Empress Queen Victoria and India Miles Taylor

Publication date:
09 Feb 2021
Yale University Press
408 pages: 235 x 156mm
32 b-w illus.
Sales territories:
World excl. Indian Subcontinent


An entirely original account of Victoria’s relationship with the Raj, which shows how India was central to the Victorian monarchy from as early as 1837

"A widely and deeply researched, elegantly written, and vital portrayal of [Queen Victoria’s] place in colonial Indian affairs.”—Journal of Modern History

In this engaging and controversial book, Miles Taylor shows how both Victoria and Albert were spellbound by India, and argues that the Queen was humanely, intelligently, and passionately involved with the country throughout her reign and not just in the last decades. Taylor also reveals the way in which Victoria’s influence as empress contributed significantly to India’s modernization, both political and economic. This is, in a number of respects, a fresh account of imperial rule in India, suggesting that it was one of Victoria’s successes.

Miles Taylor is professor of modern history at the University of York.

“Compelling and instructive reading” —Antoinette Burton, Cercles

“Compact and engaging book” —Ferdinand Mount, London Review of Books

“Compelling and instructive reading” —Antoinette Burton, Cercles

“It’s a compelling account highlighting not only [Queen Victoria’s] cultural, political and diplomatic influence on India, but also how closely involved with the country she became, despite never setting foot in the country”— Chris Bond, Yorkshire Post

“Miles Taylor's Empress: Queen Victoria and India is a highly original study of the impact of the queen on India, and that country's impact on her. much greater in both cases than most of us had ever realised” —Jonathan Sumption, Spectator (Books Of The Year)

"In Empress Taylor recovers the forgotten significance of Victoria to the history of British India. He shows how the Queen’s enthusiasm for India and its princes facilitated the crown’s emergence as an appealing symbol and potential resource in the search for civil and political rights. This is a nuanced portrait of an empire rich in contradiction."—Catherine Hall, author of Civilising Subjects

“An engrossing and authoritative account of the vital place of India within the monarchy of Queen Victoria. Beautifully written and subtly crafted, this book provides a critical history of the cultural, political, and diplomatic significance of Queen Victoria's role as Empress of India - and its rich and varied impact in metropole and colony. An important work for those interested in more nuanced readings of Empire and their legacies today.”—Tristram Hunt, Director of Victoria and Albert Museum

"This is a highly intelligent, wonderfully lucid and well researched book that rests on an impressive array of Indian as well as European sources. It makes a powerful case for re-assessing Queen Victoria's own role and political and religious ideas in regard to the subcontinent, and for the need to look again at how she - and monarchy in general - were perceived, re-imagined, and utilized by different varieties of her Indian "subjects" before the First World War."—Linda Colley, author of Britons