I've just recently finished reading a book I'd been saving for once I'd returned from London and its palaces and other royal things. Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch by Kate Williams was a great read. In my obsession with all of Britain's royalty through the ages, Queen Victoria is right up on top with the current queen and Victoria's great-granddaughter. Partly because I took Victorian Literature in graduate school and it was heavy on the era's history (which was great) and partly because of all the reading I've done in the past few years, I feel like I have a good handle on Victoria's reign. What I didn't know as much about is how she got to that point. Only a very small part of this book actually takes place after Victoria has become queen. I was fascinated by her overbearing mother and her counterpart John Conroy, and the power they wanted to have over her, and the recognition and prestige they desired to have once Victoria became queen. I loved that even though she was only 18 when she became Britain's leader, she acted quickly and firmly to stand on her own. She knew she was capable of doing her duty without her mother and Conroy's influence, and she did so very well for the next 63 years. While the first half of the book focuses on Charlotte and is very interesting, I loved learning more about Victoria's early life and early reign in the second half of the book.
I've been lucky enough to visit Kensington Palace twice and Buckingham Palace once on my two trips to London. Here are a few photos.