‘Enough to kill any man’: the trials of serving Queen Victoria

Monarchy was as characteristic of the 19th century as nationalism and revolution. The Almanach de Gotha was a better guide to power than the Communist Manifesto. Constitutional monarchy, in particular, was considered the panacea of the age. On the first morning of her reign, Queen Victoria announced: ‘I have promised to respect and love the constitution of my native country.’ The Times declared her ‘steeped in the spirit of the constitution’. Gladstone said: ‘All the principles of the constitution have been observed by the Queen… in a manner more perfect than has ever been known.’ In reality, as Anne Somerset’s magnificent, disturbing and innovative history of Queen Victoria and her

Will we soon see the end of conservatism as we know it?

For some years I chaired the international alliance of centre right and conservative parties, the International Democrat Union. It is an organisation that illustrates the difficulty of defining and categorising right-wing political movements: it is called ‘democrat’, but includes the American Republicans, boasts the Australian Liberals among its avowedly conservative members and includes Christian Democrats, Independence parties, National parties, People’s parties and even one United Workers Party. This variety is more than a matter of nomenclature. What these parties have in common is that they are the main rivals in each of their countries to a party of the left. They are defined more by a shared enemy than having