VICTORIA AND DISRAELI: The Making of a Romantic Partnership by Theo Aronson

VICTORIA AND DISRAELI: The Making of a Romantic Partnership

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Theo Aronson does his customary workmanlike job describing the odd, star-crossed relationship of Queen Victoria and her favorite and most flamboyant prime minister. His thesis is that Victoria always had a weakness for ladies' men who treated her like a woman--Lord Melbourne and Napoleon III, for instance. Disraeli, in turn, had a lifelong passion for matronly but romantic women, most notably his startling wife, twelve years his senior but of a humorously exaggerated youthfulness. From this psychological basis and from Disraeli's idealization of the monarchy there developed a deep friendship. He flirted with her and romanticized her, and she began to live up to his image, thus giving the British Empire a new and valuable symbol. He called her ""the Faery"" and made her Empress of India. She picked him flowers, took his side against Gladstone, and made him an earl. Their partnership worked very well when the prevailing British sentiment was for imperial glory, but proved less useful when social change was mooted. Between Dizzy's epigrams and everybody's letters, Aronson spends much time on background and political speculation to fill out this possibly slim idea for a book. But his droll style, familiar from The Golden Bees, Royal Vendetta, and other popular histories of 19th-century European royalties, his sympathy mingled with cynicism, and his careful if rarely original research combine, as usual, to produce charming light biography.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Macmillan