A Mile Of River

A Mile Of River

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Magnificent Obsession Victoria, Albert and the death that changed the monarchy.

I have got a bit behind with my blog of late. but I wanted to review a book that I had read earlier in the year and enjoyed.

The Magnificent Obsession and the Death that changed the Monarchy by Helen Rappaport.

 The book focuses on the grief that Victoria suffered on the death of her mother and her beloved husband Albert.  The author describes a number of set elaborate rituals of that time to commemorate the dead. Social behaviour was also curtailed for a set period of time. After Albert's death  Victoria became a virtual recluse and stayed in mourning for 25 years. On Albert's death Queen Victoria  commissioned a great many memorials in Albert's honour. British manufacturing went into mass production for mourning outfits.

Victoria was named Empress of India in 1878 but did not  start to reappear in public until after her Golden Jubilee in 1887

Victoria refused requests by her government to open Parliament in person she withdrew completely from the public eye , spending much of her time at Balmoral Castle, her home in the Scottish Highlands. Then the question was being asked was Victoria earning the money that the state payed her. The public and Parliament were losing their patience with the Queen who was neglecting her duties. Victoria's popularity was at that time at a very low ebb.

Over the years Victoria was again able to regain her popularity and she once again attended public functions and charitable causes.

The cause of Albert's death has said to have been Typhoid fever. Albert died at the age of just 42, years. Helen Rappaport has done a lot of research into this and believes he actually succumbed to a very modern affliction chrohn's disease.

The book is beautifully written and very well researched and one of my best reads of the year!


  1. I loved this book and it was my book of the year for 2011. Here is my take on it


  2. I loved this book too, it was one of my Top 10 books of last year. I loved the way Rappaport concentrated on just ten years of the reign & filled the book with so much fascinating detail.