Narrated By: Clare Corbett
Duration: 5 hours and 14 minutes
What to expect
'Queen Victoria had a very complicated and psychologically fascinating personality and only a very talented biographer could get to the key of her character. Fortunately in Matthew Dennison's pithy, well-researched, beautifully written and very accessible book, she has found one' Andrew Roberts
Queen Victoria is Britain’s queen of contradictions. In her combination of deep sentimentality and bombast; cultural imperialism and imperial compassion; fear of intellectualism and excitement at technology; romanticism and prudishness, she became a spirit of the age to which she gave her name.
Victoria embraced photography, railway travel and modern art; she resisted compulsory education for the working classes, recommended for a leading women’s rights campaigner ‘a good whipping’ and detested smoking. She may or may not have been amused.
Meanwhile she reinvented the monarchy and wrestled with personal reinvention. She lived in the shadow of her mother and then under the tutelage of her husband; finally she embraced self-reliance during her long widowhood. Fresh, witty and accessible, Queen Victoria is a compelling assessment of Victoria’s mercurial character and impact, written with the irony, flourish and insight that this Queen and her rule so richly deserve.
Autobiography: royalty, Social & cultural history
Listen to a sample
'Matthew Dennison’s short, elegant biography of Queen Victoria focuses on the woman herself, rather than her effect on the country or her monarchical legacy … The book offers a nuanced portrait of Victoria, who could be impetuous and hypocritical, but also surprisingly progressive in her social views. Dennison writes with flair, and his vivid pen portraits of the peripheral figures in Victoria’s story are worth the price alone' David Evans, Independent on Sunday
‘Sometimes caustic about her stubbornness and passions, often admiring of her frankness and honesty, Dennison's Queen Victoria sweeps us through the monarch's long and colourful life at a collected canter. He draws on imagery of her reign, including portraits of her with John Brown, to startlingly good effect, making us see with new eyes the lone young queen, later the Widow of Windsor and, in a final role, Grandmama of Europe’ Flora Fraser
'Matthew Dennison has pulled off a tremendous coup in writing a short and concise book, encapsulating Victoria's life in 152 small pages. Short books can sometimes be superficial overviews, but this one has the confidence of considerable research, well digested and well delivered… For anyone approaching Queen Victoria for the first time, this is perfect' Hugo Vickers, Times
'This illuminating book gives us Victoria in deliberately bite-sized chunks… Dennison's dry wit and concise analysis bring new life to a monarch we all thought we knew' Daily Express
'In elegant, eloquent prose, Matthew Dennison has written a close-focus and perceptive account of a complex woman' Country Life
‘One is left breathless with admiration for the great Queen’ The Tablet
‘[Matthew Dennison] has done an adroit and incisive job of tying together Victoria’s many loose ends’ Spectator