Sidelights on Queen Victoria (Paperback)
Sir Henry Ponsonby was Private Secretary to Queen Victoria for twenty-five years, from 1870 until shortly before his death in 1895. His private letters form the basis of this book by his son, first published in 1930, recounting various episodes from Court and political life during the second half of her reign. There are moments of gentle humour in the issues arising from the matter of who was or was not allowed to take ponies out for riding at Balmoral, and in the visit of the Shah of Persia to London in 1873. On a more serious note, three chapters are devoted to the passing of the Franchise Bill of 1884, and one to the more poignant matter of Gladstone's retirement from prime ministerial office in 1894. Yet whether 'comedies of manners' or high political drama, as the author observes, these incidents 'bring out very clearly Queen Victoria's dominant personality and to illustrate so well the tenacity with which she pursued any line of policy once she had arrived at a decision'.'Although a considerable part of this book is not what is usually dignified with the name of history it is undoubtedly of the stuff of which history is made' - The Spectator '...an entertaining book which illuminates not only the Queen herself but also the tact and diplomacy constantly demanded of her servants' - The TimesSir Frederick Ponsonby, Sir Henry's second son, was born in 1867. He was successively equerry, Keeper of the Privy Purse, Private Secretary and Lieutenant Governor of Windsor Castle to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V. He also edited 'Letters of the Empress Frederick' (1928), and wrote a posthumously-published volume of memoirs, 'Recollections of Three Reigns' (1951).