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In 1863, Queen Victoria decreed that Edward, Prince of Wales, should marry Princess Alexandra, daughter of the obscure and unsophisticated heir to the Danish throne. The beauty, grace and charm of Prince Christian's daughter had prevailed over the Queen's intense dislike of the Danish royal house, and had even persuaded the embarrassingly difficult Bertie to agree to the m In 1863, Queen Victoria decreed that Edward, Prince of Wales, should marry Princess Alexandra, daughter of the obscure and unsophisticated heir to the Danish throne. The beauty, grace and charm of Prince Christian's daughter had prevailed over the Queen's intense dislike of the Danish royal house, and had even persuaded the embarrassingly difficult Bertie to agree to the match. Thus began the fairy-tale saga of a family that handed on its good looks, unaffectedness, and democratic manners to almost every royal house of modern Europe. For, in the year that Alexandra became Princess of Wales, her brother Willie was elected King of the Hellenes ; her father at last succeeded to the Danish throne; her sister Dagmar was soon to become wife of the future Tsar Alexander III of Russia; and her youngest sister Thyra later married the de jure King of Hanover. A Family of Kings is the story of the crowned children and grandchildren of Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark, focusing on the half-century before the First World War. It is an intimate, domestic study of a close-knit family, the individual personalities, and the courts to which they came. Without doubt, the chic and beautiful Alexandra epitomized the spectacular flowering of the Danish dynasty; and just as she brought an unprecedented popularity to the sobriety of the English court, so her brothers and sisters helped enliven the staid European scene. The outstanding success of Theo Aronson's previous book, Grandmama of Europe, confirms his reputation as a chronicler of the fortunes of Europe's ruling houses. A Family of Kings bears the hallmark of the author's remarkable talent, and provides a fascinating evocation of the splendour and extravagance, and not infrequent tragedy, of nineteenth and twentieth century royalty.


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In 1863, Queen Victoria decreed that Edward, Prince of Wales, should marry Princess Alexandra, daughter of the obscure and unsophisticated heir to the Danish throne. The beauty, grace and charm of Prince Christian's daughter had prevailed over the Queen's intense dislike of the Danish royal house, and had even persuaded the embarrassingly difficult Bertie to agree to the m In 1863, Queen Victoria decreed that Edward, Prince of Wales, should marry Princess Alexandra, daughter of the obscure and unsophisticated heir to the Danish throne. The beauty, grace and charm of Prince Christian's daughter had prevailed over the Queen's intense dislike of the Danish royal house, and had even persuaded the embarrassingly difficult Bertie to agree to the match. Thus began the fairy-tale saga of a family that handed on its good looks, unaffectedness, and democratic manners to almost every royal house of modern Europe. For, in the year that Alexandra became Princess of Wales, her brother Willie was elected King of the Hellenes ; her father at last succeeded to the Danish throne; her sister Dagmar was soon to become wife of the future Tsar Alexander III of Russia; and her youngest sister Thyra later married the de jure King of Hanover. A Family of Kings is the story of the crowned children and grandchildren of Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark, focusing on the half-century before the First World War. It is an intimate, domestic study of a close-knit family, the individual personalities, and the courts to which they came. Without doubt, the chic and beautiful Alexandra epitomized the spectacular flowering of the Danish dynasty; and just as she brought an unprecedented popularity to the sobriety of the English court, so her brothers and sisters helped enliven the staid European scene. The outstanding success of Theo Aronson's previous book, Grandmama of Europe, confirms his reputation as a chronicler of the fortunes of Europe's ruling houses. A Family of Kings bears the hallmark of the author's remarkable talent, and provides a fascinating evocation of the splendour and extravagance, and not infrequent tragedy, of nineteenth and twentieth century royalty.

30 review for A Family of Kings: The Descendants of Christian IX of Denmark

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Huston

    (This is actually a trade paperback edition, but the database won't let me make one. Sigh. So it goes) A very readable, if somewhat erratic look at the Danish Royal family, and who begat who, who married who, and who started the wars. Published back in the 1970's, it is dated in spots, but very readable, and considering how little tends to be written about the Danes, full of little insights and new stories. I give it four out of five starts and a recommendation. For the longer review, please go h (This is actually a trade paperback edition, but the database won't let me make one. Sigh. So it goes) A very readable, if somewhat erratic look at the Danish Royal family, and who begat who, who married who, and who started the wars. Published back in the 1970's, it is dated in spots, but very readable, and considering how little tends to be written about the Danes, full of little insights and new stories. I give it four out of five starts and a recommendation. For the longer review, please go here: http://www.personapaper.com/article/2...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maureen S

    Good but (sort of) Recycled It's certainly worth it if you're interested in late nineteenth/early twentieth century royal families. That such a relatively unimportant (in terms of political importance) country and family had such a far-flung impact on so many other countries is truly unexpected. And they certainly did. My one caveat is that, if you've read other books by Theo Aronson, many of the anecdotes are repeated but I guess that unavoidable.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Kwok

    Wow, I have to say what a great book for those who enjoy reading royal biographies and the connections from one royal family to another. The book is about King Christian IX of Denmark and how 5 of his 6 kids were able to eventually sit on the various thrones of Europe and countless more grandchildren and great-grandchildren have done the same. At the time, Denmark was a rather small country, not very powerful or wealthy by any means. So then the next question is "how?", how did King Christian IX Wow, I have to say what a great book for those who enjoy reading royal biographies and the connections from one royal family to another. The book is about King Christian IX of Denmark and how 5 of his 6 kids were able to eventually sit on the various thrones of Europe and countless more grandchildren and great-grandchildren have done the same. At the time, Denmark was a rather small country, not very powerful or wealthy by any means. So then the next question is "how?", how did King Christian IX to become one of the most respected and consequential monarchs in Europe? Is it because he was exceedingly cunning and shrewd and pulled the right levers? The short answer is no and that he is actually one very lucky person. Take for example, his own ascension in 1863. He was not expected to inherit the Denmark throne except his uncle, the king at the time, did not have any children. Christian was chosen because he was the least offensive person (to the other European powers) that could take the throne and he was almost a "second option". His children were able to marry into some of Europe's most powerful royal families including the UK because they were basically attractive, kind and of royal blood. All in all, a wonderful book and it even prompted me to purchase a number of the author's prior books. Now, that's a good compliment (along with recommending his work to other people).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Martin

    This was a truly fascinating read. I’d long heard of King Christian IX of Denmark, known as the ‘Grandfather of Europe’. The book gives an amazing insight into the characteristics of the family and the lives of his children and grand-children as they married into and grew up in various European royal families. What really struck me was Aronson’s description of the characteristics of the Danish Royal Family. They come across as a ‘normal’, ‘down-to-earth family, who for the large part didn’t cons This was a truly fascinating read. I’d long heard of King Christian IX of Denmark, known as the ‘Grandfather of Europe’. The book gives an amazing insight into the characteristics of the family and the lives of his children and grand-children as they married into and grew up in various European royal families. What really struck me was Aronson’s description of the characteristics of the Danish Royal Family. They come across as a ‘normal’, ‘down-to-earth family, who for the large part didn’t consider themselves to be any better than others. I’m very happy I bought this book. It’s well written, not heavy at all and the narrative makes it very easy to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    I never knew how important the Denmark Royal Family was to the rest of the world --- the marriages, etc involved them in all of Europe and Scandinavia. The authors writes in a delightful style so you feel you know the personalities. The little 'inside' drama fitting in the actual history of the years, gave me a much better understanding of history. Mainly pre-WWI, but the latter part does indicate how the countries were during the war.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    I found this book informative, well-organized, and pleasant to read. It's not easy to keep all the members of a large family straight. I never felt confused by all the people involve. It's true that it has not been brought up to the present day. I'm not sure that's necessary.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susanna Polakov

    A well researched and easy to read - found myself absorbed in the story of the illustrious royal family. The connection between various international affaires, which tied loose ends of the European history of the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century with precision and logic, was particularly fascinating.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sole

    Not bad. Not brilliant either. It desperately needs some updates, it still mentions ex-King Juan Carlos of Spain as a pretendant to the throne and Baldouin as the current Belgian King.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    If Queen Victoria is the Grandmother of all Europe, then Christian IX of Denmark is the grandfather. His descendants covered as many thrones as did Victoria's but his name is less known. One of his sons was the King of Greece, one of his daughters married Alexander III of Russia and was the mother of the tragic Nicholas II, his eldest daughter became the Queen of England after Victoria's death, his grandson and granddaughter (cousins) became the first King and Queen of Norway after its breakaway If Queen Victoria is the Grandmother of all Europe, then Christian IX of Denmark is the grandfather. His descendants covered as many thrones as did Victoria's but his name is less known. One of his sons was the King of Greece, one of his daughters married Alexander III of Russia and was the mother of the tragic Nicholas II, his eldest daughter became the Queen of England after Victoria's death, his grandson and granddaughter (cousins) became the first King and Queen of Norway after its breakaway from Sweden, another daughter married the "King" of Hanover (whose "kingship" had been stripped from him when Prussia took over Hanover), and of course, his own heir. Christian was a very unimposing man who never assumed he would be king or that his progeny would spread over so much of Europe. This story is not really about him but about the distribution of his children and their children. Aronson has a marvelous style and it is difficult to put the book down. After reading the story of Queen Victoria's children, this book puts the rest of Europe into place. Suddenly, all the dots are connected.

  10. 4 out of 5

    James

    An interesting, well written history of the large and influential family raised by King Christian IX of Denmark (1863-1906) and his remarkable, brilliant wife, Queen Louise. This is a relatively easy and enjoyable historical study based upon already published sources. The author writes well and the book is a non-scholarly study that breaks little, if any new ground. The most serious deficiency of this book is its lack of an index. Historical studies dealing with hundreds of historical figures an An interesting, well written history of the large and influential family raised by King Christian IX of Denmark (1863-1906) and his remarkable, brilliant wife, Queen Louise. This is a relatively easy and enjoyable historical study based upon already published sources. The author writes well and the book is a non-scholarly study that breaks little, if any new ground. The most serious deficiency of this book is its lack of an index. Historical studies dealing with hundreds of historical figures and dozens of monarchs over a century of European history require indexes to enable readers to go back and revisit information on this or that war, ruler, palace, treaty, etc. over the years. Most decent history books are not just read and put on a shelf, but pulled out again and again to reclaim nuggets of insight. Without an index of any kind, that entire aspect of use is next to impossible. --- Another deficiency is the poor quality of illustrations.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aishuu

    I enjoy reading Aronson's work, but he also annoys me. There's lots of contradictions in his work (describing someone as both shrewd and unintellectual/unintelligent comes to mind). There's also a lot of fawning over certain personages who I find keen targets for dislike. That said, it's hard not to be drawn in by the gossip and the affection for the cast of characters, and this did help me sort out some of the minor royal personages in late Victorian/Edwardian England and how their relationships I enjoy reading Aronson's work, but he also annoys me. There's lots of contradictions in his work (describing someone as both shrewd and unintellectual/unintelligent comes to mind). There's also a lot of fawning over certain personages who I find keen targets for dislike. That said, it's hard not to be drawn in by the gossip and the affection for the cast of characters, and this did help me sort out some of the minor royal personages in late Victorian/Edwardian England and how their relationships help contribute to the mess that was WWI. I've usually seen things from the "Queen Victoria as the Grandmama of Europe" side, so seeing how the Danish family ties played into things was a fresh twist. While I like Aronson's breeziness, I don't really take much he says seriously since he's very much a Royal apologist.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Qing Wang

    As generally agreed, this book is very readable and delightful. The author certainly values the virtues that made King Christian IX's descendants so successful and popular, though he also makes it clear that those are mainly family-oriented. The descendants of the King could make admirable sovereigns in good times but not so ready for turbulence and could not always appreciate the reality and the changing mood of their subjects. Though this is a biography instead of a history book, as the author As generally agreed, this book is very readable and delightful. The author certainly values the virtues that made King Christian IX's descendants so successful and popular, though he also makes it clear that those are mainly family-oriented. The descendants of the King could make admirable sovereigns in good times but not so ready for turbulence and could not always appreciate the reality and the changing mood of their subjects. Though this is a biography instead of a history book, as the author emphasized, it nevertheless shed light on the international affairs at that time, following the footsteps of many kings and queens.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Whimsical

    Much like Queen Victoria, whose off springs married into the royal families of Europe, King Christian IX did the same. He produced queens, empresses, kings and starting from mid 1800's through the the first world war who ruled on two continents. His decendantsseven continue rule as monarchs even into the 21st century in many European countries though no longer autocrats. I found this an book easy read and would recommend it as a good book to get an overview, however slight of history of European Much like Queen Victoria, whose off springs married into the royal families of Europe, King Christian IX did the same. He produced queens, empresses, kings and starting from mid 1800's through the the first world war who ruled on two continents. His decendantsseven continue rule as monarchs even into the 21st century in many European countries though no longer autocrats. I found this an book easy read and would recommend it as a good book to get an overview, however slight of history of European royalty

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gina Basham

    Another great one! Very engaging. The use of royal nicknames makes it so much easier to follow. Easier, but by no means easy. I find having a genealogy table handy helps immensely. If you are reading on a kindle a separate source of tables helps. It can be distracting leaving a page to double check a name or relationship. I will continue to read other books by Mr Aronson. I would highly recommend. Gbash

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alayne

    A very interesting account of the King of Denmark and his descendants who became monarchs of many of the European nations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Worth reading for those with an interest in European history.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    I really liked this book. It was a lot better than Grandmama of Europe. It was very informative though some of the information was dated (like about ex-King Juan Carlos not being king yet).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Terrific! Wonderful history of the people, with lots of anecdotes. Loved it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    fascinating family and time period

  19. 5 out of 5

    Suanne Laqueur

    I wish I'd had Aronson as a history professor. Really enjoyed this book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Duncan

    A part of royal history I know so little about so good to read. A bit light on detail but overall worth the read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    sandra harris

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fiona Howatson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Björn Víðisson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Patterson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roslyn Ueckermann

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ian Palmer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Purvis

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carol Adey

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Ullrich

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linda H. Williams

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