We Two: Victoria and Albert - Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill lets readers peek into the often romanticized relationship between Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert. (Please, no “do you have Prince Albert in a can? Let him out!” jokes.)
As with many stories viewed through the prism of time, the marriage between cousins (haruump) has been scrubbed free of the actual human qualities that made the couple thrive and survive. Gill grips the dusty collars of each royal and shakes them furiously to reveal a realistic portrait of these two as they actually were. Relatives, both of whom had strong personalities, had to navigate the choppy waters of what came to be known as the “Victorian age.”
The biggest challenge: while Victoria was the most powerful person - at least in England, and most probably the world - alas, she was a “She” in a time when women were considered useful merely for decoration and breeding. Having been brought up in this culture, it is logical that Albert fully expected Victoria to yield to his superior intellect and be grateful to him for allowing her to be a figurehead. To paraphrase a quote from Queen Vic for which she would later become famous for, “We were not amused.”
We Two weaves is a tapestry with strands pulled from the queen’s and the prince’s own words. The finished piece is a feast for history and royalty buffs. The perfect myth of the royal relationship is proven to be just that: a myth. The surprise is that the duo becomes a more endearing and romantic example when readers are allowed to see their humanity. Gill has done a brilliant job with her in-depth research and respect for the couple to create an imminently readable and enjoyable book.