Excerpt from Victoria by Daisy Goodwin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Victoria

by Daisy Goodwin

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin X
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2016, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2017, 416 pages

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Victoria nodded. "Many times, Mama." But the Duchess was not to be forestalled.

"It was just a hired carriage, and so uncomfortable. But I was crossing my legs the whole time, so that you, mein Liebe, could be born in England. I knew that if you were born anywhere else, then those awful uncles of yours would say that you were not English and then you could not be Queen. But I held on."

The Duchess smiled at her own obstetrical feat. She was right, of course; Victoria knew that. There were enough people already who doubted whether an eighteen-year-old girl would make a suitable monarch, but the idea of an eighteen-year-old girl who had been born in Germany would never be countenanced.

"If only your poor father could have lived to see this day." The Duchess looked up at the life-sized picture of the late Duke of Kent, standing with his hand resting on a cannon, that hung behind them.

"But Mama, even if he hadn't died when I was a baby, he would never have seen me become Queen now, would he? The only reason I am Queen is that he is dead."

The Duchess shook her head, impatient with Victoria's pedantic insistence on the facts of the succession. "Yes, I know, but you know what I mean, Drina. He would be so happy to think that out of all his brothers, it was his child who was becoming the Queen. Just think, if I had not been what your father was always calling a Coburg brood mare, then that monster, your uncle Cumberland, would be the King." The Duchess shuddered theatrically and crossed herself.

"Well, he isn't. Not of England, anyway. But of course he is the King of Hanover now," said Victoria. It was a wrinkle in the laws of succession that while she could inherit the British throne, as a woman she was barred from reigning over the German state that had been ruled jointly since the Elector of Hanover had become George I in 1713. Her uncle Cumberland, as the next male heir, had inherited the German duchy.

"Hanover! It is, how do you call it, a pimple, in the middle of Germany. Let him go and be King there, and leave us alone."

Victoria tugged at the bodice of her dress so that it lay straight. Her mother had tried to frighten her with the man she called "your wicked uncle Cumberland" ever since she could remember. He was the reason that Victoria had always slept in her mother's bedroom, the Duchess believing that if Cumberland were to come for Victoria in the night then she would at least be able to interpose her body between the assassin and her child.

Victoria had no difficulty in believing her uncle capable of murder; he was almost comically villainous in appearance—tall and cadaverous with a livid dueling scar down one cheek. When Cumberland's valet had been found with his throat cut, it had been generally assumed that Cumberland had been responsible. She had less confidence in her mother's ability to defend her. Determined as the Duchess was, Victoria did not think even she would be able to fend off a six-foot man with a cutthroat razor.

Copyright © 2016 by Daisy Goodwin Productions

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