I somehow knew almost nothing about this era, the late 's and early 's, but Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion convincingly presents it as pivotal. As the last Stuart monarch Anne's birth was just after the overthrow of the Cromwells and the restoration of the monarchy. The Stuart line held the throne between the Tudors and the Hanover Georges that preceded Victoria, and it was during Anne's reign that Great Britain came into being and The War of Spanish Succession changed the balance of power in Europe and its colonies.
Though these actions had long lasting consequences other scholars have dismissed Anne's role in them as unimportant. This book redeems her, detail by detail building the case that Anne's influence played a major role in the direction of events.
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I have close to zero interest in celebrity gossip and keeping up with contemporary royals has just about that amount of appeal for me, but I definitely got a gossipy--and then she did whaaaa! Maybe that's because histories can include the long view and that's more fascinating than day to day trifles, or maybe it's because back in the day royals had political power so their personal feuds, passionate obsessions, and religious beliefs had actual impact.
The subtitle, The Politics of Passion, is apt.
Though it deals mainly with royals and titled aristocrats the book tells a gripping human story of love, conviction, dilemma, and compromise. A magnificent achievement.
There was so much more to this Queen than the usual historical dismissal. My main agenda in picking up this book was to fill a gap in my knowledge and while it was worthwhile in that regard I can't pretend that I greatly enjoyed it. Call this a study of the time in Britain when politics went from the personal or at least the religious to the ideological. I won this is the Goodreads First Reads program.
I was very pleased to win a copy as it was on my to read list, and I really enjoy Anne Somerset's books. She seems to have written a different perspective of Queen Anne than the Duchess of Marlborough, who was a close friend of Anne's until she became queen and they grew apart because of the Duchess' behavior. She wrote terrible things in her memoirs about the queen that Somerset often contradicts in her book. Somerset does not try to make Anne perfect, but appears to be more balanced than the Duchess of Marlborough.
I look forward to reading the Duchess' memoirs to form my own opinion of them. I really like Somerset's style of writing. She portrays the numerous facts in an engaging manner. I was excited to learn more about this period, which leads to the change of dynasty from Stuart to Hanoverian. I knew very little about the change in dynasty, and was interested to see Anne's role in and perspective of the change. I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to people interested in women rulers, or that period in history.
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Very detailed - towards the end I found it too detailed - portrait of Queen Anne, who usually is not given much respect. The book portrays a person who had a tragic life, persevered through her faith, and did really try to govern as best as she could having England interests as she understood it in mind. She was inclined to have strong willed favorites but contrary to established opinion, this has not disabled her from her own voice. Duchess of Marlborough, her most famous critique, comes out herself very badly.
The queen had to permanently balance between Tories and Whigs, which extremely complicated her reign but I do believe she managed it just fine. She is probably will be mostly remembered for England success in the war of Spanish succession. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason. Due to the high volume of feedback, we are unable to respond to individual comments. Sorry, but we can't respond to individual comments.
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There was a problem with saving your item s for later. So many of our unflattering ideas about Anne, she points out, have come from the vindictive pen of the Duchess of Marlborough. The fact that the duchess was clever, witty and bitchy meant that her jibes have been remembered and repeated through the generations.watch
Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion: A Biography - HistoryExtra
What many have failed to take into account is that the beautiful duchess was not only a termagant but was unreliable and demonstrably unbalanced. She was born five years after the restoration of her uncle, Charles II; her father, James II, was the heir presumptive and continued to be so, for the libidinous Charles, father of numerous out-of-wedlock offspring, was unable to sire a legitimate child. James, alas, was a Roman Catholic, and at his succession to the throne a country exhausted by a century of religious turbulence, including a revolution and civil war, was unwilling to accept a monarch not of the established religion.
As William and Mary continued childless, it became probable that Anne would ascend the throne. She was unpromising monarchical material.
Yet Anne had a surprising confidence in her ability to govern, one that seems not to have been entirely misplaced. Her love for her country and her wish to do well by it are evident in all that she did and wrote. Her firmness in the Anglican faith and her distaste for all religious dissent might not seem particularly laudable to modern readers, who prize toleration, but in the context of the era it was all-important. England wanted a Protestant monarch, and it wanted religious harmony, insofar as that was possible; Anne provided these. Far from having no will of her own, as the Duchess of Marlborough claimed, Anne demonstrated a firm one at many moments of crisis, and for someone who clearly disliked confrontation she proved again and again that she could face it when necessary.
Like Queen Victoria a century and a half later, Anne cultivated a maternal image, presenting herself as the mother of her people. Tragically, her career as an actual mother was cut short: None of her children survived to adulthood.
Pregnant at least 17 times, she suffered numerous miscarriages and stillbirths. Two little daughters were taken from her by smallpox. Her precocious but sickly son and heir, the Duke of Gloucester, succumbed to a fever at the age of