Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- Daisy Goodwin was inspired to tell this story by Queen Victoria's diaries. "How handsome
Albert looks in his white cashmere breeches," the young queen wrote in 1839. Daisy
suddenly found herself imagining what it would be like if her own teenage daughter became
the most powerful woman in the world overnight. How does Victoria handle her rise to
power at the age of eighteen? How do you think you might have handled it?
- In what ways does Victoria come across a "typical" teenager and/or as a powerful sovereign?
- How does Victoria's sheltered upbringing at Kensington Palace influence her ultimate ability
to rule her country?
- Why do you think one of the young queen's first acts is to reject her given name of
Alexandrina in favor of Victoria?
- In what ways does Victoria's relationship with her mother influence her decisions as queen?
How does that relationship change in the course of the novel?
- Where do you think Victoria gets the strength to stand up against her family and others who
try to dictate her role as queen?
- Why was Victoria so vengeful toward Lady Flora?
- What are the biggest challenges that Victoria faces? How might you have dealt with those
- How do you feel about Lord Melbourne? What might Victoria's life have been like if she had
chosen him over Albert?
- What did you think of Albert when he first appeared in the story? How do you view
Victoria's prediction that theirs "will be a marriage of inconvenience"?
- Victoria thinks Lord M must be teasing when he says that some Chartists believe that women
should have the vote. There are also a number of references to "bonnets," or women, whose
significance is clearly different from men's. How do you see the role of women in general
and Queen Victoria in particular in the course of the novel?
- How has courting changed for the current heirs to the English throne compared to Queen
- Are there any modern-day world leaders you would compare to the young Victoria?
- What do you see as the most and least enviable aspects of Queen Victoria's life?
- What was the most interesting thing about Victoria that you learned while reading this novel?
Did you feel the same way about her at the beginning and end of the book?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of St. Martin's Press.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.