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Old 09-06-2022, 07:42 AM
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"Queen Alexandra: Loyalty and Love," by Frances Dimond (2022)

Frances Dimond has published a new book about Queen Alexandra, based on material available in the Royal Archives.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1914280059/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1914280059/

https://royalcentral.co.uk/interests...bruary-170549/

https://royalbooknews.blogspot.com/2...es-dimond.html

The book is 734 pages long (including source notes & index). I haven't read it yet, but leaving through it appears to be a detailed account of Alexandra's private and social lives, almost like a social diary. As a result, you get a glimpse of Alexandra's daily life as well as the people who made up her social circle. For example, Chapter 4 (1865-1869) opens with this paragraph:

"After dinner and a 'snap dragon' on 1 January 1865, the Waleses stayed until the 6th at Holkham Hall. Back at Sandringham the Knollys family dined with them, enjoying a Twelfth cake and another snapdragon. Eddy had a little first birthday table on the 8th. The house party arrived and field sports began. Alexandra drove with Cambridge and Albert Edward showed the guests his new kitchen garden, pheasants and stables. The family left for London on the 19th but stayed with the Queen at Osborne for Princess Louise's confirmation at Whippingham Church on the 21st and some very successful theatricals by the servants later. It was still very cold but they went out every day; heavy snow and a gale on the 27th thwarted the Prince's hunting and shooting but the weather was improving when, on 3 February, they returned to London."
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Old 09-06-2022, 08:25 AM
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pleased to hear there is finally a new bio of ALix, as the only one is Georgina Battiscombe. But this seems a bit overly detailed, and a little trivial. howver I will try to get hold of it.
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Old 09-06-2022, 12:21 PM
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Would Barnes & Noble Bookstore have Queen Alexandra: Loyalty and Love?
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Old 09-06-2022, 01:29 PM
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New biography, yay! It's only been almost 60 years...

Although Strasdin's thesis Inside the Royal Wardrobe is excellent, informative and entertaining, it's about time Alix was re-evaluated again. She did not help by destroying most of her papers, apparently, but her husband did the same thing and that has not stopped people.

It is available at B&N through their website.
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Old 09-06-2022, 09:50 PM
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The introduction is the only thing available to read on Amazon, but it in itself is interesting, despite a very closely-written style.

There is also a table which is meant to show Alix's descent from Henry VII through Margaret... and yet it does not seem to get there, but shows the BRF instead.
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Old 09-06-2022, 11:48 PM
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I bought Georgina Battiscombe’s bio on Alexandra years ago. She complained at the time I remember that there was little left in the way of personal letters etc. (Why hasn’t someone at least begun to tackle the huge mound of correspondence between Empress Minnie and Alexandra in Russian archives, which may well discuss the various issues with their husbands, offspring etc?)

This new book sounds great. However, as an Aussie there’s a problem for me. (A) It’s not on Kindle at Amazon, which is the way I read most of my books now.
(B) That leaves me with the hope that Aussie booksellers will stock it. Not guaranteed.
Or (C) I will have to pay horrendous transit charges to have this book shipped to me here in Melbourne. It makes me a bit annoyed.
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Old 09-06-2022, 11:53 PM
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Finally! I have been waiting for a new Alexandra bio for years. I will be sure to keep this one on my list.
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Old 09-07-2022, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
I bought Georgina Battiscombe’s bio on Alexandra years ago. She complained at the time I remember that there was little left in the way of personal letters etc. (Why hasn’t someone at least begun to tackle the huge mound of correspondence between Empress Minnie and Alexandra in Russian archives, which may well discuss the various issues with their husbands, offspring etc?)

This new book sounds great. However, as an Aussie there’s a problem for me. (A) It’s not on Kindle at Amazon, which is the way I read most of my books now.
(B) That leaves me with the hope that Aussie booksellers will stock it. Not guaranteed.
Or (C) I will have to pay horrendous transit charges to have this book shipped to me here in Melbourne. It makes me a bit annoyed.
The paperback is available on Amazon Australia.
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Old 09-07-2022, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
I bought Georgina Battiscombe’s bio on Alexandra years ago. She complained at the time I remember that there was little left in the way of personal letters etc. (Why hasn’t someone at least begun to tackle the huge mound of correspondence between Empress Minnie and Alexandra in Russian archives, which may well discuss the various issues with their husbands, offspring etc?)
Jane Ridley went through something like 11 Danish boxes of letters between the sisters writing Bertie.
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Old 09-20-2022, 09:58 PM
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This sounds interesting, wish it was available for Kindle.
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Old 09-27-2022, 01:58 PM
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Got it today and am flipping through it. It seems to be primarily helpful if you want to know what Alix was doing where and when, but I actually do, so it's quite useful in that regard.

So far the most interesting thing is that Bertie was apparently completely fascinated by Les Miserables when it was published in French and couldn't put it down, something which he wrote about to George twenty years later.

Bertie read a book that wasn't a cheap novel. I'm stunned. Now to see what else falls out of here...
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Old 09-27-2022, 02:46 PM
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Okay, here is something. There is no mention of Eddy's birthweight, but there is a letter Bertie wrote to Victoria saying "We were evidently mistaken in one month, possibly nearly two, & Dr Sieveking [...] is quite of that opinion, as the child is so full grown."

So that may answer how Eddy survived being quite so premature in the 19th century. He wasn't.
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Old 09-28-2022, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
Got it today and am flipping through it. It seems to be primarily helpful if you want to know what Alix was doing where and when, but I actually do, so it's quite useful in that regard.

So far the most interesting thing is that Bertie was apparently completely fascinated by Les Miserables when it was published in French and couldn't put it down, something which he wrote about to George twenty years later.

Bertie read a book that wasn't a cheap novel. I'm stunned. Now to see what else falls out of here...

Yes, I enjoy that aspect too. IMO the book is a very interesting social history. You learn in great detail how Alix spent her time & who was part of her social circle. I'd love to read a similar biography on Queen Mary.
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Old 09-28-2022, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
Got it today and am flipping through it. It seems to be primarily helpful if you want to know what Alix was doing where and when, but I actually do, so it's quite useful in that regard.

So far the most interesting thing is that Bertie was apparently completely fascinated by Les Miserables when it was published in French and couldn't put it down, something which he wrote about to George twenty years later.

Bertie read a book that wasn't a cheap novel. I'm stunned. Now to see what else falls out of here...
He was a very intelligent man…I don’t know about academia but he was shrewd and on the ball and single handedly saved the monarchy after Victoria and created our modern one. He gets a bad rep because of his inability to refuse pleasure but was an exceptionally clever social operator. It doesn’t surprise me that that book struck his fancy.
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Old 09-28-2022, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Gawin View Post
Yes, I enjoy that aspect too. IMO the book is a very interesting social history. You learn in great detail how Alix spent her time & who was part of her social circle. I'd love to read a similar biography on Queen Mary.
It's good for that, but I'm saddened by the lack of a more traditional (or any, really) narrative. Dimond doesn't spend much time on how she came to the conclusions she came to (I think. At least from what I can tell, but I certainly haven't read it cover to cover, since it's more useful for finding events), and seems to rely on the mountain of facts to support themselves. Good for an archivist, but not the easiest approach for a reader.

So far I got more of a sense of Alix from Strasdin's book, and that's a thesis about her clothes, not a biography.
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Old 09-28-2022, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by FigTree View Post
He was a very intelligent man…I don’t know about academia but he was shrewd and on the ball and single handedly saved the monarchy after Victoria and created our modern one. He gets a bad rep because of his inability to refuse pleasure but was an exceptionally clever social operator. It doesn’t surprise me that that book struck his fancy.
He was very intelligent socially but not much of an academic, nor was he known to read (cough) for pleasure. Les Mis is also very long, and he wasn't known for that kind of attention span. Different forms of intelligence.

It is perfectly possible that he did enjoy reading more than has been commonly thought (no internet or smartphones in those days), but nothing, including his very extensive recent biography, has come to that conclusion. So I am surprised.
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Old 09-28-2022, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
He was very intelligent socially but not much of an academic, nor was he known to read (cough) for pleasure. Les Mis is also very long, and he wasn't known for that kind of attention span. Different forms of intelligence.

It is perfectly possible that he did enjoy reading more than has been commonly thought (no internet or smartphones in those days), but nothing, including his very extensive recent biography, has come to that conclusion. So I am surprised.
I was thinking more the themes of the book strike a cord with him. He may have feared been disposed himself. He was very conscious of perceptions.
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Old 09-28-2022, 08:08 PM
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I was thinking more the themes of the book strike a cord with him. He may have feared been disposed himself. He was very conscious of perceptions.
That's exactly what Dimond does say, given that Bertie was being raked over the coals for the affair with Nellie Clifden at the time.

However, he recommended it to George, who was not going through the same thing and was not any more of a recreational reader, nor could George read it in French. He really did like the book.
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Old 09-28-2022, 10:35 PM
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Would the Danish royal family have some of Alix's letters? I read that their mother wrote to her daughters weekly.
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Old 09-28-2022, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
He was very intelligent socially but not much of an academic, nor was he known to read (cough) for pleasure. Les Mis is also very long, and he wasn't known for that kind of attention span. Different forms of intelligence.

It is perfectly possible that he did enjoy reading more than has been commonly thought (no internet or smartphones in those days), but nothing, including his very extensive recent biography, has come to that conclusion. So I am surprised.
In any case, he was a Francophile. And his preference for an Entente with France, coupled with his antipathy towards Germany and the Kaiser, certainly added fuel to an already explosive scenario in the decade before WW1. Of course, British foreign policy was handled by the government, not by the King, but the King still had a much greater influence in the early 20th century than he has today.
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