Queen Victoria: Her Life and Her Legacy by Paul Kendall
For almost 64 years, Queen Victoria reigned over Great Britain during a period which saw the country become the most powerful and prestigious in the world and one which experienced enormous social, political and industrial change. Those changes were embraced by Victoria, who became the first monarch to use the railway as a mode of transport, to use anaesthetic to alleviate pain, during childbirth, and to use a telephone. At the very start of her reign, she took an interest in politics, playing an active part in the machinations of government, and worked with ten prime ministers.
She broke down barriers between sovereign and her subjects, ensuring that she was visible to the public. Victoria established the tradition of the white wedding, wearing a white bridal dress to ensure that her subjects could see her with the coronation route lengthened to maximise her exposure. She set the tradition of acknowledging her subjects from the balcony at Buckingham Palace during times of national celebration.
She also paid regular visits to hospitals in England to visit wounded soldiers, and instigated the medal named after her which became the highest honour a man could receive fighting for his country. All aspects of Victoria’s life from Kensington Palace, her birthplace to Frogmore Mausoleum, are covered within this volume. Her personal life as well as her public persona are examined with illustrations of many of the places and palaces that were significant in her life -such as the site of the Fox & Crown public house on West Hill, Highgate, where, the landlord stepped out to halt the horses of Victoria coach which was careering out of control, or the point along Constitution Hill where the first assassination attempt was made on Victoria’s life.
Equally displayed in this unique collection are fascinating artefacts that epitomise her reign, for example, the world’s first pre-paid adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black which, of course, bore her image, and the gold enamelled brooch presented by Queen Victoria to Florence Nightingale in 1855 for her work in Crimea. Queen Victoria: Her Life and Legacy is a journey in gloriously-coloured images through one of Britain’s greatest eras -the age of Victoria.