Queen Victoria – Reviews


Kaiser Wilhelm II telling his grandmother the Queen not to cry any more, but to count on him. He is concealing from her a telegram ordering warships to Lourenço Marques, maritime gateway to the Transvaal. At the time of the Jameson Raid at the end of 1895 British residents in Johannesburg were at odds with the Boer Government. French postcard by Frévil. Author’s collection.



“One of the most fascinating books of the year … Queen Vic helped invent international tourism – Britain’s gift to the world.” Peter Preston in The Guardian

“Of all the huge outpouring of Victoriana commemorating last month’s centenary of the Queen-Empress’s death, the most delightful study is this short and very well researched book by the former General Manager of Reuters, Michael Nelson.”

 It investigates the fully reciprocated love affair between the Queen and the French Riviera: she loved the South of France because of the climate, gardens and relative privacy; it loved her because of the prestige, publicity and tourism that her nine visits engendered.” Andrew Roberts in The Sunday Telegraph

Library Journal

Victorian scholar Nelson has uncovered a rich store of information on Queen Victoria’s many trips to the Riviera. These trips, beginning in 1882, popularized an area that had seen only slowly developing tourism in the 19th century. Following suit, crowned heads and European high flyers transformed the Riviera into a major vacation venue. Nelson had access to the queen’s journals, which are housed at Windsor. The result could have made for dreary reading, but Nelson chose just the right entries from Victoria’s journals and sprinkled the text with letters from other aristocrats, making this a lively read. Nelson’s own style allows the reader to vividly imagine being in the hotel drawing rooms right alongside Victoria’s entourage. In the introduction, a gem of succinctness and anecdotal charm, Nelson outlines the development of tourism in southern France. One would hardly expect yet another book on Queen Victoria to be amusing, but this one’s a rare treat.Gail Benjafield in Library Journal

“This book paints a charming portrait of Victoria and her dealings with officials, statesmen, and the constant stream of visiting crowned heads to the Riviera.”Frenchculture.org, French Embassy, Washington

“We see an unexpected side to Victoria: not the imperious, petulant, mourning widow but rather an exuberant, girlish old lady thrilled by her surroundings. There are many fascinating illustrations, some in colour…”Living France

“Queen Victoria’s Riviera Holidays were not only enjoyable for her, they did a great deal of good for the frequently uneasy relations between England and France in the last years of her reign. Surprisingly little has been made of them.”Susan Hill in Country Life

“The fascinating story of Queen Victoria’s love affair with the Riviera is beautifully recounted.”Ron Kentish in the Isle of Wight County Press

“Vastly researched and highly entertaining.”
“She enjoyed the fireworks, laughed at the local newspapers, and tootled about in a donkey cart.”
“Unwisely, she entertained King Leopold of the Belgians, a paedophile who spent £800 a month on little English virgins and wore his fingernails so long that he daren’t shake hands.”
Brian Case in Time Out

“As a detailed monograph on one specific aspect of Victoria’s life, it is difficult to see how it could have been better done.”

 “The detail is often beguiling. Alice de Rothschild ticks the Queen off for treading on her precious flower-beds and the Household are kept busy retrieving flowers from the road for the old Queen to shower again at the Battle of the Flowers.”Paul Minet in Royalty Digest

“…a beautifully produced edition… it is the result of meticulous and much original research. It paints a fascinating portrait of the queen…”Christine Buissson in the Var Village Voice

“A fascinating book, Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera, published in January 2001, marks the 100th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s death. The book, by Michael Nelson, gives an account of her late Majesty’s many visits to the Riviera during the last twenty years of her life and even includes journal notes written by  her at the time.”The Traveller in France 2001

“…an enjoyable portrait of one of the modern era’s most important monarchs.”Publishers Weekly

“…there is no lack of diverting sidelights. On her first visit, the Queen’s train lacked a restaurant car, and she brought some of the food from Windsor, rather like a tripper taking sandwiches to Paris.”E.S.Turner in the Times Literary Supplement

“‘We are not amused’ became her most celebrated remark because it seemed to sum up her attitude to life… But was that the real Victoria? In this 100th anniversary year of her death, new revelations about Queen Victoria’s holidays on the French Riviera have emerged, and they show her in a quite different light. They also explain how a strip of Mediterranean France became, with her patronage, one of the most fashionable and glamorous resorts in the world.”Christopher Hudson in the Daily Mail

 “…… a well-researched and highly readable account of the sovereign’s love affair with the South of France.” Patrick Middleton in The Riviera Reporter

Michael Nelson, a former Reuters executive, uses all his old reporting skills to trawl the Royal archives at Windsor in search of the quite untold story of the queen who took the train through Nice and Cannes to escape the English winter. There, in this enclave of Englishness, the crowned heads of Europe gathered and rested and fell in love. It’s a fascinating tale, gently and studiously told.” Peter Preston in the Good Books Guide Books of the Year 2001.

Buy the Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera book:



Explore more about the book:

Introduction     Foreword      Synthèse     Contents     Recommended      The Launch     Wine     Reviews     Contact      Follow the Footsteps of the Queen Victoria on the Riviera