Sunday, November 29, 2009

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals
Gillian Gill
Ballantine, Feb 23 2010, $18.00
ISBN: 9780345520012

This is a fascinating biography that turns upside down the love story of Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert as they cherished one another while battling for dominance of their relationship, which denoted dominance of the British Empire. In other words the early period until Albert’s death could easily be labeled Albertan-Victorian age. Prince Albert was a classic example of employing a defense mechanism of being everything his family was not and not being anything they were. Thus he came across as prim, proper and starched, which ironically set the future’s look back at the Victorian Age are his belief on how a ruler should behave. He kept his Queen seemingly pregnant all the time and was a major supporter of science and technology. When he died in 1861, Victoria grieved her loss for several years. However, when she finally moved on, the Victorian Age blossomed as if the student had learned from her late master while she described his virtues and buried with him his faults.

This is a terrific biography of the nineteenth century’s most powerful “power couple" as each thrived in their love and rivalry, especially Victoria. Gillian Gill makes a strong case that Albert was in some ways her mentor as much as her partner. With numerous illustrations and letters included, fans will relish this profound fresh look at We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals.

Harriet Klausner

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