queen Victoria's canny use of political power.
Ms. Cadbury stresses the human element of her story, not least the wayward personalities and unforeseen family rivalries that thwarted Victoria's designs as a monarch and matriarch... Many vivid pen portraits.
—William Anthony Hay, Wall Street Journal
Fantastic...In lively and page-turning prose, author Deborah "Chocolate Wars" Cadbury confirms her place as a leading historian of Britain as she pulls Queen Victoria out of caricature and into our hearts.
—Randy Dotinga, Christian Science Monitor
Queen Victoria's Matchmaking is a look at royalty when it still had a somewhat mystical aura-these people who were both the state and their own particular selves-and a fascinating angle on a time of ferment, when the wheels were finally, permanently coming off this way of running nations...Forget The Crown-what I really want is a Netflix show based on all these royal grandchildren.—Kelly Faircloth, Pictorial