Charlotte and Leopold

  • by James Chambers
  • Narrated by Jilly Bond
  • 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the day she was born, Charlotte won the hearts of her subjects and yet behind the scenes she was used, abused and victimized by rivalries-between her parents; between her Father (the Prince Regent, later George IV) and (Mad King) George III: between her tutors, governesses and other members of her discordant household; and ultimately between the Whigs and the Tories. Her death in childbirth-the result of medical incompetence-was followed by an unseemly scramble to produce a substitute heir. Queen Victoria was the product. This is the tragic story of the doomed romance between Charlotte, heir to the English throne, and Leopold, the first King of the Belgians.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting and engaging but...

I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it. A very interesting subject presented in a very readable ('listenable'?) narrative.
Jilly Bond's reading is generally very good but I do wish that she had dropped the exagerated characterisation of Princess Charlotte earlier in the book. Yes, Charlotte had a lisp but for the majority of the reading she was given a voice very like Violet Elizabeth of the 'Just William' stories!
I would also have liked a couple more dates here and there. I'm sure that had I had the print version before me I would have been flicking back to check the chronology on a couple of occasions.
Having said that, neither of these small points detract from what is a fascinating story of a queen that never was and her husband who might never have been king.
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- Nicholas

Vivid and lively biography

Poor Charlotte had one of the most deprived upbringings with a despotic, mean-spirited father who made sure she was prevented from seeing her mother - (Caroline of Brunswick) so that no true bond was formed between them. He kept her a virtual prisoner probably in the hope one day of getting rid of her mother and thus gaining his freedom to marry a more suitable wife who might give him a son as an heir. When Charlotte does finally find a happy release in a marriage where she was not expecting a great love but to her surprise does indeed find it, she loses her life in after childbirth. The stupid and senseless treatments of the physician Richard Crofts may very well have contributed to the disaster but this was the fate of many women up to recent times so it is hard to judge. During her short life Charlotte will amaze you with her lively spirits and the author has really managed to bring her to life and lending heavily from her own words without this being intrusive or artificial. The narrator does a reasonable job perhaps overdoing the lisp of Charlotte but not to the point of spoiling my enjoyment of this wonderful character. This biography has made me eager to find out more about the period and especially to read something about the tyrannical George IV. The descriptions of Charlotte's mother at the start of the book when she first meets her future husband where mutual dislike is perhaps the mildest one can express their reactions to each other and later on when Caroline is described as an old woman - wearing a dress cut low in front to the middle of her stomach and low at the back which the person commenting describes as 'disgusting' - are hilarious. There is much of the gothic novel too in the way Charlotte is surrounded by the spies of the Prince of Wales and how she tries to circumvent their ever watchful eyes. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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- iris "I love history, crime and thrillers, biographies and almost anything by the BBC."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-03-2009
  • Publisher: Oakhill Publishing Ltd