A Magnificent Obsession
Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy
By Helen Rappaport
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312621056, 352pp.)
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
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As she did in her critically acclaimed The Last Days of the Romanovs, Helen Rappaport brings a compelling documentary feel to the story of this royal marriage and of the queen’s obsessive love for her husband – a story that began as fairy tale and ended in tragedy.
After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert’s death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.
Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama--the crucial final months of the prince’s life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen’s retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the prince’s chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.
HELEN RAPPAPORT studied Russian at Leeds University and is a specialist in Russian and nineteenth-century women’s history. She lives in Oxford. She is the author of books including The Last Days of the Romanovs and A Magnificent Obsession.
Praise for The Last Days of the Romanovs:
“As shocking and immediate as a thriller. . . . [A] gripping read.”
—People magazine (3 ½ stars)
“Quite simply, stunning. . . . Chilling and poignant, this is how history books should be written.”
—Alison Weir, author of Henry VIII: The King and His Court