Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was Britain’s sixth and final monarch from the German house of Hanover. Born Alexandrina Victoria and nicknamed Drina in her youth, she was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. In 1876, she also became Empress of India. When Victoria came to the throne, Britain was already a constitutional monarchy which meant the king or queen had limited formal powers; Victoria’s rule accelerated Britain’s transition to the ceremonial monarchy we have today.
For a biography of Queen Victoria, a good, highly readable option is Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman who Ruled an Empire by Australian author and journalist Julia Baird. For a historical novel, there’s Victoria: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin.
Victoria herself also wrote copiously so reading a book of her letters is a good choice.
Books about Queen Victoria recommended on Five Books include Empress: Queen Victoria and India, which was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize. Also picked was Ask Sir James, a biography of her doctor whom she consulted frequently.
Books by Queen Victoria
Interviews where books by Queen Victoria were recommended
Queen Victoria was anything but Victorian and Lord Byron was more vulnerable than we think, says writer Jonathan Keates – who considers emails a poor substitute for a hand-written correspondence.