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The Strangest Family The Private Life of George III by Janice Hadlow, Martin Davidson
  

The Strangest Family The Private Life of George III

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An intensely moving account of George III's doomed attempt to create a happy, harmonious family, written with astonishing emotional force by a stunning new history writer.

Synopsis

The Strangest Family The Private Life of George III by Janice Hadlow, Martin Davidson

An intensely moving account of George III's doomed attempt to create a happy, harmonious family, written with astonishing emotional force by a stunning new history writer. George III came to the throne in 1760 as a man with a mission. He wanted to be a new kind of king, one whose power was rooted in the affection and approval of his people. And he was determined to revolutionise his private life too - to show that a better man would, inevitably, make a better ruler. Above all he was determined to break with the extraordinarily dysfunctional home lives of his Hanoverian forbears. For his family, things would be different. And for a long time it seemed as if, against all the odds, his great family experiment was succeeding. His wife, Queen Charlotte, shared his sense of moral purpose, and together they did everything they could to raise their tribe of 13 young sons and daughters in a climate of loving attention. But as the children grew older, and their wishes and desires developed away from those of their father, it became harder to maintain the illusion of domestic harmony. The king's episodes of madness, in which he frequently expressed his repulsion for the queen, undermined the bedrock of their marriage; his disapproving distance from the bored and purposeless princes alienated them; and his determination to keep the princesses at home, protected from the potential horrors of the continental marriage market, left them lonely, bitter and resentful at their loveless, single state. At one level, 'The Strangest Family' is the story of how the best intentions can produce unhappy consequences. But the lives of the women in George's life - and of the princesses in particular - were shaped by a kind of undaunted emotional resilience that most modern women will recognise. However flawed George's great family experiment may have been, in the value the princesses placed on the ideals of domestic happiness, they were truly their father's daughters.

Reviews

`A masterpiece. Beautifully written, impeccably researched, this heartbreaking narrative of family dysfunction and royal sacrifice is an absolute page-turner
Amanda Foreman, author of

`Georgiana'`Enthralling ... you know you are in the hands of a master narrator as well as a profoundly perceptive historian. And like all great historical writing, the book transcends its immediate story - gripping and moving though that is - to be a timeless reflection on the human condition
Simon Schama

`Colourful and brilliantly narrated ... excellent both in her narrative skill and her scholarship ... Hadlow has produced a perceptive, lively and wonderfully enjoyable book
Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times

`Fascinating ... in this densely detailed yet fast-paced book, as drama follows drama, the interest never flags ... Hadlow is adept at the telling phrase and makes splendid use of the period's vivid letters, diaries and memoirs
Jenny Uglow, Guardian

`Engrossing ... Hadlow, an accomplished storyteller, assembles a picture full of emotional colour and drama which still resonates today
Lucy Hughes

-Hallett, The Times`Truly engrossing. George III and his relatives give us the ultimate family saga, and it almost defies belief that these events really happened. A real-life period drama to lose yourself in
Lucy Worsley

`Brilliantly lays bare the dysfunctional home life of Geroge III's family
Sunday Times

`Hadlow's achievement is to unite in a single volume an overview of one family's squabbling, thwarted good intentions and petty vindictiveness ... in readable prose, with a welter of detail Hadlow succeeds in her considerable task ... This is a discursive, leisurely account, enlivened by Hadlow's infectious enthusiasm
Sunday Telegraph

`Hadlow's energetic, richly detailed debut combines personal sympathy for her subjects with a shrewd alertness to wider significances
Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Janice Hadlow is Controller, Special Projects and Seasons at the BBC. In her pervious roles as Controller of BBC2 and BBC4, and Head of History at Channel4, she has been hugely influential in popularizing history on television. This is her first book.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2012

Author

Janice Hadlow, Martin Davidson

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Publisher

William Collins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Hardback
704 pages

Categories

History
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Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
Biography: historical, political & military

ISBN

9780007165193

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