chapter  Chapter One
Introduction
WithRichard Williams
Pages 9

Nineteenth-century history was written mainly in terms of the ‘rise of the middle class’ and the ‘making of the working class’, while what might be called ‘the survival of the ‘upper class’ – the monarchy and aristocracy – was neglected. Victoria’s reign can be seen as a turning-point in the history of the modern British monarchy in that throughout it two basic strands of discussion of the monarchy, one reverential, the other critical, coexisted, with the latter superseding the former conclusively – at least for the time being – by the end of the reign. A major study of the institution and caste at the very apex of Victorian society – the monarchy and Royal Family – has yet to be produced, despite the new historical interest in the monarchy resulting from the renewal of debate about the institution in the 1990s. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.