(From the publisher):
Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince Regent and heiress to the crown, had died in childbirth, and not one of the sons of mad George III had produced a legitimate heir. The Regent was bound to a wife who disgusted him; the Duke of York's Duchess had proved to be barren; William, Duke of Clarence was unmarried though the father of ten children by the late actress Dorothy Jordon; Edward, Duke of Kent was also a bachelor although he had enjoyed a liaison of long duration with his beloved Madame de St. Laurent. The position must be remedied without delay and marriages arranged.
So gentle Princess Adelaide and the buxom widow Princess Victoria were brought to England to become the new Duchesses, the marriages took place and the race for the crown began. To the Kents was born a 'plump little partridge' -- Victoria -- who, because of a prophecy, her parents believed would one day be the great Queen of England. But there were other eyes on the crown and in particular those of the sinister Cumberland...
The Regent became George IV, still the man of good taste and great charm, but indulgence had made him gross and he suffered from constant and mysterious illnesses; everyone knew that he could not live long; York died; and Clarence, the buffoon, with a talent for making himself ridiculous -- and still without a legitimate heir -- was next in the succession. It seemed certain that one day Victoria would be Queen. But there were envious men and women alert for opportunity. A crown was at stake, and menace hung over the little girl at Kensington Palace.
The great Georgian age was coming to an end. At Windsor, the Pavilion and Carlton House the King, sighing for the return of Maria Fitzherbert but keeping Lady Conyngham at his side, lived alternately like a sultan and a hermit. It was a waiting period, the passing of an age.
Who would reach the throne? Fear crept into the Kensington apartments, and Victoria's mother and the faithful Baroness Lehzen thought it necessary to guard the precious child who was not allowed to sleep alone or even descend the spiral staircase without a companion. So Victoria -- the object of attention, both devoted and malevolent -- waited in the wings, preparing for the time when she would walk on to the stage and mount the throne...
Original title: Victoria in the Wings
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ The "royals"
Fiction→ Historical→ European→ British Isles→ England