Intriguing, comprehensive look at how Victoria and Albert's ideas about influencing international politics through the strategic marriage of their descendants actually played out on the world stage. It is fairly mind-boggling to try and follow the romantic paths of so many children, grandchildren, and cousins, so many of them in the other royal families of Europe and with so many similar names. This book does a good job of trying to isolate a selection of the key partnerships, telling the tale of how the partners got together or came apart, the overbearing influence of Queen Victoria, and the ultimate fate of each union. It is fascinating to see all of Victoria's behind-the-scenes machinations to try and pair up each grandchild with the European royal that she found most suitable, and her extreme displeasure over love matches that did not serve to fulfill her ambitions. A lot of interesting history is contained within these pages; where ultimately things never did quite work out as planned, often with disastrous results. For example, daughter Vicky's marriage resulting in the birth and early rise of Kaiser Wilhelm II in Germany: Queen Victoria's sense of dread and foreboding at granddaughter Alexandra's marriage to Nicholas II of Russia, the unexpected death of Prince Albert's son Eddy right before his marriage to Mary of Teck, with her subsequent betrothal to his brother, George. So much absorbing information here for those interested in 19th century history.
Interesting read that showed Queen Victoria's influence, not only on her family's marital choices, but the entire world. In particular, I was fascinated to read that Queen Victoria tried to steer her beloved granddaughter, Alix, away from marrying Nicholas II of Russia. Spoiler alert for those who don't know their history, but unfortunately for the Romanov family, Alix was ill-suited to be Empress of Russia which led to the downfall and execution of the entire family.
Interesting though not groundbreaking. In the end, most of the matchmaking was irrelevant as larger forces remade the political world. The one marriage that was truly a love match--and that Victoria opposed--proved to be the exception: Nicholas and Alexandra were a disaster for everyone concerned.
Well written and researched, although a little recursive in spots (possibly because that's what happens when one lineage marries into that many families who when marry amongst themselves). In hindsight, one believes that things might have turned out somewhat better had there not been quite so much 'matchmaking' going on. Would there have been a World War? Would there have been a Russian Revolution? Would things have better in the long run? The 'what ifs' do give one pause: fertile ground for counterfactual fiction here, I think.
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