George III: A Personal History
by Christopher Hibbert
I did enjoy this book, Hibbert has a way of including small details of life within the larger context of of his subject which gives wonderful insight into both his subjects and the time he is writing of. For instance the quotes from Fanny Burney's diaries of life in Court and the stiflingly formal dress and code of conduct to which they had to adhere.
In some ways I found the chapters a bit muddling. The book doesn't follow a complete continuum of time from start to finish. The chapters are all in an ordered timeline, but often the subject digresses and they will discuss events that take place years in advance. It isn't a complaint, I just found it an interesting way of approaching the topic, and quite different from the previous books of Hibbert's that I have read.
This is a very sympathetic biography but very interesting. It is easy to see the King slipping into madness and why - and to pick the signs (such as his frenetic energy). It is also more than just an account of a mad King though and I enjoyed it for the depth of focus it bought.
Well worth reading.
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
The father and uncles of Queen Victoria
by Roger Fulford
They have to reprint this book one day - or perhaps the time is right to do a more indepth look at the lives of the Dukes - really this book and Dorothy Margaret Stuart's book The Daughters of King George
are the only substantial books written on the children of King George III. (with the exception of the Prince Regent of course)
It is surprising there haven't been more books on the Royal Dukes. Their lives were rich with juicy scandal, (murders, gossip of incest, whippings, failed careers, prostitutes, secret marriages and scads of illegitimate children). Of course as Fulford also shows us their lives were also full of a great deal of excellent public service. The Duke of York in the army, Duke of Clarence (later William IV) the Navy, and the Duke of Cumberland in Hanover.
Fulford allows a chapter for each of the six Royal Dukes as well as one by way of an introduction to their parents, King George and Queen Charlotte, which includes some detail on their childhood and the dominance which the Dukes's father held over them throughout their adult lives.
This is an intelligent and entertaining look at The Royal House of Hanover, beautifully researched and humourously presented. A great little reference book.
Unknown Binding: 318 pages
Publisher: Collins; New and revised ed edition (1973)
Anne Woodley is an Amazon top 500 reviewer as well as the patroness of Janeites, the Internet discussion, as well as mistress of the Regency Ring. Her excellent page, The Regency Collection is a treasure trove of information.