Victoria: The Queen (Baird) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, consider these LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for Victoria: The Queen...then take off on your own :

1. Talk about the surprising, indeed, ironic, ways that Queen Victoria defied the strict codes of decorum—standards of behavior that were encoded with her name for an entire era. In other words, how was Victoria not a Victorian?

2. Describe the Queen: her young self, and trace the ways in which she changed into her middle-aged and then older self—the public figure we are most familiar with: a short, round woman, draped in black and a frown.

3. How would you describe Prince Albert? What was the couple's marriage like? In what way did he undermine Victoria's confidence as a ruler or undercut her authority?

4. The Queen had nine children. What kind of mother was she?

5. How would you describe Victoria's "management skills" and treatment of the men who surrounded her? How did she manage to use her feminity to her advantage in that most masculine of worlds?

6. Victoria sought to endow the "primarily ceremonial and symbolic" role of her monarchy with power and influence. Was she successful?

7. The Queen's inner circle included luminaries such as Lord Melbourne and Benjamin Disraeli, to name only two. Talk about her relationship with Melbourne, for instance, as well as others. Who needed her, and whom did she need?

8. After reading Julia Baird's biography, what surprised you most about Victoria or the great events of her age? Before reading Baird's book, how much did you know about the politics of the age and the spread of the British empire? What new insights have you come away with?

9. For comparison (and for sheer fun) watch the new Amazon series on Queen Elizabeth II. Do you see any similarities in the situations of the two female monarchs?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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