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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

3 - Rethinking the “Right to Rule” in Victorian Britain


This chapter charts social conservatives' efforts to provide new historical and philosophical foundations for female sovereignty -- ones in keeping with, rather than at odds with, a patriarchal state. They did this by rewriting the histories of past English queens in order to downplay their agency and leadership. They also did this by valorizing particular Victorian statesmen who they insisted were doing Victoria's work on her behalf. Finally, they did this by stressing the decorative, moral, and fundamentally apolitical role of the female sovereign within the modern British nation-state.