Tag Archives: royalty

The Mystery of Princess Louise, by Lucinda Hawksley

Published 2013, 349 pages.

An excellent read which covers the relatively unknown life of Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s second youngest daughter.

  • Was an accomplished sculptor, although some say she didn’t do the time consuming finishing off work of her sculptures.
  • Didn’t like being under Queen Victoria’s thumb and was rebellious
  • Argumentative with her younger sister Beatrice until they were both elderly
  • Compassionate to others through Albert’s guidance during childhood. She was a nurse and helped with many charities.
  • Excellent cook and didn’t mind helping out
  • Controversially had a lover (fellow sculptor)
  • Spent a lot of time in Canada with husband John Douglas Sutherland Campbell,
  • Suffered many deaths of her friends and family
  • Ate little to stay thin (had three brussel sprouts at one dinner) as she wanted to avoid the “Hanoverian” figure of her mother. Louise was in better health than younger sister Beatrice who was overweight
  • The author paints a bad image of Queen Victoria as an over authoritative controller of her off-spring, even more so when they were adults.
  • Louise had a very progressive view of women’s role in society, should be able to become professionals.
  • attractive and popular with public, appeared often in public.


It’s good to read a few books on the same subject and get a different view of the history that is covered, and this book gives a perspective of someone else in the royal family besides Queen Victoria.


Unsuitable for Publication: Editing Queen Victoria, by Yvonne Ward

Published 2013, 208 pages

A quick glance at the cover made me think I had picked up Victoria The Queen, by Julia Baird (which undoes the bias which occurred back then). The book discusses how two old boys from Eton, Viscount Esher and Arthur Benson, gave the modern world its view of Queen Victoria.

The author goes into a lot of detail how the editors went about their task, which was a huge one and sometimes there were regrets that they took it on. The editors can’t be blamed completely for the skewed image of Queen Victoria as they had to avoid displeasing the king even though one of them was good friends with him.

One bias was caused by Esher and Benson focusing on the male communications and not the female ones.

Due to being over careful with the sensitivities of the king the publication of The Letters of Queen Victoria was delayed quite a bit. The author discusses the type-setting process of a book. Even though I read books a lot it’s something I never gave thought to. Even a small book would needs lots of type-setting, but this one ran into three volumes and sold for 3 guineas (about £3 3s, or £3.30). All 5000 copies were sold and it was generally well received.

The book is a good study of censorship. Highly recommended.

Further Information

Victoria (2016)

The Young Victoria (2009)

Queen Victoria’s Children (2013)


Holden Our Car 1856-2017, by Toby Hagon

Published 2016, 280 pages

Holden, Our Car covers the period of Holden from the beginning in making saddlery, then car bodies and lastly their own car (with lots of help from General Motors).

There are many great images to stir up the nostalgia. Many photos could have been taken by my parents on holiday with the caravan and car in the 60’s.

It’s interesting to read about the process of designing, building and marketing a car, and the huge financial risk involved.  Each company effectively bets millions of dollars on a car that they don’t know if it will be a success or not.

Manufacturing Demise

The book covers the sad demise of car manufacturing by GMH in Australia. The author notes that the stronghold of Holden support, The Bathurst 1000, there are many supporters wearing the Holden gear but arriving in Japanese built cars.

Part of this is due to bad quality control which is noted by one of the overseas managers. From my own experience both my Torana 1900 and Ford Cortina often broke down. Rarely if ever a problem with my Japanese built Subaru or Nissan cars.

Design Industry

The book finishes on a happy note saying that Holden is still doing well in Australia as a leading design studio.


Overall an excellent and enjoyable read. Highly recommended.


Victoria the Queen, by Julia Baird

Victoria the Queen. An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled An Empire, by Julia Baird

Published 2016, 696 pages (including 35? of notes, bibliography and index).

This book was thoroughly enjoyable. It begins with a “list of characters” amongst maps and the family tree which suggests a play; and that’s the way it was written.

The style keeps the reader interested; plus the extensive background to the age helps understanding of why the characters did what they did.

Some of the issues discussed in the era are:

  • Bad treatment of child workers (under 10 years old) in the mines, many had to crawl along the wet muddy ground of the mines to haul coal carts as adults were too large to do it.
  • Lack of sanitation leading to disease. It was surprising to learn that Buckingham Palace was victim to this as well as the poor, with sewage leaking out in the kitchen.
  • Very few rights for women (given that Victoria was female in such power you expect more would be fixed here).
    • Treatment of women as chattels.
    • No rights to house or children after divorce.
    • No government voting rights.

A recent documentary Queen Victoria’s Children paints Victoria in a very dim light regarding her children. However in this book we learn that Victoria was fond of her children but refused to breast feed them as was common for the wealthy classes of the day. Her daughters were different here as well as in many other things including one who became an accomplished sculptor.

Victoria had a strong interest in politics, although when Albert was around this seems to have waned.

Overall an excellent and enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

Further Information

Victoria (2016)

The Young Victoria (2009)

Queen Victoria’s Children (2013)

Queen Victoria, A Life of Contradictions. Matthew Dennison

Published 2013, 189 pages (including 35 of notes, bibliography and index).

Dennison. Queen Victoria-A Life of Contradictions.

This book is somewhat hard to follow with usage of words that aren’t in common use. Almost every page needed a visit or two to the dictionary or Google to determine a word definition.

It covers the main points of Victoria’s reign and despite the book title I couldn’t find too many “contradictions”. Of interested is her changing mind states and how it affects her ruling. It’s interesting to note how back in the 1800’s royalty took part in politics more back then when Victoria’s mood allowed for it. There are long periods during which her depression over mourning for Albert severely reduced her interest in ruling.

Notable was the lack of mention how badly she treated her children, and her attitude towards Albert sexually and her distaste for babies (after watching “Queen Victoria’s Children”).

A good brief account of a long and eventful reign.

Further Information

Victoria (2016)

The Young Victoria (2009)

Queen Victoria’s Children (2013)