Becoming Victoria

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The infant princess Victoria, just eight months old, moved significantly closer to the throne of England upon the unexpected death of her father, Edward, duke of Kent, in 1820. The task of raising a potential female monarch assumed critical importance for the English nation, yet Victoria's girlhood and adolescence have received scant attention from historians, cultural critics, and even her biographers. In this highly engaging and enlightening book, Lynne Vallone reveals a new Victoria - a lively and passionate girl very different from the iconic dour widow of the queen's later life. Based on the most thorough exploration of the young Victoria's own letters, stories, drawings, educational materials, and journals - documents that have been underappreciated until now - the book illuminates the princess's childhood from her earliest years to her accession to the throne at the age of eighteen in 1837. Vallone presents a fresh assessment of 'the rose of England' within the culture of girlhood and domestic life in the 1820s and 1830s. The author also explores the complex and often conflicting contexts of the period, including Georgian children's literature, conventional childrearing practices, domestic and familial intrigues, and the frequently turbulent political climate. Part biography, part historical and cultural study, this richly illustrated volume uncovers in fascinating detail the childhood that Victoria actually lived. Lynne Vallone is associate professor of English at Texas A & M University. She is the author of 'Disciplines of Virtue: Girl's Culture in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries', published by Yale University Press.