“Victoria was completely un-Victorian. She had an extraordinarily broad-minded, humane quality to her. It’s very seldom in her letters that you find what we might (incorrectly) think of as a Victorian narrowness of viewpoint. She has an amazing breadth of comprehension, which is not necessarily related to anything that she’s read. Because although she did read books, she wasn’t an intellectual. It’s rather a sort of instinctive wisdom, possibly derived from her very bizarre childhood. It’s not a childhood one would have wished on anyone – with an awful mother and sinister hangers-on in court, and the sense that apart from her old uncle William IV on the throne, she was the only one of her family left and would be Queen. A terrific self-confidence comes across in her letters. The absolute, cast-iron belief that she is number one and there is no challenge to that. One of her amusing human faults was that she clearly resented being upstaged by other people. Either by other sovereigns – she also wanted to be number one sovereign in the eyes of the world – or by celebrated personalities.” Read more...
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