26 March 2017 Susannah

Queen Victoria

The BBC is making a new 4-part adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End. It stars Hayley Atwell and Matthew Macfadyen and is being filmed at the moment. It will be hard to better the 1992 film version with Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins etc, but a longer version will hopefully do full justice to the novel.

Victoria And Abdul: The True Story Of The Queens' Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu

Victoria And Abdul: The True Story Of The Queens’ Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu

Later this year we can look forward to a new film Victoria and Abdul (based on Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name) with Judi Dench as Victoria and Ali Fazal as Abdul Karim. Abdul, known as ‘the Munshi’, served the Queen during the last 15 years of her reign – she grew very fond of him, but their closeness caused friction in her court. The film has been billed as a sort of sequel to the wonderful Her Majesty Mrs Brown.

In two years’ time it will be the bicentenary of Queen Victoria’s birth, so we can probably expect a number of new books about the Queen and her reign. I have just finished reading Julia Baird’s acclaimed new biography Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire. I loved it and it did make me think about Victoria in a new way. Another book about Victoria which I found most intriguing was Queen Victoria’s Gene: Haemophilia and the Royal Family by D.M. Potts. This book showed how that gene spread amongst the royal families of Europe and helped change the course of history.

While Victoria is remembered as a monarch, don’t forget that she was also an author. She is said to have written an average of 2,500 words a day as an adult. She kept journals (122 volumes of them!) and in 1868 she published Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands. The book sold extremely well, as did its sequel More Leaves.

Did you enjoy Her Majesty, Mrs Brown as much as I did? Have you read any of Queen Victoria’s journals? They are not easily available here in Australia. (UK readers can access them here: http://www.queenvictoriasjournals.org/) Let me know in the comments area below.

 

   Howards End by E. M. Forster
   Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird
   Victoria & Abdul by Shrabani Basu
   Queen Victoria’s Gene: Haemophilia and the Royal Family by D.M. Potts

I only recommend books I have read and know. Some of these links are my affiliate links. If you buy a book by clicking on one of these links I receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but does help cover the cost of producing my free newsletter.

 

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Featured image credit- Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim in 1893, by Hills and Saunders – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36749837
Body image credit- Victoria And Abdul: The True Story Of The Queens’ Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu. Published April 1st 2010 by History Press (SC)
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Comments (4)

  1. Judy Nicol

    I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed The Queen, Her Lover and the Most Notorious Spy in History by Roland Perry. I wondered if it could be true but I thought the Scottish Earl sounded most dashing and if it was true, how well he has been wiped from any other biography’ of Queen Victoria.
    Will be keen to read Victoria &Abdul, and her relationship at the other end of her life. Also ploughed through book The Four Graces which gave quite an insight into the motherly instincts, help and concerns and how supportive Victoria was to her five motherless grandchildren, the children of her daughter Alice who died quite young and seemed to be quite an exceptional woman herself. It quoted many words from her letters which were always full af advice and amazingly appeared to be listened to and looked for by these children. The Queen was amazingly perceptive regarding her concern that the youngest daughter Alix was not suited wise suited to being the Tasarina of Russia.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      The Four Graces book sounds interesting – thanks for the recommendation, Judy. Queen Victoria was obviously an intelligent woman, who could sometimes be very dim and other times very astute. Yes, she could see that Alix wasn’t cut out to be Tsarina. The ‘Most Notorious Spy’ book sounds intriguing. I think we will be seeing lots more Victoria books as her big anniversary approaches.

  2. Pam Davis

    I have a 3-volume set of the “Letters of Queen Victoria”, edited by Arthur Benson (brother of E.F.Benson). Fascinating to dip into.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Julia Baird’s biography makes many references to Benson’s edition of the letters, and how they were censored – very fascinating.

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