From equerries and ladies-in-waiting to grooms and scullery maids, it took thousands of people to keep Queen Victoria's palaces running. Most kept quiet about royal secrets during Victoria's reign, but their letters and diaries reveal everything from the mundane to the scandalous.Sarah
Based on the letters and diaries of six members of Queen Victoria's household, Serving Victoria offers unique insight into the queen and her court. Seen through the eyes of her servants—including the governess to the royal children, her maid of honor, her chaplain, and her personal physician—Victoria emerges as more vulnerable, more emotional, more selfish, more comical than the austere figure depicted in her portraits.
We see a woman prone to fits of giggles, who wept easily and often, who shrank from confrontation yet insisted on controlling the lives of those around her. We witness her extraordinary and debilitating grief at the death of her husband, Albert, and her sympathy toward the tragedies that afflicted her household.
A perfect foil to the pomp and circumstance, prudery and conservatism that has become synonymous with Victoria's reign, Serving Victoria is an unforgettable glimpse of what it meant to serve the queen.
About the Author
After leaving Oxford University, Kate Hubbard worked variously as a researcher, a teacher, a book reviewer and a publisher’s reader and a freelance editor. She currently works for the Royal Literary Fund. She is the author of the acclaimed historical biography Serving Victoria and lives in London and Dorset.
“A vivid, entertaining and often comical portrait….Ms. Hubbard has achieved a real feat in writing so compellingly about life in the ‘airless bell jar,’ as she describes the court.” — Wall Street Journal
“Entertaining….Hubbard draws on a wealth of correspondence and diaries to weave an amusing ‘Upstairs, Upstairs’ drama.” — The New Yorker
“The appeal in Hubbard’s story is the excitement in an otherwise dull existence. Call it the sensuality of the stiffness….The emotional complexity is as entertaining as (and more astute than) most upstairs-downstairs soaps, even those written by Julian Fellowes.” — Daily Beast
“A testament to Hubbard’s talent….Readers interested in the Victorian era and the British royal family will enjoy this well-written and remarkably inte4resting account of the ‘woeful dullness’ and ‘loneliness’ of life inside Victoria’s court.” — Library Journal
“Kate Hubbard’s entertaining book, drawing on the vast pile of correspondence from ladies in waiting, maids of honour and others, paints a picture of court life that is compellingly vivid.” — The Observer (London)
“Well-written….Fascinating….Both eye opening and thoroughly engaging.” — Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times (London)
“Compelling....The rhythm of court life at Windsor or Balmoral is the backdrop to a rich human drama, a story of people existing in uneasy intimacy with the royal family.” — Ben Wilson, Daily Telegraph (London)
“[Hubbard has] plundered a rich vein of fascinating and often new information.” — Val Hennessy, Daily Mail (London)
“A touching portrait of Victoria offstage and unguarded.” — Kirkus Reviews