On the surface the sisters were busy, accomplished girls, but the real story beneath their composed image was quite different - no one who reads Princesses will ever look in the same way again at the calm, composed women in Gainsborough's portraits. The King may have believed that his six daughters were happy to live celibately with him and Queen ...Read MoreOn the surface the sisters were busy, accomplished girls, but the real story beneath their composed image was quite different - no one who reads Princesses will ever look in the same way again at the calm, composed women in Gainsborough's portraits. The King may have believed that his six daughters were happy to live celibately with him and Queen Charlotte at Windsor, but secretly, as Flora Fraser's absorbing narrative of royal repression and sexual licence shows, the sisters enjoyed startling freedom. The historical searchlight has been turned with great intensity and sympathy on George III and his family, and the sweep of history between the Regency and Victorian eras. Flora Fraser has written an extraordinary (and surprisingly modern) story with real authority, wit and elegance.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2005-03-28 King George III of England (1760-1820) and his queen, Charlotte, had 15 children, among them six daughters, on whom Fraser (The Unruly Queen) focuses her family portrait. She depicts royals who attempted to live a rather homey life, but were torn both by the king's famous madness and by complex political and affectionate alliances within the family itself. Fraser has a great source that she uses extensively: the prolific and elegant letters of Charlotte and her daughters. Their correspondence reveals personalities and daily details that attach the reader to their lives. The letters are at times less informative than suggestive; over-reliance on them contributes a wandering quality to the narrative and too many precious tidbits that Fraser apparently couldn't bear to leave out. She also tends to set up situations that take too long to play out, the most significant being the onset of George's madness. The madness, though, is at the center of the women's lives: it not only helped weaken the monarchy further, it wrecked a happy marriage, created rifts out of family tensions and contributed to only three of George's talented daughters marrying, and then too late in life to have children, while two others triggered scandal with their affairs. It's a sad and fascinating story. 24 pages of color illus. Agent, Jonathan Lloyd. (Apr. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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