This magnificent biography is the primary source material for an upcoming major ITV series of Victoria's life. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she had ruled for nearly sixty-four years. She was mother of nine and grandmother of forty-two, and the matriarch of Royal Europe, through the marriages of her children. To many, Queen Victoria is a ruler shrouded in myth and mystique - an aging, stiff widow, paraded as the figurehead to an all-male imperial enterprise. But in truth, Britain's longest reigning monarch was one of the most passionate, expressive, humorous and unconventional women who ever lived, and the story of her life continues to fascinate. A. N. Wilson's exhaustively researched and definitive biography includes a wealth of new material from previously unseen sources, to show us Queen Victoria as she's never been seen before. It explores the curious set of circumstances that led to Victoria's coronation, her strange and isolated childhood, her passionate marriage, Prince Albert's pivotal influence, her widowhood and subsequent intimate friendship with John Brown, all set against the backdrop of this momentous epoch in Britain - and Europe's - history.
Victoria is a towering achievement; a masterpiece of biography by a writer at the height of his powers.
[A] splendid biography - this book is a gem: thoughtful, witty, insightful, striking a balance between political commentary and personal gossip... As this terrific biography shows, there really was a human being behind the gloomy portraits. -- Dominic Sandbrook Evening Standard Subtle, thoughtful ... A shimmering and rather wonderful biography -- Kathryn Hughes Guardian Wilson is affectionately alert to the rich contradictions of his subject's personality, and his deliciously readable biography becomes increasingly fascinating as Victoria's reign unfolds. -- Jane Shilling Daily Mail - Book of the Week This superb revisionist biography is the book that he was born to write. Wilson clearly loves and admires his subject, but this is a critical biography - funny, insightful, original and authoritative. At last Victoria has been rescued from her widow's weeds. -- Jane Ridley Spectator A. N. Wilson brings his novelist's perception and immense knowledge of the era to his effervescent biography of the tiny woman (4ft 11in) who ruled Britain for 61 years... This won't be the last biography of Victoria but it is certainly the most interesting and original in a long time. -- Daisy Goodwin Sunday Times Ninety-five years ago, the standard was set by Lytton Strachey's lucid and moving Queen Victoria but A. N. Wilson has now raised the bar... And what a pity she never met A. N. Wilson: she shines in his company ... [this] expansive and victorious book. -- Frances Wilson Daily Telegraph A. N. Wilson has written a sympathetic but by no means hagiographic biography of her that will probably overturn many people's prejudiced conception of her... Wilson's picture of her is a rounded one, with her vices and virtues. -- Theodore Dalrymple The Times A biographer of Queen Victoria also needs to be a good historian, with a confident grasp of the personalities and issues of 19th-century public life. Mr Wilson is at his best here... This is a bracing biography of a bracing woman ... it undeniably achieves its central aim to make us take Queen Victoria more seriously. -- Michael Hall Country Life Wilson is an excellent history teacher. He orders and narrates the hugely complex socio-political events and party infighting of the 19th century with a rare clarity... His own achievement, sustained by a lifetime's scholarly fascination with the Victorian era, is also in its way, awesome. -- John Sutherland Financial Times Few if any previous biographers have viewed her as incisively and absorbingly as Wilson does in his... smoothly flowing treatment of the queen's long life. The considerable detail he brings to his greatly balanced portrait not only strengthens his estimation of the significance of the queen in British governmental history but also successfully conveys for the general reader all the nuances of character that Wilson so carefully shares. -- Brad Hooper Booklist, starred review
A. N. Wilson grew up in Staffordshire and was educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he holds a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is a prolific and award-winning biographer and celebrated novelist. He lives in North London.