Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Born to Rule

That's the title of the book I'm reading right now. It's about five women who had two things in common: they were all reigning consorts, and they were all granddaughters of Queen Victoria. The author explores their childhood relationships with their grandmother, which were generally positive, and their enduring love for England and things English, even if they also learned to love their new homelands.

One of the sad things the book covers is that even though four of these women especially did grow to truly love the land of their reign, they were seen by many in their adopted countries as alien and perhaps even a threat to the welfare of the country. The book brings up something I'd never thought of; not only did many royals marry foreign princes and princesses because of the aspect of royalty marrying royalty, but in those times there was competition among the aristocratic families, for power. Marrying into one specific noble house and giving that family extra influence in court was not a wise idea

Despite their wealth and position, you end up feeling sorry for all of these women. Three of them were cheated on, four saw their thrones lost, the Empress Alexandra and her immediate family were of course eventually assassinated, and all of them for their supposed power as queen/empress really lived very constricted lives. Do you see this as a trade-off for the privileges they did enjoy?

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