Tuesday, March 16, 2010

REVIEW: The Captive of Kensington Palace by Jean Plaidy

Having previously read Jean Plaidy’s Victoria Victorious (Bk 3 of her Queens of England series), I decided to give her 4 volume Queen Victoria novels a try. The first of these, The Captive of Kensington Palace spans from Victoria’s childhood to the moment she becomes Queen of England at age 18. Victoria is kept a virtual prisoner in Kensington Palace (hence the title) by her overbearing mother and her mother’s “close friend” Sir John Conroy. While these two constantly tell her they have her best interest at heart, it is abundantly clear that they are out to further themselves. They conceal Victoria’s importance and the fact that she will one day become Queen from her. They also limit her interactions with her Uncle William and Aunt Adelaide, the reigning King and Queen of England. One would think that it would be easy to keep one child well in hand when so many restrictions are put upon her but we soon see that Victoria has a mind of her own. When they send one nanny away and try to remove her other one, dear Baroness Lehzen Victoria will not have it. Even though Victoria feels she will never break free from her mother and her palace prison, eventually the day comes when King William dies and she is declared Queen.

Victoria as a Young Girl

I felt badly for Victoria and her confined upbringing. I could definitely relate to that as my dad was a bit overbearing and controlling in doing things he thought were for my own good so I know what it’s like not to be allowed to do certain things or see certain people because of parental interference. I hated Sir John Conroy right along with Victoria. Plaidy did a great job of making the young girl come alive in this book. She had a lot to overcome at such a young age with her uncle scheming to get her out of the way to take the throne and her own mother who should have been THE person to look out for her interests being more occupied with seeing that recognition and advancement came to herself. Her insistence that they royal standard be flown for Victoria even though it enraged the King and that she perform ceremonies in her daughter’s stead when the people had gathered to see Victoria are just a few examples of the Duchess feeding her own ego to the detriment of her daughter. I did notice that for all her willfulness, she was led rather easily by her Uncle Leopold whom she adored. She even decided which cousin she would like better as a potential marriage prospect before she even met them because Uncle Leopold told her he would be the better choice.

Victoria, Age 18

Thank goodness in my case my dad actually was looking out for me. It is easy to say “Oh boo hoo poor little rich girl” but while she never wanted in material possessions, I personally think you can’t put a price on freedom, especially during those impressionable years. I am enjoying this series so far and am looking forward to continuing my journey with this fascinating Queen.

Kensington Palace
If the FTC is wondering: This book is from my own personal library


  1. Great review Holly! I read Victoria Victorious a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I've yet to start this series though.

    Have you seen The Young Victoria? I haven't yet, but I heard it's really great.

    Queen Victoria is such an amazing woman to read about...thanks for the review!

  2. Haven't seen it yet but I really want to. It looks like they did a great job with casting that one :)

  3. This is the 4th Plaidy review that I've read in about 4 days and now I'm itching to get the book I purchased 6 months ago out and start reading it!!! loved your review!

  4. Staci-if you check here: http://royal-intrigue.net/bookreviews.php you'll find a whole lot of Plaidy reviews :)

    If you do read her soon you won't be disappointed. I'll be interested to see what you think of her.