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"Charlotte and Leopold" by James Chambers

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Susan
Bibliomaniac
Location: New Jersey, USA

"Charlotte and Leopold" by James Chambers

Postby Susan » Tue August 26th, 2008, 9:39 pm

Charlotte and Leopold by James Chambers is primarily a biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only child of (the future) King George IV, who would have succeeded her father as Queen. Charlotte has been but a footnote in everything I have read about Queen Victoria and her family. Charlotte's death in childbirth caused a scramble to produce a legitimate grandchild of George III and Victoria won the prize. After reading this book, Charlotte is no longer a mere footnote, but a genuine person to me. This biography is not long (232 pages), but neither was Charlotte's life (21 years). The author used a number of primary resources including letters Charlotte had written to her best friend. I'm glad the author included excerpts from these letters as they helped to understand what Charlotte was like. I very much liked Charlotte and Leopold as a couple and I think they would have made a wonderful Queen and Prince Consort. (Charlotte's husband, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, was the uncle of Victoria and Albert and went on to become the first king of Belgium.)

The book assumes the reader knows Charlotte's final fate and starts off with a description of her doctor's fate. Charlotte's botched prenatal care and delivery are truly one of the great tragedies in royal history. The doctor later committed suicide. Interestingly, even though Leopold eventually married (15 years after Charlotte's death) and had four children, before he died he requested to be buried with Charlotte (Queen Victoria agreed, but the Belgian government denied his request) and his last words were "Charlotte...Charlotte..." (48 years after her death). Queen Victoria started me off on my study of royal history, so I am glad to have some of the blanks regarding Charlotte filled in.
Last edited by Susan on Tue August 26th, 2008, 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
~Susan~
~Unofficial Royalty~
Royal news updated daily, information and discussion about royalty past and present
http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/

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boswellbaxter
Bibliomaniac
Location: North Carolina
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Postby boswellbaxter » Tue August 26th, 2008, 11:04 pm

I want to read this one! I have another nonfiction book about Charlotte (can't remember the author right now, and am too lazy to go digging in double-layered bookshelves to find out), but it was a little on the dry side, if I recall correctly.
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

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Telynor
Bibliophile
Location: On the Banks of the Hudson

Postby Telynor » Thu August 28th, 2008, 11:15 pm

I have this one on my TBR pile, waiting for me to work my way down to it. I've seen another book about the Coburgs out lately, called The Coburg Conspiracy.

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Susan
Bibliomaniac
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Susan » Thu August 28th, 2008, 11:24 pm

"Telynor" wrote:I have this one on my TBR pile, waiting for me to work my way down to it. I've seen another book about the Coburgs out lately, called The Coburg Conspiracy.


I read a review of The Coburg Conspiracy in the April, 2008 issue of The European Royal History Journal. Coryne Hall, author of Little Mother of Russia: A Biography of Empress Marie Fedorovna and Imperial Dancer: Mathilde Kschessinska and the Romanovs writes the book reviews for the journal. It doesn't sound as if it has enough substance for me.

Her review says the book is 198 pages (short?) and that the book is based upon two conspiracies: to marry Albert to his cousin Victoria and to cover up the fact that Albert was probably illegitimate. Hall thinks that conspiracy is too strong a word to use in connection with Victoria and Albert's marriage. She is sure Victoria would not have married Albert if there had not been an attraction.

The book starts with the marriage of Prince Leopold (V & A's uncle) to Princess Charlotte of Wales. Hall says very little consideration is given to the marriage of Leopold's sister Julia to Grand Duke Constantine of Russia. It was this connection that got Leopold a link to Tsar Alexander I and into the tsar's entourage. This enabled him to meet Charlotte while in London with the Tsar. (This is covered in Charlotte and Leopold by James Chambers.) Regarding the possible illegitimacy of Albert, Hall questions whether Albert's mother was an adulteress and says "there is no proof, only gossip and innuendo." Hall regrets that the author did not interview any current members of the Coburg family. She ends her review with, "These reservations aside, the book is worth reading, especially for the section about the sad life of Duchess Louise - but I can't really agree that there was a conspiracy." (Louise was Albert's mother who was divorced from the Duke, exiled for life and died young of cancer.)
Last edited by Susan on Thu August 28th, 2008, 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
~Susan~
~Unofficial Royalty~
Royal news updated daily, information and discussion about royalty past and present
http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/

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Telynor
Bibliophile
Location: On the Banks of the Hudson

Postby Telynor » Mon September 1st, 2008, 9:43 pm

Thank you for posting this! I think I will avoid this one then, as it appears to be a bit too much fluff and not enough fact. More's the pity. I don't think Albert was illegitimate, from pictures of his brother Ernst, there's too much of a resemblence.

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Susan
Bibliomaniac
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Susan » Mon September 1st, 2008, 10:38 pm

"Telynor" wrote:Thank you for posting this! I think I will avoid this one then, as it appears to be a bit too much fluff and not enough fact. More's the pity. I don't think Albert was illegitimate, from pictures of his brother Ernst, there's too much of a resemblence.


You're welcome! I agree about Albert. I probably would have read The Coburg Conspiracy if I hadn't read Coryne Hall's review. I'm a sucker for anything about Queen Victoria.
~Susan~
~Unofficial Royalty~
Royal news updated daily, information and discussion about royalty past and present
http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/

ladyjanegreyref
Scribbler

Postby ladyjanegreyref » Fri December 19th, 2008, 6:15 pm

I am currently reading 'Becoming Queen' by Kate Williams. The first part of the book is about Charlotte. It is well written and an easy read.

I've also read 'Caroline and Charlotte' by Alison Plowden and have 'Charlotte and Leopold' to read at a later date.

Has anyone read 'Becoming Queen'?
Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide
http://www.ladyjanegrey.info

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Kasthu
Compulsive Reader
Location: Radnor, PA
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Postby Kasthu » Fri December 19th, 2008, 6:56 pm

It's funny, because today I finished reading a novel (A Foreign Affair) about the succession to the throne in 1837--that theory that Charlotte died, but her son didn't and was therefore the rightful king of England. With regards to the doctor who held himself responsible for Charlotte's death, the author of A Foreign Affair once worked at the house his family owned, which is where she got her inspiration for the book. Small world, eh?


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