My Name Is Victoria

Written by Lucy Worsley
Review by Elizabeth Hawksley Freya Sutcliffe

1820s. Princess Victoria is being brought up in almost total isolation in Kensington Palace. Her mother is under the thumb of Sir John Conroy, who has instituted ‘The Kensington System’ designed, so he says, to keep the princess safe. Victoria herself thinks it’s designed to keep her lonely and unhappy.

Sir John’s quiet and obedient daughter, Miss V., is taken to the palace to be Victoria’s friend—and to spy for her father. But Miss V soon discovers that things are badly wrong at the palace and, against her will, she starts wondering just who is benefitting from the Kensington System, because it’s certainly not Victoria.

I really enjoyed this. Lucy Worsley manages to get under the skin of the two children and allow the reader to see clearly what the psychological effect is of their isolation from the real world. The claustrophobia of the way of life they are forced to lead is very real, and Victoria, in particular, is worryingly ill-equipped for her future role as queen.

This alternative history, with Miss V Conroy as heroine and narrator, is gripping. It is also deeply rooted in Lucy Worsley’s own knowledge of the period. I enjoyed it tremendously.

Elizabeth Hawksley


Lucy Worsley’s My Name is Victoria gripped me from the start to the very end. Her balance of fiction and history made the book extremely captivating and, although it was a novel, it felt that life at Kensington Palace was portrayed very accurately. The book demonstrated all kinds of loyalty and sacrifice, and wasn’t only very enjoyable but educational as well. I think that My Name is Victoria is aimed at eleven plus, as it is written clearly and is easy to feel very much part of the story.

Freya Sutcliffe, age 14