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After the death of Prince Albert, the grief of Victoria and her nation was so profound that this one event was to dramatically change the British monarchy. Drawing on sources ranging from Royal Archives to popular newspapers, this study offers a new perspective on a compelling historical drama - the crucial final months of Albert's life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen's retreat from public view - and it overturns the myth that Albert died of typhoid fever.
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Helen Rappaport is an historian and Russianist with a specialism in the Victorians and revolutionary Russia. Her books include Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs and No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War. She lives in Oxford. For more information, you can visit her website at www.helenrappaport.comReview:
"In this intriguing study, Helen Rappaport sets out to tell the story of the royal anguish that followed Albert's death in December 1861 ... she excels in her portrayal of a cult of mourning over which the queen presided with all the imperious intensity of a high priestess. Fair-minded, thoughtful and rich in social detail." Sunday Times "Rappaport uses new sources to give a vivid account of Albert's death ... a valuable and insightful book which will change our view of Queen Victoria." Spectator "Rappaport draws on a wide range of sources, including unpublished royal letters, contemporary diaries and newspapers to create an insightful, absorbing and highly readable account of these events, but Magnificent Obsession is also a fascinating exposition of the art of mourning which Victoria made peculiarly her own ... Magnificent Obsession is that rare creature; a scholarly book that wears its learning lightly and is written with clarity and insight. It is a fascinating subject and an even better read: a model of its kind." Sunday Express "To mark the 150th anniversary of Albert's death, Helen Rappaport looks at the circumstances leading up to it, the ritual of his funeral and obsequies, and offers new theories on what killed him." Majesty magazine "A brilliant new book ... Helen Rappaport is especially good on the incompetence of the gang of medics who presided over Albert's illness." Daily Mail
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